Celebrate July: National-eating-celebrations month

July is the month for national eating celebrations. Consider:

  • National Watermelon Month
  • National Picnic Month
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Blueberry Month
  • National Baked Beans Month.

It is also:

  • Eggplant Month
  • Corn Month
  • Lasagna Awareness Month.

Some July days are singled out for attention to special foods:

  • July 1 — National Gingersnap Day
  • July 6 — National Fried Chicken Day
  • July 7 — World Chocolate Day
  • July 8 — National Ice Cream Sundae Day, National Frozen Pop Day, National Chocolate with Almonds Day and National Blueberry Day.

July 9 deserves special commendation. It is National Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Omelet Day.

On July 9, 2023, Joey Chestnut ate 62 hot dogs in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. Chestnut was banned from the contest this year, so there was a new winner. A 26-year-old man from Chicago ate 55 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

In this same June 2024 Nathan’s Famous event, a 35-year-old woman who is studying to become a dental hygienist, set a new women’s record by downing 51 hotdogs. Her method was to eat two at a time. The newspaper of record, that prints the good, the bad and the ugly, offered the information that an ESPN commentator remarked, “Her style is like the prose of Eudora Welty.”

&&#^!!!! Reading this stopped me cold. The ESPN guy is describing a woman wolfing down two hot dogs at a time.

Eudora Welty?

Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom. Eudora Welty, whose house in Jackson, Mississippi is a National Historic Monument?

Her series of addresses at Harvard, published as “One Writer’s Beginnings,” is a great, great, great book. I can’t fathom how her prose can be compared with jamming hot dogs down your gullet.

July 12 is National Eat Your Jello Day.

Put gelatin in a search at The New York Times and you get 2,279 results, leading off with “Jell-O Shot Renaissance.” A close second place is Judge John Hodgman answering the question, “Should a 1960s mayo-gelatin-cottage-cheese-cabbage creature be revived?”

A Feb. 23, 2023, article: “Africa’s Donkeys Are Coveted by China. Can the Continent Protect Them?” discusses the slaughtering of millions of donkeys by Chinese coveting the gelatin from the animals’ hides that is processed into traditional medicines, popular sweets and beauty products.

Online, I couldn’t make myself move beyond No. 5 in “220 Hilariously Wobbly Jello Puns,” but those with a sense of humor (and a bit of nerve) will enjoy dipping into “The Great Gelatin Revival: Savory Aspics, Jiggly Shots & Outrageous Desserts” written by Ken Albala, a professor of history and food historian. He’ll guide you into eating eggs Benedict in Champagne jello for breakfast, “bouillabaisse hors d’oeuvres for lunch and cantaloupe with roast duck and celeriac salad spritz that night, followed by Bronx cocktail gelatin cubes served over ice cream.”

The book’s 227 pages contain lots of history and lots of recipes, starting with lines from a comic opera by Francesco Berni (1497-1535):

“Never an evening, nor morning
Nor noon, nor night, do I not contemplate
Uttering praises of gelatin.”

Next, we find instructions by Bartolomeo Scappi, personal chef to Pope Pius V, for preparing jello with the feet of castrated sheep and calves.

Or you can go to “Caesar Caesar,” a mashup of two classic dishes: the salad and the cocktail. Yes, instructions say to add gelatin to a mixture of vodka, crushed anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, Clamato, horseradish, mustard, croutons and four Romaine leaves. Enjoy.

The author says he knows all the jokes about fruit cake, but since he likes fruit cake, he mixes dried cherries, raisins, figs, prunes, cranberries, candied citron, walnuts and pistachios with a bourbon Old Fashioned cocktail and 2 1/2 tablespoons of gelatin.

A friend of the author happened to have a moose head in her freezer, which she shipped to him, and he prepared moose nose jelly for a TV crew shooting a film about him.

The first step is to briefly boil the nose and then, using thick sturdy tweezers, pull the hair out.

Then cook the dehaired moose head with a dash of vinegar, a tablespoon of salt, some aromatics on very low heat for 12 hours. No liquor involved.

The author claims the result is “rather mild … nothing terribly strange,” but he cautions to be sure to remove all those moose hairs.

Another recipe calls for two whole baby octopus.

The nightcap is Froot Loops, Campari, gin, red vermouth, dried white mulberries and three packets of gelatin. The author says,“It looks stunning and tastes just as good.”

As wise women say, “To each her own but don’t put all your eggs in one omelet and leave the gin out of your Froot Loops.”

Monday Munch
Monday, July 8 & 15,
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Menus to be announced.