Today is ANZAC Day
Since 1916, both Australia and New Zealand, not to mention some Pacific island nations, have commemorated today as Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, a chance to remember the men and women who lost their lives fighting at Gallipoli during WWI.
On 25 April 1915, the first Australian and New Zealand Army Corps forces landed at Gallipoli, marking the start of the horrifically bloody Gallipoli campaign, a misguided attempt by a 40-year-old Winston Churchill to conquer a strategic peninsula in Turkey. Though other forces fought in the campaign, Gallipoli is part of the heritage of three nations: it was a defining step in the journey to independence for both Australia and New Zealand, and a career triumph for Atatürk, who went on to found modern Turkey.
In Australia and New Zealand ANZAC biscuits are ravenously consumed in the lead up to today. Made with rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup (or maple syrup), baking soda and desiccated coconut, popular legend and indeed some hard evidence suggests these durable biscuits were sent by wive's and girlfriends to men on the font. The sad reality is that a very different kind of biscuit, aptly known as hardtack biscuits, were a staple for soldiers. These unpalatable and extremely hard biscuits were a nutritional substitute for bread. So durable are they that the Australian War Memorial collection includes First World War hardtack biscuits.
At military services, soldiers begin commemorations with a "gunfire breakfast" of coffee and rum, commemorating what those long-dead soldiers drank before going over the top. Dick Bradsell's iconic Espresso Martini, is similarly bracing.
Today is also the anniversary of DNA going public
On this day in 1963, James Watson and Francis Crick published an academic paper describing the double helix that creates the molecular structure of DNA.
An iconic image, the double helix solved one of the biggest questions in biology - how genes pass between the generations - and opened the doors for a new field, genetics. From genetically modified food to predicting cancer risk, from cloned sheep to foetal screening, from glow-in-the-dark rabbits to mice with human ears, their discovery has absolutely transformed the world.
To mark a discovery that's transformed our lives, we're enjoying a DNA cocktail, an easy-going 90s cocktail created by Emmanuel Audermatte. And we are toasting not just Crick and Watson but Rosalind Franklin, the researcher whose pioneering X-Ray photo enabled their discovery, and who never won a Nobel prize.