AlmanacSquare November 9, 2017

Days Until. . .

Thanksgiving (Nov. 23) 14.
Christmas: 46.
New Year’s Eve: 53.

Annals Of Milk

Today is the birthday, in 1801, of Gail Borden, the man who caused the name Borden to be forever associated with dairy products. His great advance was figuring out how to condense milk and can it in a stable form, such that it would remain wholesome without refrigeration. He was generally interested in concentrating all sorts of foods in the same way and for the same reason, but milk was his mainstay.

Today’s Flavor

This is National Split Pea Soup Week. I love split pea soup, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered why I could never make it come out the way I like it–which was the way my mother made it. The problem is the ham. I’ve always added it to the pot, and I’ve decided that it throws the flavor off, despite the tradition of including it as an ingredient. I use a vegetable stock now.

I must also warn you of National Scrapple Day. Now there’s a terrible food, made by mixing sausage with cornmeal and re-forming it into another sausage. No wonder its inventor can’t be found to explain it.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Greasy is a farm crossroads in northeast Oklahoma, twelve miles as the crow flies west of the Arkansas state line. It’s in the Brushy Mountains south of Greasy Lake, formed by a dam on Greasy Creek, whose waters ultimately flow into the Red River and down the Atchafalaya to the Gulf. Apparently a restaurant in a area with all those places named Greasy is not a viable proposition, so you have to drive thirteen winding miles to get a bite to eat in the more appealing town of Cookson, at the Island Cafe.

Edible Dictionary

lychee, [LEE-chee], Chinese, n.–lychee [LEE-chee], n.–A sweet fruit about an inch in diameter, grown and much liked in China for at least two thousand years. It can be found fresh as well as canned. The latter is found in most Chinese restaurants asa dessert. It has a flavor somewhere between that of a pear and a sweet grape. The lychee is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to the southern, semi-tropical parts of China where part of the year is dry. (They’re grown in Florida in this country.) Lychees have rough red skins that turn brown shortly after being picked. Although it’s often called “lychee nut,” it’s not a nut, although it does have an inedible seed that might suggest that.

Deft Dining Rule #146:

A restaurant that shells its own fresh peas is almost certainly one of the best restaurants you will ever dine in. Because. . .

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

Here’s a lost skill: shelling peas. You pull the stem towards the other end of the pod, which will remove a string that holds the two halves of the pod together. The pod will pop open on that side. Then just run your finger under the peas, and have a wide bowl to catch them. This is very calming work that goes on forever, but creates a great environment for conversation among the shellers.

Food Namesakes

Ron Rice, a cornerback for the Detroit Lions, was born today in 1972. . . . Harriet Freezer, the author of a number of controversial books in the Netherlands, was born today in 1911. . . Bakary Soumare, international soccer star, was born in Mali today in 1985.

Words To Eat By

“The difference between roast beef and pea soup is that anyone can roast beef.”–Tom Snyder.

Words To Drink By

“Under a bad cloak there is often a good drinker.”–Miguel de Cervantes.

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