January 23 – Today’s Food History
In 1986 National Pie Day was first celebrated by the American Pie Council to commemorate
Crisco’s 75th anniversary of “serving foods to families everywhere.”
Today’s Food History
on this day in…
- 1806 William Pitt ‘The Younger’ died. At 46, Pitt was the youngest British Prime Minister. There is some disagreement over his last words. Some say they were ‘Oh, my country! how I love my country!’. Others claim he said ‘Oh, my country! how I leave my country!’; or ‘My country! oh, my country!’; or my favorite, ‘I think I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies.’
- 1832 French painter Édouard Manet was born on this day in 1842. His first significant painting was ‘The Absinthe Drinker.’ He was an associate of the Impressionists.
- 1862 Agoston Haraszthy de Mokcsa brought 1,400 varieties of grapevines from Europe to California in 1862, and planted the first large vineyard in California in the Sonoma Valley. After the phyloxera blight destroyed much of Europe’s vineyards, some of these same vines, now on resistant American root stock, helped save the European wine industries.
- 1919 Ernie Kovacs, innovative comedian, was born. One of Kovacs’ first TV appearances was in Philadelphia in 1950 with a chef, Albert Mathis from the Gulph Mills Country Club, in a live unrehearsed cooking show titled ‘Deadline for Dinner.’
- 1931 Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova died. A famous dessert of Australian or New Zealand origin was named for her. It is a meringue with whipped cream and fruit. (Please, no more email on this subject – both countries have strong supporters for the origin, and in an effort at compromise, I have split the credit with both.)
- 1961 Wilhelm Koppers died. This cultural anthropologist developed theories on the origins of society based on studies of hunter-gatherer tribes.
- 1963 Three million gallons of soybean oil flooded streets in Mankato, Minnesota when a storage tank ruptured. Eventually the oil ended up in the Mississippi River. In the spring, more than 10,000 ducks were found dead in the wetlands along the river.
- 1971 The coldest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. was recorded at Prospect Creek Camp on the Alaskan Pipeline in northern Alaska – minus 80 degrees F.
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