Wednesday, September 19, 2012

National Punch Day

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Chef Diane

I recently lost a friend of mine to Cancer.  We had gone to nursing school together; her service was actually held on Nurses Appreciation Day.  Following the funeral service, a reception was held.  She was from New Orleans, and a favorite drink used at holiday celebrations is Milk Punch.  She had praised this drink on many occasions; however, since I am not a milk drinker, I did not try it.  It is simply milk, brandy, sugar and vanilla, with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top.

When I think about punch, I think of the drink served at wedding celebrations or some type of receptions.  I was reminiscing about my past weddings with a friend of mine.  At my first wedding, the colors I  used were Maroon and Cream, however my future mother-in-law provided the punch, which was a sickly green color.  I was horrified when I saw the pictures from the reception, the green really stood out in contrast to the other colors.

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At my second wedding, my parents had been out of the country prior to the wedding, which was a rather small ceremony.  My mother who had not been present with the other arrangements offered to make the punch. I really wanted a certain kind, but instead, we were served apple juice mixed with ginger ale.  Needless to say it tasted as good as it sounds.

My favorite punch is called Crunchy punch.  The recipe is listed below, and its the best punch I have ever tasted.  The trick is to freeze the punch, then before it is served, let it thaw a bit and then pour sprite over it.  It makes a kind of slushy drink that will quickly disappear.

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Today is National Punch day, according to punchbowl.com, the word “punch” allegedly comes from the Hindustani word “panch,” which means “five.” In the early 1600s, sailors and employees of the British East India Company brought a new exotic drink from India to England. The beverage was made with five ingredients—spirits, lemon, sugar, water, and tea.

Punch spread from country to country and became one of the most popular party drinks. Today there are hundreds of punch recipes from which to choose. Many of them still incorporate the five key ingredients: base (alcohol), citrus, sugar, water, and spice.  

What is your favorite punch recipe?  Write back and let us know!

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CRUNCHY PUNCH

Ingredients:
  • 2 packages jello (any flavor)
  • 4 c. boiling water
  • 4 c. sugar
  • 2 packages Kool aid (same flavor as jello)
  • 1 medium size bottle lemon juice
  • 1 46 oz can pineapple juice (and any other fruit juice if desired)
  • 2 bottles of sprite (or ginger ale, 7 up)


Directions:
Dissolve 2 packages of jello in 4 cups boiling water.(Do this in a large roasting pan)
Add 4 c sugar. Dissolve 2 packages Kool-aid in 2 quarts warm water (I just add this all to the pot at the same time) Add lemon juice and pineapple juice. Stir and let cool. Freeze. (If you don’t normally have jugs, you can buy the jugs of water, use the water to make the punch, and then fill the jugs with the punch to freeze.) When you are ready to use the punch, set out 3 to 4 hours before (depends on the weather, if it is summer, it thaws faster) you want it slushy. Cut the jug with a knife, and then pour in punch bowl. Add sprite to taste.

Makes 2 gallons or for 75 people

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