September 5

Cheese Pizza

Days Until. . .

Summer ends 18

Gourmets Through History

LouisXIV-2Today in 1638 was the birthday of Louis XIV, king of France for fifty-two years. "The Sun King" built the Palace at Versailles, which set a standard that continues to be copied by autocratic rulers around the world. The regal court also defined the French aristocracy's ideas of high living, hauteur, and corruption. As a rare good result, French cuisine rose to previously unimagined heights. Louis demanded feasts that would last all day. From that came the new idea of serving food in courses. Table etiquette became important, with forks emerging as de rigueur tableware for the first time. All of this was The Sun King's strategy for keeping the rest of the nobility off balance, and so to enhance his power. It worked.

Annals Of New Orleans Hangouts

Today in 1964, The House Of The Rising Sun climbed to Number One on the pop music charts, where it would remain for three weeks. It was a dark song that began: There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many poor boy
And God, I know I'm one.
The original House Of The Rising Sun was a brothel that operated at 826-830 St. Louis St. from 1862 (when New Orleans was occupied by Union troops) until 1874, when it was closed due to complaints by neighbors. It was next door to the Hermann-Grima House. It was named for Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant (the last two names mean "rising sun" in French). The British invasion group The Animals--led by Eric Burdon--performed it. When the song came out, there was no business by that name here, but there is now--a bar at 333 Bourbon. I'm concerned about those ruined poor boys in the song. Was the gravy burned, the meat tough, the mayonnaise curdled, or what?

Edible Dictionary

Crumpetscrumpet, n.--A round breakfast cake, similar to both a pancake and an English muffin, but much thicker. It starts with a thick but flowing batter made with both yeast and baking powder. The batter goes onto a hot pan or griddle, spreading out and flattening a bit before it sets. Air bubbles from the baking powder come up through the top, leaving small holes that will remain in the finished crumpet. The dough is a little sweet. Sometimes it contains fruit. Crumpets are a familiar breakfast and tea-time snack in Great Britain and some British colonies. They date back to Anglo-Saxon times at least, and perhaps to Celtic times.crumpet, n.--A round breakfast cake, similar to both a pancake and an English muffin, but much thicker. It starts with a thick but flowing batter made with both yeast and baking powder. The batter goes onto a hot pan or griddle, spreading out and flattening a bit before it sets. Air bubbles from the baking powder come up through the top, leaving small holes that will remain in the finished crumpet. The dough is a little sweet. Sometimes it contains fruit. Crumpets are a familiar breakfast and tea-time snack in Great Britain and some British colonies. They date back to Anglo-Saxon times at least, and perhaps to Celtic times.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Oven Fork, Kentucky has a rare name: both parts of it have a food connection. It's in that wellspring of towns with food-related names, the western slopes of the Appalachians, where Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky meet. It's a small community of farms in a mountainous, coal-mining district, right on the twisting, pristine Cumberland River. It's a scenic area--except for the strip mines in the distance. The Poor Fork of the Cumberland is a Class 1 scenic river whose large population of brook trout draws a lot of fishermen. The people in the area are fighting the expansion of the strip mines, which could ruin the fishing and the tourism. The nearest lunch spot is the Pine mountain Grill, four miles away in Whitesburg.

Annals Of Funny Cookbook Authors

Justin Wilson died today in 2001. The Cajun comedian evolved into a Cajun cook, and one of the earliest and still most-watched television chefs. His cookbooks remain best-sellers.

Annals Of Beef

Today in 1867, a small herd of cows entered the first railroad cattle cars, and took a train trip from Abilene, Kansas to Chicago. This was the beginning of Chicago's business as the major beef-packing town in the United States. Although the Union Stock Yards are now gone, Chicago's renown as a steak town remains. (Although New Orleans is, I'd say, on a par with it for our quality of steak-eating.)

Food In The Movies

Today in 2008, a new comedy film called I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With premiered, written and directed by one Jeff Garlin, who was also the star.

Food Namesakes

Jerry Rice caught his 127th touchdown pass today in 1994, setting the record. . . Blind track star Graham Salmon (who possesses a rare double food name) was born today in 1952. . . Daniel Mace, Tennessee Congressman, was born today in 1811. . . Former Arkansas governor Francis Adams Cherry was born today in 1908. . . Frank Farina, Australian soccer pro, kicked off today in 1964.

Words To Eat By

"Food, love, career, and mothers: the four major guilt groups."--Cathy Guisewite, creator of the just-ended comic strip "Cathy," born today in 1950. "When I saw the dancing chicken, I knew I would create a grand metaphor—for what, I don't know."--Werner Herzog, film director, born today in 1942.

Words To Drink By

"It's like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don't know where your going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It's like the throw of the dice."--Jim Morrison, lead singer for The Doors.