Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates
January 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 the month of January sees not only lots of disasters but more strange presidential behaviour than at any other time of the year!


1st – This was the day, in 2009, that Chinese farmer, Hao Xianzhang, revealed for the first time the fruits of his labours: he’d perfected a way to grow pears inside plastic Buddha moulds.

2nd – And on this day, in 2008, a middle-aged man was observed whacking a vending machine with a hammer and yelling, “They’re all trapped inside!” Investigations by the police in Boise, Idaho, unearthed no little green men. But they did reveal a quantity of crack cocaine in the man’s possession.

3rd – This was the day, in 2010, that Ron Root won the ‘World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off’ in Half Moon Bay, California, with a humungous offering weighing 1,535 pounds!

4th – The world’s first-ever registered trademark appeared on this day, in 1886. It was the red triangle of England’s Bass Brewery, which is still in use today.

5thZhao Li, from northern China, discovered the world’s largest chicken’s egg, on this day in 2010. It measured 9 cms long and weighed 420 gms.

6th – This was the day, in 2007, that two young bulls dashed away from a street carnival in Washington and straight through the doors of a nearby supermarket. They went in like a rocket but it took two cowboys on horseback quite a while to ‘steer’ them out again!

7th – A record catch for Devonian fisherman, John Goldfinch, on this day, in 2009. Unfortunately it turned out to be a passing scuba diver, with the hook buried firmly in his crotch. The tackle was quickly removed from his tackle with no harm being done.

8th – The antics of US president George W. Bush have become the stuff of legend, and this was the day, in 1992, that he became the first-ever American president to vomit on another Head of State. He apologised profusely to Japanese Prime Minister, Miyazawa Kiichi, explaining that it was probably due to eating all that raw fish.

9th – Grapes? Vines? Marvin Gaye put them both together when he ‘heard it on the grapevine’ and went to the top slot in the USA charts, on this day, in 1969.

10th – America might have bigger ones but England had the first of them. The world’s first supermarket, the Co-Op Stores in Manor Park, London, opened its doors on this day in 1947.

11th – Pasties are not a new thing but the ‘No-Peek’ ones are. They appeared for the first time on this day, in 2009, when a Los Angeles company announced the self-adhesive scan-proof pads that were designed to spare the modesty of women exposed to full-body airport X-ray scanners.

12th – There’s no keeping a dedicated fire-eater down and this was the day, in 2008, that Saudi street-performer, al-Luqman, was arrested for the 11th time on charges of sacrilege, and branded as a sorcerer for ‘the eating of fire and other elements’.

13th – A good president is hard to keep down, too, especially when his name is Bush. Although on this occasion he was down, on the floor, after bursting a blood vessel and fainting on this day, in 2002. White House staff later put it down to the challenging task of eating pretzels and cheering a televised football game all at the same time (he never was any good at multi-tasking).

14th – When the Neubaum family of Emsdetten, Germany, returned home on this day, in 2007, they were alarmed to hear blood-curdling screams coming from their house. Police were summoned and rapidly apprehended the culprit; a terrified hedgehog with his head jammed into a yoghurt pot!

15th – Raw molasses, 2.3 million gallons of them, quietly fermenting away, although nobody realised. Until the tank belonging to Boston’s United States Alcohol burst that is, on this day, in 1919. The mess took eight months to clear up and resulted in fines that would equate to almost 100 million dollars at today’s rates.

16th – This was the day, in 1749, at London’s Haymarket Theatre, that a magician was supposed to squeeze himself into a beer bottle, sing and eat sandwiches. He couldn’t and didn’t. When the prank was revealed, the members of the Royal Family who were present joined the rest of the mob in wrecking the theatre and setting fire to it!

17th – Remember a comic strip called Humble Theatre? Probably not. But it featured a spinach-chomping character by the name of Popeye who first appeared in this comic in a background role on this day in 1929.

18th – Make bread not war. But don’t slice it, because you can’t! This was the day in 1943 that all the bread-slicing machines in America began to be recycled into munitions, creating a sliced-bread shortage that would last until 1946.

19th – Sixteen thousand cows played their parts. They didn’t know it, but they were largely responsible for the Wisconsin Cheese Federation’s 34,000 pound monster-cheese that was featured at the N.Y. World’s Fair on this day, in 1964.

20th – Five hundred English pounds for a bottle of beer? Yes, if it’s the strongest beer in the world at 55% volume and sold packaged inside a dead stoat! This was the day, in 2009, that the Scottish BrewDog Brewery first marketed their mega-brew.

21st – The farmers are revolting! That’s what happened when the local monastery suddenly changed its boundaries, on the Scottish island of Eigg. Fifty-three monks were roasted alive when incensed locals torched the place in protest on this day, way back in 618 AD.

22nd – Moo-vover for the VICs! Which makes marginally more sense when you apply it to the first-ever cow departure lounge, which was opened at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, on this day, in 1988.

23rd – ‘Knickers Nickers Juiced’. A probable headline, on this day in 1999, when Ray Liddell was cautioned for causing a breach of the peace after pelting the famous apes of Gibraltar with fruit. It seems that the apes were in the habit of removing underwear from his clothes line and one day Ray just ‘went ape’!

24th – Don’t eat watercress from a swamp. Particularly when the swamp is full of snakes! This was the day, in 1903, that 11 year-old Mabel Tonkiss had a four-inch snake removed from her throat in an Adelaide hospital.

25th – “Wow! Yum! You don’t even have to cook it!” Thus declared an enthusiastic US president, George W. Bush, to farmers in rural Iowa on this day, in 2004. He was talking about raw sweet corn and, as he gleefully munched his way through a cob, he remained unaware that this is fed only to livestock in this part of America.

26th – The egg-pire strikes back. So must Scotland’s Kirk Broadfoot have thought on this day, in 2009, as the egg he was cooking in a microwave exploded in his face.

27th – This was the day, in 1984, that the late Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi-Cola advert. The special effects of flames and sparks became just a bit too realistic for the mega-star’s safety and he was rapidly extinguished, otherwise unharmed.

28thKirk Broadfoot (see 26th) should have taken heed of England’s ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’. Because this was the day, in 2008, that they issued figures showing that, in the previous year, 576 people had been injured in ‘egg-related incidents’.

29th – Never transport a dead 56-foot whale on a trailer in the hot sun. Why? Because it will explode! This lesson was learned the sticky way, in Taiwan on this day, in 2004, with internal gasses taking over as the whale was being transported to discover the cause of its death.

30th – ‘Fast food’ took on a new meaning on this day, in 1980, as Melbourne’s Ron Coe set a new ‘Gourmet Fast Food’ record by cooking a five-course meal in just 5 minutes and 43 seconds.

31st – This was the day, in 2006, that a report by the makers of Felix Catfood identified a new trait. It seems that cats everywhere have now discovered that if they jump up onto a computer keyboard then they suddenly get lots of immediate attention.


Rob De Wet 

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