Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Old School Thursday: Cheeeeeese Day Edition

Today is one of those food days that’s both random and awesome. It’s Cheese Day. Not National Cheese Day or International Cheese Day or anything like that. Just Cheese Day. Which makes me think that in my house, pretty much every day is Cheese Day. But I digress.

It’s also National Frozen Yogurt Day, suggesting that maybe the fro-yo lobby got to Congress before the cheese guys got themselves out of Wisconsin and Vermont. There’s only so much room for dairy in most diets. Unfortunate, really, since I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about cheese or frozen yogurt (except maybe to complain about the lack of local TCBYs).

And here’s the real celebratory clincher: today marks the Festival of Fufluns, the Etruscan god of wine. Wine. And Fufluns. I challenge anyone to say “Fufluns” a few times without smiling. Especially if there’s wine involved.

Today is a notable date in history, too, not just as a randomly assigned “day.” Most recently, and sadly, today is the anniversary of the deaths of Vincent Sardi, Jr. (2007) of Sardi’s on Broadway and of Earle McAusland (1980), the publisher and editor of Gourmet. Both giants in the American food world in their own right.

Heading back a few more years, today in 1970 a girl named Libby Childress won the National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word, “croissant.” What’s most interesting to me about this is what it says about how dramatically American culture has changed over the past 40 years. I don’t want to overestimate the spelling skills of kids today, but I can’t imagine that any of today’s spelling champs don’t know how to spell croissant.

For one thing, they’re used to much, much harder words. Just last week, the new Scripps National Spelling Bee winner, Kavya Shivashankar, took the title by correctly spelling “laodicean.” A word that Microsoft Word’s spellcheck doesn’t even recognize.

Today, croissants are simply too mainstream to be unfamiliar, so they'd never make it as a spelling bee word. Over the past few decades, Americans have quickly accepted formerly exotic food items into their food repertoire. Croissants are about as exotic as salsa. That is to say, not at all exotic today, but pretty crazy a generation ago.

Finally, in completely random news, today in 1873, a guy in New York patented a method for making Vaseline. What does that have to do with food, you ask? Nothing, I think, except that the inventor’s name was Robert Chesebrough. Which might be the greatest last name ever – and so appropriate for Cheese Day.

2 comments:

prepschool101 said...

Great post -- I had no idea today was such a notable day on the calendar. Must celebrate with wine and cheese, of course!

Kit Pollard said...

Bien sur! No one ever has to twist my arm to get me to celebrate anything with wine and cheese.

BTW, I love your blog! It's fantasic!

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