February 1, 2021 – National Serpent Day | National Baked Alaska Day
Some Purchases Seem Like A Bargain. Others Cause Great Debates. And When They Are Really Crazy, They Inspire A Dessert!
Welcome to February 1st, 2021 on the National Day Calendar. Today we celebrate cold blooded creatures and desserts born in a hotbed of controversy.
President Theodore Roosevelt was a lover of the natural world. When he visited Arizona in 1913, he made it a point to visit the Hopi Indian tribe in order to witness their sacred Snake Dance, something outsiders rarely get to see. This ceremony, which has been performed for centuries, is the tribe’s way of showing respect to nature in the hope of receiving ample rainfall in the coming season. The dance involves gathering snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, bathing them and draping them over men. As the men dance around, chanting, more snakes are put on their bodies. Roosevelt was awed by the ceremony and as tough as he was, he was taken aback by the site. On National Serpent Day, we celebrate these reptiles who often get a bum rap. Although we strongly recommend viewing them at a safe distance.
In 1867 there was a hot debate over the purchase of Alaska from Russia for a cool 7 million. When Secretary of State William Seward agreed to the price and Alaska became a United States territory, some referred to it as Seward’s Folly. That’s when chef Charles Ranhofer, of Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City, whipped up a dessert to capitalize on the heated controversy. His frozen hard ice cream on a base of sponge cake covered in toasted meringue was called Alaska Florida, for its drastic temperature contrast. It also came at a whopping price that would equal about 40 dollars today. This strategy worked and his dessert is still on Delmonico’s menu. On National Baked Alaska Day, we enjoy a sweet bite of Seward’s success.
I’m Anna Devere and I’m Marlo Anderson. Thanks for joining us as we Celebrate Every Day.