Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

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

 

Tasty DatesFood is never far out of mind, particularly here, on Samui. And, 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 seems to feature a large amount of high street meat products!

 

1st – This was the day, in 1733, that the Irish Chemist, Richard Kiriwan, died, locked in his dining room. He suffered from dysphagria, a condition that forced him into convulsions when swallowing food. He died alone, strapped into his chair.

2nd – From ‘The Roosters’ to ‘Cream’ via ‘Casey and the Engineers’. That’s the way Eric Clapton’s bands went as, on this day in 1963, he left The Roosters and threw in his spanner with The Engineers!

3rd – Police were called when a fisherman in Michigan was attacked by a woman wielding a fish, on this day just one year ago. The woman firstly objected to the man’s presence, then asked him to turn his back whilst she ‘spent a penny’. When he did so he was struck heavily on the head by a large fish. Angry words were exchanged and the woman returned to her shanty, with no charges subsequently being pressed.

4th – Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, had spent half a lifetime trying to get rid of the bubbles in his fermenting wine. But on this day in 1693 he exclaimed “Come quickly! I am tasting the stars in the sky!” and invented champagne!

5th – This was the day, in 1962, that Marilyn Monroe passed away. Amongst her other titles, she was voted ‘California’s Artichoke Queen’ of 1947.

6th – The sailing ship, James Pendleton, transporting seven elephants to Australia, hit a storm on this day in 1897. The elephants panicked. But the cunning captain broke out the entire supply of rum and, five gallons later, the drunken jumbos were lying quietly in a heap!

7th – Just a year ago today, Justin Brearey from Essex, England, had charges against him for ‘actual bodily harm’ rescinded by the court. He had allegedly injured Candice Whitebrow with a frozen sausage during a party food fight. However, his lawyer pointed out that it was uncertain that the offending meat product was a sausage as a chicken drumstick was found next to the victim, and the case was dismissed!

8th – This evening is the occasion when our American cousins creep around in order to observe the quaint custom, ‘Sneak Some Zucchini on your Neighbor’s Porch Night’. And if anyone has the faintest idea what that’s all about, please let us know.

9thJohn Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, was born on this day in 1762. He was later to achieve fame for inventing a beef patty, with the meat wrapped in bread, so the cards wouldn’t get greasy whilst he was gambling.

10th – An “improved cup, cap or cover, which has a screw-threaded portion fitting into a correspondingly-screw-threaded recess in the bush or box” was patented on this day in 1889 by Dan Rylands of the Hope Glass Works in Barnsley, England. In other words, the first screw-top bottle.

11th – Happy accidents #22. This was the day, in 2002, when Aaron Feldster accidentally shot himself in the leg after lunching in a Utah hospital cafeteria. Digging into his denims for dimes he dopily discharged his Derringer and was rushed to hospital – just two floors down!

12th – Today sees the opening of the grouse season in Britain. As well as shooting small and harmless birds it’s now also permitted to gripe about taxes and the price of beer, whine about tasteless low-fat food, whinge about falling house prices and moan about Arsenal’s lack of honour for another year – all of them traditional British ‘grouses’.

13th – This was the day, in 1953, that Christine (née George) Jorgenson returned to New York after the world’s first sex-change operation. What’s the connection with food, I hear you ask. Easy. The operation was performed in Sweden by Dr. C. Hamburger.

14th – A 70 year-old woman was ordered to wear an electronic tag for a year after having inadvertently poisoned 47 policemen in Birmingham, England, in this day in 2010. The police canteen was supplied with sandwiches by the retired café owner and, on this unfortunate occasion, her butties were bunged up solid with the bacterium, staphylococcus aureus.

15th – Conservationists strike again, this time forcing the removal of several traditional dishes from research bases in the Arctic, on this day in 2005. Now seal’s brains is ‘off’, no longer can you enjoy penguin eggs, and grilled cormorant has gone the way of the dodo. But there’s no shortage of frozen fish fingers!

16th – “Lose 27 pounds or be stripped of your title.” This was the ultimatum issued by Donald Trump to Alicia Machado, on this day in 1996. The newly-crowned Miss Universe had been enjoying the high life rather too much and had visibly begun to spread!

17th – This was the day, in 1874, that Charles Blondini wobbled his way across an 800-foot tightrope stretched 50 feet above the two jetties in Sydney Harbour. He was dressed as a chef and half-way across he stopped to cook an omelette on a portable stove.

18th – The grouse season being open, this was the day, in 1888, that Lord Walsingham of Blubberhouse Moor, Yorkshire, took lusty advantage, banging off 1,050 shotgun cartridges and bagging 1,070 birds (he also nailed two rats and a pike swimming in shallow water).

19th – Another hit, this time Booker T and the MGs with ‘Green Onions’ at number one in the USA on this day in 1962. Sadly, subsequent shots such as ‘Sweet Potato’, ‘Jelly Bread’, ‘More Onions’ and ‘Red Beans and Rice’ were harder to swallow!

20th – This was the record-breaking day, in 2006, that the Korean grandmother and mobile food seller, simply known as Wu, failed her driving test for the 700th time. She’d been taking the test several times a week since 1998 in the hope of replacing her hand-cart with a car!

21st – This was the disastrous day, in 1997, that Hudson Foods, Nebraska, had to recall 25 million pounds of ground beef. Although tainted by the e-coli bacteria, this only represented one percent of the annual burger consumption in the USA which, if placed end to end, would run more than twice around the Earth.

22nd – This day brought joy to all the prisoners in Australia’s Hobart Gaol, in 1806. A national shortage of beef prompted the despairing prison governor to allow prisoners into the bush to hunt kangaroos. It is not, however, reported how many of them returned.

23rd – Another ‘death by sausage’ story, as this was the day in 2006 that a 12 year-old boy appeared in court in Manchester, England, after having been found guilty of ‘common assault with a sausage’. Having successfully bounced it off the greying head of one Albert Griggs, pensioner, he indignantly defended himself by declaring, “It was a chipolata!

24th – He starred in the movie about it and sang the title song of the same name. Although he died on this day in 1969, people still remember Arlo Guthrie and Alice’s Restaurant in New York.

25th – This was the day, in 2009, that a giant bluefin tuna fetched a record price at Tsukiji fish market in Japan. It weighed 754 pounds and sold for $405,000, substantially breaking the previous record of 445 pounds set in 2001.

26th – Herself only weighing-in at just 105 pounds, this was the day in 2004 that Sonya Thomas won the ‘2004 World Lobster Eating Championship’ in Bangor, Maine, after crunching her way through 38 considerable crustaceans.

27th – This was the day, in 1968, that The Beatles recorded ‘Hey Jude’; the first issue on their ‘Apple’ recording label.

28th – The small village of Bunol, Spain, today celebrates La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight. It lasts only an hour but attracts over 50,000 people who joyously splatter each other with over 100 tons of tomatoes during that time!

29th – ‘Chop Suey’ was first created on this day in 1896 – in New York. It happened on a social occasion when the Cantonese chef of the Chinese Ambassador was asked to make something that would appeal to American guests and he improvised something “… a bit Chinesey.”!

30th – On this remarkable day, in 1979, US president, Jimmy Carter, was attacked by a white rabbit, whilst in a canoe on a hunting trip. It was seen swimming towards him with teeth bared but was rapidly beaten off by paddle-wielding security staff. It just goes to show that, once in a while, the Monty Python team does get it right!

31st – After that last one anything’s an anticlimax but how about a bull escaping from the ‘Minnesota State Fair’ and ramming a nearby (bright red) fire hydrant? Whereupon it fell down stone dead, on this day back in 2007.

 

Rob De Wet

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