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National Fettuccine Alfredo Day!

Today is Fettuccine Alfredo Day.  This day is observed annually on February 7th.

Fettuccine Alfredo is a pasta dish made from fettuccine tossed in Parmesan cheese and butter.  The cheese melts and emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich sauce coating the pasta while hot.  The dish is named after Alfredo di Lelio who featured the dish at his restaurant in Rome in the early-to-mid-20th century, and the “ceremony” of preparing it tableside was an integral part of the dish

Fettuccine Alfredo became popularized and spread to the United States.  The recipe has evolved, and its commercialized version is not ubiquitous with heavy cream and other ingredients like shrimp, ham, chicken, and some vegetables like peas and broccoli.

The popular American restaurant casual dining chain Olive Garden has popularized its versions of fettuccine alfredo, which may be combined with chicken, shrimp, or other foods to make main courses called “chicken alfredo”, “seafood alfredo”, etc. Given the strict separation of pasta and meat dishes in the usual Italian restaurant cuisine, this was never done by di Lelio. Olive Garden’s recipe also includes cream and garlic.  Nowadays, you can make a homemade version of your own because Alfredo Sauce is readily available in a jar at your local supermarket and can be easily mixed with the fettuccine pasta and garnish it with your favorite vegetable and type of meat to enjoy without all the hassle of preparation.

So, today, grab yourself some fettuccine pasta and a jar of Alfredo sauce and make some for dinner to share with your family.  Share on social media your delicious recipe or photos using #FettuccineAlfredoDay.

1812 Earthquake causes a fluvial tsunami in Mississippi

On February 7, 1812, the most violent of a series of earthquakes near Missouri causes a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours. The series of tremors, which took place between December 1811 and March 1812, was the most powerful in the history of the United States.

The unusual seismic activity began at about 2 a.m. on December 16, 1811, when a strong tremor rocked the New Madrid region. The city of New Madrid, located near the Mississippi River in present-day Arkansas, had about 1,000 residents at the time, mostly farmers, hunters and fur trappers. At 7:15 a.m., an even more powerful quake erupted, now estimated to have had a magnitude of 8.6. This tremor literally knocked people off their feet and many people experienced nausea from the extensive rolling of the earth. Given that the area was sparsely populated and there weren’t many multi-story structures, the death toll was relatively low. However, the quake did cause landslides that destroyed several communities, including Little Prairie, Missouri.

The earthquake also caused fissures–some as much as several hundred feet long–to open on the earth’s surface. Large trees were snapped in two. Sulfur leaked out from underground pockets and river banks vanished, flooding thousands of acres of forests. On January 23, 1812, an estimated 8.4-magnitude quake struck in nearly the same location, causing disastrous effects.

(excerpted from