Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates
December 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 the year ending with seasonal festivities!

 

1st – The food chain was severely disrupted in Strongsville, Ohio, when a gorilla was savagely attacked by a banana, on this day in 2009. The attacker, dressed in a banana suit, launched himself at the gorilla-mascot outside a local nightclub. Police a-peels for the banana to give himself up didn’t bear fruit.

2nd – Ohio again, and it was on this day, just a year ago, that a crash spilled hundreds of boxes of cereal across the highway. A milk tanker, trying to avoid the slewed truck, ended up in a ditch. Sadly, none of the inconvenienced commuters took advantage of the perfect opportunity for a late breakfast.

3rd – Farmer Li Chun, from Yunkon Province in China, was fond of the one-legged monkey that he’d rescued from a road accident. The monkey was devoted to him, followed him everywhere and copied everything he did. This was the sad day, in 2007, that his pet killed 81 chickens, a short while after the farmer had slaughtered a chicken for his supper.

4thGrigori Rasputin finally passed away on this day in 1916. A giant of a man, his assassins firstly attempted to poison him. When this had little effect, they leapt upon him with knives, which didn’t seem to affect him much, so they were forced to shoot him too. Eventually they managed to wrap the still-living and enraged monk in a carpet, beat him with clubs and heave him into the river, where he finally ceased to struggle and met his eventual end.

5th – This was the day, in 2008, that Samson the ‘stoned’ spaniel was taken to the pets’ hospital in Edinburgh. An X-ray revealed the source of his discomfort – he’d eaten over a kilo of stones from the garden path!

6th – Capetown, 1881, and this was the day that Mary Watson and her baby evaded a Zulu attack by hiding in a cider barrel. The tide caught the barrel and the fugitives spent five days at sea before finally being rescued.

7thDonald Duck died on this day, in 1985, at the age of 81. Not the cartoon character himself, but the man who had played his voice for 42 years, Clarence Nash.

8th – You’ll still hear it everywhere you go in Thailand, even today. But this was the day, in 1976, that the interminable ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles was released for the very first time.

9th – And while you’re still in the groove, it was on this day, in 1927, that Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five first recorded the easily-forgotten ‘Struttin With Some Barbecue’.

10th – If you needed any excuse at all, today is ‘National Lager Day’ (in the USA).

11th – The world’s most inedible cheese was created in 1916 by James Lewis Kraft, who was born on this day in 1874. The US Government loved it, however, and equipped the army with six million tins of it during the course of WWI.

12th – This was that day, in 1932, that the authorities in Australia noticed that farmers throughout the nation were being hospitalised after suffering from exploding trousers! It seems that the sodium chloride used as weed killer became combustible when in contact with certain types of synthetic material!

13th – Aluminium was invented in 1854. And on this day, just two years later, the English author, Charles Dickens, admiringly wrote, “It will send tin about face, drive copper saucepans into servitude and blow German silverware into the sky.

14th – This was the day, in 2006, that The Hungry Horse Saloon in Illinois lost its drinks licence. Apparently, a month earlier, several naked young ladies had been spotted inexplicably wrestling in a large vat of mashed potato.

15th – This was the day, in 2010, that Prague Zoo began selling tubs of elephant dung as fertiliser. The idea stemmed from the Zoo Director, Miroslav Bobek, whose surname, literally translated, means … ‘dung’!

16th – Every day on Samui is ‘National Eat and Drink What You Want Day’, but in America they only can do this once a year it seems, and this is that day!

17th – With a ‘savage’ twist of irony, it was on this day, in 1773, that Captain Cook’s crew went ashore to roast a pig in Australia’s Wharehunga Bay, only to find themselves captured and subsequently eaten by cannibals!

18th – The classic movie theme, ‘A Taste of Honey’, recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, went to #1 in the USA on this day in 1966. Since this time, it’s been recorded by just about everybody, including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, The Hollies, The Ventures and The Beatles, amongst many others.

19th – Today it’s ‘National Pfeffernusse Day’ in America. And if you’re wondering, they’re a type of small round biscuit with nuts in!

20th – England’s most famous fish ’n’ chip shop was opened by Harry Ramsden, on this day in 1928, in his home town of Guisley, West Yorkshire.

21st – There’s going to be a problem for our South American readers (and maybe the rest of us) in exactly one year’s time. Because this is the day, in 2012, that the Mayan Calendar will end, rendering all subsequent history confusing, to say the least!

22nd – This was the day, in 1675, that King Charles 11 said, “The habitat of idle and disaffected persons ... with dangerous effects ... who mis-spend their time with diverse and scandalous gossip.” Agony aunts? Reporters? No, he was in the process of banning coffee shops.

23rd – Christmas is coming, so how about a nice plateful of fermented fish hash that’s been left to decompose for a week or so? In Iceland, on this day it’s ‘St. Thorlak’s Day’ and this unique dish is widely eaten in his honour.

24th – It’s Christmas Eve, when children all over the world at one time had ‘sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads’. Now they’re dreaming of Pods and Pads and Gameboys and Gizmos!

25th – When it comes to Christmas feasts, you can’t beat an English monarch! In 1213, King John laid on 3,000 capons and 4,000 hogs; in 1252 King Henry III only managed 600 oxen, and in 1455 Richard III got through 1,000 cows and 400 ewes. But Queen Victoria was much more modest, with only one 446-pound ox in 1852!

26th – One of the first recorded references to ‘Boxing Day’ occurs in ‘Samuel Pepys Diary’, on this day in 1663. He explained that, as a token of thanks for a smooth Christmas, wealthy families allowed their servants to take this day off to visit their families. The employers gave each servant a box containing gifts, bonuses and leftover food.

27th – The ‘Gardeners’ Almanac’ from the 17th century published a great cure for Christmas hangovers; “Drink largely sallet oyl: it will flote on the wine ye drinke and dissent the vigour from rising to the heade.” Salad oil and wine? Sounds like just the job!

28th – This was the day, in 1886, that Josephine Garis Cochran patented the first commercially-successful dish washing machine. It became a huge hit at the 1893 Columbian Exposition and Ms. Cochran went on to become a millionairess.

29th – This was the day, in 1989, that a Tasmanian law was proposed that banned feeding chickens with leftover curry scraps. It seems that the resulting droppings were scorching the vegetation!

30th – Today is ‘National Bicarbonate of Soda Day’ in America. Wouldn’t this be better after New Year’s Eve?

31st – On this day in 1929, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was performed live for the first time by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians in front of a huge crowd in Times Square. This song exists in at least 14 different languages, although not in Thai. If it did, it would translate into something like kit teung, khun mai looem, pai kin lao.

 

Rob De Wet

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