Here are today’s five things to know about pickles:
Cleopatra claimed pickles made her beautiful.
The Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American eats 8.5 lbs of pickles a year.
If it weren’t for pickles, Christopher Columbus might never have “discovered” America. In his famous 1492 voyage, Columbus rationed pickles to his sailors to keep them from getting scurvy. He even grew cucumbers during a pitstop in Haiti to restock for the rest of the voyage.
Napoleon was also a big fan of pickle power. In fact, he put up the equivalent of $250,000 as a prize to whoever could figure out the best way to pickle and preserve foods for his troops.
Berrien Springs, Michigan, has dubbed itself the “Christmas Pickle Capital of the World.” In early December, they host a parade, led by the Grand Dillmeister, who tosses out fresh pickles to parade watchers.
Today’s Food History
- 1851 Herman Melville’s novel ‘Moby Dick’ was published. Captain Ahab’s search for the white whale.
- 1863 Leo Hendrik Baekeland was born. He was a chemist who invented Bakelite, the first plastic that did not soften when heated. Those black plastic knobs on stoves were made of bakelite.
- 1865 Prosper Montagne was born. Montagne was one of the great French chefs of all time. He is mainly remembered as the creator of ‘Larousse Gastronomique’ (1938), a comprehensive encyclopedia of French gastronomy.
- 1889 George S. Kaufman was born. A playwright, he wrote ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner,’ and the script for ‘Cocoanuts’ for the Marx Brothers.
- 1889 Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochran), began her successful attempt to beat the record of Jules Verne’s fictional Phileas Fogg to go ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. Bly was a U.S. newspaper reporter and completed the journey in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds.
- 1922 The BBC officially began daily radio broadcasting with the 6 p.m. news.
- 1964 Nic Dalton of the music group ‘Lemonheads’ was born.