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APRIL 2 - Today in Food History

- Whole Grain Sampling Day (April 2, 2014)
- Pascua Florida Day - State Day in Florida (See 1513 below)
- National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
- Feast of Acan, the Mayan God of Wine
- St. Urban of Langres' Day, patron of barrel makers, coopers, and vintners.

- National Week of the Ocean (March 30-April 5, 2014)

On this day in:

742 Charlemagne was born. Charlemagne, Charles I, Charles the Great, King of the Franks, Charles le Grand, Carolus Magnus, Karl Der Grosse, King of the Lombards, master of Western Europe, Emperor.
Some of the food related 'facts' I have come across related to Charlemagne:
* the peacock was first served in Europe during his reign;
* Sauerbraten was invented by Charlemagne;
* Roquefort cheese was a favorite of his;
* the knife began to be used to eat food for the first time during his reign (rather than the fingers);
* Roses were used to cover tables for meals.
I have no real corroboration for any of these 'facts'.

1513 Ponce de Leon landed in Florida while searching for the Fountain of Youth. He thought it was just another island of the Bahamas. (Sources vary on date from April 2 to April 8 but Florida celebrates on April 2)

1814 Erastus Brigham Bigelow was born (died Dec 6, 1879). Inventer of manufacturing machinery for making gingham cloth. The red & white checked tablecloths used in restaurants is a classic example of gingham.

The periodical, 'American Farmer' was founded by John Skinner

1827 Joseph Dixon began manufacturing the first lead (graphite) pencils.  Necessary to write recipes and menus.

1840 Emile Zola was born.  French writer and critic who was also known as a gourmand.  His detailed descriptions of simple meals, banquets and eating in his novels are among the best to be found anywhere.  He was also known for his own luxury dinner parties. "What will be the death of me are bouillabaisses, food spiced with pimiento, shellfish, and a load of exquisite rubbish which I eat in disproportionate quantities."

1863 THE RICHMOND BREAD RIOTS - Shortages of food caused hundreds of angry women gathered in Richmond, Virginia to march on the governor's office and then on the government commissary to demand bread.  It ended in a riot when they broke into the commissary and then other shops & buildings and carried out anything they could carry.  Even the hospital reported losing over 300 pounds of beef.  Arrests were made, but at the request of authorities, the newspapers downplayed the incident, and records were later destroyed when the Confederate government fled and burned much of the town behind them.

1889 Charles M. Hall received U.S. patent #400,655 for the process to extract aluminum from its ore.

1974 Alexandre Dumaine died (born Aug 26, 1895).  One of the most decorated French chefs.  Proprietier of 3 Michelin star Hôtel de la Côte-d'Or.  Author with Henry Clos Jouve of 'Ma Cuisnie' (1972).


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