May 102017

HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY to my blog!!!! How time flies when you’re having fun. Since I began in 2013 I’ve posted from 3 continents with all the complications that arise from being in different time zones.  In Argentina I had to be posted by 8 pm or I missed the server’s deadline (which is on GMT). In China I had the luxury of posting all the way until 4 am the next day, so I frequently posted in the early morning hours (very confusing for Facebook). Now that I am in Italy we are more or less in sync, but things will get muddled again when I move to Myanmar (or wherever) this summer. Posting will also get a bit erratic in July as I follow the Silk Road east through central Asia. No matter. The food should be great, and I will have tales to tell.

For aficionados, here’s all my May 10th posts. The first was charmingly short and sweet – very unusual for me (the “short and sweet” bit — I am always charming !). I had not yet hit my stride. Now I fear they are too long.

Here’s the current top 10 list – always something of a mystery (with hyperlinks in case you care to check them):

Arthur Rackham
Cleopatra and the Asp
The Little Prince
Madagascar Independence Day
Madame Tussaud
Darwin and the Galápagos Islands
Nauru Independence Day

I’m in the process of trying to find a publisher for a related cookbook. It’s not going too well at the moment, but one press may be interested. You’ll be the first to know if I am successful. Most on the top ten list will make it into the book.

On my actual birthday I post other anniversaries and birthdays, so let’s do the same today.

On this date in 1869 the golden spike (also known as The Last Spike) was driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.

The Roman Catholic church celebrates the Hebrew Bible figure of Job on this date, while other denominations use different dates in May.

Romanians celebrate today as Independence Day or King’s Day either to recall the victorious independence war against the Ottoman Empire in 1877-1878, concluded with the recognition of Romania’s independence, or the crowning of Carol I as its first king, as well as all the kings of the Romanian monarchy.

On this date in 1774 the dauphin of France, Louis-Auguste, became king of France on the death of his grandfather, Louis XV (his father had died in 1765).  Things did not go well for Louis XVI.

In 1801 a little known war, the First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitanian War and the Barbary Coast War, the first of two Barbary Wars, broke out between the United States, Sweden and the four North African states known collectively as the “Barbary States.” Three of these were nominal provinces of the Ottoman Empire, but in practice autonomous: Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. The fourth was the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

Notable birthdays:

1838 John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln.

1872 Marcel Mauss, French sociologist and anthropologist whose major work, The Gift, still has considerable influence within the social sciences.

1899 Fred Astaire. Just remember that the taps and other sounds are dubbed in !!! Not bad, though.

1946 Donovan, who first came to my attention with this song.

More anniversaries and birthdays next year – I promise.

A birthday cake is appropriate as a daily recipe, of course, but I don’t like cake very much. I’m going to roast a chicken and make an apple and berry pie. I’ll put some candles on the pie and take photos later today. I’ll update as I can, but now I have to get ready for work.


I did make the pie yesterday evening. It’s of a kind I make a lot these days.  I start with a large circle of flaky pastry which I place in an earthenware casserole with the excess hanging over the side.  Fill with apple slices and wild berries. Fold the pastry over the fruit, dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden. Easy-peasy. 4 candles for effect.