Edmund Halley Rabbit — Edmund Halley was born in London in 1656. His father had more money than Daddy Warbucks. Young Eddie always had a pocket full of shillings to wine and dine the lassies, but he also spent much of it on telescopes for star-gazing.
Halley was famous as an astronomer by the time he was 19. Even at that age he could immediately detect a misplaced star.
He became the Astronomer Royal succeeding John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal who, along with Sir Isaac Newton, were his closest friends.
When a comet appeared in 1682, it was spotted by Halley, who after checking its orbit, identified it as the comet that had been sighted in 1607 and 1531. The streaking body is famous today as “Halley’s Comet.”
Later, the same year, 1682, Halley, Flamsteed, and Newton were at the Greenwich Observatory when Halley shouted for attention.
“I say!” exclaimed Halley. “It appears to be a cigar.”
This came long before any kind of aircraft was cluttering the skies. The trio jotted notes as they tracked the fascinating object through their telescopes. It had appeared out of no-where and moved steadily across the sky.
It was too slow for a meteor and much too fast to be a cloud. Besides the object was jet black and definitely solid.
The three compared notes and agreed they had seen the same thing. Newton described it as being shaped like a shuttle, and Flamsteed saw it as a spindle.
None of the famous astronomers could identify the object.
“Extraordinary,” they agreed.
And indeed it was. It is possible they reported the first UFO.
Many times Halley prepared a Welsh peasant’s ragout for his two friends at the observatory. One theory holds that the inexpensive dish was served to Welsh kitchen workers while English nobility dined on rabbit and wine. It was called Welsh Rabbit. Here is a popular version of the recipe which we call Halley’s Rabbit.
1/4 Cup margarine or butter
Dash of cayenne
1/2 Tsp. dry mustard
1/2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 Cup milk
3/4 Cup ale or stout
1 Lb. shredded Cheddar cheese
8 slices toast
Shred cheese and set aside. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place over very low heat until liquid is hot. Add cheese, stir until melted. Pour over toast. For some modern wrinkles use ginger ale instead of the alcohol drink, and pour the sauce over bagels instead of toast. It’s delicious over French fries and baked potatoes as well.