March 1, 2017
Days Until. . .
St. Patrick’s Day–March 17
St. Joseph’s Day–19
This is national Tex-Mex Cooking Day. Today in 1845, President John Tyler annexed Texas to the United States. With the permission of the Texans, of course. A Texas cuisine was already in place. It could even be said that Tex-Mex food was already born. It has grown ever since, with the influence of Germans, Czechs, Africans, and a constant flow of people from Central America. It’s still not enough to keep the ballooning chain restaurant cuisine in check, though.
It is also Peanut Butter Lover’s Day. And National Pig Day, but I think this is more for their lovable pet image than for the animal’s very substantial contribution to the human diet. Today also begins National Celery Month, National Flour Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Nutrition Month, National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, National Sauce Month, and National Caffeine Awareness Month. I’m aware that I need a cup of coffee to keep track of all that.
Sausage Ponds, Maryland is a pair of long ponds backed up behind earthen dams on a small creek. It’s all in Anne Arundel County, near the western shores of Chesapeake Bay, thirty-three miles from Washington, D.C. The area is a mix of farms and country homes. The ponds are listed in a guide to Maryland fishing spots (here), in case you think we’re making this one up (and we don’t blame you). In case you don’t catch anything, the nearest restaurants are in Edgewater, two miles north. We recommend the Wharfside Bar and Grill.
chervil, n.–Chervil is a member of the parsley family. Its leaves look mush like those of flat-leaf parsley, but are about half the size both in terms of breadth and thinness. The low bush in which it grows looks somewhat like a fern. It has a much more delicate appearance than parsley, which is one reason many chefs use it as a garnish. The other attraction is its mild but distinctive flavor, reminiscent of anise. Chervil adds a great flavor to bearnaise sauce, even when used in its dried form. The plant has a carrot-like root that’s also edible, although it’s almost never encountered in food stores or even restaurants.
Deft Dining Rule #227:
If someone tells you where the best chicken-fried steak is to be found, he has eliminated that restaurant from your consideration.
Today is St. David’s Day in Wales, where he is the patron saint. His symbol is the leek. Many Welshmen wear a leek today in St. David’s honor. Or a daffodil; the two are confused with one another in Wales.
The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
You must always cut a leek from end to end, and pull it apart into its many layers, because you never know what you’re going to find in there: a rock, or a diamond.
Music To Eat Bananas By
Harry Belafonte was born in Jamaica today in 1927. He was the leading figure in the calypso craze in America in the 1950s and 1960s. He has long been active in civil rights movements, and still is. “Come mister tally-man, tally me banana,” he famously sang in his big hit, The Banana Boat Song. “Day-O! Day-ay-ay-O!”
Sports In Dining
Harry Caray (real name: Carabini) was born today in 1919. On my first transistor radio, in my young teens, I listened to Harry’s play-by-play of the baseball Cardinals KMOX in St. Louis. But he was more famous for his years with the Chicago Cubs. And for a restaurant in Chicago that bears his name. A sign in front blurts out his favorite expression: “Holy Cow!“
Drink On The High Seas
Today in 1990, New Zealand became the last navy in the world to stop issuing its sailors a daily dram of rum. Seems there were too many problems getting mint for the mojitos.
Today in 1912, Captain Albert Berry made the first parachute jump from an airplane in flight, in St. Louis, 1500 feet up. . . Suzanna Salter, the first female mayor of an American city, was born today in 1860. She lived to be 101. . . Terrence Cardinal Cooke was born today in 1921.
Words To Eat By
“Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”–Charlie Brown.
Words To Drink By
“Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself.”–Basil Bunting, British writer, born today in 1900.