Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates
November 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 have more than the usual amount of ‘passings away’!


1st – This was the day, in 1997, that Victor Mills passed away. A chemical engineer, he invented (amongst many other things) the squeezable Jiff Lemon and disposable Pampers.

2nd – And this day, in 1959, saw the demise of playwright, George Bernard Shaw. Of a multitude of sayings, one quote seems pertinent: “Statistics show that, of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.

3rdBird’s Eye frozen peas first appeared on this day in 1952. Since that time they have remained the most popular of all frozen foods.

4th – This was the day, in 1879, that America’s John Ritty patented the cash register. It was devised to prevent pilfering by the bar staff!

5thRaymond Loewy passed away on this day in 1893. It was he that designed and patented the first (and flat-sided) Coco-Cola bottle.

6th – Hyper-inflation in Europe pushed the cost of a loaf of bread in Germany to 140 billion Deutschmarks, on this day in 1923. At the time, the exchange rate was 4.2 trillion Marks to one US dollar!

7th – The year was 1822, and this was the day when they all vanished, to be seen no more. The SS Marie Celeste was discovered abandoned and drifting on a routine run, delivering liquor from Genoa to New York, and with no sign of the 10-man crew.

8th – I don’t give a spit! Unlike husband and wife team, Rick and Cheryl Krause. They both won their respective entries in Arizona’s annual ‘Cherry Stone Spitting Contest’, taking first places in the men’s and women’s sections.

9th – The famous Welsh playwright and poet, Dylan Thomas, departed his mortal coil on this day in 1953. Although it was pneumonia that finally did for him, he had imbibed 18 vodka-martinis before bedtime …

10th – The world’s most expensive cooking pot went on sale on this day in 2010, in Changchun’s Zhuo Zhan department store, China. It was made of silver with a solid gold knob and handles, and was inset with 13 diamonds and priced at $550,000. As a spokesman said, “It’s something a footballer might buy for his girlfriend.” Really?

11th – This time a not-unwelcome death, that of ‘Typhoid Mary’ who passed away in New York on this day in 1938. Although herself immune, she was directly responsible for spreading substantial typhoid epidemics between 1904 and 1917.

12th – Cheer up! This was the day, in 1974, on which it was recorded that salmon had again begun breeding in the River Thames after an absence of 125 years.

13th – Moo and twirl, please. It was on this day, in 1930, that the Rotolactor was unveiled. It was able to mechanically milk up to 1,500 cows a day by virtue of its cunning rotating platform.

14th – Today is ‘National Clean Out Your Fridge Day’, so no excuses. It’s actually an American convention, but don’t let that stop you!

15th – This was the day, in 2005, that fish-filleter, Louis Nivelo, fled in terror as a carp he was gutting began to shout irritably at him in Hebrew. He summoned his boss in a New York fish market and both men were stunned as the fish identified itself as a local man who had died the previous year. It didn’t do him much good – he got filleted anyway.

16th – ‘Toast Triggers Novel Marathon’. So may the headlines have shouted on this day, in 1913, upon the publication of Marcel Proust’s first book in the 7-volume series, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’. It took him 14 years to complete the set and was inspired by childhood memories of buttered toast.

17th – Sniff or lick? On this day, in 1967, ‘Incense and Peppermints’ by Strawberry Alarm Clock went to #1 in the USA charts.

18th – And, having spent all those years writing about it, this was the day, in 1922, that Monsieur Proust became toast himself and finally relinquished his grasp upon material existence.

19th – A soleful performance on this day, in 2005, as Californian artist, Jacob Granhof, was hospitalised suffering from septicaemia. He had previously sewn dead fish onto the soles of his feet to symbolise ‘The Circle of Life’.

20th – This day was the landmark occasion, in 2009, that Kellogg’s announced that there would be a nationwide shortage of Eggo Frozen Waffles. Can’t say that I missed them in my nation.

21st – If you’re here and reading this then stay inside. It’s probably pouring with rain and an excellent opportunity to celebrate ‘National Stuffing Day’.

22nd – ‘Pig’, ‘Royal Jelly’, ‘A Piece of Cake’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. All books by children’s author, Roald Dahl, who went to meet his maker on this day in 1990.

23rd – This was the day, in 2009, that UK’s Walker’s Crisps announced the winners in their ‘Do us a Flavour’ competition – Onion Bhaji, Fish ’n’ Chips, Chili and Chocolate, Builder’s Breakfast and Cajun Squirrel? How dull! Get your mouth around some of Thailand’s crisps if you want a seriously-weird flavour-jolt!

24th – This was the day, in 1762, that the first recorded reference to sandwiches appeared, mentioned in the journal of Edward Gibbons. Ascribed to the Earl of Sandwich (and therefore capitalised) he wrote that the meal came “… with a steady supply of cold meats and Sandwiches.

25thAocham, the pet rat snake, eats hamsters. But, on this day, in 2005, his owner popped a new snack into his tank, only to see the diner and his dinner cuddle up together. This was the first time the repast was a live hamster and it seems that the two of them took to each other and have been friends ever since!

26th – Cream no more – this was the day, in XXXX, that supergroup, Cream, played their last concert together, in London’s Albert Hall.

27th – This was the day, in 1997, that authorities in Chile took definitive steps to rid themselves of the giant rats that were killing local sheep. The rats had mutated into giants due to feeding upon the droppings of hormone-enhanced chickens!

28th – On this day, in 1984, Sylvan Goldman finally ceased to exist. It was he that created the shopping trolley back in 1937. (But initially he had to pose his staff with the trolleys as none of the shoppers knew what they were for!)

29th – Placid, but angry when riled. So English policeman, Chris Poole, discovered after he was attacked and trampled by a herd of cows and sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung on this day, in 2004. It seems the cows were acting to protect their calves and got carried away.

30th – This was the day, in 1969, that Vanilla Fudge’s ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ climbed into the UK top ten.

31st – Finally, this last one arouses no sensations in me at all. I can confidently say that I have no feelings in anyway about today being the Feast Day of St. Rene Goupil, patron-saint of anaesthesiologists. (But then ‘no sense, no feeling’, as they say!) (THIRTY DAYS IN NOVEMBER – WHERE DOES THIS ONE BELONG?)


Rob De Wet

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