May 31

Days Until. . .

Father's Day18

Restaurant Anniversaries

Today in 1956, Brennan's moved to its present Royal Street location, after ten years at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville. The landlord there wanted a piece of the thriving business, and Owen Brennan rejected the offer. The new place was an historic building: it was the former home of chess grandmaster Paul Morphy. With its large patio, it had been used as a restaurant for quite a few years, but without success. Owen's friends tried to talk him out of moving there. But move they did, with the help of customers. They met for drinks at the old place, then carried furniture over to Royal Street in a parade led by a marching jazz band. The new restaurant was even more successful than the old. It's hard to imagine Brennan's anywhere else but there, which certainly contributed to its return after two years of being out of business. It is more beautiful now than it was in its golden years of the 1950s through the 1990s.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Cone is a small farming community in southern Michigan, fifty-six miles west southwest of Detroit. Flat fields of corn, soybeans, and wheat stretch to the horizon. A main line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad clips the northwest corner of the town. A dozen or so houses cluster together at the crossroads. But for a night out on the Coners must drive five miles east to Milan, where they can have lunch or dinner at the Old Shack.

Edible Dictionary

crepinette, French, n.--Not a small crepe, you may be surprised to learn, but a thin, flattened, finely-ground sausage. It's often coated with breadcrumbs and cooked in butter to result in what New Orleanians would call a panneed sausage patty. Crepinettes are also covered with caul fat and used to stuff game birds, particularly those in need of more fat and moisture. Larousse Gastonomique says that it's not uncommon for truffles to be included in a crepinette mixture. As far as I can tell, crepinettes and crepes never come together. Quel domage!

Annals Of Wild Game

On this date in 1929, the first reindeer born in the United States descended to the ground in Massachusetts. I ate reindeer once--in a teepee in a snow-covered vastness a bit north of the Arctic Circle in Finland. It was cooked by a Lappi, who made sandwiches out of the meat on bread that looked like a flat bagel. It was pretty good. Tasted a lot like caribou.

Annals Of Chocolate

Today in 1057, Lady Godiva took the horseback ride that made her famous. As the tale goes, she did so to pay off a challenge with her husband. Lord Leofric. He said he'd lower taxes if she'd ride in her birthday suit in the middle of Coventry town. Some husband. I wonder why she was chosen as the name for Godiva Chocolates. . . Despite the name on the famous American chocolate sampler, Walt Whitman--who was born today in 1819--had no connection with chocolates.

Deft Dining Rule #178:

When choosing a dessert or candy for a lady, the highest percentage comes from chocolate.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

The best way to melt one-ounce chocolate squares in the microwave is to leave them in the wrappers, and let them get zapped for thirty seconds at a time until they're soft. The wrappers will hold them intact even after they're melted.

Great Moments In Processed Food

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented flaked cereal today in 1884. His aim was to expand the vegetarian diet he fed his patients. Cereal doesn't command much respect from gourmets, but it has its place. Despite the reputation cereal has as junk, it's a harmless appetite-killer that really helps if you're trying to lose weight.

Annals Of Food Writing

Christopher Kimball founded Cook's Magazine today in 1980. It was very different in style and tone from previous food publications, and caught a lot of attention while never quite becoming successful. It was bought by a larger publisher, and in 1989 was folded into Gourmet and disappeared. In 1993, Kimball tried the idea (and the title) again, but with new twists: no advertising, and no articles not directly related to cooking. No travel or lifestyle articles, no restaurant reviews. That made for smaller magazines and a much smaller circulation than is typical for a national food magazine. But Cook's unique, intensive style gathered an enthusiastic readership. These days, it seems that Cook's Illustrated publishes cookbooks more often than it does magazines; the magazine itself comes out only every two months. I've subscribed since day one.

Food Inventions

Today in 1892, Lea and Perrins registered its trademark for Worcestershire sauce. John Lea and William Perrins were druggists who concocted the first version of that essential elixir. It was created at the behest of a British colonial officer after a tour of duty in India. He asked Lea and Perrins to make something like the fish sauces he'd enjoyed in Southeast Asia.

Food Namesakes

Sir Francis Bacon spent the night imprisoned in the Tower of London this day in 1621. . . Today in 1961, the seminal rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry opened an amusement park outside St. Louis. It was called Berryland. . . Actress Barbara Pepper was born in 1912 today. She was in Green Acres, among other productions.

Words To Eat By

"Condensed milk is wonderful. I don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans."--Fred Allen, one of the great comedians in the golden age of radio, born today in 1894. Fred Allen and Jack Benny kept up an on-air feud for years. The whole thing was a joke; they were actually good friends. Here are two more Fred Allen food quips: "Three million frog's legs are served in Paris--daily. Nobody knows what became of the rest of the frogs." "California is a great place to live, if you're an orange."

Words To Drink By

Serenely full, the epicure would say,
Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today."--Unknown.