Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

August has many culinary-related curiosities – here are just a few of them!

 


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1st – Charlotte Marion Hughes enjoyed afternoon tea with Margaret Thatcher on this day, in 1985, to celebrate the fact that, at 108 years old, she was Britain's oldest person. She lived on to 115, attributing her longevity to her honest way of life.

 

2nd –2nd - Food was scarce on this date, in 1929, as a drought-inducing heatwave hit Kansas Oklahoma, and Western Missouri in the United States. Temperatures reached a whopping 41.6 degrees Celsius, which was the highest temperature ever recorded by the weather station.

 

3rd – It was a sad day, in 1918, in the home-town of the scrumptious dish, Chicken Kiev, when Russian revolutionaries bombed and killed 700 Germans to kick off a terror campaign in order to gain freedom from German control.

 

4th  – In the U.S. it's National Mustard Day every year on August 4th. Nobody really knows why, but as it's a fun tradition to observe, few complain.

 

5th – Swallowing a whole bottle of sleeping pills may not seem like everybody's idea of a nice meal, but it was the route to suicide that Marilyn Monroe took on this day, in 1962. She was found lying dead in her bedroom alongside the empty bottle.

 

6th – John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich - yes, Sandwich is the name of a place - is said to have invented this oh-so-famous food item on this day, in 1762, while desperate for a snack during a 24-hour gambling streak.

 

7th – The barbecued insect vendors that litter the streets of Bangkok would've praised the high heavens if they were in England today, in 1935 - a giant cloud of flying ants engulfed London. It was so bad that a tennis tournament was even brought to a halt. The police noted it as the worst attack of any kind of pest in 25 years.

 

8th – After a massive polio scare in the U.S., health authorities decided on this date, in 1962, that the best way to distribute a mass immunization was orally, rather than intravenously - the previously preferred method - in order to reach the maximum number of people.

 

9th – The founding city of the delicious cream cheese, Philadelphia, wasn't always known for such favourable antics. Just last year, on the 9th of August 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter instituted a city-wide curfew that carried penalties if disobeyed following violent flash-mobs in the city.

 

10th – There was hope on this particular day for the invention of "protective milk", milk that could cure a number of human illness, ranging from cancer to arthritis. This bold claim was made one fine Saturday, in 1957, by Dr. W.E. Peterson, who'd been conducting controversial experiments whereby he'd inject bacteria into cow's udders to alter the milk it would produce. Unfortunately, the experiments never amounted to anything.

 

11th – And from experiments with food, to shortages of it, on the 11th, in 1920, there was a serious shortage of food and clothing in the Soviet Union. People were threatened with starvation, a scenario immortalised by footage showing train staff wearing only rags and sandals made from tree bark.

 

12th – In 1984, George Messe, a man living in Annapolis, went to check out his swimming pool following a storm to find a four-inch lobster having a swim in it - it's quite a mystery as to how it got there.

 

13th - This is the day, in 1966, that Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution was announced in China, which led to the country's biggest case of famine in history.

 

14thWhilst it's normally fishing boats you find out at sea, on this day, in 1967, it was the Essex police who had taken to boats to catch the founders of the world's most successful pirate radio station, Wonderful Radio London, which was broadcasting from a vessel located three and a half miles offshore.

 

15th – Juicy consumer electronics company, Apple, launches the totally revolutionary concept in computer technology, the iMac, on this day in 2008.

 

16th - Excessive eating, drinking and drugs led to the untimely death of Elvis Presley on the 16th of August 1977, at just 42 years old.

 

17th – This was the date, in 1998, that President Clinton finally admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Prior to this he had claimed she'd been the sole consumer of blame, so to speak.

 

18th – It was announced today, in 1996, that South African fruit crops and plants were in danger of dying on a mass scale, after 900 million African bees died when foreign bees were introduced into the ecosystem, thus disrupting the natural mating process.

 

19th – In 1979, the hard training and squeaky clean diet of English runner, Sebastian Coe, led to him shattering the track records of previous legends like John Walker and Alberto Juantorena in Swizerland.

 

20th – While wining and dining aboard a luxurious pleasure cruise on the UK's River Thames in 1989, 30 passengers were killed when the vessel unexpectedly collided with a barge.

 

21st – It transpires that on this date, in 2003, that beefy movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a frontrunner in the political race to become California's Governor.

 

22nd – Tourists flocking to enjoy croissants and coffee in le gay Paris were almost no more, as Hitler promised to demolish all the city's famous landmarks on this day, in 1941 - he didn't, of course

 

23rd - Food famines were rife during a yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans, in 1905. On this date, 1,478 people were reported sick, and 218 dead.

 

Two American aeroplanes bringing food and supplies to Berlin in 1948 crashed, killing all crew on-board.

 

 

25th – Korea, home of the infinitely famous pickled cabbage dish, kimchi, launched its first rocket into space today, in 2009.

 

26th – A hearty breakthrough in the British medical world today, in 1994, when a pioneering operation to implant a battery-operated, bionic heart was a success. He went on to live for another nine months.

 

27th – Local restaurants get a boost in Chicago, in 1934, as shed-loads of teachers hit the town having receiving pay after a long period without.

 

28th – Dry toast was the order of the day in the U.S. on this date, in 1945, when strict butter rationing was put into place.

 

29th – Eminem nabs four MTV Music Awards, in 2002, including one for the video, Without Meat, which picked up Video of the Year.

 

30th – The London street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, dishes up tasty Caribbean grub to the visual feasts of a lavish parade for the 10th year in a row, in 1976. The increased popularity of the event unfortunately resulted in riots and subsequent police intervention.

 

31th – After months in solitary confinement, prisoners of war suffering from severe malnutrition look forward to freedom and a hot meal after they reached rescue ships on this day, in 1945

 

 

 

Christina Wylie


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