Good morning! It’s Tuesday (the cruelest day), February 7, 2017, and it’s National Fettuccine Alfredo Day, also known as Thrombosis on a Plate (noodles, butter, and Parmesan cheese). Why the name? Wikipedia says this: “Alfredo Di Lelio invented the “fettuccine al triplo burro [butter]” (later named ‘fettuccine all’Alfredo’ or ‘fettuccine Alfredo’) in 1892 in a restaurant run by his mother Angelina in piazza Rosa in Rome.” It became famous because of its elaborate preparation at the table:
[The fettuccine] are seasoned with plenty of butter and fat parmesan, not aged, so that, in a ritual of extraordinary theatricality, the owner mixes the pasta and lifts it high to serve it, the white threads of cheese gilded with butter and the bright yellow of the ribbons of egg pasta offering an eyeful for the customer; at the end of the ceremony, the guest of honor is presented the golden cutlery and the serving dish, where the blond fettuccine roll around in the pale gold of the seasonings. It’s worth seeing the whole ceremony. The owner, son of old Alfredo and looking exactly like him, … bends over the great skein of fettuccine, fixes it intensely, his eyes half-closed, and dives into mixing it, waving the golden cutlery with grand gestures, like an orchestra conductor, with his sinister upwards-pointing twirled moustache dancing up and down, pinkies in the air, a rapt gaze, flailing elbows.
Did that make you hungry?
It’s also Independence Day on Grenada, celebrating its freedom from Britain in 1974. On this day in 1898, Émile Zola was brought to trial for libel for publishing J’accuse, a defense of Alfred Dreyfus. Zola was found guilty, but fled to England for 17 months. On February 7, 1938, the game Monopoly was invented, and it’s still going strong. Five years later to the day, the Disney film Pinocchio opened. On Febraruy 7, 1990, the Central Committee of the Soviet Union agreed to relinquish power, leading to the dissolving of the Soviet Union. Finally—and this is unbelievable—it was on this day in 2013 that Mississippi officially certified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the final state to approve the abolition of slavery (the state had ratified the Amendment in 1995). (If you doubt that, go here.) It had, of course, become law long before that, as only 3/4 of the states need ratify an amendment before it goes into force.
Notables born on this day include Charles Dickens (1812), Laura Ingalls Wilder (“Little House on the Prairie,” 1867), G. H. Hardy (1877), Sinclair Lewis (1885), Dock Boggs (1898, an Appalachian folk singer, songwriter, and banjo player whose recordings are mesmerizing; listen to his version of “Oh Death” here), and Matt Ridley (1958). Those who died on this day include Josef Mengele (1979; escaped justice), King Hussein of Jordan (1999), and Anne Morrow Lindbergh (2001). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is flummoxed by what humans consider noms:
Hili: Interesting, what is she doing there?Cyrus: It looks as if she is slicing an onion.Hili: Humanity always astounds me.
Hili: Ciekawe co ona tam robi?
Cyrus: Wygląda jakby kroiła cebulę.
Hili: Ludzkość zawsze mnie zdumiewała.
Leon, now back in Wloclawek from his vacation, is still enjoying outdoor adventure.
Leon: Do you think that a cat’s life is so easy?