To paraphrase a line from The Truman Show: “We accept the reality of the food with which we are presented.”
1. Pasta is not Italian (at least not originally).
2. Many countries rejected using forks when they were first invented, seeing them as excessive, unnecessary, and “too feminine.”
3. Table manners as we know them today started in the Renaissance.
4. Almost all of the chickens we eat today can be traced back to the 1948 “Chicken of Tomorrow” contest that sought to find the perfect chicken for consumers.
5. Oysters get their name from Athenian democracy.
6. The oldest beer recipe in the world dates back nearly 4,000 years ago to 1800 B.C. Mesopotamia. It was translated from stone tablets.
7. J. H. Kellogg’s corn flakes were intentionally made to be bland. Though the corn flakes were intended to be a healthy breakfast option, Kellogg also believed that bland food was one way to prevent masturbation, which he considered “the worst evil one could commit.”
8. Pringles are called “crisps” by the company, but not because they’re British. The FDA has officially stated the snack doesn’t qualify as a “potato chip” since it doesn’t actually contain potato.
10. Toll House chocolate cookies truly are the original chocolate chip cookie. They were invented by Ruth Wakefield, who simultaneously invented chocolate chips.
11. Tootsie Rolls are so resilient that they were included as military rations for soldiers in WWII. And during a miscommunication in the Korean War, pallets of Tootsie Rolls were airdropped to Marines instead of ammunition.
12. We call them chili and bell “peppers” because pepper (the spice) was the main frame of reference Europeans had for hot food when Columbus brought the veggies back from the New World.
13. What do Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and childbirth rituals have in common? Saffron.
14. Horn & Hardart’s Automats were essentially massive vending machines with kitchens behind the scenes constantly replacing the hot food. These automats were popular during the Great Depression, but couldn’t compete with modern fast food.
15. Drinking straws were invented 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians so they could drink their beer more easily.
16. Croissants are Austrian, not French.
17. Fish and chips come from Spanish and Portuguese Jewish people, not the British.
18. Hardtack has been a staple of many soldier’s diets for roughly 10,000 years.
19. Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen noodles as a cheap and simple food for those in need in post-WWII Japan.
20. Beer started civilization (maybe).
Which crazy food facts from history blow your mind? Let me know some more in the comments!
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