JANUARY 12 - Today in Food History
- National Marzipan Day
On this day in:
1833 Marie-Antoine Carême died in Paris. Carême was known as "the cook of kings and the king of cooks". He is the founder and architect of French haute cuisine. His story is one out of a Dickens novel.
He was one of 25 (?) children born to an impoverished family who put him out on the street at the age of about 10 to make his own way in the world. Lucky for the world he knocked on the door of a restaurant for a job. He might have knocked on the door of a blacksmith!
By the age of 21 he was chef de cuisine to Talleyrand. He also served as head chef to the future George IV of England, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and Baron James de Rothschild. He wrote several large books on cookery, which included hundreds of recipes, menus, history of French cookery, instructions for organizing kitchens, and directions for elaborate architectural constructions of food for display (pièces montées). Carême died at the age of 48.
1885 John Bloomfield Jarvis died. A civil engineer, he designed and built the Boston Aqueduct and the 41 mile long Croton Aqueduct (New York City's water supply for over 50 years from 1842).
1899 Paul Hermann Muller was born. A Swiss chemist who discovered that DDT was a potent insecticide. It was the most widely used insecticide for more than 20 years, and helped to increase food production around the world. Due mainly to its accumulation in animals that eat insects, and its toxic effects on them and those further up the food chain, it has been banned in the U.S. since 1972. However its residue is still found in some foods grown in the U.S. in 2002!
1916 Ruth Rogan Benerito was born. American chemist who was a pioneer in the development of wash and wear fabrics. She also helped develop cotton fabrics that are stain resistant. Thanks to Benerito, your chef's jacket can be clean and wrinkle free.
1948 The opening of Britain's first supermarket, at Manor Park, run by the London Co-Op.
I have conflicting information on this. Some sources say the first supermarket in Britain, ‘The Premier,’ opened on September 1, 1951.
2001 William Hewlett died. Founder with David Packard of Hewlett Packard Company. Before they became famous for computers and printers etc., some of their early inventions were an automatic urinal flusher and a weight loss shock machine!