From the unusually aptly named Holy Cow! I Didn't Know That! Department comes this fact: Ohio's dairy farmers produce more than 605 million gallons of milk each year, enough to fill more than 900 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
An Olympic pool is 50 meters long (54.7 yards), 25 meters wide (27.3 yards), and a minimum of 2 meters deep (6.6 feet), and it requires more than 660,000 gallons of water -- or milk -- to fill it.
We will now pause while you form a mental image of Michael Phelps doing the butterfly stroke through a pool of milk.
All those pools of milk make Ohio 11th in the nation in total milk production and 10th in the nation in total cheese production. Plus, the state is home to the world's largest yogurt manufacturing plant, the Dannon plant in Minster, about 15 miles northwest of Sidney.
And in what has become this column's favorite new dairy-related fact about Ohio, the state is No. 1 in the production of Swiss cheese. Woo hoo! When it comes to cheese with holes in it, we're No. 1! We're No. 1! We're No. 1!
If you want to learn more about the Ohio dairy industry (though personally we don't think there is any more to know), you can stop in at the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum on July 19 from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Center for Innovative Food Technology at the Agriculture Incubator Foundation on Rt. 582 (13737 Middleton Pike), north of Bowling Green. Steve Schmid, president of Dairy Enterprises Inc., will discuss the impact of dairy products in Ohio. The cost is $10, and reservations are preferred (but not necessary) at email@example.com.
Chocolate milk will be served.
The best revenge
It's democracy in action, or something.
Organizations or individuals send their proposals for projects promoting health to Live Well Greater Toledo, a community group dedicated to improving access to physical activity and nutrition. Then, the Live Well group holds a healthy dinner event -- nothing but salads -- and charges a modest fee of $5 to attend. The people who attend eat the salads and then vote on which of the proposals they like the best, and the winner receives a micro-grant of the collected attendance fees.
The salad supper, which is called Toledo Salad, will be July 22 at the Wayman D. Palmer Community YMCA, 2053 N. 14th St. The doors open at 5 p.m. Grant proposals may be submitted to toledosalad.com, which is also where nonessential reservations may be made.
In other Live Well news, the group will show the highly praised HBO documentary about obesity, The Weight of the Nation, beginning at 6 p.m. on July 25 at Owens Corning, One Owens Corning Parkway (on the eastern end of Washington Street). A discussion of the film's themes will follow the screening.
Anyone here remember Steak and Ale, the moderately upscale chain of restaurants that reached its peak of popularity in the 1980s?
Is it just our imagination, or was every dish they served some variation on Steak with Caramelized Ale Onions and Bacon BBQ Glaze?
OK, it's probably our imagination, though we will bet good money that they served something very similar to that. If you have been wondering how to make it yourself, and maybe some summer herbed orzo salad to go with it, now is your chance to find out.
The redoubtable Roberta Acosta will be back at the Fresh Market, 3315 W. Central Ave., on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. demonstrating just that dish. The demonstrations are free, plus you get to eat a sample of the food. The chef will be repeating the demonstrations throughout her time there, so you can come at any time and watch the whole thing.
A little learning
And speaking of learning about cooking from a place that sells you stuff to cook with, Williams-Sonoma has a full schedule this month of cooking classes, technique demonstrations, and the like.
First, the cooking classes: On July 18 at 6:30 p.m., Marty Kokotaylo will feature creative barbecue fare (that would be frozen lemonade with blackberry puree; peach, arugula, and goat cheese salad; grilled tri-tip and vegetables, and strawberry-rhubarb galette). ($50).
On July 25, Mr. Kokotaylo will show how to take the farm-to-table trend to your own kitchen (fig and fromage blanc crostini; baby arugula salad with berries and Gorgonzola; rolled eggplant with sausage and mozzarella, and sauteed apricots with mascarpone and almonds). ($50)
Now, the technique demonstrations: Today at 10 a.m. and Monday at 7 p.m., they will show the basics of canning, including how to make a mixed-fruit jam. (Free).
July 15 at 10 a.m. and July 16 at 7 p.m., the topic will be tomatoes and how to select, store, peel, seed, cut, cook, and serve them. (Free).
July 22 at 10 a.m. and July 23 at 7 p.m., they will sort of combine the previous two demonstrations, with step-by-step lessons in canning tomato sauce and salsa. (Free).
July 29 at 10 a.m. and July 30 at 7 p.m., the topic will be using summer fruits and berries in cobblers, salads, infused drinks, and grilled fruit. (Free).
And finally, the "and the like": The cookbook club meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy a three-course meal taken from the cookbook The Farm, by Ian Knauer. The night's menu includes zucchini pizza, hot pepper-garlic flank steak with quick cucumber and chile pickles, corn and potato salad, lemon pudding cake, and strawberry-sour cream ice cream. ($75, including a copy of the cookbook, complete with a signed bookplate).
For information or to register for any of the classes/demos/cookbook clubs, call 419-475-6368.
And speaking of wine tastings (let's just pretend we were), the Walt Churchill's Market at 3320 Briarfield Blvd. in Monclova Township has announced its tastings for the month, and this time it looks as if there will be a fair amount of food to go with the wine.
Saturday will be the annual Bastille Day Wine Dinner, a five-course, locally sourced, gourmet (of course) French lunch, with each course paired with wine. It's a leisurely event, lasting from 12:30-4 p.m. at a cost of $75 per person. Seating is limited to 28, so reservations should be made soon.
July 21 from noon-5 p.m., the tasting will feature value wines -- values here being less than $25 -- from two good vintages. And on July 28, they will pair raw oysters and dry wines. These tastings will cost about $15.
For more information, call 419-794-4000.
Items for Morsels should be submitted two weeks before an event to firstname.lastname@example.org.