June 8

Open To All. Alfresco Dining. Jelly Doughnuts. Dish Lake. Pepsi. Ice Cream. Purple People. Careme. Brewer Saint. Tetrazzini.

Days Until. . .

Father's Day 14

Food Calendar

This is National Alfresco Dining Day. "Alfresco"--literally, "in the fresh style"--is the fancy name for outdoor dining. Tables in the courtyard or on the beach or even on a sidewalk are considered by many to be the most desirable. Everywhere on the West Coast, for example. Up in the mountains. On the beach. I've had memorable outdoor meals all over the place.Unfortunately for us Orleanians, our climate doesn't provide many days when dining outdoors is comfortable. In most years we go straight from a short, intense, clammy winter to a blazing, humid summer and back again. Just a couple of weeks of tolerably cool weather intervene. We like the idea of patio dining more than the reality. Especially in the fine-dining category. Even with the tremendous easing of dress codes in the past decade, you're still unlikely to be clad in a bathing suit--the only cool attire in mid-summer--when you step out for a big evening.Dining in courtyards here has other drawbacks. Things fall out of trees. First come the live oak catkins. Then the stinging buck moth caterpillars. The French Quarter, which has the best courtyards, also has rodents and termites. Even the best-kept, cleanest, most pest-controlled restaurant cannot control all its neighbors. Who but the most dedicated lover of outdoors would put up with it?Everybody, apparently. Except on really hot, hostile sidewalks, alfresco tables fill up, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. Today is also National Jelly Doughnut Day. Do you know what flavor jelly that is? I mean the brilliant red stuff? Apparently it's made only for doughnut-stuffing. I'm getting queasy just writing about it.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Dish Lake is in western Wyoming, sixty air miles from Grend Teton National Park. It's more like a bowl than a dish, a round depression in the scrub-covered rock that only lets water out when it's very high. Any fish in it were brought there as eggs by birds. Dish Lake is 9591 feet above sea level, where the sky is almost purple. It's a six and a half mile hike down to Dubois and the Cowboy Cafe, the nearest place to rustle up some grub.

Annals Of Food Marketing

On this date in 1786, the first known advertisement for ice cream ran in New York City. The ice cream maker's name was Hall, but that's all that is known. . . This is the day in 1965 when Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola merged to become PepsiCo. Later, after the company bought Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, it became the world's largest restaurant operator. (It has since spun the restaurant unit off to Yum! Brands.)

Edible Dictionary

tetrazzini, adj.--Despite its obviously Italian name, a tetrazzini is an American creation, combining a white meat ( the most common) and pasta. Holding it all together is a white sauce made with butter, onions, celery, and sometimes other finely-chopped savory vegetables. Mushrooms and sherry come in at the end of the sauce. Almonds are a common finishing touch. There's lots of room for interpretation in the dish; no two versions are alike. The dish was created in the early 1900s in honor of the Italian-American opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini

Dining Through History

Today in 1954, the Supreme Court declared that restaurants could not refuse service to customers on account of their race.

Music To Eat What By?

Today in 1958, the novelty song Purple People Eater made it to Number One. It was sung (and we use the word loosely here) by Sheb Wooley.

Food In The Movies

Today in 2001, the movie Swordfish premiered, with John Travolta and Halle Berry. The plot was not about seafood, but computer hacking. What a disappointment!

Celebrity Chefs Of Yesterday

Marie-Antoine Careme was born today in 1784. He, more than anyone else, gave French cuisine the complexity and structure that led to its becoming the leading Western style of cookery. He worked for kings and emperors, who could afford his elaborate dishes and were gratified by them. Careme wrote the first modern cookbooks of French cuisine, mostly for the consumption of court kitchens. He introduced the "brigade" organization of cooks that modern restaurants still use today.

The Saints

This is the feast day of St. Medard, who lived in France in the Fifth Century. He is the patron saint of brewers (one of many), and his intercession is asked in times of too little or too much rain. The weather lately in New Orleans has worn him thin.

Food Namesakes

Luisa Tetrazzini, the opera singer for whom the fake Italian dish turkey Tetrazzini was named, was born today in 1871. She was, like many singers of the period, quite ample. . . Tommy Roe, a singer of bubblegum-music hits in the 1960s, was born today in 1942. . . And here's a rare double food name note: today in 1985, Eddie Maple rode a horse named Creme Fraiche to win the Belmont Stakes. . . Television and movie actress Kathy Baker stepped onto the Big Set today in 1950. . . British actor Colin Baker, one of the people who portrayed Dr. Who, appeared today in 1943. . . Bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice expressed his distress for the first time today in 1951.

Words To Eat By

"Is she fat? Her favorite food is seconds."--Joan Rivers, born today in 1933, talking about Elizabeth Taylor.

"The breakfast slimes, angel food cake, doughnuts and coffee, white bread and gravy cannot build an enduring nation."--Martin H. Fischer.

Words To Drink By

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called Everybody, and they meet at the bar.”--Drew Carey.