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The Food Almanac: March 3, 2014

The Food Almanac: March 3, 2014

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In New Orleans today is Lundi Gras–Fat Monday. Its celebrity relies entirely on that of the next day. Sort of like Christmas Eve. A suburb of a holiday. While a pre-holiday has become more famous than the holiday itself (Halloween), but Lundi Gras will be forever sandwiched between the Sunday before Mardi Gras–when the parading reaches its peak–and Mardi Gras itself. Few people work in New Orleans on Lundi Gras.

Sounds Like Candy, But Isn’t

The United States Mint was established today in 1791. On this same date in 1835, Congress authorized the building of a branch mint here in New Orleans. It lasted until the Civil War. The building is still there, part of the Louisiana State Museum now, at the southeastern corner of the French Quarter. In a few weeks, we’ll be there for the French Quarter Festival.

Music To Dine By

Today in 1931, Cab Calloway recorded his biggest hit and theme song, Minnie The Moocher. She was a red-hot hootchie-cootcher, rhymed the song, which went on to note that “Each meal she ate was a dozen courses.” Sounds like my kind of girl. What’s a hootchie-cootcher?

Today’s Flavor

It is National Deli Meats Day. Cured, smoked, and sliced deli meats range from the irresistible goodness of dry-cured hams, pastrami, salami, and deli-style roast beef to such unspeakable atrocities as luncheon meat and standard bologna. The gamut of goodness among hams alone goes from silky and mellow (prosciutto) to disgusting (ham roll).

But things are looking up. Supermarket delis are adopting higher standards than ten years ago. Their customers buy better deli meats if they’re available, even at significantly higher prices. The only downside is, with limited space in the typical deli case, some cold cuts of old are becoming hard to find. Cured beef tongue, once universal in delis, is now seldom seen. How much longer will liver cheese be able to hang on?

The next wave in the deli will be the appearance of deli butchers. They will make recommendations among the various meats, and slice them with better-than-present care. We would like to hurry this trend along by suggesting that deli employees be tipped. They make a tremendous difference in the goodness of what they sell. Thinly-sliced meats give a better flavor release than thick-sliced, because of the greater surface area exposed in the meat. Despite that, most deli employees cut meats as thickly as they can get away with unless you ask otherwise.

Edible Dictionary

pastrami, n.–Cured, brined beef, usually brisket, which has been peppered and cold-smoked. Its history can be traced back to Turkey, Armenia, and the Balkans, where the technique was originally a method of preservation. Meats other than beef were (and probably still are) prepared the same way there. Originally, the meat was air-dried, in the same way that prosciutto is, but not as long. The pastrami you find in delis has evolved from that to become a lightly smoked, tender sliced meat with a bit of fat around the edges, a reddened brown color, and a distinct tang of salt and peppery spices. It’s usually steamed before it’s served, and usually winds up on a sandwich. Where, as is true of all deli meats, the thinner the slices the better.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

All meats – hams and roast beef included – are easier to slice thinly and uniformly if they are ice-cold.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Bologna Lake is in northeastern Minnesota, nine miles from the Canadian border. This is wilderness country, the glacier-scraped lakes and marsh-lined rivers interspersing the gently rolling terrain. Bologna Lake is about a half-mile east-west and a third of a mile north-south, with a small island in its center. It drains into the well-named Frost River. Surprisingly, you don’t have to travel far to get to the nearest restaurant: Gunflint Lodge, a wilderness vacation resort right on the Canadian border.

Deft Dining Rule #76:

If you ask a restaurant for a recipe and they refuse to share even a hint, it probably means that they’re buying the dish ready-made and just warming it up. This is a certainty if they respond to your request with, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you or kill myself.”

Annals Of Extinct Eating Fads

In the spring of 1939, one Lothrop Withington (he sounds like a freshman at Harvard, and in fact he was) swallowed a goldfish plucked out of an aquarium on a dare. For a few months, his feat was repeated at an increasing rate not only of frequency but in the number of goldfish swallowed. By the time the fad played out, a record 300 fish were eaten in one go. Then laws and medical advice slowed goldfish eating. What goldfish tasted like never came to light; most were swallowed whole.

Dining By Rail

George M. Pullman, the creator of the railroad sleeping cars that bore his name, was born today in 1831. The Pullman Company operated the sleepers and diners cars on almost every railroad in America until 1969. It set standards for service at a time when America was far from a country of gourmets. Pullman dining cars on the best trains equaled the food serves in all but the finest restaurants. I read a story once, for example, about a Pullman waiter’s being dressed down for inserting the cocktail fork for a shrimp cocktail into the meat of a lemon wedge instead of just under the skin, as he was supposed to. All of this is only a memory now. Eating on Amtrak isn’t horrible, but it’s nothing special at all.

Food In The Movies

Today is the birthday in 1911 of Jean Harlow, the most unforgettable (because of her voluptuousness) character in the classic film Dinner At Eight. It’s about a fabulous dinner with guests and conversations from hell.

Eating Across America

Today in 1845, Florida became the last state in the South to join the Union. It had been a Spanish colony until well into the 1800s. The dominant cuisine of Florida now, other than standard American, is Cuban, particularly in the southernmost part of the state. There’s also a strong Greek presence around Tarpon Springs. And Southern cooking throughout the Panhandle. Lots of fine seafood resources, notably Apalachicola oysters, pompano on the Gulf Coast, and royal ruby shrimp and rock shrimp. Conch is a big deal in the keys. But the finest Florida food export is oranges, the best juice oranges this side of our own here Louisiana.

Words To Eat By

“Round a table delicately spread, three or four may sit in choice repast, or five at the most. Who otherwise shall dine, are like a troop marauding for their prey.”–Archestratus, ancient Greek food authority and poet.

Words To Drink By

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.”–Emile-Auguste Chartier, French writer, born today in 1868.

2021 Daily Holidays that fall on March 3, include:

  • 33 Flavors Day 
  • Bonza Bottler Day 
  • Canadian Bacon Day 
  • I Want You To Be Happy Day 
  • If Pets had Thumbs Day 
  • International Ear Care Day 
  • National Anthem Day 
  • National Cold Cuts Day 
  • National Mulled Wine Holiday 
  • Navy Reserves Birthday 
  • Peach Blossom Day 
  • Simplify-Your-Life Day 
  • Soup it Forward Day 
  • Stop Bad Service Day - March 3, 2021 (First Wednesday in March)
  • Talk in Third Person Day 
  • TB-303 Appreciation Day 
  • World Birth Defects Day 
  • World Wildlife Day 

2021 Weekly Holidays that include March 3, are:

  • British Pie Week - March 1-7 (Observed for 7 days starting on March 1st)
  • Endometriosis Awareness Week - March 3-9, 2021
  • Fairtrade Fortnight - February 22 - March 7, 2021
  • Hearing Awareness Week - March 1-7
  • Lent - February 17 - March 29, 2021
  • Make Mine Chocolate - (Campaign kicks off annually on Feb 15, and ends onꃪster which is April 4, 2021)
  • National Aplastic Anemia & MDS Awareness Week - March 1-6
  • National Cheerleading Week - March 1-7
  • National Ghostwriters Week - March 1-7
  • National Green Week - February 7 - April 30, 2021
  • National Pasty Week - February 28 - March 6, 2021
  • National Pet Sitters Week - March 1-7
  • National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week - March 1-7
  • Newspaper in Education Week - March 1-5, 2021 (First Full School Week in March)
  • Read Across America Week - March 1-5, 2021 (M-F week of Dr. Seuss Birthday on March 2)
  • Telecommuter Appreciation Week - March 1-7, 2021 (Week that includes Alexander Graham Bell's Birthday of 3/2)
  • Universal Human Beings Week - March 1-7
  • Will Eisner Week - March 1-7

2021 Monthly Holidays that include March 3, are:

There are too many monthly holidays to include here, so please check out our March Holidays page to see all of the holidays that are celebrated the entire month of March.

  1. A page on each holiday will be coming soon and linked above.
  2. If a date is a movable holiday, that is different every year, I'll include the year as well as the date rule above. Otherwise, the holiday falls on the same date each year.

March Food Holidays

Return to the main page of this article.

One doesn&rsquot normally think of March as a holiday month&mdashbut take a look at all of these reasons to celebrate:

Each day of the month has something to celebrate too. Pick your day, plan a party, invite your friends to celebrate:

    , Shrove Tuesday (February or March)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Week is the second week of the month is the second Thursday
  • American Chocolate Week is the third week. , 3rd Saturday , Good Friday (March or April) , Easter (March or April)
  • March 1: National Peanut Butter Lovers Day
  • March 1: National Fruit Compote Day
  • March 2: National Banana Creme Pie Day(also spelled Cream Pie)
  • March 3: National Cold Cuts Day
  • March 3: National Moscow Mule Day
  • March 3: National Mulled Wine Day*
  • March 4: National Pound Cake Day
  • March 4: National Snack Day
  • March 5: National Cheese/Cheez Doodle Day
  • March 5: National Absinthe Day
  • March 6: National Frozen Food Day
  • March 6: National Oreo Day
  • March 6: National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
  • March 7: National Crown Roast Of
    Pork Day
  • March 7: National Cereal Day
  • March 8: National Peanut Cluster Day
  • March 9: National Crabmeat Day
  • March 9: National Meatball Day
  • March 10: National Blueberry Popover Day
  • March 10: National Pack Your Lunch
  • March 10: National Ranch Dressing Day
  • March 11: National Oatmeal-Nut Waffles Day
  • March 12: National Baked Scallops Day
  • March 13: National Coconut Torte Day
  • March 13: National Ginger Ale Day
  • March 14: National Potato Chip Day
  • March 14: National Reuben Sandwich Day
  • March 14: Pi Day (Pi is (3.14159) Bake A Pie Or A Pizza In Solidarity
  • March 15: National Ag Day/National Agriculture Day
  • March 15: National Pears Hélène Day (pears with Chocolate Sauce & Brandy)
  • March 16: National Artichoke Hearts Day
  • March 17: National Corned Beef And Cabbage Day
  • March 18: National Oatmeal Cookie Day
  • March 18: National Sloppy Joe Day
  • March 19: National Poultry Day
  • March 19: National Chocolate Caramel Day
  • March 20: National Bock Beer Day
  • March 20: National Ravioli Day
  • March 21: California Strawberry Day
  • March 21: National French Bread Day
  • March 21: National Healthy Fats Day
  • March 22: National Water Day
  • March 23: National Chia Day
  • March 23: National Chip and Dip Day
  • March 23: National Melba Toast Day
  • March 24: National Cheesesteak Day
  • March 24: National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
  • March 24: National Cocktail Day
  • March 25: National Lobster Newburg Day
  • March 25: National Pecan Day ‡
  • March 25: International Waffle Day (in the U.S. National Waffle Day is August 24)
  • March 26: Make Up Your Own
    Holiday Day (We&rsquove Chosen To Make
    It Gourmet Mac & Cheese Day)
  • March 26: National Nougat Day
  • March 26: National Spinach Day
  • March 27: National Spanish Paella Day
  • March 27: International Whiskey Day†
  • March 28: Something On A Stick Day
  • March 28: National Black Forest
    Cake Day
  • March 29: National Lemon Chiffon
    Cake Day
  • March 30: National Turkey Neck Soup Day
  • March 31: National Tater Day
  • March 31: National Clams On The Half Shell Day
  • March 31: Oranges and Lemons Day

*National Hot Toddy Day is January 11th. National Hot Buttered Rum Day is January 17th. National Mulled Wine Day is March 3rd. National Hot Mulled Cider Day is September 30th.

†World Whiskey Day is May 15th.

‡This Pecan Day was declared by Virginia to commemorate a pecan tree planted by George Washington. National Pecan Day is April 14th, declared by Congress.

Continue To The April Food Holidays

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