November 29

Pulled Pork. Shrimp Bisque. Shoulderblade. Bacon And Beans. Foie Gras. Liquor Stores. Doppler Waiters.

Days Until

Christmas 27. New Year's Eve: 34.

Today's Flavor

It's National Shrimp Bisque Day. Shrimp bisque doesn't get its due, I say, because its lives in the shadow of crawfish bisque, which is actually dissimilar. I like a creamy shrimp bisque with all the shrimp pureed, and a nice pink color not from tomato but very ripe bell peppers. There's another good version--Antoine's make it, among other places--in which the soup base is a dark roux. Shrimp bisque has lately been thickened and turned into a sauce. The fantastic Cane River Country shrimp at Upperline is essentially that. Drago's also has an appetizer that's shrimp bisque atop bread with cheese melted over it.

Edible Dictionary

brittle, n.--A candy of hard, crystallized sugar and peanuts. It's made by heating sugar and corn syrup until it thickens, adding the peanuts, then bringing the temperature to the hard crack stage (around 300 degrees). Then a bit of butter and baking soda go into the mixture, and it's poured on a marble slab and allowed to cool. In New Orleans, pralines largely occupy the spot that brittle does elsewhere. Brittle has many similarities with pralines except for its glassy texture and translucence.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Two places in New York State are named Clove. One is fifteen miles east of Poughkeepsie, in a deep valley cut through the mountains by the Fishkill River. The Clove Mountains tower five hundred feet above the valley. The word "clove" is an archaic form of "cleft," which this place certainly is. The Clove Valley Cafe is three miles south. It's a 109-mile northwest drive from this Clove to that Clove, which is 52 miles west of Albany. This Clove has the same story as the first. It's in a river valley with mountains rising over 500 feet from the West Creek. It's more of a town, with about ninety people living nearby and tending to rather larger fields than in its namesake. The Crow's Nest Diner is the place to go for breakfast.

Music To Eat Foie Gras By

Today in 1825, the first Italian opera ever performed in the United States went on stage in New York. "The Barber Of Seville" was written by Gioacchino Rossini, who in addition to being a prolific composer of opera was also a serious gourmet. Tournedos Rossini--topped with foie gras--is not merely named for him. He created the dish.

Annals Of Liquor Stores

If you think that we have weird laws regarding the sale of liquor, check out some other places around the country. Pennsylvania, for instance. On this date in 1933, it opened the first state-owned liquor store. Pennsylvania still has a monopoly on the sales of spirits in that state.

Science Of Service

Christian Doppler was born today in 1803. He's the guy for whom the Doppler effect is named. That's the phenomenon you notice when a waiter whose attention you're trying to get rushes right past you. As he says, "I'll be back in a minute," his voice seems to rise in pitch as he approaches and then fall in pitch as he speeds away.

Food Namesakes

Lord Horatio Kitchener took over as supreme commander in South Africa today in 1900. . . Georges Poulet, a writer and critic in Belgium and France, came into the world today in 1902. . . Horace Lamb, a mathematician who specialized in the math of waves, was born today in 1849. . . Julius Raab, onetime Chancellor of Austria, was born today in 1881. (Raab, also known as broccoli di rape, is a bitter but tasty vegetable, mostly used in Italian cookery). . . Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Revolutionary times, was born today in 1722. . . Henry Rice, Governor of and Senator from Minnesota, was elected to life today in 1816.

Words To Eat By

"He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart."--C. S. Lewis, British philosopher and writer, born today in 1898.

Words To Drink By

"At the beginning of the world God created wine for man’s health, since it is more precious than any other drink and more natural to him."--Francesc Eiximenis, Catalan monk of the 1300s.