Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates
January has many culinary-related curiosities – here are just a few of them!

 

8Food is never far out of mind, particularly here, on Samui. But the world is a strange place. And so in this monthly feature we check back through the years to some of the people, places and events that have been particularly curious in the world of wining and dining. And the month of January seems to attract some unpleasant large-scale spillages and strange presidential doings – see if you can tell the difference!

 

1st – Where’s the aspirin? And, whilst you’re looking, please note that (quite rightly) today is National Hangover Day in the UK and also National Bloody Mary Day in America. Whatever does the trick!

2nd – This was the day in 2008 that police were called to attend to a 47 year-old man in Boise, Idaho. He was attacking a vending machine with a hammer and yelling, “They’re all trapped inside!” Further investigations disclosed a quantity of crack cocaine in his possession.

3rd – Peanuts and marge. On this day in 1871, the first margarine appeared and was patented as ‘Oleomargarine’. And the last ‘Peanuts’ was seen on this day also, but some 132 years later. This was when the comic strip of the same name finally came to an end after the death of its creator, Charles Schulz.

4th – The world’s certified-oldest man (at the time) died on this day in Italy in 2002. He was 112 years old and attributed his longevity to drinking a cup of red wine every day.

5th – The year was 2008, and this was the day that a world-record price was set for one fish. A blue-fin tuna weighing 130 kilos was sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market for $104,700.

6th – It was on this day in 2006 that a spokesman for the German government announced that French fries would have to become smaller. A disastrous potato crop led to potatoes (and fries) being no longer than two inches.

7th – Just follow the bones. That’s what investigators did on this day in 1901, before arresting Colorado guide, Alfred Packer, on charges of cannibalism. He had gone into the mountains with 22 men and returned alone, evidently discarding the less-tasty bits along the way.

8th – Perhaps one of the most entertaining diplomatic gaffs of all time happened this day back in 1992 when President George Bush somehow managed to be sick all over the feet of Japanese Prime Minister, Miyazawa Kiichi. He later ascribed this to jet lag … and sushi.

9th – This was the day in 1969 that Marvin Gaye told it on the ‘Grapevine’ and went to number one in the American charts.

10th – Hard to imagine life without them but on this day in 1947 Britain’s first supermarket opened – the Co-Op Stores in Manor Park, London.

11th – ‘No-Peek Pasties’ appeared for the first time on this day in 2009. A Los Angeles company announced the self-adhesive scan-proof privacy pads to bolster the sagging morale (etc.) of the various women who had been objecting to the new full-body airport X-ray scanners.

12th – And this was the day in 2008 that Saudi ‘street-artist’, al-Luqman, was branded as a sorcerer and incarcerated for the 11th time by religious police in Riyadh. It would seem that sacred teachings do not look favourably on ‘the eating of fire and other elements’.

13th – Just another day in the life of a president – this time George Bush burst a blood vessel and fell onto the floor and fainted, on this day in 2002. This was later put down to a failed attempt at multi-tasking; i.e. eating a pretzel whilst trying to cheer a televised football match at the same time.

14th – The legendary Ray Croc died on this day in 1984. Beginning as a salesman he opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955. Six years later he owned 228 franchises and eventually bought-out the McDonald brothers in 1963. On his death his empire stood at 7,500 outlets worldwide.

15th – Oops! How do you fancy 2.3 million gallons of raw molasses all over your living room carpet? That’s exactly what happened in Boston on this day in 1919 when a huge storage tank belonging to United States Alcohol burst. It took eight months to clear the mess and cost over a million dollars in fines and legal awards – a fortune back in those days.

16th – 1749, and a prank at London’s Haymarket Theatre brings the house down – literally! A magician was billed who was to supposedly squeeze himself into a beer bottle, sing and eat sandwiches. Members of the Royal Family were amongst the packed audience, but when the spoof was realised, they joined the mob in wrecking the theatre and setting fire to it!

17th – A latter-day legend, but when the comic-strip character, Popeye, first appeared on this day in 1929, the spinach-chomping hell-raiser was only a background figure in a syndicated carton strip called Humble Theatre.

18th – This was the day in 1943 that sliced bread was banned in America. The idea was to re-cycle the slicing machinery into munitions, and the ban continued until the end of the war.

19th – The world’s largest cheese appeared on this day back in 1964. The 15,500 kilogram (34,000 lbs) monster was slapped into shape for the New York World’s Fair by the Wisconsin Cheese Federation, with the incidental assistance of 16,000 unwitting cows.

20th – The world’s strongest beer went on sale on this day in 2009. Made by the Scottish BrewDog Brewery, it’s rated at 55% volume, costs ₤500 a bottle and was sold packaged inside a dead stoat.

21st – Just the job for your New Year break on Samui. Get stuck into the local chow, as today it’s ‘International Eat Something Hot and Spicy Day’!

22nd – Moo-ving in the right circles? Yes, if you’re a cow and are being shipped through Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This was the day in 1988 that the airport made history by opening the first-ever cow departure lounge.

23rd – Oops again! This time it’s 3 million gallons of soybean oil, gushing from a ruptured tank in Mankato, Minnesota, on this day in 1963. However, on this occasion much less damage was done, although no doubt the 10,000 ducks that subsequently died on the nearby Mississippi River had different ideas.

24th – Flagons, pumps, bottles and now cans. This was the day that saw the appearance of the first-ever cans of beer, sold by the Krueger Brewery in New Jersey, in 1935.

25th – You just can’t keep a good Bush down. In an attempt to woo rural voters in Iowa, the irrepressible President publicly munched on a raw corn cob with glee. The farming public was bemused: they all knew that corn like this is only fed to cattle!

26th – This was the day in 1932 that the jaws of William Wrigley finally came to rest, along with the rest of him. In his early days, as a soap salesman, he’d noticed that customers preferred the free chewing-gum promotions to the actual soap. He began to manufacturer his own gum and ended up with the world’s largest chewing-gum company.

27th – 1984 and on this memorable day Michael Jackson’s hair burst into flames during the filming of a Pepsi Cola advert. The special effects were, indeed, special, resulting in a shower of sparks onto the singer’s head.

28thJakob Dunny? Karsey Moilet? Theolonious Bogg? No, it was actually Thomas Crapper who passed … away … on this day in 1910. And, yes, it is actually he who is accredited with inventing the world’s first-ever flushing water closet, in 1883.

29th – Another whoopsy, but this time it’s animal, not vegetable. It was a 56-foot sperm whale and it exploded on a public street in Taiwan on this day in 2004. On its way to an autopsy to discern the cause of death, internal gasses came to the fore and provided a lot of people with free (and very smelly) sushi.

30th – This day in 1947 saw the emergence into the world of Stevie Marriott, leader of the legendry Small Faces. It was also the same day (but 22 years later) that The Beatles made their last public appearance, playing on the roof of Apple Studios.

31st – And just to tie-in with Ray Croc, the McDonald’s saga et al, on this day in 1990 Russia had its first taste of the ‘Bolshoi Burger’ (honestly!) when the big golden ‘M’ appeared in Moscow for the first time – since which time it’s added another 43 outlets. Just one more revolution, I suppose!

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