September 24

It's National Cherries Jubilee Day

Love Boat. Cherries Jubilee. Kirsch. Guinness. Neon Signs. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie. Braai Day.

Days Until. . .

Halloween 37

Today's Flavor

Today is widely noted as Cherries Jubilee Day, celebrating a dessert that's all but gone from restaurant menus, living on only at historic establishments like Antoine's. (Which, in fact, makes the definitive version.) It's pretty simple: cherries are cooked down in a syrup made right there in the pan, then flamed with kirsch, and served over ice cream. It is believed to have been created by no less than Auguste Escoffier, the arbiter of classic French cooking, on the occasion of Queen Victoria' s fiftieth jubilee. Escoffier's original recipe didn't have ice cream, but that was such a natural addition that it's now universal.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Turtle, Missouri is 138 miles southwest of St. Louis. It's a collection of three or four homes and farm facilities, far out in the countryside on highway N. Big fields are interspersed with patches of woods. The latter are part of the Mark Twain National Forest, a perfect environment fro the many species of turtles that live there. Don't eat the box turtles: they eat poisonous mushrooms to which they are immune. You have to drive ten miles northwest into Salem to find a restaurants, and then you'll find mostly chains. An exception is the Red Hen Breakfast Cafe.

Edible Dictionary

prosciutto, [pro-ZHOO-toe], Italian, n.--A dry-cured ham in the Italian style. A pig's hind leg is covered with salt and a bit of fat, then hung up to dry in a building with free, cool air flow for about a year. (It can be between nine and eighteen months, depending on the place and its climate.) The salt is washed off and the ham is dried. Sometimes the bone is then removed, but sometimes even the hoof remains on. Prosciutto is usually served as is, sliced very thinly. It shows up most often in the antipasto course, where it is so common that in most Italian restaurants it is the most common first course. The word comes from a Latin expression meaning "dried out." The two most famous prosciuttos come from San Daniele in northeast Italy, and Parma at the top of the boot. Prosciutto is also made domestically, but it doesn't compare with the real Italian article.

Cocktails On Television

Today in 1977 was the launch date for The Love Boat, the situation comedy-drama set on a Princess cruise ship. The series tremendously boosted the popularity of cruising as a mainstream vacation. Previously, the average age of cruisers was "deceased." The Love Boat showed people of all ages having all kinds of fun on a spiffy, glamorous ship. What I remember most about The Love Boat was that no matter where you were on the ship, no matter what time it was, if you ordered a cocktail it would be mixed by Isaac, played by Ted Lange. He appeared to be the only cocktail server on the whole ship. Also at odds with our experience on cruise ships was the ease with which one could arrange to have dinner at the captain's table.

Annals Of Coffee

Riccardo Illy was born today in 1955. He joined his family's coffee company in Trieste, Italy, where he greatly expanded the marketing reach of Illy Caffe. He wrote an influential book about how to make espresso, starting with the unroasted beans and finishing in the cup.

Annals Of Brewing

Arthur Guinness, who founded the Guinness Brewing Company, was born today in 1725, in Dublin, Ireland. Members of his family worked as brewers, but Arthur got into the business on the entrepreneurial side. He started out making ales, but then moved to porter--the higher-alcohol, darker beers for which Guinness eventually became famous. Guinness is now the leading brand name of such beers, as well as the sponsor of the Book of World Records. The latter began as a means of settling arguments that may well have started over glasses of Guinness Stout.

Annals Of Restaurant Advertising

Today is the birthday, in 1870, of Georges Claude, the Frenchman who invented the neon lighting tube in 1910. Restaurants have been among the best customers of neon signmakers, and still use them heavily. Imagine the Acme Oyster House, Mandina's or Tujague's without neon!

Music To Eat Pie By

Today in 1967, Jay and the Techniques hit Number Three with their biggest record, Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie . It was about a girl!

Eating Around The World

Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, a holiday celebrating the ethnic diversity of that country. It is also known as National Braai Day. A braai is a barbecue, the kind you'd have with family and friends. Since it's early spring in South Africa, it's sort of the kickoff of that season.

Food And Drink Namesakes

We begin with food-named twins: Paul and Morgan Hamm, both American Olympic gymnasts, born today in 1982. . . Today in 1865, James Cooke walked a tightrope from the original Cliff House in San Francisco to the Seal Rocks, well out into the Pacific Ocean and covered with sea lions. . . Actor Don Porter, whose most famous role was as Sally Fields's father in the television show Gidget, hit The Big Stage today in 1912. I wonder if he knew that he shared a birthday with the most famous name in porter, Arthur Guinness (see above).

Words To Eat By

"Time's fun when you're having flies."--Kermit the Frog, the Muppet created by Jim Henson, who was born today in 1936.

Words To Drink By

"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, born today in 1896.