Samui Wining & Dining
Tasty Dates

November has many culinary-related curiosities – here are just a few of them.


08Food is never far out of mind, particularly here on Samui. But the world is a strange place. And so in this monthly feature we check back through the years to some of the people, places and events that have been particularly curious in the world of wining and dining. And the month of November seems to have more than its fair share of animals with too many bits!

1st – This was the day in 1798 that Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness was born. Upon the death of his father he not only became sole owner of the Guinness empire but also was later elected Lord Mayor of Dublin (in 1851).

2ndMarie Antoinette was born on this day in 1755, later becoming Queen Consort of King Louis XVI of France. Her fame remains due to her remark regarding the revolting peasants, “… if they have no bread then let them eat cake.” (She also had a penchant for wearing potato flowers in her hair.)

3rd – This was the day back in 1718 that John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich, requested that his chef place his beef snack between two pieces of bread, in order to avoid getting greasy hands when playing cards.

4th – On this day in 1879 the first-ever cash register was invented by James and John Ritty, owners of the Pony House Restaurant in Ohio. They were trying to find a way to stop their staff stealing customers’ payments and this seemed to do the trick nicely.

5th – “Many enthusiasts would eat 70 or 80 at a sitting.” Thus spoke the organiser of the ‘Snail Eating Festival’ in Digoin, France, on this day in 1998. Presumably they were being consumed at anything but a snail’s pace!

6th – On this unlucky day in 2009, a chicken with four legs was born on the farm of Mulicat at Ajala, a farmer in the Nigerian State of Ojuore. The hapless farmer was promptly accused of being a wizard and had to flee for his life!

7th – Seventeen thousand barrels of rum and nobody home! This was the day in 1872 that the merchant ship, Mary Celeste, was found abandoned and floating off the coast of the Azores. Her captain, his wife and daughter and seven crew members were never seen or heard of again.

8th – Partnered projectile perfection was achieved on this day in 2008 at Arizona’s annual ‘Cherry Stone Spitting Contest’. Not only did Rick Krause win the men’s section with a record spit of 48 feet, but his wife, Cheryl, took first prize amongst the women.

9th – This was the sad day in 1953 that the legendry Welsh writer, Dylan Thomas, passed away in New York. Although his capacity for alcohol was formidable (he had consumed 18 straight whiskies before bedtime), it was actually the pneumonia that set-in the next day that led to his demise.

10th – Authorities in Beijing passed a new health law on this day in 2006: it was no longer permitted to site street food carts within 10 metres of public toilets!

11th – This day celebrates the ‘Feast of St. Martin’, patron-saint of drunkards. One might think that he’s got his hands full, but, confusingly, his workload seems to be shared by two others, St. Simon and St. Jude. All three saints bear the same title.

12th – The largest iceberg ever recorded was first spotted on this day in 1956. But exactly how this was suddenly noticed in the South Pacific is mysterious, as it was 208 miles long and 60 miles wide!

13th – This was the day in 1930 that The Rotolactor first saw the light of day. The Walker Gordon Dairy in New Jersey devised this circular machine, which was able to milk 50 cows at a time.

14th Leo Hendrik Baekland was born on this day in 1863. But it wasn’t until 1907 that he patented ‘Bakelite’, which revolutionised the design of cooker knobs and dials, as this was a plastic that didn’t soften or melt when heated.

15th – It’s got to happen sometime so let’s make the most of today as it’s ‘National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day’. Well, that’s in America but why let that stop you?

16th – This was the day back in 1913 that the French author, Marcel Proust, published the first volume of his massive missive, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’. Inspired by childhood memories triggered by eating tea-soaked toast, the seven-volume work ran to 1.5 million words and took 14 years to complete.

17th – 1749, and this was the day that the Frenchman, Nicolas Appert, announced a working method of preserving food. The forerunner of the cans that we know today, his process took seven years to perfect and used glass jars sealed with wax.

18th – Swiss folk hero, William Tell, really did shoot the apple off his son’s head, on this day back in 1307. He was arrested for refusing to bow before the image of the new emperor but secured his release by performing this near-impossible feat of marksmanship.

19th – This was the day in 1961 that billionaire’s son, Michael Rockefeller, disappeared whilst researching the primitive tribes of New Guinea. His remains were never discovered, giving rise to the speculation that he had been consumed by local cannibals!

20th – This was the noteworthy day in 1820 that the whaling ship, Essex, was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the South Pacific. The event later inspired Herman Melville to create his classic novel, ‘Moby Dick’, which was published in 1857.

21st – Closer to home and on this day in 2007 Bangkok’s Chief of Police, Colonel Pongpat Chayapan, announced a scheme to reprimand policemen found guilty of minor misdemeanours. They were required to wear large pink ‘Little Kitty’ armbands for a week. And, as we all know, Little Kitty’s favourite food is … ‘yummy cookies’!

22nd – ‘Seven-legged lamb faces the chop!’ Thus read the headlines on this day in 2006, following the birth of a multi-limbed lamb on the farm of New Zealand’s Dave Callaghan. Unfortunately the spider-like creature was missing part of its bowel and was humanely destroyed after several days of media attention.

23rdRoald Dahl died on this day in 1990. He was the author of several popular children’s books, including titles such as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Pig’, ‘A Piece of Cake’, ‘Royal Jelly’ and ‘A Lamb to the Slaughter’, amongst many others.

24th – Another saint to the rescue! Today is the ‘Feast of St. Columbanus’. Spare him a thought as you brave the rainy season on the way to your favourite restaurant – he’s the patron-saint of motorbikes!

25th – Beer is better for you than water! This was officially proven by a series of experiments at the University of Granada on this day in 2007. After several hours of strenuous exercise, the control group that was drinking beer became more rapidly re-hydrated than their water-based counterparts.

26th – This was the day in 1968 that mega-rock band, Cream, starring Eric Clapton, played their final concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. All three members of the group are still playing professionally today, although two are now in their 70s!

27th – Rats! Giant ones in Chile, attacking and killing sheep! This was the day in 1997 that local authorities took steps to rid themselves of the huge rodents that had developed their enormous stature from feeding on the droppings of hormone-enhanced chickens.

28th – This was the day in 1984 that saw the demise of New Yorker, Sylvan Goldman. It was he who invented the shopping trolley at his Piggly Wiggly chain of supermarkets in 1937. But his staff had to walk around with them and pretend to be shoppers, as the public didn’t realise what they were for!

29th – This was the day in 2004 that English policeman, Chris Poole, was attacked by a herd of cows and suffered four broken ribs and a punctured lung. He was walking his dog at the time and the explanation seems to be that the bovine bullies acted to protect their calves.

30thBlinky, the double-headed cow, was born on this day in 2002, on a farm in Tulare, California. “We named her Blinky because all her four eyes blink at the same time,” commented owner, Greg Hamstra.

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