Is That A Fact!?
Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia
On this day, in 1993, the Moo Cream Pitcher was invented.
Ioannis Stefanopoulous thought that the one thing missing from a good cup of tea was a jug that would moo when the milk was poured. And so he invented the Moo Cream Pitcher. The Moo Cream Pitcher is in the shape of a cow and whenever the pitcher is lifted and tilted to pour out the milk or cream through the cow’s mouth, the cow moos!
And on food that talks, today is also Towel Day! Towel Day is a tribute to Douglas Adams and on this day you are supposed to carry a towel with you everywhere you go, just like in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hitchhikers is of course part of one of the most important literary trilogies of all time. And one of the most significant scenes is when they are in the restaurant and they are asked if they want to meet the dish of the day. A large dairy cow approaches the table and describes parts of its body. Arthur is horrified that the animal wants them to eat it and his friend, Zaphod, says that it’s better than eating an animal that doesn’t want to be eaten. Food for thought there (forgive the pun).
Speaking of dairy, it was once thought that fermented mare’s milk (koumiss) could defend people against tuberculosis. The milk is usually fermented because unfermented mare’s milk has 40% more lactose than cow’s milk, and consumption usually ends up in some anti-social noises and smells. In 1901, Anton Chekhov drank four bottles of fermented mare’s milk every day to try and ward off tuberculosis. Unfortunately it didn’t work, but he did gain 12 lb in two weeks. So he was looking quite well fed for his wedding, which was on this very day, in 1901.
Sadly for Anton Chekhov, he succumbed to tuberculosis in 1904. But he might have been saved by penicillin, which, on this very day in 1940, was finally proven to work in the famous Florey experiment. It then went into commercial production and a few years later it saved many lives of Allied soldiers in World War II. In fact, many say it influenced the outcome of the war. But sadly, for Chekhov, it was around 40 years too late.
In his short story, “Errand,” Raymond Carver told the story of Chekhov’s death. And Raymond Carver was actually born on this very day in 1938! The story re-tells a startling account from Chekhov’s wife. Apparently Chekhov sat up in his death bed, said, “Ich sterbe” (I’m dying, in German, which he didn’t really speak), drank a glass of champagne, said, “I haven’t drunk champagne in a long time,” and died.
I guess if there’s one thing to take away from all that, it’s don’t panic! Seize the day and drink champagne, possibly from a Moo Cream Pitcher. Just don’t forget your towel.
And that’s a fact!