Today is National Lemon Cupcake Day, which doesn’t really feel full of the spirit of the season, but I guess cupcakes are full of holiday spirit as much as any other sweet food is? We’ve got at least one cupcake on our counter right now, next to the gingerbread house. It’s not lemon, but still.
Today’s also a big day for old Europe. Today in 1686, Isaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation, passed away.
A few hundred years later, in 1902, also on December 15th, Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet died. Who is he, you ask? Only someone we all owe a great debt to – Millardet is the botanist who saved the French vineyards from destruction by phylloxera.
Phylloxera is a fungus native to North America, but it was introduced to Europe during the late 19th century and very nearly destroyed the vineyards of France. Today, the vines of Europe are hybrids that have been grafted with phylloxera-resistant rootstock – a practice begun by Millardet and fellow French botanist Jules Emile Planchon. The phylloxera epidemic also plays a big role in the evaluation of very old wines for authenticity, since wines that are legitimately pre-phylloxera are different, structurally, from wines available after the epidemic.
At any rate, thank you, M. Millardet!
And finally, today in 1903, Italo Marchiony received a patent for an ice cream cup mold, into which he folded warm waffles to create an ice cream cone.
Fish, wine, ice cream. And don’t forget the lemon cupcakes! It’s quite a day.