May 4

National Orange Juice Day

Big Mac. Orange Juice. Orange Peel. Orange, CT. Gremolata. Cunard. Food Rations. Bake A Cake.

Days Until. . .

Mother's Day--6

Annals Of Popular Cuisine

The Big Mac was introduced at McDonald's today in 1968. It sold for forty-nine cents, a big jump up from the fifteen-cent standard McDonald's hamburger of the time. The chain's brilliant advertising people infected everyone's mind with the datum that a Big Mac consists of two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun? (See? I still remember that and I didn't even like Big Macs!) The Big Mac big-time nonconformity is that it has three bun segments, not two. The middle one is there to keep the thing from sliming apart. However, it's a bun surplus, unbalanced from a flavor perspective.

Food Calendar

Today is National Orange Juice Day. At this time of year, those of us who squeeze oranges every day find ourselves with California navel oranges, whose only drawback is skin so thick that it sometimes tears when you push down in the juicer. Florida juice oranges this time of year are Valencias. Unfortunately, Florida barely keeps up with the demand for its frozen orange concentrate, and unless you live in the state or nearby you almost never see their extra-juicy oranges in stores.It is also Candied Orange Peel Day. In conjunction with National Artisan Gelato Month, we can observe that a cannoli, contains candied orange peel. So we can observe two things at once.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Orange, Connecticut 06477 is a suburb of New Haven, about six miles from the latter city's center. In colonial times the town was named for King William III, the Prince of Orange. The population of Orange is fairly affluent, and numbers about 14,000. Most of the town is residential, but it's easy to find a restaurant. We recommend Ola Martinis on the Boston Post Road downtown.

Edible Dictionary

gremolata, n., Italian--A finely-chopped garnish consisting of grated lemon peel, chopped garlic, and sliced parsley leaves. In that form, its classic role is as a finishing touch on osso buco, the Milanese braised veal shank dish. In recent years, chefs have begun to explore other uses and ingredients for gremolata. We especially like using orange peel as well as lemon, cilantro instead of parsley, and a little cayenne. The popularity of gremolata is almost certain to grow in the coming years, and more chefs discover it.

Deft Dining Rule #782

When a menu mentions the presence of gremolata, micro-greens, or any other minor ingredient used as a finishing touch, it's because the main ingredients aren't impressive enough on their own.

Fine Dining At Sea

Cunard Steamship Lines was founded today in 1839 by Samuel Cunard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It became the quintessence of luxurious sailing, and kept its standards through the times when ocean-crossing ships were almost extinct. The Queen Elizabeth 2 was the ne plus ultra of sailing for decades. It successor, the Queen Mary 2, is a stunning ship, but whether it duplicates the style of yesterday is open to question. It is the only line in which passenger classes are still rigidly enforced.

Food At War

Today is the day in 1942 that food rationing began in the United States. It was very serious business at first, but within months it gave all the radio comedians a great new source of jokes.

Music To Eat Dessert By

The song "If I Knew You Were Coming I Would Have Baked a Cake," sung by Eileen Barton, hit Number One on the music charts today in 1950. Which should tell you something about the state of popular music in that post-jazz, pre-rock period.

Food Namesakes

James Lance Bass, a singer in the pop group 'N Sync, was born today in 1979. . . Edward Toner Cone, a composer, pianist, and musicologist, was born today in 1917. . . Sir William Fothergill Cooke, one of the inventors of electric telegraphy, was born today in 1806. . . Sidney Lamb, linguist and grammar expert, was born today in 1929. . . Doctor and novelist Robin Cook experienced Page One today in 1940. His novel often have medical undercurrents, but not much cooking. . . Colin Bass, who coincidentally plays bass with the English rock group Camel, plucked his first E string today in 1951.

Words To Eat By

"She set about preparing her supper. It would have to be one of those classically simple meals, the sort that French peasants are said to eat and that enlightened English people sometimes enjoy rather self-consciously--a crusty French loaf, cheese, and lettuce and tomatoes from the garden. Of course there should have been wine and a lovingly prepared dressing of oil and vinegar, but Dulcie drank orange squash and ate mayonnaise that came from a bottle."--Barbara Pym, English novelist of the mid-1900s.

Words To Drink By

"Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully."--Graham Greene.