April 1st is National Sourdough Bread Day!
Here are today’s five food finds about Sourdough Bread:
- The liquid alcohol layer referred to as ‘hooch’ comes from an Native American tribe called Hoochinoo. The Hoochinoo used to trade supplies with Alaskan gold miners for the ‘hooch’ off the top of their sourdough starters.
- Barm is the English term for sourdough starter. It is derived from the term ‘barmy’ which means tipsy, or ditzy. This is because of the alcohol!
- Sourdough likely originated in Ancient Egyptian times around 1500 BC and was likely the first form of leavening available to bakers.
- Baker’s yeast is not useful as sourdough starter for leavening rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten.
- Most bread is leavened with yeast, but sourdough is leavened with the Lactobacillus bacterium.
Today in food history…
- 1582 France adopted the new Gregorian calendar. Prior to that, the new year was celebrated on April 1. (The new year actually started on March 25, which fell during Holy Week – so the celebrations were delayed until the first day of April). One explanation of the origin of ‘April Fools Day’ is that those who failed to accept the new start of the year on January 1 became the object of practical jokes. (Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian Calendar in 1582. It is possible that Charles IX of France may have changed the start of the New Year to January in 1564).
- 1755 Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was born. A French politician and author of the 8 volume Physiologie du goût, ou Méditation de gastronomie transcendante, ouvrage théorique, historique et à l’ordre du jour (“The Physiology of Taste, or Meditation on Transcendent Gastronomy, a Work Theoretical, Historical, and Programmed”) published in 1825. It treats dining as an art form and contains many delightful and witty observations on the pleasures of the table.
- 1893 The first dishwashing machine became an award winning success at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, which used Josephine Garis Cochran’s hand operated, mechanical dishwashers in its kitchens. (She patented her original version on December 28, 1886.) Her company eventually evolved into KitchenAid.
- 1911 Seaman Asahel Knapp died. An American agriculturist, he began the system which evolved into the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service.
- 1932 Actor Gordon Jump was born. The ‘Maytag Repairman’ in commercials, also Arthur Carlson on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’.
- 1960 Tiros I, the first weather observation satellite was launched from Cape Kennedy.
- 1976 Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Margaritaville’ was released.
- 1976 R.I.P. Carl Peter Henrik Dam. Dam was a Danish biochemist who discovered vitamin K in 1939.
- 1996 The Taco Bell fast food chain played an April Food joke on the American public by claiming to have bought the Liberty Bell to help pay down the national debt.
- 1999 The first minimum wage goes into effect in Britain, £3.60 an hour for adults and £3.00 an hour for those under 22 years old.
- 1999 In April 1999, Restaurant Nora in Washington DC became America’s first certified organic restaurant. This means that 95% or more of everything that you eat at the restaurant has been produced by certified organic growers and farmers.