Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates
October 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 sees even more bizarre food stories than ever!


1st – This was the day, in 1968, that flesh-eating zombies first took the world by storm. It heralded the release of George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’.

2nd – ‘Farmer dyes sheep bright orange!’ So ran the headlines in England, a year ago today, after it was discovered that Dartmoor farmer, John Heard, had sprayed his entire flock to deter rustlers. “They’m look a tad strange but it stops em getting nicked,” he rustically declared.

3rd – Today is the festival of St. Clare of Assisi. She’s jointly the patron-saint of both good weather and laundry, and on Samui these two go hand-in-hand!

4th – A drop in the ocean? This was the day, in 2007, that America’s Topps Meat Co. had to recall two million pounds of burger beef due to a contamination scare. Not so much really, if you consider that the USA gets through four times this amount every day!

5th – This day, in 1983, saw the demise of Earl Silas Tupper. He revolutionised post-war living by creating the well-known brand of storage that carried his name – Tupperware.

6th – Chickening-out in Hopewell, New Jersey? This was the day, just a year ago, that new legislation was passed which permitted male roosters to visit their female friends for only 10 days in every month. It seems that the incessant bragging of rampant roosters had become just too much for the local populace to bear!

7th – Talking of bears, it was on this day, in 2009, that Anatoly Kolodenko was arrested in the process of trying to smuggle an unauthorised brown bear out of Russia, hidden under a blanket in his car. He indignantly denied exporting illegal foodstuffs. “We’ve performed in circuses together around the world,” he said sadly. “She’s like a daughter to me. I could never eat her.

8th – This was the day, in 1871, that the Great Fire of Chicago broke out, destroying 17,000 buildings and rendering 100,000 people homeless. It was caused by Kate O’Leary’s cow kicking over an oil lamp whilst being milked. Cold hands again!

9th – Today it’s ‘National Mouldy Cheese Day’ in the USA. Whereas on Samui, the dampness of the rainy season makes everything mouldy; clothes, shoes, bags, the inside of cars – you name it!

10th – From the old: on this day, in 1972, the world’s oldest condoms were unearthed in the grounds of Dudley Castle, England, dating from around 1640 and made out of sheep’s intestines …

11th – To the new: this was the day, just one year ago, that strap-on condoms appeared on sale in America, specifically designed to sidestep the intoxicated fumblings of those too drunk to see straight!

12th – The first-ever Austrian Oktoberfest occurred in Munich, on this day in 1810. From humble beginnings, it’s now developed into the world’s biggest beer festival, getting through more than a million gallons of beer over a two-week period.

13th – This was the day, in 2009, that California’s Orange County police raided several ‘lingerie bars’ and discovered that numerous nubile females appeared to have parted company from their teddies – corsets, that is, not bears!

14th – This was the day, in 1966, that record-sized hailstones fell on Dodge County, Minnesota. One of them, later measured at 8 inches in diameter, smashed through the windscreen of a delivery truck, causing the driver to lose control and deposit his load of pet food all over the highway.

15th – It was on this day, way back in 1978, that spam was invented. Not the sort that goes in sandwiches, but the email variety: Gary Theurk sent a property advert to 600 unwilling recipients on behalf of the Digital Equipment Corp Inc., California.

16th – Sign of the times? It was on this day, in 1818, that New South Wales poet, Michael Massey Robinson, was rewarded for his civic services by being awarded a payment of two cows.

17th – Forty jam sandwiches in 17 minutes 53.9 seconds? Get through more than this and you’ll beat the long-standing world record by California doughnut shop owner, Peter Dowdswell, set on this day in 1977.

18th – This was the day, in 1969, that the artificial sweetener, Cyclamate, was banned after indications that it caused cancer in rats. After more research, a worldwide ban was lifted in 1980 (but with the USA still standing firm) and this sweetener is now widely used in fizzy soda-style drinks.

19th – And on this day, in 1688, William Cheselden dribbled into existence. An English surgeon and teacher, it was he who first identified the role of saliva in the digestive process.

20th – The Hungarian, Arisztid Olt, archetypal bad-guy and screen icon, was born on this day in 1882. He became better-known as Bella Lugosi and most-famed for his portrayal of the blood-tippling Count Dracula, which was first screened in 1931.

21st – Schizotreenia? This was the day, in 1903, that an orange tree belonging to the Governor of Capetown was struck by lightning. A gardener bound the two halves back together and, later, was astonished to discover that one half of the tree had begun to produce Navel oranges, whereas the other produced crops of the Valencia variety.

22nd – Fancy a pizza? How about buffalo, crocodile, zebra or kangaroo as a filling? The Yummy Italia restaurant opened in Burnley, England, on this day in 2008, and instantly outraged UK vegetarians and animal rights movements. I wonder why?

23rd – Developed out of wartime research into radar, the world’s first microwave oven appeared on this day in 1955. Made by the Tappan Stove Co., the cost f a microwave back then was $1,300, which in today’s prices coverts to a stunning $15,000.

24th – Dump the fruit juice and bin the muesli. Salve your conscience, because today is ‘National Greasy Food Day’. Well it is in America; but who’s being fussy!

25th – If you really have to die, then you could do worse than departing as a clown dressed as a giant peanut and getting trodden on by an elephant. This was the spectacular passing of Chuckles the Clown, as televised live on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, on this evening in 1975.

26th – And a similarly-spectacular way to be arrested was devised by Wisconsin’s Jerome Fuller, on this day, in 2009. He was wearing a gorilla suit and in the process of stealing an 8-foot model banana from outside a local supermarket when apprehended (he got out on appeal).

27th – Another longstanding record (see 17th) as on this day, in 1979, the world’s largest tuna was caught off the coast of Nova Scotia. It weighed 1,496 pounds – enough to make approximately 200,000 tuna sandwiches.

28th – This was the day, in 1934, which saw the birth of Frankie Davidson. An Australian comic and singer, he came to fame with the unforgettably-colonial, ‘I hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus and Peck Your Dunny Down’, taken from the 1982 album ‘Toss Another Shrimp on the Barbie, Baby’.

29th – Still Down Under, it was on this day, in 1921, that George Pritchard made headlines by riding his horse into the surf of Hudson Bay and rescuing a victim from the jaws of a man-eating shark whilst remaining in the saddle (friends later ascribed this feat of horsemanship to the fact he didn’t want to get his new boots wet).

30th – You just can’t get away from food. Take Florida Memorial Fish Hospital, in Orange County, California, on this day, in 2007. The girlfriend of an enraged Joseph Burger was admitted there after he’d successfully attempted to strangle her because she insisted on throwing plates into the dishwasher rather than carefully stacking them. It’s certainly a funny old world!


Rob De Wet

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