May 30

National Mint Julep Day

Crushed Mint. Tea Table Mountain. Tongue. Faberge. Joan Of Arc. Bialys. Ice Cream Milestones.

Days Until. . .

Father's Day21

Drinking Calendar

It is National Mint Julep Day! Mint juleps are nowhere near as popular as they deserve to be, because few bartenders want to go to the trouble of making them, and even fewer have fresh mint to work with. So you have to learn to make them yourself. You bruise the mint leaves in a shaker with what bartenders call a "muddler." (I use a honey server, which works fine and gives me another use for that rarely-used item.) Then you add simple syrup, Bourbon, a splash of club soda, and crushed ice, and shake. Pack glasses (silver cups are classic, but who has them?) with crushed ice and serve. Garnish with a sprig of mint to tickle the drinker's nose and release more aroma.The word "julep" comes through French from Arabic. In that language it's a reference to rosewater. So we have been drinking juleps for a long time, and come a long way since its origins.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Tea Table Mountain is in southwest Oregon, ninety-three miles north of Klamath Falls. Its shape very much suggests its name: a broad, round, flat top is surrounded by steep sides all the way around, giving the appearance of a clothed table. Its origin is clearly volcanic. A four-wheel-drive track gets one up the 350 feet to the summit at 5750 feet. The nearest restaurant--the Diamond Lake Junction Cafe--is thirteen miles west across arid, sparse forestland in the little town of Chemult.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez

Mint in the garden is like talent. You either have it or you don't.

Food And Sports

In the aftermath of a collision he and another player had in the outfield, Detroit Tigers slugger Al Kaline was knocked cold and swallowed his tongue. That is potentially a life-threatening situation, but they fixed him up, and he was able to get full flavor from food again. "Remember kids," the Hall of Famer said, "Never swallow your tongue, no matter how much you hate chewing tobacco!" (Or did I just imagine that?)

Food In Jewelry

Peter Carl Faberge, who created the famous jewel-encrusted gold eggs for the Russian nobility, was born today in 1846. His famous works in gold and precious stones much outshone the Faberge Omelettes, made with wax, chicken fat, and ambergris.

The Saints

This is the feast day of St. Joan of Arc, commemorating her being burned at the stake on this day in 1431, after leading a rebellion against the Burgundian rulers of her hometown, Orleans. She was only nineteen at the time. She is the patron saint of both Orleans and New Orleans. Her statue in the latter city depicts her in full medieval armor. The statue was a gift from the French people, who venerate her as a national hero. That's logical enough. What I have never understood is why Joan of Arc is a brand of canned vegetables.

Edible Dictionary

bialy, n.--A round somewhat flat yeast bread roll about the size of a bagel, with a depression in the center instead of a hole. The center is usually seasoned with onions, garlic, poppy seeds, or other savory additives. Although from a distance they look like bagels and are often made in bakeries that specialize in bagels, bialys are quite different. They're not boiled before being baked as bagels are, and the ingredients of the dough are also different. The name is short for bialystoker kuchen, a reference to its hometown of Bialystok, Poland. There it was an item in Jewish homes. An intertesting small book about bialys was written by Mimi Sheraton, who left no stone unturned in discovering the essence of bialys. I have found them only once in New Orleans, over thirty years ago at a bakery in Metairie called the Bagel Den.

Food Inventions

Today in 1848, one William Young patented a more effective design for an ice cream freezer. It was more or less like the ones we use today, with a jacket of ice and salt around the exterior, and a mechanism for keeping the cream moving so its water content doesn't crystallize. But his allowed the inner container to move, therefore giving much better heat transfer to the ice.

Food Namesakes

Je'Rod Cherry, former safety for the New Orleans Saints, was born today in 1973. . . Another football pro, Anthony Cook, came to the gridiron of life today in 1972. . . Marathon runner Allison Roe made a run for the world today in 1957. . . Candy Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was born today in 1946. . . Today in 2000, driver Buddy Rice won a shortened (because of rain) Indianapolis 500. . . Guadalupe "Pita" Amor, a Mexican poet, was born today in 1918. . . George Cook patented an automatic fishing gizmo today in 1899.

Words To Eat By

"It is the destiny of mint to be crushed."--Waverley Root, American food writer.

Words To Drink By

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature."--Philosopher William James, in his Varieties of Religious Experience.