He was one of the most admired actors in the history of the movies.
Marilyn Monroe called him “the sexiest man” she had ever seen. And if you watch his early, incredible performances in “On the Waterfront” (1954), “Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), “The Wild One” (1953), “The Men” (1950), and my favorite Brando film “Guys and Dolls” (1955), you can see an almost-perfectly proportioned, sleek-looking, brilliant actor.
But even in these very early days of his movie career, the great Marlon liked his chow.
Actor Richard Erdman, a fellow actor in “The Men” (Brando’s first film), says Marlon’s diet at the time consisted of “junk food, take out, and peanut butter”, which he consumed by the jarful.
By the mid-fifties, Marlon had become renowned for eating boxes of Mallomars and Cinnamon Buns, and washing his sweet treats down with a quart of milk.
Close friend, Carlo Fiore, said Marlon would go on extreme crash diets in the fifties and sixties, but then would lose his willpower.
He would subsequently gorge on huge breakfasts consisting of corn flakes, sausages, eggs, bananas and cream, and a huge stack of pancakes drenched in maple syrup. (One of Brando’s nicknames for himself was “Branflakes”.)
Carlos Fiore would be dispatched by Brando’s directors to fetch him out of local coffee shops.
The late Karl Malden, a close friend, said that during the shooting of “One Eyed Jacks” (1961) Brando would eat “two steaks, potatoes, two apple pies a la mode, and a quart of milk” for dinner.
This diet necessitated the constant altering of his costumes during filming.
Because of this, at his birthday party that year, the crew gave Marlon a belt as his present with the card, “Hope it fits”.
His birthday cake was labelled “Don’t feed the director” (Brando was the director of “One Eyed Jacks”).
The word “pizza” is thought to have come from the Latin word pinsa, meaning flatbread (although there is much debate about the origin of the word). A legend suggests that Roman soldiers gained a taste for Jewish Matzoth while stationed in Roman occupied Palestine and developed a similar food after returning home.
However a recent archeological discovery has found a preserved Bronze Age pizza in the Veneto region.
By the Middle Ages these early pizzas started to take on a more modern look and taste. The peasantry of the time used what few ingredients they could get their hands on to produce the modern pizza dough and topped it with olive oil and herbs.
The introduction of the Indian Water Buffalo gave pizza another dimension with the production of mozzarella cheese. Even today, the use of fresh mozzarella di buffalo in Italian pizza cannot be substituted.
While other cheeses have made their way onto pizza (usually in conjunction with fresh mozzarella), no Italian Pizzeria would ever use the dried shredded type used on so many American pizzas.
The introduction of tomatoes to Italian cuisine in the 18th and early 19th centuries finally gave us the true modern Italian pizza. Even though tomatoes reached Italy by the 1530s it was widely thought that they were poisonous and were grown only for decoration.
However the innovative (and probably starving) peasants of Naples started using the supposedly deadly fruit in many of their foods, including their early pizzas.
Since that fateful day the world of Italian cuisine would never be the same, however it took some time for the rest of society to accept this crude peasant food.
Once members of the local aristocracy tried pizza they couldn’t get enough of it, which by this time was being sold on the streets of Naples for every meal. As pizza popularity increased, street vendors gave way to actual shops where people could order a custom pizza with many different toppings.
By 1830 the “Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba” of Naples had become the first true pizzeria and this venerable institution is still producing masterpieces.
The popular pizza Margherita owes its name to Italy’s Queen Margherita who in 1889 visited the Pizzeria Brandi in Naples.
The Pizzaioli (pizza maker) on duty that day, Rafaele Esposito created a pizza for the Queen that contained the three colors of the new Italian flag.
The red of tomato, white of the mozzarella and fresh green basil was a hit with the Queen and the rest of the world. Neapolitan style pizza had now spread throughout Italy and each region started designing their own versions based on the Italian culinary rule of fresh, local ingredients.
From onion peels to kiwi seeds or even bits of chocolate, it seems any canvas is sufficient for Turkish artist Hasan Kale (previously) as long as it meets the requirement of being incredibly tiny.
Hasan delights in the challenge of depicting landscapes of his native Istanbul in the most infinitesimal of brush strokes, a feat that requires the use of a magnifying glass to appreciate the details of each piece.
While the longevity of each object he paints is questionable, the steadiness of his hand is impressive to witness.
The word tiffin is also used as a name for a lunchbox. Tiffins (or dhabbas) come in all shapes and sizes, but traditionally they are round, with three or four stacking stainless steel compartments firmly sealed with a tight-fitting lid and a side clip to avoid any nasty spillages and a handle for carrying on top.
In India food cooked at home with care and love is considered to deliver not only healthy (and relatively cheap) food but also divine contentment.
Lunch is usually eaten thali-style, with a tantalising selection of regional delicacies that may include any combination of spicy vegetables, dhal, rice, yoghurt, pickles, bread and pudding served on a big steel plate or a banana leaf. The separate compartments in the tiffin lunchbox accommodate thali lunches perfectly.
Tiffin culture is now to be found all over India. Everyone – from women in brightly coloured saris working in the fields to giggling families on long train journeys – carries a tiffin to provide a compact, portable, homemade lunch.
Every weekday without fail something rather extraordinary is to be seen around midday on the chaotic streets of Bombay (or Mumbai). This is the sight of hundreds of stainless steel tiered tiffin boxes or dhabbas piled high on handcarts and bicycles being pushed through the streets by dhoti-wearing, white-capped tiffin wallahs.
Expertly run by the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers’ Association, armies of these tiffin wallahs provide the invaluable daily service of speedily delivering piping hot home-cooked lunches to more than 200,000 busy office workers.
Many workers live 50 kilometres or more from their workplace, a long commute on a packed train. There is certainly not time for the cook of the house to prepare a full meal before they leave home.
So the lunch-filled tiffin boxes are picked up later in the morning, colour-coded and transported to the station, where they are collected by the tiffin wallahs, whose mission is to deliver each box to its corresponding workplace still hot from the pan – and to return the empty tiffin to the home before the end of the working day.
With the essential core values of punctuality, teamwork, honesty and sincerity providing the backbone to the business, they have a staggering 99.99% success rate.
The tiffin wallahs have become so revered that they are now called on to lecture to big businesses, and have been honoured guests at British royal weddings.
They are considered so trustworthy that workers often place their wages inside the clean tiffin box on its return journey rather than risk carrying money on the commuter train.
In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case.
“Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed,” says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the lodge.
The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century.
The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces.
“They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur,” says Caira Farrell, librarian. “The very first mention of them is in 1576 in the first book on dogs ever written.”
The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. And that’s how the turnspit got its other name: vernepator cur, Latin for “the dog that turns the wheel.”
Back in the 16th century, many people preferred to cook meat over an open fire. Open-fire roasting required constant attention from the cook and constant turning of the spit.
“Since medieval times, the British have delighted in eating roast beef, roast pork, roast turkey,” says , author of Amazing Dogs, a Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, the book that first led us to the turnspit dog.
“They sneered at the idea of roasting meat in an oven. For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog.”
When any meat was to be roasted, one of these dogs was hoisted into a wooden wheel mounted on the wall near the fireplace. The wheel was attached to a chain, which ran down to the spit.
As the dog ran, like a hamster in a cage, the spit turned.
“Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs,” says Bondeson. “The roar of the fire. The clanking of the spit. The patter from the little dog’s feet. The wheels were put up quite high on the wall, far from the fire in order for the dogs not to overheat and faint.”
Tea and Damper by A . M. Ebsworth. Image Credit: From Digital Collection of the State Library of Victoria
by Blake Singley,
The first European settlers in Australia used a dizzying array of flora and fauna in their kitchens – but they cooked them in a traditional British style.
The relationship between European settlers and native Australian foodstuffs during the 19th century was a complex one.
While the taste for native ingredients waxed and waned for the first century of European settlement, there’s ample evidence to demonstrate that local ingredients were no strangers to colonials’ kitchens or pots.
British settlers needed to engage with the edible flora and fauna of the continent almost immediately upon arrival.
The journals of First Fleet officers record not only their reliance on native food, but the relish with which they enjoyed it.
For example, First Fleet surgeon George Worgan noted in his diary a feast held to celebrate the King’s birthday:
We sat down to a very good Entertainment, considering how far we are from Leaden-Hall Market, it consisted of Mutton, Pork, Ducks, Fowls, Fish, Kanguroo, Salads, Pies and preserved Fruits.
Forget about mannerisms, eye colour and preferred occupations, our most important family trait – apparently – is how we construct a Cornish pastie.
The Sarah family originally lived in Probus, Cornwall, then in 1879 sailed to Australia on the Scottish Lassie as free settlers, bringing the pastie secret with them.
Two great chroniclers of our family history, Elsie Price and Gwen McGregor amazingly listed the Sarah family traits – red hair, prominent noses, twins (particularly lots of boys), long fingers and small wrists, musical interests (in choirs and instruments), a love of horses, dogs and cats – in that order.
And lastly, hay fever and allergies.
Oh and let’s not forget those pasties!
Photo: Susie Sarah.
I’m happy to tick off quite a few traits on that list.
I have long fingers and small wrists, have sung in choirs, played the flute and massacred the piano. I owned a couple of chestnut horses, heaps of dogs and masses of cats – in that order, and enjoy a nice range of allergies.
But what is the relevance of those Sarah pasties?
I note owning bakeries is common in our family and my first job was in a cake shop.
My mother and grandmother were into baking and we often said mum should run a roadhouse – with my sister as a madam of a house of ill repute at the rear – catering to the needs of truckies.
It seems business is big in our family – we come from a fine lineage of shop keepers.
Being in trade has never been an embarrassment to us, but rather a claim to fame.
The much-maligned deep-fried Mars bar is coming under attack again. Photograph: PA Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
by Chitra Ramaswamy
Birthplace of the World Famous Deep Fried Mars Bar,” the banner announces. It’s vast, proud, and under threat.
Welcome to The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, where 20 years ago – so the legend has it – two pupils from the local academy challenged each other to eat a load of random battered stuff, resulting in the Scottish delicacy (or culinary embarrassment, depending on who you talk to) known as the deep-fried Mars bar.
Aberdeenshire council refuses to share The Carron’s pride and has demanded the banner’s removal. Lorraine Watson, the Carron’s owner, remains unapologetic and tells me the deep-fried Mars bar tastes “like a warm millionaire’s shortbread” and is going nowhere.
The Carron currently sells 150-200 bars a week. “The council are now saying it’s the banner that’s the problem, not the fact that it’s about deep-fried Mars bars,” she says. “Well I’m sorry, but there are thousands who come here from all over the world to buy one. It’s an icon for Stonehaven.”
Does she think the deep-fried Mars bar, which boasts its own Wikipedia page and has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, has been unfairly blamed for Scotland’s record on obesity and ill-health?
“Yes,” she says. “It’s really for tourists.
And everything is bad for you if you do it enough. People come here to go to Dunnotter Castle and then have a deep-fried Mars bar as a wee treat. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Today, it’s easy to order a chunk of animal flesh seared with black stripes on the outside and still bloody on the inside, garnished with a bit of coagulated milk protein now melted by heat — a cheeseburger, if it must be labeled. But apparently, such a dish was just odd when it first came out.
At The New York Times, Mark Bulik looks back in the paper’s archives at the first mentions of a cheeseburger.
A 1938 article puzzles over the “whimsy” of California eateries, which not only include buildings in the shape of windmills, lemons, oranges and shoes, but also serve strange foodstuffs.
While hotdogs and hamburgers are already “American national dishes,” variations like the “nutburger, cheeseburger, porkburger” and “turkeyburger” are “typical of California.” Reporter Elizabeth Forman was probably shaking her head in disbelief as she wrote it.
Fully credible adoption of the cheeseburger took time. Bulik writes:
Nine years later, the newspaper was taking the phenomenon a bit more seriously, though it still admitted that the very notion seemed preposterous.
“At first, the combination of beef with cheese and tomatoes, which sometimes are used, may seem bizarre,” The Times intoned on May 3, 1947. “If you reflect a bit, you’ll understand the combination is sound gastronomically.”
The article includes a helpful picture as if to assure the reader that cheeseburgers and tomato accompaniment are indeed a thing.
Of course, as a paper of record, The Times makes an effort to cover and even predict societal trends. Though — as the satirical Twitter account “The Times is On It” points out, the effort can occasionally seem a little behind the trend’s peak.
And when the topic includes a little bit of the famous New York City, Los Angeles rivalry, things can be amusing for both sides.