Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A wormhole that ended at fudge

I turned the radio to the classical station just as the 1812 Overture was coming to the bells and cannon part. Naturally, I risked future deafness and cranked the volume up to 11 because that part has to be LOUD in order to fully enjoy it. The windows have to rattle or you're doing it wrong. At the end of it the announcer said that the song commemorated the Russian defense against Napoleon, which I didn't know. So I looked up the battle and then fell into a Wikipedia wormhole that started out with:

-the 1812 Overture. It was played as the inaugural performance at Carnegie Hall and conducted by Tchaikovsky himself. Then moved on to

-the War of 1812 (not related, although Napoleon played a part in both)(war is so dumb) and then moved on to

-the practice of impressment by the British of American sailors. They would literally park next to ships docked off the American coast and climb aboard and sniff out any British born sailors who had taken on American citizenship and force them come back and fight for the Empire. This did not go over well. From there is was a quick hop over to

-US and British naval ships. We had one called the USS Frolic, which seems like kind of a pansy name for a war ship, but the British had the HMS Reindeer. That doesn't even make any sense! Then a quick stop through

-Dolley Madison saving my favorite picture of Washington. It's called the Lansdowne portrait but I like to call it the "Well, here's this table, I guess." portrait because his expression says it all. It was his poor teeth! And then I read up on

-Naval Battles of the Great Lakes, including the Battle of Mackinac Island which made me giggle a little because I really wanted them to all eat fudge afterwards. Except that fudge wasn't invented yet. How do I know this?

-Because fudge was my next stop. Did you know that it's an American invention? And that it became popular through women's colleges like Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith ("Go to Smith?! She couldn't even spell it.") The Vassar recipe appears to be the original but it's tricky and you could end up with grainy fudge. Ugh, the worst! It was the Wellesley girls who added the marshmallows.

Who wants to come over for a fudge making party where we try out all three recipes and see who is the victor? We'll wear frilly aprons over our tweed skirts and form-fitting sweaters and in between tastings we'll fiddle with our pearls and talk about which boys we danced with after the Harvard/Yale game.

And we'll listen to the 1812 Overture to bring this baby full circle.


sarahgurl said...

My bubble has been burst.... I thought the 1812 overture was written for the American war.... All those canons?! It's played every year on the 4th of July? It's always seemed patriotic. Dang Russians

Rach said...

I love love love the 1812 Overture. I really crank that sucker when I need to hear some cannon fire. In fact, I'm not sure why I'm not listening to it right now.

I'm forever grateful to the person that figured out how to make fudge easier to make. I still don't make it, but my mom sure would have made it more often if it didn't cause so much anger around the kitchen.

Valerie said...

If that last paragraph was a description of your upcoming New Years Eve party, count me IN.