Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

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


8Food is never far out of mind, particularly here, on sunny Samui. But the world is an odd place. And so in this monthly feature we check back through the years to some of the people, places and events that have been even vaguely pertinent to the world of wining and dining. And this festive month is appropriately littered with both saints and uplifting beverages!


1st – First off, it’s ‘National Eat a Red Apple Day’ in America. And this also ties-in neatly with the ‘Feast of St. Elgius’, who is the patron-saint of knives (as apposed to St. Fulk, who’s the saint that oversees cutlery in general!).

2nd – Not so sure about the seasonal timing with this one, but today is the Feast Day of St. Bibiana, the patron-saint of hangovers!

3rd – This was the devastating day in 2007 that a one-armed, one-legged monkey single-handedly (etc) killed 81 chickens. Farmer Li Chun, from Yunkon Province in China, had rescued the monkey after a road accident. It became devoted to him, followed him everywhere and copied everything he did. The henhouse-event occurred the night after Li Chun slaughtered a chicken for his supper.

4th – Take a bow, St. Barbara – today is your special day (she’s the patron-saint of brewers).

5thCheryl Davis from Edinburgh took her spaniel, Samson, to the pets’ hospital on this day in 2008. He was in obvious discomfort and this was hardly surprising as X-rays disclosed that he was walking around with over 1 kilo of stones in his stomach. That’s one stoned pooch!

6th – The first-ever patent for a microwave oven was lodged on this day in 1945 by the Raytheon Company in America. It was described as a ‘high frequency dielectric heating apparatus’, and did not appear in the shops for another decade.

7thClarence Nash, for an amazing 42 years the indecipherable voice of Walt Disney’s ‘Donald Fauntleroy Duck’, died on this day in 1985 at the age of 81.

8th – If I’d had a baht for every time I’d heard this on Samui! The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ was released on this day in 1976.

9th – And the unforgettable ‘Struttin’ With Some Barbecue’ was released by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five on this day in 1927. People are still wondering quite how you do this and … why?

10th – Get some down! Today is ‘National Lager Day’ in the USA.

11th – Today is the Feast of St. Gentian, patron-saint of innkeepers. It’s also the day in 1874 that James Lewis Kraft was born. He was later to create the ‘cheese’ that not only bounced but seemed to last forever, six million tins of which were sold to the US Army during World War One!

12thCharles Goodnight died on this day in 1927. American folk hero and pioneer, his name was also woven into a novel in 1986 by Leslie Thomas. This featured the adventures of a man by the name of George Goodnight who changed his name to Oliver Loving, the original trail-partner of Charles Goodnight.

13th – “It will send tin about face, drive copper saucepans into servitude and blow German silverware into the sky.” Thus, perceptively, wrote English author, Charles Dickens, on this day back in 1856. He was referring to aluminium, which had been invented two years earlier.

14th The Hungry Horse Saloon in Illinois lost its drinks licence on this day in 2006. This came about due to the events of the previous month, during which a number of young ladies accidentally parted company from their clothes whilst wresting in a vat of mashed potato.

15th – It’s definitely the seasonal run-up, with today’s ‘National Eat and Drink What you Want Day’ in America. Poor them – here on Samui we celebrate this every day!

16th – Stopped for a snack? This was the day in 1773 when Captain Cook took shelter in Australia’s Wharehunga Bay. A boatload of his crew went on shore to roast a pig, only to be captured and eaten by cannibals!

17th – On this day in 1892 the legendry ballet dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky, danced the lead in the first-ever performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker Suite’.

18th – Originally the theme music from the 1960 film of the same name, ‘A Taste of Honey’ recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass goes to the top in the USA, on this day in 1966. Since which time it has been recorded by over 200 artistes, including The Beatles, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, The Hollies, The Ventures and about 192 others.

19th – Take a deep breath – today it’s ‘National Pfeffernusse Day’ – in America, naturally!

20th – The American writer, John Steinbeck, went to meet his maker on this day in 1968. A philosophical author, his works included ‘Grapes’, ‘Tortilla’ and ‘Cannery’, amongst their titles.

21st – Eat, drink and make the most of it because today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

22nd – And so if the weather is good, get yourself off out on a fishing trip. You could catch yourself a nice grouper. But it won’t match the one that was hooked on this day in 1985 off the coast of Florida. That one weighed-in at a world-record 436 pounds!

23rd – “Put the fish in a tub and add caustic soda. Leave for two weeks. When ready it will be swollen and you can poke a finger through it.” This is the recipe for the traditional dish of lutefisk, eaten stirred into mashed potato by Norwegians everywhere on this special day. This grey goo is served to remind them that however bad things might be, they have to be better than this!

24th – Today is ‘National Egg Nog Day’ in the USA. It’s also the day that in 1826 the cadets at West Point Military Academy rioted due to the unexpected alcohol-free nog they were given. Swords were drawn, bricks hurled and shots fired. One of those present was Cadet Jefferson Davis.

25th – English Christmas gluttons: On this day back in 1213, King John and company scoffed 300 capons, 1,000 eels and 400 hogs; 1252 King Henry III together with 1,000 knights got through 800 oxen, and in 1580 Lord William Petrie set out 170 oxen, 4 steers, 29 calves, 54 lambs and one ton of cheese (!) I could go on (and I often do).

26th – Today is ‘St. Steven’s Day (aka King Wenceslas), it’s ‘The Commemoration of Mary’ and it’s also known as ‘Boxing Day’. This was the day that the rich lords and ladies traditionally filled boxes with scraps from the kitchen and gave them to the grateful peasants.

27th – Ye olde hangover cure from the 17th century ‘Gardeners’ Almanac’: “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? Yuk!

28th – Heading down under and this was the day in 1952 that the marching band of the town of Malden, near Victoria, gained some unlikely followers. They were accompanied for three hours by a herd of 20 cows and their calves which lay down behind them whenever the band stopped. And, at sunset, the cows simply wandered off!

29th – This was the day in 1997 that the Hong Kong authorities destroyed 1.2 million chickens that were under the threat of avian ’flu.

30th – Yes, well, it’s to be expected. Today is ‘National Bicarbonate of Soda Day’, not just in America but probably everywhere else, too!

31stGuy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians perform ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in front of a huge crowd in Times Square, on this day in 1929. This was recorded, and played every year until the end of World War II in 1945 (the same song exists in at least 14 different languages).

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