From Too Many Chefs -

August 4, 2004
Food Facts

While stuffing a chicken with snow, Francis Bacon caught the case of pneumonia that killed him. Baby wasps taste like scrambled eggs, but unsurprisingly reindeer tastes like game. John F. Kennedy began the dinner celebrating his 45th birthday with Crabmeat baked in Sea Shells.

This odd assortment of trivia, along with other facts of dubious utility, can be found in the recently published Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany. The book's author, Ben Schott, promises "a collection of vital irrelevance and uncommon knowledge surrounding the worlds of food and drink." Now if someone could just tell me what Francis Bacon was doing to that poor chicken.

Posted by at August 4, 2004 1:50 PM | TrackBack

I love these kinds of books. Every so often a series of "weird fact" books comes out and captures the imagination. When I was younger, it was the People's Almanac, and then Felton and Fowler's Best, Worst, and Most Unusual.

I'm sure we can look forward to several more miscellanies from Mr. Schott in the years to come.

Posted by Barrett on August 4, 2004 at 2:34 PM

Bacon was trying to prove that meat could be preserved by freezing it. Given his name, perhaps a better experiment would have involved curing the chickens instead.

Posted by Sweth on August 4, 2004 at 4:18 PM

Sweth, thanks for the follow-up. Knowing nothing about the history of food preservation, I would have assumed that those dwelling in sub-zero clients would have know this all along. I guess one sure never assume.

Barrett, I like these kinds of books as well. Perhaps I have a short attention span.

Posted by Frolic on August 4, 2004 at 4:35 PM

Bacon Chicken would be a good name for a poultry and pork dish. "Francis Chicken" would make no sense in the freezer case.

Posted by Barrett on August 4, 2004 at 5:04 PM

Francis Chicken would make sense if the box featured a benevolent monk letting free-range poultry land on his outstretched arm.

Bacon Chicken, to tie in with Paul's AdoboQuest, looks pretty appealing to me:

Posted by Sweth on August 4, 2004 at 11:10 PM

Would the monk be standing in a hole or would this chicken on approach have miraculously reacquired the power of flight? I want to hear the hymn that goes with the dish, "Suffer all the little chiiiickens..."

OK, that's very silly. I want to mention that I took at look at the book in question last night and it somehow charged itself to my credit card and came home with me.

I hate when they do that.

Posted by Barrett on August 5, 2004 at 8:41 AM

Chickens can fly at around 10 miles an hour for a few seconds at a time; that would be more than sufficient to get one onto the arm of a nearby monk, unless said monk were thirty or forty feet tall.

Posted by Sweth on August 5, 2004 at 9:11 AM

I don't think a thirty foot monk is practical. People would look up the robes, for one thing.

Posted by Barrett on August 5, 2004 at 9:33 AM

I have this book too. My sister gave it to me last year when she visited from London. Always good for a few chuckles. And I like the way it is bound.

Posted by umami on August 9, 2004 at 9:33 PM