Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy 62nd birthday Scrabble!

Today is the birthday of the Scrabble inventor: An unemployed architect from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Alfred Mosher Butts, invented the game in 1931, which was a hard sell to game manufacturers at first.

Originally, he called it 'Lexico' and in 1938, he renamed the game to 'Criss Crosswords'.

Entrepreneur James Brunot loved the game, the pair worked out the kinks and the board game was born in 1948 and trademarked that year. In 1949, the Scrabble game was released to the public. Today commemorates the birthday of inventor Butts (April 13, 1899 to April 4, 1993).

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a game board marked with a 15-by-15 grid. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. Official reference works (e.g. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary) provide a list of permissible words. The Collins Scrabble checker can also be used to check if a word is allowed.

(Source: Wikipedia,,; photo credit:

Today's food holiday: "National Peach Cobbler Day"!

Cobblers are variations of pies requiring less flour, cook quickly and easier to make in rugged conditions like  the early Americans had. According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, without brick ovens, colonial cooks often made cobblers in pots over an open fire (like dutch oven cooking). This hearty dessert has been a southern staple for generations. 

It is a variation of a meat pie that originated in Europe. It is similar to a pot pie that you see today but cobblers have a thicker top crust or biscuit crust with fruits inside instead of meat. As with a pie, a scoop of ice cream on top is great!
What is a cobbler?
Cobblers are an American deep-dish fruit dessert or pie with a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (such as peaches, apples, berries). Some versions are enclosed in the crust, while others have a drop-biscuit or crumb topping.

The Dictionary of Americanisms traces the first instance of the word cobbler (as it applies to a pie dish) in print to 1859: "Cobbler...a sort of pie, baked in a pot lined with dough of great thickness, upon which fruit is placed."
Peach History Trivia
Fresh Georgia peaches are available only 16 weeks each year, from mid-May to August. Franciscan monks introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland Islands along Georgia's coast in 1571. By the mid-1700s, peaches and plums were cultivated by the Cherokee Indians. The first peaches were planted in Georgia in the 18th century. The first commercial production did not occur until the mid-19th century. Raphael Moses, a planter and Confederate officer from Columbus, was among the first to market peaches within Georgia in 1851 and is credited with being the first to ship and sell peaches successfully outside the South.
The first Georgia Peach festival was staged in Fort Valley in 1986 where it still remains 25 years later, usually in early June. At the festival, they present a contender for the "World's Largest Peach Cobbler" to beat their record in 2007. The colossal cobbler was 11x5 feet and about 8 inches deep, made with 90 pounds of butter, 150 pounds of sugar, 150 pounds of flour, 32 gallons of milk and 75 gallons of peaches. 

(Source: Wikipedia,,,, &; photo credit: The Lady and Sons Peach Cobbler, Paula Deen,; Dutch oven pot of peach cobbler,; bushels of peaches,; world's largest peach cobbler,

Today's celebrations:

April 13th has a bunch of celebrations to consider:

National Peach Cobbler Day *
Blame Someone Else Day
Scrabble Day: Scrabble is sold in 121 countries, in 29 different languages ^
Plant Appreciation Day *

Thomas Jefferson Day: Birthday of President Thomas Jefferson (3rd President)
Tiger Woods wins first major in golf 14 years ago, in 1997

Christian Feast Day: Hermenegild, Pope Martin I
New Year festivals in South and Southeast Asian cultures: Cambodian New Year, Cambodia; First day of Songkan, Laos; First day of Songkran, Thailand; Songkran Festival, Singapore; Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Sri Lanka
Fisherman's Festival
Huguenot Day, France

(* in posts, previously or to follow)

(^ Photo credit: Scrabble pieces,; Fireworks over Singapore,