Is it Spring yet?

According to our calendars, the 20th was the first day of spring.

The pecan trees and sycamore trees still do not have any leaves, and neither do the mesquite trees I see on my way to and from town, my elm and ash trees are partially leafed out, my bougainvilleas are showing leaves, as is my tiny crape myrtle, however; I still haven’t seen a scissor-tail swallow! Now, according to some old folklore as told me many years ago by Mr. A. Brieden seeing them is a certain sign that spring has arrived! Since I don’t keep watch for Purple Martins, I have no clue if they are around yet or not. Last week, I told y’all that I hadn’t seen any wildflowers, that changed this week to frequent patches of bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, and lots of the little wine cups. We actually had a thunderstorm and about an inch of rain last week and maybe that helped. The weather forecast for this whole week has shown temperatures in the mid 70s and 80s during the day and temperatures in the 40s for nighttime. It’s 9:30 in the morning and just in the mid 50s, but that will change soon, as the sun is out, bright and warm!
March is nearly over and that means that one-fourth of the year has already gone by! Time is certainly flying this year. Maybe it seems that way to me because I have sometimes been extra busy, but then again maybe not. One thing for sure, we can’t slow it down!
Here is a little information about April Fool’s Day. I just went into Yahoo and found more information than I really wanted or needed, but since Friday is April 1, I thought maybe you would like to know how, where or when it started.
Do you remember as a child playing April fool tricks on your friends, or having them pull some trick on you? The San Antonio papers always had some sort of story that you read and thought, “Wow, when did that happen”, and then you got to the end of the story and found it was all a joke.
On asking for April Fool’s Day, origin, I was given over one thousand sites that I could gather information from. Of course, I only checked out two or three and this one that I am using came closest to information that I used several years ago. Believe it or not, they even have a list of 100 hoaxes that are so famous that they have a site of their own.
The actual origin of April Fool’s Day is not really clear. No one seems to know exactly where, when or why the celebration began. References to ‘All Fool’s Day’, which is what it was first called appeared in Europe during the late Middle Ages. It seems to have been celebrated mostly by people who did not keep clear records of what they did. One thing is clear; the tradition of a day devoted to foolery has ancient roots.
In ancient times, many festivals included celebrations of foolery and trickery. The Saturnalia, a Roman winter festival was observed at the end of December and it was the most important of these. It mainly involved dancing, drinking, and general merrymaking. Gifts were exchanged; slaves were allowed to pretend that they ruled their masters, and a mock king, reigned for the day. By the fourth century AD the Saturnalia had transformed into a January 1 New Year’s Day celebration, and many of its traditions began to be incorporated into the observance of Christmas.
The Romans had a celebration; there was a celebration in India and the Northern Europeans observed a festival to honor Lud, a Celtic god of humor. It is also connected to the Druids.
Though April 1st appears to have been anciently observed in Great Britain as a general festival, it was apparently not until the beginning of the 18th century that the making of April-fools was a common custom. In Scotland the custom was known as “hunting the gowk,” i.e. the cuckoo, and April-fools were called “April-gowks,” since cuckoo is a derisive term in most places.
So, you see, you can almost make up your own version of how and when April Fool’s Day started!
Since we still have a couple of weeks of Lent left, some of you may want to try your hand at baking Capirotada, which is a Mexican Bread Pudding. My favorite recipe for it came from Alamar Pompa when she lived next door to me. That lady surely did know how to cook and taught me how to make many different dishes. I just wish I had written down her recipe for what she called ‘Chile Picosa”. It was delicious, made fresh and very similar to pico de gallo. We would make a batch, put it in bottles and keep it in the fridge to eat as desired. She also fed my kids tacos more times than I can count, and to this day, my son thinks no one can cook beans as good as hers were!
Alamar’s Capirotada
8 slices white bread
butter or margarine
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup grated cheese ¾ cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Mix together water, vanilla and raisins, bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool. This will plump the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Toast bread in your toaster, remove and lightly spread with butter or margarine (not the tub kind). Place 4 slices of bread in a baking dish, sprinkle with one half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture, add one half the raisins and one half the cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Pour the water in which you cooked the raising over all. Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold, it’s great either way.
Cheesy Baked Corn
4-oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 can cream style corn (15½-oz)
1 can whole kernel corn (15½-oz), drained
1 package corn muffin mix (8½-oz)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, set aside. Place cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer, gradually adding milk until it is a smooth mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Approx. 12 servings.
Have you ever made Tater Tot casserole? This is a nice quick dish that does not take much effort and kids as well as adults like it.
And, last but not least a new and different recipe for you to try!
Barbecued Bear Grunts
6 large bear grunts
1½ quarts wild goose quack sauce
The bear grunts must be genuine. Do not mistake a growl for a grunt, that would be fatal. An experienced grunt hunter who can tell the difference between a growl and a genuine grunt should gather grunts. The best grunts are produced by papa bears. Mama bear grunts are OK, but never, never use a baby bear grunt. They are more like a squeak than a grunt, which will not do at all. Gather some deer dung and build a fire. When the fire is going nicely, place bear grunts on the grill and baste with wild goose quack sauce every three minutes. Cook to a nice invisible brown. Serve any number of grunts to any of your guests who have a great imagination. Happy cooking! Talk about an April Fool recipe!!!!