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National Pastry Day / Weary Willie Day
NATIONAL PASTRY DAY
National Pastry Day celebrates one of the world’s most favored baked goods. On December 9th, visit your local bakery and pick up one or two of your favorite kinds.
The pastry is a name given to a large variety of baked goods which are made with ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder, and eggs. Pastry dough is rolled out thinly and then used as a base for different baked products. A few of the more common bakery items include pies, tarts, quiches, and pasties. Bakers create both savory and sweet dishes from the doughs they create. Additionally, they continue to develop new and delicious creations all the time!
· Pastries can be traced as far back as the ancient Mediterranean where they had almost paper-thin, multilayered baklava and Phyllo dough.
· Pastry making began in Northern Europe after the Crusaders brought it back from the Mediterranean.
· French and Italian Renaissance chefs eventually perfected the puff and choux pastries while 17th and 18th-century chefs brought new recipes to the table. Included in the innovative recipes were Napoleons, cream puffs and eclairs.
Culinary historians often consider French pastry chef Antonin Careme (1784 – 1833) to have been the original great master of pastry making in modern times.
Many different types of pastry deliver baked goods that make our mouths water. Most of them fall into one of the following categories:
· Shortcrust pastry – simplest and most common.
· Sweetcrust pastry – similar to the shortcrust but sweeter.
· Flaky pastry – simple pastry that expands when cooked.
· Puff pastry – has many layers that cause it to puff when baked.
· Choux pastry – very light pastry that is often filled with cream or other fillings.
· Phyllo pastry – paper-thin pastry dough that is used in many layers.
WEARY WILLIE DAY
Weary Willie Day on December 9th recognizes the art of clowning and the impact it has on our lives. This holiday was named for the character made famous by Emmett Kelly, who was born on this day in 1898.
Weary Willie was a unique character in the art of clowning. Kelly had developed Weary Willy at a time when the white-faced, goofy clown was the norm, and selling the idea for a sad, down-on-his-luck clown did not fit the formula most circuses were seeking. For the time being, Kelly put back on the white face and the brightly colored costume.
Times and attitudes changed when the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Downtrodden and world-weary was the face of the nation. People could identify with Weary Willie like never before. Weary Willie, his frowning, whisker-shadowed face and his dirty, torn and worn costume, went on to become an American icon.
His son, Emmett Kelly, Jr. carried on Weary Willie’s persona well into the modern era until his death in 2003, at the age of 83.