Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Maunday, Maunday. Can't Trust that Day.

In order to follow FCC laws about educational content, I'll share what I learned this evening.

Yesterday, which I called Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, is also Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day. It is the last two in Great Britain. This is because people needed to use up their milk and eggs, which were also part of the Lenten fast. This is the reason IHOP offers free short stacks on that day. In Ireland, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, the traditional pancake is thinner and served with powdered sugar and a fresh squirt of lemon juice. In Sweden they eat a pastry called a semla, paczki in Poland (it is Fat Thursday in Poland), and berliner in Germany.

Maunday Thursday is the Thursday before Good Friday. "Maunday" comes from mandatum from the Latin phrase for "a new commandment I give unto you," which Jesus apparently said the evening that he washed the disciples' feet.

I mentioned foie gras earlier. The pristine pineapple of civilization, Egypt, first fattened geese for consumption with hieroglyphs depicting people holding geese by the neck with a table full of pellets next to them. The first or only surviving Roman cookbook talks about the "fig liver" of the goose (because the goose was fattened with dried figs). This Latin word for fig lives on as the source of the word for liver in French, Spanish and Italian. This is the first mention of the goose liver specifically. Then it fell out of consciousness with the fall of Rome. But thankfully, the Jews continued the tradition and brought it with them north from Israel. This was a convenient grease for the Jews who couldn't use dairy butter with meat, or lard from pigs. Renaissance gormands knew the place to go for the delicacy was the Jewish ghettos. A chef for the German nobles wrote Kuchbuch which mentions two to three pound goose livers.

If it is the first of the month for you: Rabbit Rabbit. If it is the second, which is more likely: Aardvark Aardvark.

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At March 02, 2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Scott said...



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