Fun Foodstuffs For Today

Written by Tom Fitzmorris February 13, 2020 11:43 in Almanac

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tortellini. Cheesequake. Asiago. Fishing Atlas. Grease. El Grande de Coca-Cola.

Today was Mardi Gras in 1877, 1888, 1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956, and 2018. It will be Mardi Gras today, 2029, 2040, and 2108. In case you're making plans.

Food Calendar 


The buzz on the Web is that today is National Tortellini Day. Tortellini come from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. They're small ravioli--little pillows of pasta usually rolled up around the stuffing instead lying flat. The filling is most often cheese, but spinach, tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, or other fillings--more often vegetable than meat--can be enclosed in tortellini. A slightly large variation is called tortelloni, which no doubt has its own special day. My favorite tortellini (or tortelloni) dish is a salad Chef Ron Wilemon of Allegro Bistro made at a party once. I badgered him for the recipe, and I have it below.

Delicious-Sounding Places


Cheesequake, New Jersey thirty-six miles south of Manhattan, and just across Raritan Bay from the southern tip of Staten Island. It's a small suburban town adjacent to a state park of the same name. In the park, freshwater and saltwater marshes meet, the interface fed by Cheesequake Creek. The name is a corruption of a Native American name for the place, Cheseh-okeh, meaning "village on the high ground." Cheesequake has quite a few restaurants, of which the one most likely to provide something like an edible cheesequake would be Bistro Amerigo, right in the center of the town

Edible Dictionary


Asiago, n., adj., Italian--A cheese produced in the Alpine districts of Northern Italy, using the milk of grass-fed cows. It is made in several varieties that differ in the length of time the cheese has been aged. In all forms, however, it is a very white, tangy cheese, becoming sharper as it ages. The most common form of Asiago in this country is soft enough to be sliced or cut into cubes easily. As it ages--six to nine months is typical--it takes on characteristics of Parmigiano cheeses, and is used for grating. The older Asiago cheeses also have the granular crystals that abrade your mouth when you eat chunks of Parmigiano. 

Annals Of Food Research


G. Brown Goode was born today in 1851. His contribution to our tables was a new two-volume atlas of the fisheries of the United States, published in the 1880s. It was the first resource with its scope and included over 500 etchings of the many species of fish and shellfish that were caught and sold at the time.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

If you have to light a stove burner with a strike-anywhere match, it will never ignite properly on its own ever again. Unless that happened to be your last match.

People We'd Like To Have Dinner With


Today is the birthday of television and radio talk show host Jerry Springer. I have a feeling he's not as wild in person as he is on the air. But it would be interesting to see who comes up to the table, and what they'd say. I think I'd have the repast at Galatoire's.

Food In Sho-Biz


In 1972, the musical Grease opened on Broadway. A year later exactly, another musical, El Grande de Coca-Cola opened in New York City. Also on this A movie called Kitchen Stories premiered on this date in 2004. It was a comedy about making one's kitchen work by the assembly-line method. I hear it wasn't very funny. What was funny was a 1932 Our Gang episode called "Free Eats." It featured the debut of George "Spanky" McFarland in the series.

Music To Chew Bubble Gum By 

On the musical side of sho-biz, today in 1967 the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever was released.  The Osmond Family had a Number One hit on this day in 1971, with their song One Bad Apple.

Food Namesakes 


Eddie Pye, infielder for the Dodgers, was born today in 1967. . . German artist George Schrimpf was born today in 1889. . . Canadian musician Jeff Waters of Annihilator was born today in 1966.

Words To Eat By


"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow."--Grant Wood, artist, who was born today in 1892.

"Fish should smell like the tide. Once they smell like fish, it's too late."--Oscar Gizelt, former manager of Delmonico's in New York.

Pasta Salad Allegro

Serves 8-12

2 lbs. cheese tortellini

2T Creole mustard

½ C red wine vinegar

1 C olive oil

1 lb andouille or other smoked sausage cut into small pieces

2 C grape tomatoes, cut in half

16 sun-dried tomatoes soaked in water a few minutes, then julienned

3 cans artichoke hearts in water, chopped

20-30 leaves of fresh basil chopped

1 each red yellow and green bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 green onions chopped

½ C finely shredded parmesan cheese

2 tsp dried oregano

Cook the tortellini till firm to the bite.

Whisk mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Add a third of the oil, whisking till smooth. Add 2 T cold water, gradually adding the rest of the oil, whisking constantly.

Add the remaining ingredients along with the tortellini, careful not to break tortellini. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.