Tag Archives: history

Food Feuds

Today we’re having a look at two spicy, bitter culinary rivalries. Who was the first to make a dish? Whose is the best? Can we resolve the great Slovenian-Austrian sausage fight? Is Tampa’s bread enough to usurp the Cuban Sandwich throne?

Let’s strap on the ol’ feedbag of information and scarf down some facts.

MIAMI vs. TAMPA: THE CUBAN SANDWICH

Let me begin by saying I have nothing against Tampa. Actually that came out wrong, I have plenty against Tampa. Those smug, highfalutin west coast Floridians are always dumping on us east coast Floridians like we’re all a bunch of second-class citizens, when the reality is that we record a very comparable amount of arrests for drunkenly trying to ride on large aquatic fauna every year.

Tampans (is that what Tampa natives are called? St. Petersburgers?) are rightfully proud of being the hometown of baseball legend Fred McGriff, in addition to above-average theme park Busch Gardens, but for them to challenge Miami on anything related to Cuban food is a step too far.

To make a long story short, Tampans claim that the “Cuban Sandwich” was invented in Tampa in the 1890s. At some point they made the dubious decision to add salami into the mix. There is essentially universal agreement on the sandwich’s other acceptable components: mojo marinated roast pork, ham, pickle, mustard and Swiss cheese, though Tampa’s bread is a bit different.

So Tampa’s claim to the Cuban Sandwich crown is hinging upon decidedly non-Cuban salami, and a slight bread variation, which is easily the least important part of any sandwich anyway. Let’s be honest bread is just a needlessly distracting, superfluous meat-blocking impediment.

I don’t care if NPR recently declared Tampa the winner of this food feud; Miami is the epicenter of the Cuban-American community, and as such shall have the final say on all matters pertaining to comida Cubana.

FEUD WINNER: MIAMI

AUSTRIA vs. SLOVENIA: KRAINER SAUSAGE

Sausage fight! Sausage fight! In this mighty meat melee between Austria and Slovenia, the world hasn’t seen a sausage-heavy confrontation of this magnitude since… I don’t know maybe last week’s Green Bay – Chicago Bears game.

Here’s a breakdown on the situaish…

Slovenia wants the very tasty Kranjska klobasa (or krainer sausage) to be given a protected and official status, as they claim it was invented in (what is now) Slovenia in the 1800s. But Austria has stepped in and made it clear that they do not approve of the Sound of this particular litigious Music, as sausage-eating, sausage-making and boasting about Austria are a few of their favorite things.

Apparently Austria’s claim to the sausage throne consists of the fact that they invented a similar but modified cheese-filled version, the Kaesekrainer*, in the 1980s. They also bemoan the fact that when the sausage was originally invented, the area was just part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and thus cannot be claimed exclusively by Slovenia.

Slovenia continues to push for a ruling stating that only sausages made in Slovenia in accordance with the original recipe would be allowed to be identified with the Kranjska or Krainer moniker. Austrian sausage-sellers wait on edge, as they believe changing the name of their porky product would be bad for business.

And of course there is an immense amount of sausage pride at stake here. That can’t be underestimated.

While the two countries await an official European Union Commission ruling on the matter, The Mighty F is always ready to issue a snap judgment based on little more than emotion, speculation and gut feeling.

FEUD WINNER: SLOVENIA (Sorry Austria, but a tie or a close ruling will probably never go to the country where Hitler was born.)

*A good lesson to all you aspiring inventors out there. If something’s already been invented, just stuff it with cheese, and bam, that’s a new thing.

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Fifteen Favorites From 2013

We did it! We completed another year discussing things that start with F. I thought for sure we’d run out of compelling things to talk about by now, but the letter F continues to yield a rich supply of fascinating, fantastic minutiae.

2013 was another banner year for TMF. I want to thank all of you for your kind and continued support for this incredibly silly endeavor, which hopefully will continue to serve as an enjoyable escape for F enthusiasts — and Indonesian spambots bent on selling me low price fashion design purses — for years to come.

OK enough with the platitudes, let’s have look at fifteen of the finest flashes from the year that was: 15 of our favorite posts (along with choice excerpts) from 2013!

15. Fourteen Freds“…but the Crime Dog is the best of the bunch. The Tampa native managed to smash 493 career dingers despite his awful swing that looked like an old left-handed man swinging a cane at a mosquito…”

“Another all-time great Fred, Mr. Rogers is still inspiring all of us to be better neighbors. Last year after reading a story about Mr. Rogers, I removed a spiteful cactus wall I’d planted just to anger my neighbor.”

14. FreebirdYou’ve probably heard the song. You most likely know at least some of the words, have cranked it on the radio, and dare I guess, you’ve fervently air guitar’d along with it at some point.  But for those of you in far-flung places like Australia, Belgium, or Ohio, you may not fully appreciate the true meaning – the profound cultural weight – of Freebird.”

13. Frightening Fish“Despite Sebastian the Crab’s misleading portrayal in The Little Mermaid of life under the sea being some sort of delightful Calypso paradise; the reality is not quite so idyllic. The truth is that there are many alarming things lurking under our waters…”

12. 440s – 450s A.D.“Legend has it that during this time, Polynesian bigwig Hawaiiloa and a group of intrepid sailors sailed thousands of miles from their home in the South Pacific and managed to reach Hawaii. (Just another early example of Americans goin’ big, punching limitations in the face, and rockin’ it superpower-style).”

11. Fillmore, Millard“Did he enable a little bit of slavery here and there? You bet. Was he anti-Catholic, anti-Mason and did he generally loathe immigrants? His Know Nothing party affiliation would suggest probably so. Is he almost always rated as one of the worst U.S. presidents of all time? Strike… Either way, it’s redemption time for one of our most obscure, forgotten leaders.”

10. Flossing (Scared Straight)“Y’all just take a seat right over there. I wanna talk about your teeth. I used to be just like you. Cruisin’ through life, not thinking about my teeth. Sure, I knew in the back of my mind it was wrong to not floss; I had seen the commercials and whatnot. Momma always told me it was important. I suppose I knew there would be consequences one day.  But I didn’t care; I was young and invincible, right? <really starts yelling and getting into frightened kids’ faces> Look at me! Look at me now! Y’all don’t wanna be like me! Bleeding gums, needing a prescription mouthwash and a special toothbrush… You think this is funny? Advanced stage gingivitis homey!” Continue reading

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Four Freedoms

We are delighted to welcome back our resident historian and stalwart friend today, Mr. Paul Washington. Please take a few moments to enjoy this timely reflection, and to appreciate all those who have sacrificed on our behalf.

In January of 1941, the United States was just beginning to emerge from the throes of the decade-long Great Depression. We were aware of the burgeoning war that had begun across the Atlantic, but our young men would not be called into full-fledged battle until that terrible attack on Pearl Harbor some 11 months later.

It was against this historical backdrop that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress and, via radio broadcast, to the citizens of the United States. He closed his speech with the now-famous “Four Freedoms Discourse,” in which he espoused the four freedoms essential to all of humanity: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
President Roosevelt's speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell.  Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

President Roosevelt’s speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell. Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

In light of today being a day set aside to honor our Veterans, we here at The Mighty F would like to take this opportunity to dedicate our little corner of the world wide web to honor those who have fought on our behalf to secure President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.  The text of the Four Freedoms Discourse is below:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”

“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

*Paul is a proud son of Madison County, Florida, home of WWII hero Capt. Colin P. Kelly, Jr., and location of the Four Freedoms Monument, which was commissioned by President Roosevelt.

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Filed under F Commentary, F History, Fighting, Foreign Policy Fixes

Fourteen Freds

Last year we had a post honoring the world’s Franks. The time has now come to celebrate another workmanlike, perfectly adequate name that for some reason has fallen on hard times: Freds of the world rejoice!

In doing a bit of research for this post, we stumbled upon a delightful/simpatico resource that honors the Freds of the world in a worthy manner: The Fred Society. There may be some overlap here of the Freds we highlight, but I hope our combined efforts can build more Fred-respect and perhaps create a resurgence of kids named Fred.

Here’s to you, people named Fred!

Fred McGriff – There have been a slew of notable baseball Freds (Fred Lynn, Freddy Garcia, Freddie Freeman, Freddie Sanchez, and of course my friend JD’s favorite manager, the much beloved Fredi Gonzalez), but the Crime Dog is the best of the bunch. The Tampa native managed to smash 493 career dingers despite his awful swing that looked like an old left-handed man swinging a cane at a mosquito.

Fred 'Crime Dog' McGriff pointing with authority.

Fred ‘Crime Dog’ McGriff pointing with authority.

Fred Astaire – Outside of MC Hammer, maybe the best dancer of the 20th century.

Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz, the pride of Omaha.

Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz, the pride of Omaha.

Fred, Right Said – The 60s gave us Civil Rights and Dylan, the 90s gave us Pokemon and Right Said Fred; the creators of the timeless tribute to unmerited braggadocio I’m Too Sexy. Continue reading

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Filed under F Athletics, F Commentary, F Lists

Fourteen Holy Helpers

In our self-obsessed, individual-driven world of medical breakthroughs, technological wonders and incredible Hot Pocket innovations, human beings are only becoming more self-reliant, insular and independent. We are ‘masters of our fate,’ and the ‘captains of our souls.’ Many of us have no need for God or anything of the sort. We are our own helpers, our own healers.

But back in the 14th Century, when the Black Plague was mowing down everything in sight, we weren’t quite so sure of ourselves. We needed all the help we could get. In those days, the people turned to 14 Holy Helpers to deal with their many problems. Let’s have a look at this elite group and what they were called upon to help protect against.

Agathius – – Headaches

At first glance, this seems like overkill having a Heavenly Helper designated just for headaches. But then again I can’t imagine spending a day productively threshing wheat, being a blacksmith’s apprentice or cheesemongering with a pounding headache. Continue reading

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Filed under F History, Faith

Florida PR Email Leak

I can only imagine that whoever has the task of doing Public Relations for the state of Florida has, shall we say, a challenging job. Here is a fake “leaked email” that I could see coming from that beleaguered PR office.

Greetings everyone.

Guys, I’m disappointed. This was supposed to be a huge year for us, what with the 500th anniversary of Florida’s discovery, the “Viva Florida” campaign and all the other great initiatives we’ve been working so hard on.

The attention seems to be backfiring. Have you seen all this stuff about Ponce de Leon being a fraud and calling our whole history into question? They’re just using this as one more way to shame us and frame us as “the crazy state.” We need to figure out how to deal with this.

The big question remains of how to engage this attention and unflattering press. Do we embrace the bad boy persona? Do we resist it? Do we ignore it and just keep pounding out uplifting press releases?

Either way we need to get a handle on this. Being a laughingstock is bad for business. We’re about one more idiot trying to ride a manatee away from losing all the progress we’ve made since the Bath Salts Zombie fiasco. Continue reading

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Francis (of Assisi)

Francis of Assisi is hands-down one of the greatest, most influential F’s to ever walk the earth. As the son of a wealthy merchant, he could have lived a comfortable, sumptuous life of leisure and pleasure. He could have ‘had it all’ by the world’s standards. While apparently he did indulge in his early years and ‘drank his quart of sin’ as Shane MacGowan might say, he experienced a transformation so remarkable that he is still revered, widely discussed and even lending his handle to popes to this day.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Growing up, Francis had everything a nice Italian boy could want: money, power, all the requisite food and drink. He probably had many nice tracksuits and one of those gold chains with a horn on it. But what he wanted was glory. Continue reading

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Filed under F History, Faith, Folks