November 6

National Nacho Day

Insured Taste Buds. Prohibition. Mike Nichols. New Yorker. PB&J. Peanut, PA. Nachos. Chalupas. Grocer Saint.

Days Until. . .

Thanksgiving: 20.Christmas: 50.New Year's Eve: 57.

World Food Records

Today in 1993, the biggest peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever was made in (appropriately) Peanut, Pennsylvania. It was forty feet long and used 150 pounds of peanut butter. The jelly was kept to fifty pounds to keep the ants from going nuts. It was a poor boy sandwich, by the way, but not dressed. Parenthetically, let's note that this is Peanut Butter Lover's Month, according to Skippy.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Potato Creek, South Dakota is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the badlands of the south central part of the state. It's 106 miles southeast of Rapid City, the gateway to Mount Rushmore. The name of both the town and the creek that runs through it are also commonly spelled "Potatoe Creek," even before Dan Quayle came on the scene. The creek cuts deep arroyos in the hardscrabble geography, but a farm in Potato Creek manages to raise crops and cattle. The most famous citizen of Potato Creek was Potatoe Creek Johnny, who is buried in the same Black Hills cemetery with Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The nearest stop for food to Potato Creek is the well-named Food Stop in Kyle, eleven miles west.

Today's Flavor

Today is Pan-American Nacho Day. Nachos were created by Ignatio Anaya, whose nickname was Nacho. (Say "Ignatio" and you'll see why.) In his restaurant in the bordertown of Piedras Negras, Mexico, he created a dish he named for himself: Especiales de Nacho. It was fried tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and jalapenos. It became a hit, and mutated into chips covered with all kinds of stuff from the Mexican steam tables.

Deft Dining Rule #718

The maximum number of ingredients that can top an order of nachos before they become limp and gross is three.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

If you want to make your own tortilla chips but don't feel like frying them, brush corn tortillas with olive oil on both sides, cut them into quarters, then arrange them on a cookie sheet. Bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for five minutes.

Edible Dictionary

chalupa, n.--The word refers to small boats used in Mexico in much the same way that gondolas are used in Venice, Italy. The edible chalupa is a tortilla made into a boat shape by pressing the masa dough over a small form or dish, then frying it. It's then filled with ground beef or pork, chicken, cheese, green onions, chile peppers, and tomatoes. It is somewhat like a crisp taco, but in a different form. The cuplike shape of a chalupa allows for ingredients with a more liquid consistency than could be enclosed in a taco.

Annals Of Sensitivity

Today in 1981, Edy's--maker of a line of premium ice creams--bought a quarter-million-dollar insurance policy on the taste buds of its chief tester and flavor developer, John Harrison. A quarter-million? Is that all? My poor taste buds have given me more pleasure than that.

Annals Of Prohibition

Today in 1911, Maine law made it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages within its borders. It became the first dry state. No wonder they call themselves Maniacs. No more gin and Moxie for awhile.

Annals Of Beer Marketing

Director Mike Nichols was born today in 1931. Early in his career, he did voice-overs for the famous series of cartoons advertising Jax Beerhere in New Orleans, with Elaine May doing the female voices.

The Saints

This is the feast day of St. Leonard of Noblac, who lived in the early France in the sixth century. He is the patron saint of grocers.

Food Namesakes

Glen Frey, a member of the rock group The Eagles, was born today in 1948. . . American Olympic hockey star Laurie Baker was born today in 1976. . . Today in 1583, the first European explorer to land in Texas did so. His name was Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, which translates "cow's head.". . . Jim Pike, one of the singers in the close-harmony group The Lettermen, gave out his first note today in 1934.

Words To Eat By

"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."--Charlie Brown.

Words To Drink By

"It reminded him of his Uncle Seamus, the notorious and poetic drunk, who would sit down at the breakfast table the morning after a bender, drain a bottle of stout and say 'Ah, the chill of consciousness returns.'"--Molly O'Neill.