The Food Almanac: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's Make Holiday Reservations Day!
Kham Tran

Roast duck is a dish that only ambitious diners order in restaurants. Chef give their duck dish added attention for that reason. It also alerts the kitchen that the table is likely to be more discriminating than most.

Annals Of Popular Cuisine
Today in 1965, Kellogg's introduced Pop Tarts. They were unfrosted, thin, flat rectangles of something like pie dough filled with an even thinner layer of something like preserves. The original flavors were strawberry, blueberry, apple-currant, and cinnamon. They were a big hit, especially with kids, and most especially with kids who'd been forced to eat the likes of raisin bran for breakfast until that time. The frosting was added a couple of years later, sweetening the Tarts further and, of course, making them even more popular.

Today's Flavor
National Roast Duck Day. Roast duck is a dish that only ambitious diners order in restaurants. Chef give their duck dish added attention for that reason. It also alerts the kitchen that the table is likely to be more discriminating than most. So make sure somebody orders duck at your table tonight.  

Deadlines In Dining
This is Make Holiday Reservations Day. It really is. And it's a smart observance. With Thanksgiving dining on most people's minds, only planners of private Christmas parties have bothered to make reservations for the month of December. But after Thanksgiving dinner, people talk about how nice it would be to get together in a restaurant around Christmas. The weekend tables in the best restaurants fill shortly thereafter (they're already largely booked). Then the weekdays start filling in. Wait until a few days before, and you may be out of luck for restaurants you'd really love to dine in. There is no reason in the world to wait any longer. Do it today. By the way, we're not only talking about Christmas but New Year's Eve--the busiest restaurant night of the year, already completely booked in some restaurants. Having a table of six reserved on a good night in a great place gives you a valuable resource for celebration.

When you make your reservations, keep in mind the Reveillon dinners. Throughout New Orleans, forty establishments will offer these delightful, affordable holiday-themed dinners. The menus are already posted here.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Reservation, Washington is a neighborhood on the east side of Tacoma, the site of the World War I-era McChord Military Reservation. It's tucked into a bend of the Puyallup River, and is an industrial area. An enormous parking lot dominates the area. It's a half-mile away from a cluster of restaurants, of which the most interesting is Fife City Bar and Grill. Call 253-922-9555 for a reservation.

Edible Dictionary 
forcemeat, n.--A pate-like mixture of finely-ground, seasoned meat, made to be stuffed into some other foodstuff. A forcemeat could be made of almost any meat, including poultry and seafood. Variety meats like liver and sweetbreads are very commonly made into forcemeats. It usually contains a leavening of fat and seasoning vegetables like onions and herbs. The name, which brings a typically British, less-than-appetizing image to mind, is a corruption of the French word farci, meaning "stuffed."

Deft Dining Rule #105: 
Be a regular customer in at least one important restaurant. It comes in handy at busy times of year.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The best stuffing for a small bird (Cornish hen or smaller) is a dense forcemeat of pork, veal, or chicken, with a little chicken liver in there, too.

Food Namesakes
Ann Curry, news anchor for the Today show for awhile, was born today in 1956. . . Benjamin Chew, the chief justice of Pennsylvania before the Revolution, was born today in 1722. . . Screenwriter Sam Hamm, who wrote the script for the first modern Batman movie, among many others, gave his first line of dialog today in 1955.

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Words To Eat By 
“More than any other in Western Europe, Britain remains a country where a traveler has to think twice before indulging in the ordinary food of ordinary people.”--Joseph Lelyveld, long-time editor of the New York Times.