Posts tagged “nature

Watermelon Day

Posted on August 3, 2013

Watermelons

National Watermelon Day

Five Food Finds about Watermelon

  • The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
  • Watermelon is 92% water.
  • Watermelon’s official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers,pumpkins and squash.
  • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

 

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1492 Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain on his first voyage to what he thought were the Indies.

1801 Sir Joseph Paxton was born. Paxton was an English landscape gardener, and hothouse designer. He was the architect of the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

1806 Michel Adanson was born. Adson was a French botanist who developed a system of plant classification based on physical characteristics. His system was opposed by Carolus Linnaeus, and was not widely used.

1811 Elisha Graves Otis was born. He invented the first safe elevator, and opened the door to rooftop restaurants.

1914 The first ships pass through the Panama Canal.

1921 John Macready became the first to crop dust from an airplane (Troy, Ohio).

1941 Martha Stewart was born. Entertaining advisor, cookbook author, etc.

1954 Colette, (Sidonie Gabrielle) died. A French novelist, her novels contain many exact and detailed descriptions of food and the pleasures of the table, and quite a few recipes

National Pralines Day

Posted on June 24, 2013

National Pralines Day

 

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1374 An outbreak of Dancing Mania (sometimes known as ‘St. John’s Dance’) occurred in Aix-la-Chapelle, France. People were overcome with bouts of uncontrollable, manic dancing. Frothing at the mouth, screaming, and sexual frenzy were other symptoms. Ergot (fungus) poisoning (from grain) is now believed to have been the ultimate cause.

1532 Robert Dudley, the earl of Leicester, was born.
Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
the cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
and the dish ran away with the spoon.

Dudley was Queen Elizabeth I’s first court favorite. She called him her ‘puppy.’ He is the dog who laughs in the nursery rhyme ‘Hey diddle diddle,’ when the dish runs away with the spoon, i.e., when Lady Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting, ran away with the Queen’s taster, the Earl of Hereford, since he did not favor the tight reign Elizabeth kept on her court. He was also the step-father of her second lover, the Earl of Essex.

1817 The first coffee was planted in Hawaii on the Kona coast.

1839 Gustavus Franklin Swift was born. Founder of the meat-packing business, Swift & Co., the inventor of the refrigerated railway car, and the first to ship ‘dressed’ beef to eastern markets instead of live animals.

1895 Jack Dempsey was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. He then became a successful restaurateur in New York City.

2003 Richard Pough died. An American ecologist he was the founding president of the Nature Conservancy and helped found the World Wildlife Fund. In 1945, he was one of the first to warn about the dangers of DDT to fish and birds.

National Hazelnut Cake Day

Posted on June 1, 2013

National Hazelnut Cake Day

Five Food Finds about Hazelnuts

  • The hazelnut or filbert, blooms and pollinates in the middle of the winter. These trees can keep producing nuts for several hundred years.
  • Over 95% of the U.S. commercial production of the nut is in Oregon’s Williamette valley.
  • The first commercial filbert orchard in the state of Oregon was the Dorris Ranch in Springfield.
  • One theory of the origin of the name ‘filbert’ is that it comes from St. Philibert, a 7th century Frankish abbot, whose feast day is August 20, which happens to be in the middle of the nutting season in Europe.
  • The Hazelnut  blooms and pollinates in the middle of winter. The nuts begin to grow in the spring, and the are allowed to ripen until they fall off the trees and are then harvested.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1495 The first written mention of scotch whiskey is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. A Friar John Cor was the distiller.

1812 Richard Kirwan was born. Kirwan was an eccentric Irish chemist who hated flies. He had dysphagia, which is the inability to swallow food without convulsive movements. He always dined alone.

1875 A.P. Ashbourne received a patent for a “Process Preparing Coconut for Domestic Use.”

1908 John Krohn walked over 9,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States with his wheelbarrow. He completed the walk in 357 days, resting on Sundays

1926 During this month, the first automatic pop-up toaster was introduced by the Waters-Genter Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota

1926 Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean) was born. American actress, primarily remembered as being crowned Artichoke Queen of 1947 in Castroville, California.

1938 The first Superman comic book is published.

1951 The International Cheese treaty was signed. International Convention on the Use of Designations of Origin and Names for Cheeses.

1962 Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ was published. An American biologist, the book was concerned with the dangers of environmental pollution, especially DDT

1976 Great-Britain & Iceland settle their codfish war.

1993 Brooklyn, New York begins recycling.

1996 Dr. Edward Anton Asselbergs died. In 1960 Dr. Asselbergs developed the process for making instant mashed potato flakes, the same basic process is still used world-wide today.

2006 Restaurateur Claude Terrail, owner of La Tour d’Argent in Paris, died at age 88.

National Quiche Lorraine Day

Posted on May 20, 2013

National Quiche Lorraine Day

 

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1506 R.I.P. Christopher Columbus, explorer.

1799 Honore de Balzac Born. French author. Balzac would lock himself away during creative bursts, drinking coffee and eating only fruit and eggs. When he finally took a break, he was known to consume huge quantities of food. One report recalls that at the Véry restaurant he ate “a hundred Ostend oysters, twelve cutlets of salt-meadow mutton, a duck with turnips, two partridges and a Normandy sole,” not to mention the desserts, fruit and liqueurs he also consumed.

1810 On this day Dolly Madison, wife of president James Madison, supposedly served the first ice cream at the White House, for a reception.

1862 President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law. It opened millions of acres Western land to settlers.

1874 Jeans with copper rivets are patented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis.

1875 The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was created.

1884 L. Blue patented a hand corn sheller.

1892 George Sampson received a patent for a clothes dryer.

1913 William Hewlett was born. Founder with David Packard of Hewlett Packard Company. Before they became famous for computers and printers etc., some of their early inventions were an automatic urinal flusher and a weight loss shock machine!

1961 The record Jewfish weighed 680 pounds and was caught in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

1993 The last episode of ‘Cheers’ aired on TV.

2005 Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill making the orange the official State Fruit of Florida. The orange blossom and orange juice have been previously declared the official state flower and official state beverage.

2009 Hot Dog Wars: Sara Lee (Ball Park Franks) sued Kraft Foods (Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks) over claims that Oscar Mayer franks are better than Ball Park Franks.

Some Material Used from FoodReference.com with Permission.

National Pretzel Day

Posted on April 26, 2013

National Pretzel Day

Five Food Finds about Pretzels

  • The first pretzel was created in 610 A.D. by a monk in southern France or northern Italy. It was originally called a ‘pretiola’ and was renamed ‘pretzel’ later when the idea migrated to Germany and Austria.
  •  In 1861, pretzel twisting was the second highest-paying job in the Philadelphia region. Today, machines do the twisting, although at some artisan shops, tourists can still see it done the old-fashioned way.
  • The birthplace of the hard pretzel was Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The pretzel, or bretzel as it was called then, first came to America in 1710 with Palatine German immigrants (from the Rhineland) who settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and became known, incorrectly, as the “Pennsylvania Dutch.”
  •  In the 18th century, German children would wear pretzel necklaces at the beginning of a new year for prosperity, health and good fortune.
  • In the 17th century, pretzels were known as a marriage knot. During a wedding ceremony, a couple would wish upon a pretzel, break it (like a wishbone), and eat it to signify their oneness. It is speculated that the term, “tying the knot,” originated in Switzerland in 1614 during a wedding between two prominent families.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1785 John James Audubon was born. Ornithologist, naturalist and artist, known mainly for his paintings and sketches of North American birds.

1877 Minnesota held a state day of prayer to plead for an end to a 4 year plague of Rocky Mountain locusts. In southwestern Minnesota, locusts had been eating crops, trees, tobacco, fence posts, leather, dead animals, sheep’s wool – everything but the mortgage. Two days later a snowstorm moved through and the locusts were never seen again. No one knows what caused the locust plague, nor why the Rocky Mountain locust became extinct after the plague.

1947 Pete Ham of the music group ‘Badfinger’ was born

1962 ‘Mashed Potato Time’ by Dee Dee Sharp is #1 on the charts.

1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine explodes. The worst nuclear disaster in history. In addition to the human toll, agriculture  and livestock was contaminated by radiation in large areas of Europe for years to come.

1989 Lucille Ball died. Two of the funniest food related comedy routines ever done were the chocolate factory and the grape stomping episodes from her TV show, ‘I Love Lucy.’

2005 A herd of buffalo escaped from a farm and wandered around a Baltimore, Maryland suburb disrupting traffic, and shutting down several major highways. Police eventually herded them onto a nearby tennis court.

2006 Chicago banned the sale of foie gras.

National Picnic Day

Posted on April 23, 2013

National Picnic Day

 Five Food Finds about Picnics

  • Did you know that a “picnic” ham is really not a true ham? It is cut from the upper part of the foreleg of a pig – a true ham is cut from the hind leg.
  • Italy’s favourite picnic day is Easter Monday. It is called “Angel’s Monday” or Pasquetta (“Little Easter”).
  • After an ant has visited your picinc, it lays down a scent as it returns to the nest for the other ants to follow!
  • In the year 2000, a 600-mile-long picnic took place in France to celebrate the first Bastille Day of the new millennium.
  • The first table designed specifically for picnics (in a style similar to what we know today) appeared in the late 1800s.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1564 and 1616 William Shakespeare was born. He passed away on the same date 52 years later. There are many references to food in Shakespeare’s works. “Let the sky rain potatoes.” (‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’). “Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.” (‘Romeo and Juliet’).

1895 Purdy and Peters were issued a patent for a “design for spoons.”

1947 Glenn Cornick of the music group ‘Jethro Tull’ was born.

1982 The Conch Republic (Key West & the Florida Keys) seceded from the United States to protest an INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) roadblock on the only road into the Keys.

1985 Coca-Cola announced it was changing its 99 year old secret formula. New Coke was a big flop.

1992 The first McDonald’s in Beijing, China opened. It is the world’s largest McDonald’s, with 28,000 square feet, seating for 700 and 1,000 employees.

1993 R.I.P. Cesar Chavez. He was the founder of the United Farm Workers Union.

National Chocolate Mousse Day

Posted on April 3, 2013

April 3rd is

National Chocolate Mousse Day

Five Food Finds about Chocolate Mousse

  • The word mousse is French and translates as “froth” or “foam.”
  • Cold dessert mousses are often poured into decorative glasses and garnished with fruit, sweet sauces, or whipped cream.
  • Savory mousses can be made from fish, shellfish, meat, foie gras, etc.
  • There are three key constituents to a mousse: base, binder, and aerator.
  • They may be hot or cold and are often squeezed through a piping bag onto some kind of platform to be used as hors d’oeuvres.

Today’s Food History

on this day in…

1829 James Carrington of Connecticut patented a coffee mill.

1845 William James Farrer was born. An Australian agriculturist, he developed several new cultivars of wheat.

1860 The first Pony Express mail delivery service by horse and rider between St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California began. The 1,800 mile run took 10 days.

1956 Elvis Presley sings ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ on the ‘Milton Berle Show.’ An estimated 25% of the American population tuned in to hear him.

1959 The Coasters song ‘Charlie Brown’ is banned by the BBC because it refers to “throwin’ spitballs.” The ban only lasted 2 weeks.

1974 The Super Tornado Outbreak. 148 tornadoes in 13 states in 26 hours. The world’s largest tornado outbreak in recorded history. It included six F5 tornadoes and 30 F4 tornadoes. The first tornado hit at 1 p.m. and the final tornado hit at 2 a.m. the following morning.

1982 The temperature in Lamberton, Minnesota dropped from 78 degrees F to 7 degrees F in 24 hours.  The 71 degree drop in temperature is a Minnesota record.

1985 The Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, California closed after 57 years. Robert Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby, created the Cobb Salad there in 1936.

2010 Students at a Utah high school created a replica of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ using 2 tons of Malt-O-Meal cereal.

  

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