Today's Food Trivia

Tom Fitzmorris February 07, 2020 11:28 Almanac

Friday, February 7, 2020

Buster Crab(be). Crawdaddy. Fettuccine Alfredo. Clay. Beatle Nuts

Food Names In The Movies  

The man with what may be the greatest food name of all time, Buster Crabbe, was born today in 1908. He came to prominence first as a swimmer in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. His good looks got the attention of Hollywood, and his acting career began. He made over 75 movies, usually cast as a powerful hero: Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers were among his best-remembered recurring roles.

Whether Buster Crabbe ever ate a buster crab, I don't know. And although I'm tempted to name today National Buster Crab Day, the fact is that it's too early in the year for these little hand-peeled soft-shell crabs, which we start seeing in a month or two.

Food Names In The Magazine Rack  

Crawdaddy, a magazine about pop and rock music in the 1960s and 1970s, first appeared today in 1966. I remember once gathering a bunch of back issues from the Figaro office and spreading them on a table where we were eating boiled crawfish. Nobody got the joke.

Food Calendar  

Today is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day. What is little noted about that dish, as practiced by the much-turned-over Alfredo's of Rome, is that a raw egg yolk is stirred into the hot pasta as the very last step. Few versions have egg at all, and it's probably for the best. Most versions now are just pasta, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Which isn't exactly bad. I have my recipe for it below

Outside A Restaurant Window


In a speech today in 1839, Henry Clay said, "I had rather be right than be president." If only that were the rule today. Orleanians thought enough of Henry Clay that a statue of him stood for decades in the neutral ground of Canal Street at St. Charles. The streetcar tracks curved to go around it. That statue is now in Lafayette Square, opposite Gallier Hall. Henry Clay waves to diners at Herbsaint and Marcello’s, both of which are roughly within sight of his statue.

Music To Eat Ice Cream By 


On a related note, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time today in 1964. To honor the occasion, Baskin-Robbins created a flavor called "Beatle Nuts” with pistachios, walnuts, and a chocolate ribbon.

Food Namesakes  

Again, we note it's Buster Crabbe's birthday (see above). John Deere, of farm equipment fame, was born today in 1804. . . Jimmy Greenspoon, the organist of Three Dog Night, was born today in 1948. . . Artist Arthur Berry came along this day in 1925. . . Today in 1959, John Cook and co-pilot Robert Timm landed their airplane in Las Vegas after being continuously airborne for just shy of sixty-five days. Yes, you read that right, and it was a record. . . Baseball pro Dan Quisenberry was born today in 1953. When do the quisenberries get ripe?

Words To Eat By  

"Those from whom nature has withheld taste invented trousers."--Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, early French food authority.

Words To Cook By


"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it."--Unknown.


Fettuccine Alfredo


  • 1 lb. thin fettuccine noodles

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • Fresh ground pepper


Cook the fettuccine in a gallon of water at a rolling boil with a tablespoon of salt dissolved in it. Cook only until very flexible, but still firm. Drain and keep warm. Reserve 1/4 cup of the water.

In a large skillet, melt the butter, then whisk in the half-and-half. Bring it to a light boil over medium heat until blended completely. Whisk in the reserved pasta water, then turn off the heat. 

Add the hot pasta and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. With two forks, toss the pasta with the sauce until the cheese is blended in. If you like, add an egg yolk at this point and toss quickly to blend. 

Serve with freshly ground black pepper to taste.