Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

September 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, oddities and events that have been even vaguely significant in the world of wining and dining. And this month reveals a lot of names you’ve never heard of before as well as exposing numerous strange goings-on in New York!

 

1st – This was the day, in 1843, that Auguste-Henri Forel was born. Not exactly a household name, but the next time you find armies of ants trooping down the wall towards the remnants of last night’s sandwiches, read his book first. It took him a lifetime to write, is in five volumes and is titled ‘The Secret Lives of Ants’. Then spray them.

2nd – 1666, and on this day, the Great Fire of London began. It broke out at the bakery of one Thomas Farrinor in Pudding Lane before spreading to houses in the neighbouring Fish Street Hill.

3rd – In 1752, this day didn’t happen, nor did the next ten as this was the day that the Gregorian Calendar went into effect in Europe and, to adjust for the deficit, 11 days had to somehow disappear.

4th – ‘Eat it and Beat it’. Thus rang the catchy slogan of the world’s first self-service restaurant, The Exchange Buffet, which opened in New York, on this day in 1885, just around the corner from the Stock Exchange.

5th – This was the day in Beijing, in 2009, when 520 dogs were saved from being eaten. Several hundred animal lovers picketed a convoy of trucks which were shipping the ‘dognapped’ beasts out to restaurants in the provinces. After a 15-hour traffic jam, enough money was raised by internet appeals to purchase the dogs … the majority of which had to be later released back on the streets again (ready to be recaptured, no doubt).

6thNew York again, and this was the day in 2010 when it became open season on ‘feral hogs’. These domestic pigs (which escaped, became wild and were left to interbreed) can grow to the size of a small pony and are fearless and ferocious. But it’s now officially OK to turn them into pastrami in any way you see fit!

7th – Another so-non-household name, Luther Crowell, came into being on this day in 1840. And you probably won’t be much more elevated when you discover that he invented flat-bottomed grocery bags that can’t roll about.

8th – 1966, and this was the day that the very-first TV episode of Star Trek featured chemically-synthesised food being nonchalantly nibbled aboard Starship Enterprise.

9thThailand, 2008, and this was the day that the then Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej, was forced to resign due to his weekly appearances on a national TV cooking show. Thai politicians are not permitted to engage in secondary employment; a protocol which hadn’t seemed to apply so much to previous post holders!

10thTacoma, Washington, and this was the day, in 2009, that the weekly goldfish races at the Harmon Tap Room were forced to a halt by yet more (non-Chinese) animal rights protestors. Bartender Joel Cummings commented that the fish were cared for when they weren’t racing but, “… hey, they’re goldfish, and sometimes they just die, y’know.

11th – This was the day, in 2007, that investigative reporting in England revealed that the system was being ‘systematically milked’ by numerous Members of Parliament. Amidst the expense claims unearthed was one item of £1,200 for dog food and another of £97 for after-dinner mints!

12th – Got a goat, horse, garage or dunny? If so, tip your hat to St. Guy of Anderlecht today. He’s the patron-saint of horned animals, workhorses, sheds and outbuildings.

13th – No wonder it’s a powder keg! Eggs were boiling in their shells on this day in 1922 in Tripoli, Libya. This was when the world’s highest-ever temperature was recorded; 135˚ F (57˚ C) in the shade.

14th – Just to remind you that, on this day in 1752, this was the first day back to normal after losing the last ten (see 3rd).

15th – With marginally less confusion, on this day in 1981, the American authorities decreed that tomato ketchup was positively a vegetable and, 14 years later to the day, tan-coloured M&Ms became unfashionable and were replaced by blue ones.

16th – Remember the Shadowmut Tea Party? Undoubtedly not, as this was the day, back in 1630, that the American hamlet of Shadowmut changed its name to ‘Boston’.

17th – ‘Burger Rage’ became official, on this day just one year ago. This was the first recorded instance of the sociological dysfunction which became recognized when Joseph Feldbach had to be restrained and removed into custody after suddenly throwing a fit – and several chairs – in Bart’s Burger Beano in a New York suburban mall. A restrained NYPD spokesperson perceptively commented, “One hundred years ago these people would have been lobotomized. Now they’re all suffering from some new syndrome.

18th – This was the day, in 2005, that the Hindu god, Ganesh, revealed himself to a Mumbai family in the form of a potato. Six years later the sacred spud is still attracting pilgrims.

19th – Not exactly an advert for healthy living, but today saw the birth of ’60s icon, star and model, Lesley Hornby, aka Twiggy.

20th – Another birthday, this time blues musician and singer, Jelly Roll Morton, who breathed his first on this day in 1890.

21st – Yet another unknown name, this time that of Earl Dixon, who passed away on this day in 1961. He created ‘Band Aids’ for his kitchen-accident-prone wife and, being an employee of Johnson & Johnson, soon saw his invention on sale everywhere.

22nd – This was the monochromatic day in 1955 that witnessed England’s first commercial television broadcast. The inception of this genre was dramatically marked by an ‘advertisement’ – for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

23rd – The world’s-oldest wedding cake was presented to Basingstoke Museum, England, on this day in 2009. Made in 1898, the 4-tier cake had been on display in a local family baker’s shop from day one, having only been removed for safety during the Blitz when, ironically, it suffered its only damage; several cracks from bomb blasts!

24th – Heard of Band Aid? Live Aid? But another name you won’t know this month is Farm Aid. And that’s because it happened only on this day in 1982, featured 6 unknown bands, was held on a farm in Champaign, Illinois, attracted a handful of local people and never, ever happened again.

25th – Breast-milk ice-cream went on sale in London’s Covent Garden, at the ice-cream parlour, Icecreamist, just one year ago today. Owner, Matt O’Connor, observed that, “… nobody’s done anything interesting with ice-cream for the last 100 years.” Got to keep abreast of the times, I suppose.

26th – This was the day, in 1934, that the US Barque, Kate G Penderson, brought the city of Adelaide to a 24-hour standstill. She/it missed her/its berth and ended up with her/its bows wedged across the dock road for a day and a half.

27th – And on this day, in 1938, ‘the world’s largest restaurant’ was opened. Well, launched, actually the Queen Elizabeth had four 5-star restaurants and employed 150 chefs who were able to cater for up to 2,000 diners simultaneously.

28th – With precocious pretensions, the French writer, Emile Zola, proudly pontificated that, “… what will be the death of me are bouillabaisses, foods spiced with pimento, shellfish and a load of other rubbish I should not eat.” Best not to tempt fate. He popped his clogs on this day in 1902, suffocated by a blocked chimney.

29th – The immensely unmemorable ‘Boogie Ooogie Ooogie’ by Taste of Honey went to #1 in the USA, on this day in 1978.

30th – But the utterly undeniable Frisbee appeared in the shops on this day in 1958, inspired by students at Connecticut University who had discovered that pie tins by the local Frisbee Pie Company had absolutely more than only one function!

 

Rob De Wet

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