One of our historically themed nights. January 10th, events picked out from the previous century. It’s funny, looking back from 2015 when I’m adding this to the blog, we take for granted being able to search for and find all sorts of information from dates gone by. I remember when I was doing these dinners in the mid to late 1990s, how little information popped up in searches. Google was still a university research project throughout most of the time, it had only recently been incorporated and released as a public search engine around the time of this dinner. Most online searches I did were probably through WebCrawler, Lycos and AltaVista, which were the big three at the time – only not so big. Then again, neither was the World Wide Web – at the time of this dinner there were roughly three million pages on the web, today, the number is approaching 1 billion (and counting).
1999 is the beginning of the end of a millennium. The Second Sunday Supper Circle will celebrate the last thousand years over the upcoming months. The january dinner started out with a look back at music and musicals that were premiered on january 10ths through history. In the course of research, I found that this date is also the feast day of several saints – which is completely irrelevant given our non-religious bent, except that other research connected a certain russian theme together, thus making the life of St. Paul of Obrona, a monastic saint of the far north of russia, somewhat relevant. Well, not really, but at least there was a russian connection. Paul lived amongst the animals, probably didn’t eat them as we are about to, and generally communed with nature, god, etc. We begin dinner with a translated quote from the man himself. “Have unfeigned love among yourselves, keep the traditions, and may the god of peace be with you and confirm you in love.” Amen.
January 10, 1929; Edwin Rice and Kurt Weill premiere Street Scene on Broadway. Meanwhile, in Europe, Hergé introduces Belgian children and the world to Tintin and Milou with the release of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. We begin the evening with fish cakes based on an old Moscow-style cod dish and a bottle of 1988 Michel Frères Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs Brut.
January 10, 1947; Yip Harburg premieres Finian’s Rainbow. Elizabeth Ann Short is last seen alive in the lobby of the Regal Biltmore Hotel. The infamous Black Dahlia murder is still a mystery. The Regal Biltmore’s bar names a cocktail after her. The Soviet government creates a secret uranium research project, that is only now coming to light, in the Sillamäe region of Estonia. We uncover our own secret project by opening up paper-baked flounder fillets with pink oyster mushrooms and enjoying it with a bottle of 1997 Pigato “le rus se ghine” from Riccardo Bruna.
January 10, 1928; George & Ira Gershwin and Signmund Romberg premiere Rosalie. Luxembourg issues a new stamp – it’s red. The Koshki District in Samara, home of the annual Grushin Music Festival and the Aladin Art Museum, is created. We celebrate with red borscht and the new release (1997) of Giuncheo’s Rossesse di Dolceacqua “Pian del Vescovo”.
January 10, 1945; Erskine Hawkins releases his now classic album Tuxedo Junction. Valentin Valentinovich Lazutkin, now the head of the Russian Federal TV and Radio Broadcasting Service, is born. The Battle of the Bulge ends. We begin it again with a dish of lamb and black-eyed pea puree based on an old Azerbaijani recipe – thus also getting in our black-eyed peas for the new year. Lamb pairs really well with 1976 Jasmin Côte Rôtie.
January 10, XXX; We feel slightly guilty about leaving out those other saints. Today is, after all, their feast day. There are numerous saints that various people celebrate today as their day. The only two widely agreed upon are: from the 7th century, St. Agatho, a Sicilian benedictine monk. In the 13th century, St. (Pope) Gregory (X), from Piacenza, in Emilia-Romagna. We momentarily leave the russian thing alone and eat some Ricotta Salata and Parmigiano with aged balsamico to commemorate, well, these guys. That balsamico needs a nice rich 1990 Amarone from Acinum to wash it down.
January 10, 1986; The Kennedy Center in Washington opens the first full-length (4 hours!) revival of Jerome Kerns’ Showboat. The Great Lakes Piping Plover officially becomes endangered. The russian thing returns, just because. We’re not eating plover. Not because it’s endangered. Because it’s dessert. Which happens to be cheesecake flavored with almonds, rosewater, saffron and cinnamon. From down-under, our accompaniment is a Sparkling Shiraz from Peter Rumball.