August 20 In Eating

Written by Tom Fitzmorris August 20, 0215 08:01 in

AlmanacSquare August 20, 2015

Days Until. . .

Coolinary Summer Specials End 11

Gourmet Gazetteer

Cook, Minnesota 55723 is a town of about six hundred people in the northwest corner of the state, about twenty miles from the Canadian border. Where the Little Fork River meets the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railroad. Wooded farmlands surround it. Somebody is missing a bet by not opening a restaurant there called Cook's. Instead, diner at Montana Cafe or Harvest Moon Cooking Company, both right in town.

Edible Dictionary

jambalaya, Creole. n.--A hot dish made of rice cooked with sausage, chicken or shellfish, or sometimes all three. Also in the pot are savory vegetables and seasonings. In some versions, tomatoes are part of the recipe. In almost all versions, the rice is cooked with stock first, then combined with the other ingredients and cooked again in a pot with oil. There are two principal versions of jambalaya. The first is Creole, found mostly in New Orleans. It usually includes tomato and shrimp. The Cajun jambalaya cooked in the western part of Louisiana, including the Cajun country, rarely uses tomatoes. It's also spicier and browner, because it's usually made with smoky sausages like andouille. Jambalaya is served most often at festivals and in homes; for all its fame as an iconic Louisiana dish, it isn't seen often in restaurants. The origin of the word jambalaya is in dispute, but the most believable seems to be that it comes from a Provençal dialect word meaning a mixture of rice.

Eating Around The World

This is the anniversary of the founding of Hungary, in 1000. Stephen, prince of the Magyars--a people who came what is now Hungary from Asia centuries before--declared Hungary a Christian nation. The pope recognized his authority, and that put Hungary on the map. Hungarian food is distinctive and influential, its flavors having migrated into surrounding countries, notably Poland. Its most famous flavor is that of paprika, but that didn't come along until Columbus brought red peppers to Europe. Hungary's famous wine is Tokai, one of the world's best sweet wines. Not many Hungarian restaurants exist around America, which is too bad. The cuisine is distinctive and good.

Annals Of Pots And Pans

Today in 1913, stainless steel was invented by Harry Brearly. He was working on new alloys for making rifles in Sheffield, England. A bit of chromium in the alloy forms a thin layer on the outside, with the property of healing itself if it oxidizes. It keeps the iron component from rusting. I'm a big fan of stainless steel cookware. Not only is it the preferred material for saucepans and skillets (as long as a heavy bottom layer is attached to transmit heat more uniformly and slowly than steel does), but my entire countertop is made of the stuff. We never worry about where we put hot pans when we take them off the stove.

Annals Of Knives And Cans

This is the birthday (1912) of Jerome Murray, whose most famous invention was a pump that made open-heart surgery possible. However, he also created a number of machines used to produce, package, and cook food. One was a pump to fill cans of soup without crushing the more delicate vegetables. He also invented an electric carving knife and a pressure cooker that gave audible indicators of what was going on inside.

The Saints

Today is the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He lived in the eleventh century, born in the French nobility, and became a Doctor of the Church. He is a patron saint of beekeepers. More important to us here in New Orleans, he was the patron of Bernard Marigny de Mandeville, one of the most famous figures in the early history of our city. St. Bernard Avenue is named for him, in indirect honor of Bernard Marigny, on whose former land the lower part of the street lies.

Food Namesakes

Jack Teagarden, one of the all-time greats of jazz and Big Band trombone, let out his first note today in 1905. . . Dr. John Cooksey, Congressman from north Louisiana, was born today in 1941.

Words To Eat By

"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons."--Alfred E. Neuman.

Words To Drink By

"Drink moderately, for drunkenness neither keeps a secret, nor observes a promise."--Miguel de Cervantes.