Thursday, October 01, 2009

Old School Thursday: Full of Firsts Edition

We’ve had a rash of quiet days-in-history lately – but today, that streak goes by the wayside. On October 1st, pudding season begins (seriously), bringing with it a whole bunch of notable openings and celebrations. To start, it’s both Agricultural Fair Day and World Vegetarian Day, suggesting that someplace, somewhere, a bunch of 4-H kids are enjoying their first vegan feast.

Today in 1916, the first Piggly-Wiggly supermarket opened in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1971, the South got even more exciting when Disney World opened in Orlando. And three years later, in 1974, a little American charm made its way across the Atlantic, when the first McDonald’s opened in London.

As a brief aside, the dates for the opening of Disney World and McDonald’s surprised me. I was born in 1975, so I just missed both events, yet I think of them as having happened a full generation before I was around. Guess I’m older than I realized.

Back to the history. Finally, in 2006, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans reopened after being closed for a year following Hurricane Katrina. The restaurant’s reopening was important for the city both economically and symbolically. Almost a important, maybe, as the kid on last night’s So You Think You Can Dance who made it through to Vegas on the strength of a New Orleans-specific style of hip-hop dancing. He was more than imporessive.

So how to celebrate today? The openings represent a lot of different cuisines, but at their core, they’re all about Americana. So maybe go simple – cajun burgers and fries? With a Mickey Mouse-shaped side of ketchup?

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