The Food Almanac: Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christms Eve (and National Candy Cane Day)!

Candy Canes

Looking Up
Today in 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 arrived at the moon, made ten orbits of it, and headed home. Frank Gorman, one of the spacemen, transmitted a wish for peace on earth on that Christmas Eve. I heard his words on the radio, went out to look at the moon, and found the sight very peaceful, indeed. [related]

Today's Flavor
This is National Candy Cane Day. Have you found them this year? We had an unusually hard time locating the classic inverted-J shaped candy canes, the kind about as big around as a fat pencil, flavored with peppermint, and with one large red stripe and three thin ones. All of those qualities are symbolic (the "J" for Jesus, the stripes for the Trinity, etc.). However, we just like to have them around and on the Christmas tree for ready enjoyment. The expansion of variety in candy canes has brought some very unusual colors and flavors to the medium, and some of them are good. But there's nothing like the traditional.

Deft Dining Rule #25:
The food and service in restaurants on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be at best half as good as it would be on a normal day, and possibly very irritating and depressing if you can't go with the flow and enjoy it for what it is.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Goosetown, Tennessee is sixty-one miles northeast of Chattanooga, in rolling farmland flanked by two significant ridges of hills. Goosetown is a pleasant suburb of Etowah, a mile or so east on the main line of the former L&N Railroad. That's where all the restaurants are, including the Farmhouse.

Edible Dictionary
pulla, Finnish, n.--A slightly sweet yeast bread made in Finland, particularly around the holidays. It's somewhat reminiscent of New Orleans king cake, but without the frosting and sugar. It's also a little like challah, but not as eggy. Most pullas are braided and contain cardamom seeds and raisins. I may try to make some for Christmas dinner.

Music To Eat Creole Gumbo By
Today is the birthday of two major players in the early days of New Orleans R&B. Dave Bartholomew was born today in 1920. His band and arrangements backed up most of Fats Domino's recordings. . . And in 1924 on this date, Lee Dorsey entered the scene. His big hit was "Working In A Coal Mine," but he was a fixture at the Jazz Festival and in local clubs for a long time.

The Saints
Today is the feast day of Adam and Eve, according the the Bible the first and second humans respectively. They were also the first to learn that it pays to be discriminating about what one eats. . . It is also the birthday, in 1491, of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. If it weren't for the Jesuits, it is very unlikely you would not be reading these words of mine.

Annals Of Overeating
Today in 1991, Walter Hudson died. He weighed over a thousand pounds. Note to self: forget Walter Hudson for now, but remember him December 26.

Food Namesakes
British poet George Crabbe lived his first stanza today in 1754. . . Captain James Cook landed on Christmas Island, the world's largest atoll, right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was uninhabited, but he found large stone statues of the head of Santa Claus on the beach. (Am I confusing this with Easter Island?). . . Professional wrestler Chris Hero was given a half-nelson by an obstetrician today in 1979. Eat a poor boy sandwich in his honor.

Words To Eat By
"Cookery is an old art, as it goes back to Adam."--Louis, Marquis de Cussy, chef to Napoleon and cookbook author.
"Ever since Eve started it all by offering Adam the apple, woman’s punishment has been to supply a man with food then suffer the consequences when it disagrees with him."--Helen Rowland, American writer and humorist. "Give books for Christmas. They're never fattening."--Lenore Hershey.

Related Stories
Amazing Candy Cane-Inspired Recipes 10 Outrageous Candy Cane FlavorsHow Are Candy Canes Made?

Words To Drink By
"Holly and ivy hanging up
And something wet in every cup.
--Irish Christmas toast.