April 3

Chocolate Mousse

This is <strong>National Chocolate Mousse Day.</strong> It's getting so that a good chocolate mousse is hard to find in restaurants. Its vogue seems to have passed, as has that of its insipid cousin, white chocolate mousse, which enjoyed a tremendous popularity in the 1980s. Chocolate mousse is not really hard to make; you just need to be careful making it. (I have a very good recipe <a href="http://nomenu.com/?p=3210"><u>here. </u></a>) The best restaurants for chocolate mousse these days are the Rib Room, Andrea's, and Antoine's. There's a fantastic chocolate mousse cake at Nuvolari's.

Days Until. . .

Easter 2
French Quarter Festival 6
Jazz Festival 22

Today's Flavor

This is National Chocolate Mousse Day. It's getting so that a good chocolate mousse is hard to find in restaurants. Its vogue seems to have passed, as has that of its insipid cousin, white chocolate mousse, which enjoyed a tremendous popularity in the 1980s. Chocolate mousse is not really hard to make; you just need to be careful making it. (I have a very good recipe here. ) The best restaurants for chocolate mousse these days are the Rib Room, Andrea's, and Antoine's. There's a fantastic chocolate mousse cake at Nuvolari's.

Culinary Landmarks

Today in 1985 was the last day of business for the Brown Derby restaurant, a Hollywood hangout of the highest order in its heyday of the 1940s and 1950s. It was owned by Bob Cobb, whose name lives on everywhere as the inventor of the Cobb salad: lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, chicken, blue cheese, avocado, and crumbled hard-boiled egg, brought out layered in a glass bowl and tossed at the table. The Brown Derby in L.A. is not to be confused with the so-called Original Brown Derby on LA--Louisiana Avenue, that is, corner of Freret. It was a long-running corner bar, grill and liquor store distinguished mostly for its catchy name and the illustration of a derby on its wall.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Fry, Georgia is right on the Tennessee state line, and two miles west of the North Carolina state line. (Careful readers of this feature will know that this part of America has the greatest density of food-related place names.) The nearest large city is Chattanooga, seventy-three miles east. This is mountainous country, but a valley cut through it by the Ocoee River creates lots of flat land for farming around Fry. It's a crossroads of the Mobile Highway and the Old Mobile Highway, neither of which go to Mobile. The river does, though. After some nice whitewater rafting stretches, the Ocoee's water winds up in the Tennessee River, whose connection with the Tombigbee will get you there. If you decide to stay around Fry, you can find some fries and other things to eat right there at the Cider House Cafe.

Edible Dictionary

Yubari melon, n.--A contender for the title of Most Expensive Melon On Earth, this is a cantaloupe grown in its namesake city in Japan, on the island of Hokkaido. The best ones are perfectly round on the outside, and have a very smooth, beautifully netted skin. They're packed in much protective netting and sold in handsome wooden boxes for around $100-$200 each. A couple of years ago one of them sold for $18,000. A farmer has to inherit the right to grow Yubari melons; the first thought that comes to mind is that this may be to keep the price up. Look for hotshot chefs to slip Yubari melons on their menus soon. If the Japanese don't buy them all, as they have a way of doing.

Music To Dine Elegantly By

This is the birthday of singer Doris Day, who let out her first notes in 1924. She became more famous for her many movies, but on record she had a marvelous gift for putting emotion into a song, with the finest female voice in the popular music world of her time. She started with the big bands and recorded for decades. She sounded like the kind of woman who would snuggle up with a guy and make him feel warm inside.

The Saints

Today is the feast day of Mary of Egypt, the patroness of reformed prostitutes and sexual temptation. She reformed herself by spending fifty years as a hermit in the desert, living on berries and herbs the rest of her life. (For more on Berry and Herb, see Food Namesakes, below).

Deft Dining Rule #808:

Truck stops are almost never good places to eat.

Annals Of Beer

Two weeks after Congress legalized 3.2-percent alcohol beer (the first step in ending Prohibition), Eleanor Roosevelt announced that this weak brew would be proudly served at White House functions. But if you went along with FDR's programs, he'd sneak you round back for some white lightning.

Annals Of Coffee

Today in 1829, James Carrington patented a new kind of coffee mill. Before it was introduced, the standard way of grinding coffee was to put the beans into several thicknesses of plastic sandwich bags and run over it several times with a Hummer.

Abuse Of Food In The Movies

Butter. Last Tango In Paris. Marlon Brando, born today in 1924. I cannot bring myself to go into details.

Annals Of Food Research

William James Farrar, the father of modern Australian wheat farming, was born today in 1845. He developed a strain of wheat that resisted drought and grew in the extraordinarily poor soil of Australia. Even with that, the country cannot support a large population on its own crops.

Food Namesakes

Jan Berry of the surfing rock group Jan and Dean was born today in 1941. . . Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl was born today in 1930 ("kohl" is the German word for cabbage). . . George Curry was born in Louisiana today in 1861, and went on to become one of the leading figures in New Mexico politics during its territorial period. . . Herb Caen, who wrote a what's-going-on column in the San Francisco Chronicle for decades, was born today in 1916.

Words To Eat By

"Erasers would taste good with this sauce."--Blonde bombshell actress Jan Sterling, born today in 1921, speaking about the sauce she found on escargots.

Words To Drink By

"They who drink beer will think beer."--Washington Irving, born today in 1783.