June 21

Peaches And Cream

Looking Up

The summer solstice occured yesterday, the longest day of the year. This ought to be a holiday. It's one of the four days with meaning for every living thing on earth. What it means for New Orleanians is that four months of uncomfortably hot, humid weather lie before us. It also means that crabmeat prices will be coming down as the quality keeps going up. That sno-balls, icy beer, and cold watermelon will taste better and better. And that, after the trek of a block or two from where you parked your car, the overcooled environs of Galatoire's and Antoine's will be very welcome.

Today's Flavor

Today is allegedly National Peaches and Cream Day. As popular as that saying is, when's the last time you ever had that combination? I don't think I ever have. I like nectarines (one of which my daughter is eating at the very second I am writing these words) with torroncino ice cream from Brocato's.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Cherry Street runs through the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, from a half-block from the Orleans Parish line between South Claiborne Avenue and Earhart Boulevard, to the south perimeter of New Orleans Country Club. Barrow's Shady Inn, which for sixty years until Hurricane Katrina was the city's best catfish house, backed up to Cherry Street on its south end. The closest restaurant of note to Cherry Street now is Crabby Jack's, over the Jefferson Parish line about eight blocks away. An oddity about Cherry Street is that it became a pedestrian underpass for a few yards at the crossing of the new passenger train tracks built in the 1950s. All the western trains--and there were quite a few back then--passed above it.

Annals Of Cajun Food

Halifax, Nova Scotia was founded today in 1749. It was established by the British, who in the ensuing years would force the existing French Acadian population in the area to either give up Catholicism or move. Most of them moved to the French colony of Louisiana, where they created the unique Cajun (a slurring of "Acadian") culture. Meanwhile, Halifax grew to be an important port. It's a city of significant size, but the funny thing about it is that it's unincorporated. I've been there twice in the past few years. The lobsters, mussels, and scallops around there are as good as any in the world.

Moving Food Around

On this date in 1933, the first grain barge ever to travel from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico down the Mississippi River arrived in New Orleans. It left Lake Michigan by way of the Chicago River, then down the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal to the Illinois River, then the Mississippi.

Music To Eat Fruit By

O.C. Smith, whose biggest hit record was Little Green Apples, was born today in 1932, in Mansfield, Louisiana. His real name is "Ocie," so the second initial doesn't stand for anything. Before he went solo, he was a big-band jazz singer with Count Basie's matchless orchestra.

Edible Dictionary

chinook salmon, n.--One of a number of names for the largest member of the salmon family. (Another common one is king salmon.) It's one of the world's best eating fish, much appreciated in all the places where it lives. In the Western Hemisphere, it's found from San Francisco up to the Bering Strait, and down the east coast of Asia to Japan. Is spend most of its life in the ocean, but at spawning time it swims up rivers. One population travels about 1800 miles up the Yukon River. These fish have so much stored fat that they are the most prized of all salmon. You won't likely see these in a restaurant, though, because the fishery is so isolated. The fish is named for a group of Native Americans in the Northwest.

Food Namesakes

Siméon Denis Poisson, a French mathematician who has a famous equation named for him, presented his first problem today in 1781.

Words To Eat By

"'The bigger the better' is, though a common, not a universal rule; it does not, for instance, apply to fish."--George Saintsbury, British historian and critic.

Words To Drink By

"We borrowed golf from Scotland as we borrowed whiskey. Not because it is Scottish, but because it is good."--Horace Hutchinson, early star golfer.