Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

May has many culinary-related curiosities – here are just a few of them!


8Food is never far out of mind, particularly here on Samui. In this regular series of articles, we check back through the years to some of the people, places and events that have been even vaguely significant in the world of wining and dining. And this month is not only notable for the celebrities who have departed this mortal coil but also for the inordinate amount of gigantic fish caught around the world. Must be Spring in the air.


1st – A fishy tail to begin with – plus the rest of it, as altogether it came to nine feet in length. Weighing 649 pounds, the biggest catfish ever recorded was caught on this day in 2005, in north Thailand’s Mekong River.

2nd – This was the day, in 1875, that a flour mill exploded in Minneapolis, blowing the roof 500 feet into the air and killing 18 people in the process. As with any carbohydrate, fine particles of flour mixed with the oxygen are highly combustible!

3rd – 1937, and this was the day that Francis Steven Castelluccio was born. He was later to sing about ‘Sherry’, along with the Four Seasons and, by then, calling himself Frankie Valli.

4th – It was just a year ago today that Pralad Jhani was admitted to hospital in Ahmedabad, India, claiming he had not eaten or drunk anything for 70 years. Researchers from the National Defence Institute of Physiology placed him under observation for a week – during which time he ate and drank nothing nor went to the toilet. Observers have remained mystified ever since.

5th – This was the day, one year ago, that the Washing State Authorities conferred a payment of $300,000 upon an inmate whose penis was consumed by a flesh-eating bacterium whist he was incarcerated. The prison doctor wrongly diagnosed Charlie Manning’s symptoms, not realising he had ‘necrotizing fasciitis’. “It’s unreal,” bewailed Charlie. “I feel like I’m living on Mars.

6th – Read this carefully – ‘национални овце ден’. It’s Bulgarian for ‘Today is National Sheep Day’ – in Bulgaria, of course!

7th – After an epic duel, the world’s biggest swordfish was landed on this day in 1953, off the coast of Chile. It weighed in at a whopping 1,182 pounds!

8th – On this day in 1886 Coca Cola first went on sale at John S Pemberton’s pharmacy in Atlanta. It was sold in a tiny rectangular clear-glass bottle just three inches high.

9th – A record brown trout this time, caught on this day in 1992 in Arkansas and weighing-in at 411 pounds.

10th – The Scot, Thomas Lipton, was born on this day in 1856. In addition to becoming a tea baron he was the first businessman in England to realise the power of marketing; creating slogans and images to go with his products. He also invented the tea bag.

11th – This was the day in 2002 that saw the peaceful demise of Joseph Bonanno at his Arizona ranch at the ripe age of 97. For most of his life he had been the Mafia boss known as ‘Joe Banana’.

12th – Another death, this time it was American, Ray J Plunkett, on this day in 1994. Although his name is not exactly on everyone’s lips, the name of Teflon is – he invented it in 1938.

13th – ‘Chilies Eat Shorts’ – almost a headline. This was the day in 1993 that the Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared on The Simpsons TV show in America. It’s rumoured that they gracefully declined Homer’s traditional invitation regarding the consumption of his underwear.

14th – Alas, another soul departs this mortal coil. Henry J Heinz, founder of the canned food empire and creator of the slogan ‘57 Varieties’, ceased to be, on this day in 1919.

15th – This was the day in 1930 that Ellen Church took to the skies as the planet’s first-ever airline hostess. To celebrate the occasion she served up a delicious repast of cold chicken with a bun, followed by tinned fruit salad.

16th – A landmark-day for everyone in the business – today is the feast of St. Pascal Baylon, the patron-saint of chefs, so expect all meals everywhere to be especially scrumptious!

17th – Big fish again and this time the world’s biggest salmon caught with a rod was wrenched from the icy waters off Alaska, on this day in 1985. It topped the scales at 97 pounds.

18th – This was the day in 1955 that world-renowned Hong Kong actor and martial artist, Chow Yun-Fat was born.

19th – Food Rage hits the US! This was the day in 2009 that Atlanta waitress, Melodi Dushane, threw a violent tantrum on being told that the chicken nuggets she wanted were unavailable. She smashed the ‘drive-thru’ window climbed inside and attacked three of the staff before being wrestled to the ground by her hair and subdued. Thank God there were still plenty of fries left!

20thWilliam Hewlett was born on this day in 1913. The other half of the computer company known as Hewlett-Packard (HP), his early inventions included an electric shock weight-loss machine and an automatic urinal flusher.

21st – By a bizarre coincidence, today is ‘National Rooster Day’ in America, as it also lines-up with the same day, back in 2001, that the Hong Kong Government ordered the destruction of over one million chickens in an attempt to stem the rising tide of avian ’flu.

22nd – This was the day in Florida, in 1931, that tinned rattlesnake first went on sale. It wasn’t as popular as spam and it was a lot noisier!

23rd – On this day back in 1869 the American frontiersman and legend, Davy Crockett, died. His last words are reputed to have been, “I wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.”

24th – Today is going to be good for Samui Wining & Dining’s customers because it’s the feast of St. Bernadine of Siena – she’s the patron-saint of advertisers everywhere!

25th – 2005, and on this day the Coca Cola Company broke its previous own record by creating a humungous 15-foot high ice-cream float containing 3,000 gallons of mixed Coke and vanilla ice-cream. Although passed fit for human consumption by the local health department, it was relegated to the garbage after the event. Is there a message here?

26th – This was the day in 1971 that Don McLean released his wistful liturgy, ‘American Pie’, a bitter-sweet commentary on American life in the ’70s that was triggered by the death of Buddy Holly and ended with the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

27th – This was the day in 1975 that English TV chef and personality, Jamie Oliver, was born. He came to fame via the audacious titling of his TV cooking show, ‘The Naked Chef’, which was rapidly followed by several further series of ‘naked’ cooking shows.

28th – Pipped at the steak? Two people share this birth date, the first being Mississippi bluesman, T-Bone Walker, born on this day in 1910. Gladys Knight came along in 1944 and, together with her Pips, became a chart-topping draw in the ’60s and ’70s.

29th – Ahh … Coke again, and this was the day in 1886 that saw the first-ever advert designed for Coca Cola. Perhaps it was this that the Rolling Stones had in mind when they recorded ‘Brown Sugar’ on the same day 85 years later?

30th – This was the day in 1908 that the voice of Bugs Bunny was born. And Porky Pig. And Daffy Duck, amongst several others. They all belonged to Mel Blank, who for more than 25 years was the voice behind most of the Disney cartoon characters.

31st – And a ‘sweet’ spot to end with – said spot being the caravan of Californian, Mark Leon. This was the day exactly nine years ago that a truck carrying chocolate syrup crashed into his mobile home. One year ago, to the day, it happened again, this time with a rig hauling 36,000 pounds of whipping cream. It makes you wonder what sort of a party would have resulted if the two events had been a bit more co-ordinated …


Rob De Wet

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