It all began in 1582. It was once used to be celebrated as New Year’s Day. However, at that time news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several months or even years. Some people, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. These backward people were labeled as “fools” by the general population. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on “fools errands” or made practical jokes. After several centuries, lots of people from all over the world welcomed April Fool’s Day as a fun start of Spring.
Over time, a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April began. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. Later on it was introduced to the American colonies of both French and the English. April Fool’s Day then became an international fun fest, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families. In Rome, Italy, the holiday is known as the Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god, Attis, which is on March 25 and is called “Roman Laughing Day.” In Scotland, April Fool’s Day is actually celebrated for two days. In France today, April 1st is called Poisson d’Avril, which means April Fish. In England, tricks can only be played in the morning. In Portugal, April Fool’s is celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. Pranksters usually throw flour at their friends. In the United States individuals would create elaborate hoaxes and practical jokes on April Fool’s Day.
Pranks or practical jokes are preformed on April Fool’s Day which range from sayings as “Your shoe’s untied, or I accidentally stepped on your glasses!” What ever the prank or joke, the trickster usually ends up saying to his or her victim, “April Fool’s !” It is a fun only holiday that is observed by many, which one must remain forever vigilant, for he or she may be the next April Fool !
When I was young my brothers and myself would play practical jokes on my parents and sometimes each other. As I reminisce about April Fool’s Day when I was young, I realized that our practical jokes and pranks to our parents weren’t very elaborate or even very funny, but when you are a young child, this was hysterical. I would remember a prank we pulled on my Mom once. We would go to the front door and ring the bell, then tell my Mom that she had company and she would get flustered because she was not expecting anyone. Then when she would go to the door, and my siblings and I would yell out to her April Fool’s, which would make her kind of mad, but then we would all laugh and try to come up with a prank for when my Dad came home from work. It was all harmless fun and fond memories to remember on April Fool’s Day.
I can recall a recipe that my Mom taught me which we would sometimes create on April Fool’s Day, was a dessert called Mock Apple Pie. This was a good joke for family and friends, as we would tell them that we made Apple Pie, and then the joke was on them as this is not made with any apples. Mock apple pie made its first appearance around the middle of the 19th century. As the North American settlers journeyed west, they yearned for the taste that reminded them of home: apple pie. Apples were hard to come by out in the wilderness, so those amazing pioneer women came up with a dessert that is surprisingly apple-y, considering that it contains neither apples nor apple juice. The recipe first appeared in Mrs. B.C. Whiting’s book, How We Cook In Los Angeles (1894) as “California Pioneer Apple Pie, in 1852.” While the original recipe used soda crackers, Ritz saw a fabulous marking opportunity during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s. Apples were very expensive at that time, so Ritz adapted the recipe to use its own brand of Ritz crackers and the recipe on the back of the cracker box. Mock Apple Pie became a favorite throughout the 30’s and 40’s.
So try the recipe and see if you can fool your family and friends too. Enjoy!!!!
Pastry for 2-crust pie
36 Ritz crackers or soda crackers, broken in large pieces (about 1 ¾ cups crumbs)
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line glass pie plate with ½ of pastry. Place crumbled crackers in pie plate on top of lined pastry. Mix sugar and cream of tartar in saucepan. Gradually stir in water until completely combined. Bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes, without stirring. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Allow mixture to cool. Pour syrup over crackers. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with spices. Put top crust on and seal edges. Cut vents into top crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Tastes just like a real apple pie.