W.K. Kellogg born, 1860. First modern Olympiad opened, in Athens, Greece, 1896. Time to manure asparagus, Nebraska.
April 7, Tuesday - Marriage is a covered dish. Henry Ford died, 1947.April 8, Wednesday - Sonje Henie born, 1912. A cold April the barn will fill.
April 9, Thursday - Dried milk patent, 1872. 16 inches snow, Eastport, Maine, 1917.
April 10, Friday - Good Friday. Moon on Equator. Moon at apogee. Gingham manufacturing machine patent, E. Bigelow, 1845.
April 11, Saturday - Full Pink Moon. Passover. Apollo 13 launched, 1970.
April 12, Sunday - Easter. Comb-cutting machine patented, P. Pratt, 1799.
Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: What folk remedies for overindulgence in alcohol are there?
- M.S., Houston, Texas
Answer: Folk remedies range from cures for hangovers to prescriptions for prevention. We'll start with the latter, that being the best remedy of all.
To aid in resisting the urge to drink, angelica root or leaves (from Angelica archangelica - not to be confused with wild angelica, A. atropurpurea) taken in a sweetened tea, are reputed to diminish the desire for alcohol because of an amino acid they contain. Oddly, the liqueur called Benedictine contains angelica, but we don't recommend it as your source.
Another drink, Fernet Branca, sometimes recommended as a "hair of the dog" cure, also contains angelica.
A healthier diet, supplemented with B-vitamins (found in abundance in wheat germ and brewer's yeast) is also supposed to help. In a pinch, sucking on a whole clove - if you can stand it - is reputed to offer some emergency relief from yearning for alcohol. You'd have to be a strong-willed sort, though, to replace an alcohol habit with a habit for sucking whole cloves.
If you want something more mechanical, the Greek name for amethyst, a pale lavender or purple quartz crystal, means "not drunk." Greeks sometimes carried a small bit of the stone in an amulet as a remedy for too much strong drink. Others believe it encourages a purity of heart and mind. Or, you could "just say no."
As for the hangover preventions, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, suggested eating a dinner of cabbages before going out for a big evening on the town. The Roman Cato agreed, suggesting raw cabbage dipped in vinegar, both before and after the meal. Cole slaw might do the same. Almonds, and-or coating the stomach with milk or milk products, have been suggested to offer protection, as well, and citrus products are thought to help speed the body's ability to burn alcohol. Eating a sweetened grapefruit, or drinking a glass of orange juice has been suggested. Other old-timers swore by rubbing a cut lemon on the armpits.
Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Could you explain, yet again, how you get from Ash Wednesday to Orthodox Easter?
- B.A., Camas, Wash.
Answer: Well, the easiest way is to check the Almanac, but there IS a formula. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, and the seventh Wednesday before Easter, resulting in a very biblical 40 days, not counting Sundays.
The Easter celebration once coincided more nearly with the Vernal Equinox and the New Year, and it was the Equinox that helped to fix the date of Easter. During the reign of Constantine in A.D. 325, it was determined that Easter should be fixed as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon (which is not necessarily the same as the real, or astronomical, full Moon) occurring just after the Vernal Equinox, which is also referred to as the 14th day of the Paschal Moon. By this formula, Easter can come as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. This year, the Vernal Equinox occurred on March 20, the next Full Moon was April 11th, and the next Sunday was the next day, April 12th, so that became Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, Good Friday is the Friday before, and Holy Saturday is the day before. The Greek Orthodox Eastern Church calculates Easter according to the Julian calendar, however, so the dates are sometimes - though not always - different. This year, the Greek Orthodox Easter is April 19, the two dates running a week apart. Last year they were a month apart, as in 1994; otherwise, in 1991 through 1996 they were a week apart, and in 1990 they occurred on the same day. So, like we said, just check the Almanac - unless you have a Julian calendar handy!
Ask the Old Farmer's Almanac: Can you remind us of other, now all but forgotten cooking implements like the spider?
- C.W.A., Yorba Linda, Calif.
Answer: Sure. Someday we hope to be reminding readers about the blender and food processor, too. The spider you mention was a footed skillet, useful for fireplace cookery. Many other pots and utensils were replaced when cooking moved from the fireplace to the stovetop. Popcorn poppers today have little resemblance to the old baskets or tin boxes held over hot coals. Reflector ovens, like metal lean-tos placed before the fire, were probably not much missed, given their lopsided results, although they're still sometimes used at campfires outdoors. Steamed pudding containers probably look foreign to many of us today as well, because the puddings themselves have been all but forgotten in the average household.
Going back even farther, if we could enter an Elizabethan kitchen, we might not recognize the cookery terms and vessels used there. Instead of a grater, the cook used a raspe, instead of a pastry dough she made a coffin.
This Week with The Old Farmer's Almanac
April 6-12, 1998
Full Pink Moon, April 11.
Pass the Cornflakes
William Kellogg, born on April 7, 1860, was the co-discoverer with his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of flaked cereals. Like many inventions, theirs came by accident. They were trying to oblige an irate customer at Dr. Kellogg's Battle Creek Sanitarium. She'd broken her false teeth on a piece of zwieback toast and demanded something "chewable." The Kelloggs boiled some wheat into a prridge and fed it through a hopper with rotating rollers to further pulverize the grains. The wheat came off the rollers in flakes. W.K. Kellogg later gained his fortune by successfully marketing baked, sweetened flakes as a breakfast cereal.
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain
Tip of the Week
It's easier to separate an egg yolk from the white if the egg is well-chilled.
No-Egg Orange Cake
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
juice of 1 large orange
1 cup powdered sugar
2 peeled, sliced oranges (optional)
Grease and flour a 13 x 9 pan. Sift together first three ingredients; set aside.
Cream butter and sugar, then mix in buttermilk and sour cream. Add the baking soda to the wet batter. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet. Pour batter into the pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pierce cake liberally with a toothpick. Mix orange juice and powdered sugar and pour over the warm cake. Serve as is, or topped with orange slices.
Makes about 15 servings.
The Old Farmer's Weather Proverbs
If the full Moon rises pale, expect rain. If the full Moon rises red, expect wind.
If the robin sings in the bush, then the weather will be coarse; but if the robin sings on the barn, then the weather will be warm.
An April flood carries away the frog and her brood.