Today in My History
Baring My Sole
Cast (updated 7/16)
20 July 2020
It must have been fun to be Huell Howser, who died in 2013 at 67.
Howser was best known as the host of California's Gold, 18 seasons (443 episodes) which focused on people, places and things unique to California. I believe most of his shows are available on YouTube. I recently watched the hour that was dedicated to See's candy.
Originally from Tennessee, he moved to California in 1981 and fell in love with the state. He had an enthusiasm for everything California. His obituary talked about the magic of Howser’s style: a folksy, self-deprecating manner that sharply contrasted with the typically polished-but-distant demeanor of most TV reporters. He approached even the most innocuous sites with a sense of wonder and discovery, which made him a frequent target of parody but also made him one of the area’s best-liked TV figures. His earnest but humorous style – aided by the still audible Tennessee accent – let him get away with things no one else could.
"I want our stories to reveal the wonders of the human spirit and the richness of life in California, including its history, people, culture and natural wonders." he is quoted as saying.
I took a look at the Howser archive to get a sense of the diversity of the subjects he covered. A few of the more oddball are: a belly dancing festival, warthogs, a soda pop store, ukelele strummers, the blind and dyslexic library, the site of the first hot dog on a stick stand, ice skaters Frick and Frack, a chicharrones facility, climbing Half Dome, etc., etc., etc. He found everything in the state interesting.
Last night we learned about pig ears. When Howser's bartender at Musso & Frank restaurant in Hollywood told him how much he liked to eat pig ears as a child….Huell dove right in and learned a lot more than he expected about different cultures and this culinary treat.
He started the show in a pet store, where pig ears are sold as a treat for dogs.
Then he went to a place where he learned about picked pigs ears, 11 lbs each packed in jars with carrots, chilis and onions.
Then he went to an Hispanic restaurant where he tasted ears cooked the way his bartender remembered,
The ear (boiled "for a long time" first), dipped in flour, then an egg mix, and then fried.
After he decided that he liked the fried pig ear (and got others in the restaurant to try it), he then went to an Asian restaurant where the ears are braised and then layered in a machine and finally cut in slices...
By the end of the hour I'd learned more about pig ears than I ever knew and it makes me look at pigs in a whole new way.
And Huell Howser was absolutely
fascinated by it all.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7423