Trivia Can Be Addictive and Fun
I've always been fascinated by culinary trivia. When I was a child, my brother, sister, and I would spend many an evening carefully concentrating on our father's yarns about the inventions of various foods.
His stories soon cultivated a thirst within me for more facts relating to cuisine. I kept a journal of these facts for years, which I'm sharing now.
Kellogg World Headquarters
19th Century A.D. Food and Drink Milestones
- 1828: Conrad van Houten, Dutch chemist and chocolatier, develops cocoa powder.
- 1858: John Landis Mason receives his patent for his mason jar, designed for canning and preserving.
- 1869: Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson established what we now know as the Campbell Soup Company.
- 1877: In Battle Creek, Michigan, surgeon and vegetarian John Harvey Kellogg first developed a breakfast cereal combining wheat, oats, and cornmeal called Granula and changed the name to Granola four years later.
- 1890: Thomas Lipton, a Scottish grocer, first packages and sells tea.
6 Jolting Food Facts
- Honey is the only natural food that is made without destroying any life. Honey comes from nectar and bee vomit. (Oh, dear).
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. (Yikes). Make sure you and your loved ones are not allergic to this popular snack.
- Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it.
- A cucumber is 96% water.
- Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine. It was used to treat diarrhea.
- An acre of rice yields more than 4 tons of rice harvest.
Is Ketchup a Vegetable?
- In 1980, the USDA announced that ketchup could be counted as a vegetable in the school lunch program.
- Apples belong to the rose family, as do pears and plums.
- An 11-year-old invented the popsicle in 1905.
- In 1937 the first shopping cart was introduced in Oklahoma, U.S.A.
- 1939 ushered in the first cardboard cartons replacing glass milk bottles in the U.S.
- In 1948 brothers-in-law Burton Baskin and Irvine Robbins opened Baskin-Robbins, known as "31 Flavors," in Southern California, U.S.
- 1973 was the year of the first food labeling. Del Monte was the first central food processor in the U.S. to include nutrition labels on products.
- 1987 brings us Starbucks coffee, launched in Seattle, Washington, the brain-child of Howard Schultz.
- V 8 juice consists of the following eight juices: tomato, carrot, beet, celery, spinach, lettuce, watercress, and parsley juice.
Skip This if You Have a Weak Stomach
- Castoreum, used as a vanilla flavoring in candies, baked goods, etc., is a secretion from the anal glands of beavers. Doughnut anyone?
- Ranch dressing contains titanium dioxide, which makes it appear whiter. The same ingredient is used in sunscreen and paint for the same effect.
- I used to love fig newtons until I learned that sometimes fig wasps become trapped in the processing. Figs require pollination by these tiny wasps.
- There are about five fruit flies in every cup of juice.
Some Diner Slang You May Not Know
- Doughnut: life preserver
- Ham: Noah's boy
- Scrambled eggs: wreck them
- Hot Dog: tube steak
- French Fries: frog sticks
- Lettuce: rabbit food
- Chocolate Ice Cream: cold mud
- Butter: axel grease
- Salt: sea dust
- Mustard: yellow paint
- There are approximately 6,000 potato growers in the United States.
- In the year 2002, there were 446.32 billion pounds of potatoes produced in the United States.
- 12.02 billion pounds of potatoes were produced in Idaho in 2001.
- Frito-Lay uses 5 billion pounds of potatoes for Lays and Ruffles potato chips.
- The shelf life for a can of Pringles is 15 months. (Thanks to the preservatives.)
- The word potato comes from the Spanish word patata.
- According to 2010 statistics, China is the leading producer of potatoes.
Food Happenings During 16th Century A.D.
Love hot chocolate?
- 1519: In 1519, a member of Hernando Cortes's Spanish expedition to Mexico witnesses Montezuma (the Aztec King) drinking a thick, spicy hot beverage called xocoatl, made from cacao beans. Today this is known as hot chocolate or cocoa.
- 1523: Turkeys from the New World were brought to Spain, England, and other old-world countries.
- 1559: Italians begin to make gelato.
- 1592: The brewery that became known as Heineken was founded in Holland in the year 1592.
- The Egyptians used bread as a type of currency.
- Bakers were once fined if their loaves of bread were underweight. To avoid the fine, they added an extra loaf to every dozen. This is how the term "Baker's Dozen" came to be.
- Check out the color of the twist ties in the packaging. The color of the link indicates what day of the week the bread was baked. This is to help the stock clerk what bread is old and what needs to be removed from the shelves.
- Bread is a universal sign of peace.
- Workers who helped build the pyramids of Egypt were paid bread.
- Avoid refrigerating bread. It will go stale six times faster than leaving it at room temperature or freezing.
- Insert a piece of bread into your mouth while peelings onions to keep from tearing up.
Avocado Tips You Need to Know
I could eat an avocado every day, but I don't. Most days, half of an avocado is enough. The question that has plagued me for years is, "How do I keep this healthy food from turning brown?" And here are more tips:
- Place the peeled area in lemon juice to prevent browning.
- It usually takes three to five days to ripen an avocado at room temperature.
- To select a good avocado, pop off the stem and look for a green color. Brown would indicate it's too mushy.
- Put the avocado in a brown paper bag with a banana to speed up the ripening process.
- Avocado pits are full of antioxidants.
- In ancient South America, avocado seeds were used to treat digestive issues, dysentery, and gastric ulcers.
- Need more fiber? The pit is full of fiber.
- Avocado seeds make a good foot massage for tired feet. You can use just one or put 3 or 4 in a plastic ziplock and give your feet a treat.
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… The people who give you their food give you their heart.
— Cesar Chavez
In Conclusion: Our Relationship With Food
We all have a relationship with food. Some of us feel a guilt trip when we reach for certain foods. We even use food as a reward. And what would a celebration be without a banquet of goodies?
Our preference for certain foods can be traced to genetics and cultural influences. Most of mine seem to be associated with my childhood experiences and memories. My father had to have his food served to him well done. I'm talking about super well done—a step away from charred. I turned out the same way.
Taste preferences are coded in our DNA, so blame it on your parents, grandmother, or maybe a grandfather if you have a sweet tooth.
The bottom line is—to enjoy your food. And here's one last useless bit of food information to leave you with:
A company in Taiwan makes dinner plates out of wheat so you can eat your plate. Just think, no more dishes to wash.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Audrey Hunt