Cue blaring salsa music, the intoxicating smell of roasted pork and a salivating crowd ready to pounce on smoky, salty, juicy meat. In my Cuban-American family and culture, a lechón means it’s time to party. Every Cuban family has their own lechón recipe. The Italians have their marinara sauce, we have our dry rub.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the "medicine" go down - March 5 is National Absinthe Day!
Let’s play a little word association: What do you think of when you hear the word "absinthe"? I think about a tiny Czech bar I once visited and a ball of fire - but mostly I think of Van Gogh, Degas or Toulouse-Lautrec.
Until the 20th century, absinthe flowed freely at bars and drinking halls in Europe and America. The spirit was known to be high in alcohol content and the presence of thujone, a chemical compound believed to be responsible for absinthe’s psychedelic effects, was an additional lure. Government agencies took note of the drink’s popularity and promptly banned it, notably in the United States in 1912, then in France in 1915.
Governments were worried that drinking absinthe would create a generation of reckless drunkards, and they might have been right were it not for one small fact - there’s not enough thujone in most absinthes to cause its alleged mind-altering properties, including the storied "green fairy." In fact, those people were most likely just hammered.
"I always tell people, if you drink a large amount of any kind of overproof alcohol, you are likely to freak out a little bit - I guarantee you it doesn't have to be absinthe," Maxwell Britten, head bartender of Maison Premiere, said in his Eatocracy column about the misunderstandings and misgivings about absinthe.
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