November 22

Subgum. Tofu. Curdsville. Cashews. Jelly Roll. Music Patron. Turkey Decapitation.

Days Until. . .

Christmas 28. New Year's Eve: 35.

Edible Dictionary

partridge, n.--A smallish game bird native to Europe and West and Central Asia, the partridge is much admired for its flavorful, light-colored meat. Partridges are usually about a foot long and weigh about three-fourths of a pound. The classical preparation is to hang them up for a day or two, then to roast them simply. The best ones are young. As is true for most birds, the older ones are used for dishes like partridge and cabbage stew. You will not likely find partridges on these shores, in or out of a pear tree. The idea of roasting a partridge with a pear-and-herb stuffing is intriguing, though.

Deft Dining Rule #207:

It is impossible to eat soft tofu with chopsticks. Don't even bother to try, unless you want to take an hour to eat the dish the stuff is in.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Turkey Creek runs just south of and parallel to the Nebraska state line, in northeast Kansas. Two miles past where Burger Creek runs into Turkey Creek (a rare double-food-named confluence), the Turkey runs into a fork of the Nemaha River, a tributary of the Missouri. So all this Burger and Turkey water winds up in New Orleans. If you're near the end of Turkey Creek, stop for lunch in a place called Two Doors Down in Cuba, Kansas, eight miles northeast.

Days Of Infamy

Those who were conscious in 1963 know why we never forget this, the anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy was murdered. (Those who weren't must wonder.) The deed was done by momentary Orleanian Lee Harvey Oswald, who clearly did not dine well enough while he lived here. A few restaurants closed on this evening in 1963, not knowing exactly how to react.

Food On The Silver Screen

The movie What's Cooking opened today in 2000. It was about Thanksgiving, and was subtitled "a celebration of food, tradition and relative insanity." Pretty weak, I thought, even with the food connection.

Food Calendar

Today is National Cashew Day. Cashews look and taste like nuts, but they're not nuts at all, and are weird. They grow in a shell on the end of a fruit, and a caustic liquid inside the shell must be got rid of before the cashew can begin to be edible.

Food In Comedy

It's the birthday of comedian Rodney Dangerfield (1921). He had a few good lines about food, such as: "She was so wild that when she made French toast her tongue got caught in the toaster."

Food In Music

The tune Jelly Roll Blues, the theme song of trumpet great Bunny Berigan and his big band, was recorded today in 1938. . . The Beatles, more commonly known as The White Album, was released today in 1968. It was the Beatles' only double album, and it included a lot of the worst songs they ever did. Among them was George Harrison's Savoy Truffle, which was about rich chocolates, a poke at Eric Clapton's passion for such things.

The Saints

Today is the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and singers. If you're at Cafe Giovanni tonight, wish the opera singers there a happy St. Cecilia's Day.

Food Namesakes

Thomas Cook, who founded the travel agency that bears his name, and who is considered the first travel agent, was born today in 1808. . . . Alison Korn, who rowed for Canada in the 1996 Olympics, was born today in 1970. . . Hoagy Carmichael, jazz composer and bandleader, was born today in 1899. His big hit was Stardust; his song with a food name was Old Buttermilk Sky. . . French psychologist Benedict Augustin Morel mushroomed into existence born today in 1809.

Words To Eat By

"It was dramatic to watch [my grandmother] decapitate [a turkey] with an ax the day before Thanksgiving. Nowadays the expense of hiring grandmothers for the ax work would probably qualify all turkeys so honored with 'gourmet' status."--Russell Baker, American columnist.

Words To Drink By

"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us worthy evidence of the fact."--George Eliot, British novelist of the 1800s, real name Mary Anne Evans.