March 30

Frog Legs Day

Frog Legs. Frogmore. Crapaudin. Alaska. Torkanowsky. Norah Jones. Caedmon.

Days Until. . .

Easter- 1 French Quarter Festival-- 8 Jazz Festival-- 26

Today's Flavor

This is Frog Legs Day. Most people turn up their noses at the idea of eating frog legs, but if they had ever tried them (and they probably haven't), they would wonder what the problem was. Frog legs have a texture similar to but lighter than chicken. There is no flavor affinity at all, no matter what you've heard. Nor do they taste like fish. The only meat that reminds me of frog legs is alligator. Many species of frogs are harvested for their meat. Bullfrogs--whose legs can be larger than chicken wings--are the most common along the Gulf Coast. More prized are the legs of smaller frogs from a genus known descriptively enough as "edible frogs." They're usually sold by the pair, and include the small foot. Frog legs are mild enough in flavor that they're usually served with a light butter sauce, often with a touch of garlic and herbs.The greatest challenge to cooking your own frog legs is finding them. Most of ones available in stores are frozen. So if you see fresh ones, grab them. Also grab a quart of buttermilk to use as a marinade.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Cook is on East Bay, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Florida Panhandle. It's thirteen miles east of Panama City. Some beaches and fishing piers are along the nearby coast. The fishing is excellent around there, and oysters are also produced in quantity. To the east are extensive orchards of oranges. A sandwich shop called Robin Hood is there in Cook, but much more cooking goes on in Panama City itself.

Edible Dictionary

sopes, [SO-pehss], Spanish, n., pl.--Sopes (the word is almost always used in the plural) are thick tortillas made of finely-ground masa meal, and shaped into shallow bowls. The depressions are filled with beef, chicken, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, or any similar combination of toppings. They're picked up and eaten almost like sandwiches, but more carefully. They radiated out across the northern half of Mexico and into the United States from Sinaloa, the Mexican state on the east side of the Golfo de California. They somewhat resemble tostadas or chalupas, but usually hold more meat than either of those.

Deft Dining Rule #234:

Let someone else at the Mexican table order the mixed platter of fried tidbits. Get the ceviche instead.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

The thicker the batter, the thinner and faster-cooking must be that which it encloses.

Eating Across America

In 1867 on this date, William Seward completed the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million dollars. In honor of that big addition to our country, have a baked Alaska tonight. No chocolate sauce, please.

Food Through History

Today in Roman times was the festival of Salus, the goddess of health. Her Greek name, Hygieia, gives us the word "hygiene." A festival of health? What did they serve? Raw garlic, grilled salmon, brown rice jambalaya, miso soup, and kale?

The Saints

Today is the feast day of St. Caedmon, a cowherder in the 600s in England. I think he should be named the patron saint of singing waiter. The Venerable Bede wrote about him:Wherefore, being sometimes at feasts, when all agreed for glee's sake to sing in turn, he no sooner saw the harp come towards him than he rose up from the board and went homewards. Once, when he had done this and gone from the feast to the stable, where he had that night charge of the cattle, he laid himself down to rest at the proper time and there appeared to him in his sleep one who said, greeting him by name, "Caedmon, sing some song to me.""I cannot sing," he answered, "and for that reason I left the feast and came hither, because I could not sing."He who talked with him answered, "However that may be, you shall sing to me.""What shall I sing?" rejoined Caedmon."Sing the beginning of created things," said the other. Having received this answer, the abbey's cowherd began to sing. . . verses which he had never heard before."

Food Namesakes

Theater producer Leslie Joan Corn and British TV personality Sue Cook were both born on this day in 1949. . . Zentatsu Richard Baker was a leader in the San Francisco Zen movement of the 1960s, and was born today in 1936. . . Classical composer Peter Jona Korn sounded his first note today in 1922. . . Clifford Whittingham Beers, a pioneer in the mental health field, came to earth today in 1876. . . Alistair Cooke, the host of Masterpiece Theatre, died today in 2004.

Words To Eat By

"Three million frog's legs are served in Paris daily. Nobody knows what became of the rest of the frogs."--Fred Allen, brilliant radio comedian of the 1930s and 1940s.

Words To Drink By

"There's nothing worse than an introspective drunk."--Tom Sharpe, an English writer who was born today in 1928.