365 AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS for 2021: The Bon, Bon, Bon Appetit Birthday Party

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(Photo from Lundsandbyerlys.com)

We are inspired to greater heights by each of the 365 American joy-givers celebrated in this series, but for “The Bon, Bon, Bon Appetit Birthday Party” we’re taking the tram 630 feet to the top of the tallest monument in the United States. 

Gaze into a cloudless, cerulean blue, Midwest sky from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. This was designed by Finnish American architect, Eero Saarinen, and completed in 1965. 

JOIN US… 

You feel the joy as we soar up the world’s tallest arch, which is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Commonly referred to as “The Gateway to the West” and officially dedicated to the American people, the architectural salute to the expansive vision and frontier spirit is a splendid perch upon which to honor daring, ground-breaking innovators. 

HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.) 

PLEASE GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THESE JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK: 

Aug. 14—STEVE MARTIN is an actor, comedian, writer, film producer and banjo strummer. The Waco, Texas native was a high school cheerleader and got one of his first performance gigs playing banjo and telling jokes at Knott’s Berry Farm in California. He gained national attention as a comedy writer for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show” and then as a favorite host and skit comedian on “Saturday Night Live.” 

His acting performances include these hits: “The Jerk,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “Three Amigos,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Parenthood,” “Father of the Bride,” “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Martin has five Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy, an Honorary Academy Award and received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. “Comedy Central” ranked Steve Martin as #6 in their “100 Greatest Stand-Up Comics.” 

Aug. 15—JULIA CHILD was an American cooking teacher primarily of French recipes and techniques. The California native and cookbook author is most well known as the host of the television cooking show, “The French Chef.” She won a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. 

Aug. 16—MADONNA (Madonna Louise Ciccone), a singer, songwriter and actress, is known as the “Queen of Pop.” The Bay City, Michigan native is famous for the very American trait of reinvention and for versatility in music production, songwriting and visual presentation. Her works have generated acclaim and controversy. 

Her popularity is enhanced by acting in films such as: “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Dick Tracy,” “A League of Their Own” and “Evita.” She has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. Madonna is the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time. 

Aug. 17—MAE WEST once quipped, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” The stage and screen actress, playwright, screenwriter, singer and sex symbol had a seven-decade career. She went from vaudeville to stage to screen and was a Las Vegas headliner in her eighties.  

Ms. West was known for her breezy independence and lighthearted double entendres often delivered in an exaggerated contralto voice. The American Film Institute ranks her the 15th greatest female screen legend of classic American cinema. 

Aug. 18—PATRICK SWAYZE’s mother, Patsy, was a dance instructor in Texas and he credited her with giving him the dance moves that led him to international stardom in the hit film, “Dirty Dancing.” He was an actor, dancer, singer and songwriter. Patrick Swayze was recognized for playing distinctive lead roles, particularly romantic, tough and broadly comedic characters. He was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for “Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture” for: “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” and “To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar.” 

Aug. 19—OGDEN NASH was a great American poet known for his “light verse” of which he wrote more than 500 works. Nashville, Tennessee is named for his ancestors. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he was the country’s best-known scribbler of humorous poetry. (Note: Contrary to what I believed before writing this article, Ogden Nash did not write, “I’ve never seen a purple cow. I never hope to see one.” That short poem was written by American joy-giver, Gelett Burgess in 1895. After the vast popularity of his purple cow poem, Mr. Burgess said, “I wrote the ‘Purple Cow.’ I’m sorry now I wrote it; but I can tell you anyhow, I’ll kill you if you quote it.” 

Aug. 20—EERO SAARINEN was a Finnish American architect and industrial designer noted for his wide-ranging array of buildings and monuments. He was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland and is the only one in our “365 American Joy-Givers” series from Kirkkonummi. He emigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 13.  

Eero Saarinen is best known for designing the Washington Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., the TWA Flight Center in New York City and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. 

COMMENTS OVERHEARD AT “THE BON, BON, BON APPETIT BIRTHDAY PARTY:” 

“I thought yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life, but it turns out today is.”—Steve Martin 

“You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.”—Ogden Nash 

“I was 32 years old when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.”—Julia Child 

“If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.”—Madonna 

“When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad I’m better.”—Mae West 

“Dance is the pure language of the soul—it’s been with us from the very beginning.”—Patrick Swayze 

“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”—Ogden Nash 

“Function in architecture influences but does not dictate form.”—Eero Saarinen 

“All I’ve ever wanted was an honest week’s pay for an honest day’s work.”—Steve Martin 

“When you’re cooking, if you drop the lamb on the floor, just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”—Julia Child 

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”—Madonna 

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”—Mae West 

“I keep my heart and my soul and my spirit open to miracles.”—Patrick Swayze 

“Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.”—Ogden Nash 

“The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.”—Eero Saarinen 

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”—Steve Martin 

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”—Julia Child 

“I laugh at myself…you have to laugh, especially at yourself.”—Madonna 

“Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ‘em right and you can walk all over them for years.”—Mae West 

“When you dance, things just go away, things don’t seem so bad.”—Patrick Swayze 

“Progress is a fine thing, but it’s gone on long enough.”—Ogden Nash 

“Confusion comes from trying to amalgamate several different ideas.”—Eero Saarinen 

“The United States should allow all foreigners into this country provided they can speak our native language—Apache.”—Steve Martin 

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”—Julia Child 

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”—Madonna 

“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”—Mae West 

“The way to screw up somebody’s life is to give them what they want.”—Patrick Swayze 

“Parsley is gharsley.”—Ogden Nash 

“What you newspaper and magazine writers, who work in rabbit time, don’t understand is that the practice of architecture has to be measured in elephant time.”—Eero Saarinen 

“Some people have a way with words, and other people…oh, uh, not have way.”—Steve Martin 

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”—Patrick Swayze 

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”—Julia Child 

THE MENU FOR “THE BON, BON, BON APPETIT BIRTHDAY PARTY:” 

APPETIZER—Patrick Swayze Ghost Pepper Salsa (yummly.com) 

SALAD—Eero Saarinen Finnish Cucumber Salad (alternativefinland.com) 

ENTRÉE—Julia Child’s Floor Lamb Roast (cookinglikejulia.com) 

SIDE DISH—Ogden Nash Gharsley Parsley Mushrooms (tasteofhome.com) 

BREAD—Steve Martin Wild-and-Crazy Bread (allrecipes.com) 

BEVERAGE—Madonna Michigan Cherry Mocktail (see below) 

DESSERT—Mae West Double-Chocolate Double Entredre Brownies (chow.com) 

ONE TO GROW ON—A book sure to delight old fans and create new ones is, THE BEST OF OGDEN NASH. It’s more than 400 works from America’s laureate of light verse which have been lovingly collected by his daughters.  

“The Bon, Bon, Bon Appetit Birthday Party,” has been tres bon. All relished the time with Eero Saarinen and the vistas he created from the Gateway Arch. Steve Martin and Julia Child shared their favorite laughs about food and wine. Mae West told stories and one-liners even she couldn’t sneak by the censors. Madonna and Patrick Swayze “vogued”—yes, it’s a verb. And, Ogden Nash offered these poems about food, drink and even one for this coming summer Sunday. 

CELERY 

Celery, raw 

Develops the jaw, 

But celery, stewed, 

Is more quietly chewed. 

A DRINK WITH SOMETHING IN IT 

There is something about a Martini, 

A tingle remarkably pleasant; 

A yellow, a mellow Martini; 

Ere the dining and dancing begin, 

And to tell you the truth, 

It is not the vermouth— 

I think that perhaps it’s the gin. 

I DIDN”T GO TO CHURCH TODAY 

I didn’t go to church today, 

I trust the Lord to understand. 

The surf was swirling blue and white. 

The children swirling on the sand. 

He knows, He knows how brief my stay, 

How brief this spell of summer weather, 

He knows when I am said and done 

We’ll have plenty of time together. 

At the end of the party, Julia Child raised her wineglass and toasted all with, “Bon, bon, bon appetit!” 

                                        MADONNA MICHIGAN CHERRY MOCKTAIL 

                                                  (source: lundsandbyerlys.com) 

INGREDIENTS 

2 pounds frozen cherries (or summertime, Michigan cherries would be even better) 

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar 

½ cup water 

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice 

Salt to taste 

1 vanilla bean 

8 cups shaved ice 

Mint leaves for garnish 

DIRECTIONS 

  1. In a large saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, water and a pinch of salt 
  1. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out of the pod. Add the seeds and pod to the saucepan and stir to combine. 
  1. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean pod. 
  1. Pour the cherry mixture into blender and blend on high until smooth (30 seconds). Refrigerate syrup to chill for 2 hours. You can store the cherry mixture for five days in refrigerator in a sealed container. 
  1. Place a cup of shaved ice in a serving dish, drizzle with ½ cup cherry syrup and garnish with mint leaves. 

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Ben South