Did You Know. . .

that the way that flour is made is by grinding and sifting grains (or other foodstuffs) especially wheat?  Other examples of grains that are used to make flour include barley, rye, corn, rice and buckwheat.  Other foodstuffs include cassava, soybeans, bananas, potatoes, acorns, amaranth and mesquite.

that grinding stones from Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic were found to have been embedded with starch grains which suggests that people 30,000 years ago processed roots from ferns and cattails into flour?

that in 1818 on this date that Cadwallader C. Washburn was born in Livermore, Maine (he died on May 15, 1882)?  In 1866, he built a flour mill at St. Anthony Falls, Minnesota and his Washburn-Crosby Co. (forerunner of General Mills) would market Gold Medal flour. Click on this link to see a 1951 Gold Medal Flour TV commercial!

that the word "caramel" comes from the Spanish language?  It is believed that caramelo actually referred to caramelized sugar and not the chewy candy that we associate with today.

that the first time that "caramel" is used in the English language was in 1725?

that caramel is made when you slowly boil sugar?  As the sugar cooks it begins to break down and turn into a dark, amber liquid. 

that soft caramel was invented in the United States?

that the difference between making hard caramel vs. soft caramel has to do with temperature?  Soft caramel is cooked to 245 degrees F.  Whereas, hard caramel is cooked to 290 degrees F.

that Milton Hershey actually began making caramels before he started making his famous chocolate?

that mushrooms are actually produced in nearly all states in the United States?

that Pennsylvania produces the most mushrooms?  In recent years, this state constitutes for more than 62% of the commercial manufacture of this fungi.

that the mushroom capital of the world is also located in this state?  Kennett Square even has a museum dedicated to the mushroom -- it is called the Phillips Mushroom Museum.  It was created in 1972 and is so-named because of a mushroom farming family by the name of Phillips.

that in order for mushrooms to create more mushrooms it releases spores?  In fact, one mushroom can release as many as 16 billion spores!

that mushrooms can grow in the dark without any light and still produce more mushrooms?

Chicken Cordon Bleu
that "Cordon Bleu" is a french term which means blue ribbon?

that "Chicken Cordon Bleu" is not really a french dish?  Most evidence suggests that it really is an American dish created in the U.S. based on stuffed meat recipes from Europe.

that the first reference to the term "Chicken Cordon Bleu" is traced back to 1962?  It appeared in an United Airlines ad (according to the Food Timeline website).  It was during this time that this dish started to be seen on American restaurant menus.

that there really is no evidence that the first Thanksgiving meal included turkey?  It actually was a three day celebration attended by the Wamponoag tribe and the pilgrims; the year was 1621.  Chances are that seafood and venison is what was seen on their tables.

that you also did not see forks on the first Thanksgiving table?  That's because it was not introduced in this country until ten years later.  Governor Winthrop brought it over; however it wasn't until the 1700s that it really was starting to be used.  The Indians and pilgrims would have used a knife, spoon and their fingers.

that one of the reasons that Swanson began creating TV dinners was due to Thanksgiving turkeys?  In 1953, Swanson was looking for a way to deal with the massive quantity of leftover turkeys from the holiday.

that Halloween came to this country by European immigrants?  They would celebrate their harvest by sitting around a bonfire, sing and dance, and even tell fortunes and ghost stories.

that the yearly sales of Halloween candy in America averages to be about 2 billion dollars?

that chocolate candy bars are the most popular candy chosen to be received as treats on Halloween?  And the most popular one is the Snickers bar?

that October 30th is known as National Candy Corn Day?

that the world record for having the most lit jack o'lanterns all at one time took place in Boston Massachusetts?  There were 30,128 of them.  Supposedly, they came up with idea due to the great Boston Fire in 1872.


Wrigley's Gum
that William Wrigley, Jr. only had $32 in his pocket when he started his new company? He was also given $5000.00 from his uncle to help.  The year was 1891 and the city was Chicago.

that two of the earliest gum products made by Mr. Wrigley was called Lotta Gum and Sweet Sixteen Orange?

that William Wrigley, Jr. actually sent four sticks of gum to everyone noted in the U.S. phone book?  The year was 1915 and he did it to promote his product.  That totaled about 6 million sticks of gum (there were about 1.5 million people listed)!

You can read more of the history here.

that the word tortilla actually comes from a Spanish word?  "Torta" means "round cake".

that the average Mexican family will eat more than two pounds of tortillas every day?

that the wheat flour tortilla has had the most growth rate compared to all other grain production?  In 2000, it saw an increase of 57 percent over the last four years.

that more than 1000 American companies produce tortillas?

that more tortillas are sold in the U.S. than bagels and muffins?  It's sales are only surpassed by sliced bread in the bread business.

that corn tortillas were actually made before even Christ was born, actually about 10,000 years before? They, of course, were made of native corn using the dried kernel.

that flour tortillas weren't created until the Spaniards brought wheat to America?

that there is a Mayan legend that states that tortillas were created by a peasant who wanted to feed his hungry king?

that 1903 was the year that canned tuna was first made?

that here in America only albacore tuna can be put in canned tuna?  In other countries, yellowfin can legally be used as white meat tuna.

the biggest tuna was caught in 1979 off the coast of Nova Scotia?  It weighed 1,496 pounds and was a
Bluefin tuna.

that tuna are fast swimmers?  They can reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour!

that Bluefin tuna is so desirable that one sold for $1.76 million?  It was sold in a fish market in Japan this year.  It weighed 488 pounds which takes it down to $3,600 per pound!  Here is an article and  video showing you the tuna:  Bluefin Tuna Article.

Crumb Cake
that supposedly crumb cake originally came from Silesia which is a province in Western Poland?

that the word "cupcake" first was seen in a recipe from a cookbook in America in the year 1826 (per food historian, Andrew Smith)?  The word "cup" is believed to be referring to the amount of ingredients used in the recipe (a cupful of sugar, a cupful of butter, a cupful of flour. . .).

that per Lynne Olver (she has a website called the Food Timeline) there was a recipe found that called for the cake to be baked in cups and it was from the year 1796.

Labor Day

that Labor Day started on September 5, 1882?  It was celebrated in New York City with parades and festivities involving food.

that on Labor Day more beef is eaten than on any other day of the year?

that per the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council today officially marks the demise of the hot dog season (which began on Memorial Day)?


Open Face Sandwiches

that open face sandwiches goes back to the Middle Ages?  During that time, thick slabs of bread (usually stale and coarse) were used like plates. These were called trenchers and after the meal was eaten, they were either consumed or given to beggars or even to a dog. Sounds yummy doesn't it?!!

that green peppers are not ripe?  They do develop fully but don't ripen until they they change color. (However, there is a variety that is green when fully ripe but it is not the ones we typically get in the grocery stores.)

that besides being green, red, yellow or orange, peppers can also be black, brown, purple and ivory?  It all depends on the state of ripeness and which variety the plant is.

that the reason that red, yellow and orange peppers are more expensive than the green peppers is because they take longer to grow due to the fact that the growers are waiting for them to ripen?  Because of this, they also have a shorter storage period.  (I always wondered why that was!  Now I know!!)

Parmesan Cheese
that the first time there was a recorded reference to Parmesan cheese took place in the year 1254?  A noble woman living in Genoa actually traded her house so she could have a yearly supply of the cheese -- 53 pounds worth!

that there was a war in Italy for centuries over who made the most prestigious Parmesan cheese?

that there is the belief that Moliere would eat nothing but Parmesan cheese in the last couple of years of his life?

that during the Great Fire of London, a man by the name of Samuel Peyps buried his Parmesan cheese?  He wanted to save it from the fire!

You can read more of the history here and here.

that Mary, Queen of Scots, is attributed with having  invented shortbread?  Although, it is possible it has been around since the 12th century.

that shortbread used to be only affordable for the rich because it was costly and was considered a luxury for only those special occasions?

that there is a National Shortbread Day?  It is celebrated on January 6th.

that in Scotland it is customary to eat shortbread on New Year's Eve?  It actually goes back to ancient times when it was the pagan ritual to eat Yule cakes.

that in Shetland (islands belonging to Scotland) it was the custom to break decorative shortbread over the bride's head before she went into her new home?

Nathan's Hot Dogs
that former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, stated that Nathan's hot dogs were the world's best hot dogs?

that former first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, loved Nathan's hot dogs?

that Barbra Streisand had these famous dogs delivered all the way to London, England for a private party that she was having?

that on an episode of the TV show, Seinfeld, a trip to Nathan's was the main theme?

Ice Cream
that Dairy Queen started with the sale of a 10 cent item that didn't even have a name yet? The day was August 4, 1938.  A father and son in Illinois had been experimenting with a soft frozen dairy treat when they approached a good friend and asked if they could have an "all you can eat" trial sale at his ice cream store. Sixteen hundred servings of this sweet concoction sold within two hours.  More info can be found here.

that Haagen Dazs is a made up name?  It was actually created by Reuben Mattus who was born in Poland in 1959 but subsequently moved to New York.  

that Athanassios Karvelas is the founder of Carvel Ice Cream?  He was born in Greece but moved to the United States in 1910.  He actually borrowed $15 from his soon-to-be bride to start selling ice cream from his truck.  His better known name is Tom Carvel.  He was a man of many "firsts".  Read all about it here.

that Dippin' Dots are actually tiny bits of ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt and flavored ice that are flash frozen in liquid nitrogen?   Curt Jones who created Dippin' Dots is a microbiologist who pioneered the process of cryogenic encapsulation. . . in other words using very, very cold freezing methods to make the "dots".

that Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream all began with a five dollar correspondence course on how to make ice cream from Penn State University?  Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield actually split the cost!

that it is believed that oregano originated in Greece?

that the word oregano actually is a Greek word?  It means "joy of the mountains".

that couples who had been married in Ancient Greece, were crowned with wreaths of oregano?

that oregano used to be put on graves in ancient times? It was meant to give peace to those who left this earth.

that the Greeks of long ago thought cows had better, tastier meat if they ate oregano?

that in China noodles represent longevity?

that the cooking of noodles for 30 minutes and combining them with cheese and a cream sauce was brought to the U.S. by the Colonists?

that slurping your noodles loudly is actually regarded as good manners?  It is a way to tell the host that you are really liking your meal!

that noodles are made using Durum flour, egg solids and water?

that in the U.S., noodles just aren't noodles if they do not have the egg solids?  That is because of federal regulations.

that Thomas Jefferson was the first person to bring a pasta making machine to the United States?  The year was 1789 and it was after he was finished being the ambassador to France.

that the word "noodle" actually comes from the German name of "nudel"?

that in 1848 pasta was made in America for the first time commercially?  Antoine Zerega, a Frenchman, opened his factory in Brooklyn, New York and used one horse to power the machines; he also would dry his pasta by putting it on the roof and letting the sun do the work!

that the top brand of pasta in Italy is Barilla as well as in the United States?

that macaroons are believed to have been around since the 14th century (although some believe it could be as early as the 9th century)?

that macaroons are said to have originated in Venice, Italy in a monastery?

that although there is nothing written down, the thought is that Catherine de Medici's (wife of King Henri II) pastry chef introduced them?

that there were two Benedictine nuns that were called the "Macaroon Sisters"?  The time was the French Revolution and these nuns were looking for asylum.  They began selling their macaroons to help cover their housing expenses.

that macaroons were first made like a small cake?  Ground up almonds and egg whites were the ingredients which gave this treat a hard exterior but a soft interior.

Memorial Day
that during  the American Revolution, the army food ration for soldiers included meat or salt fish, vegetables and hardtack (or bread)?

that during World War II, for the general public many foods were rationed?  It was done in stages beginning in 1940 and they included foods like butter, sugar, tea, eggs, cheese, milk and meat.

that during this time, there was actually a Minister of Food?  The duties of this government office was to hype the benefits of food rationing to the people and also to educate them about better eating habits.

that according to a survey taken in 1951, banana cream pie was the favorite dessert of U.S. armed services?  The least favorite was rice pudding.

that according to a survey taken by Weber in 2012, almost 75% of Americans will fire up their grill on Memorial Day?  What are the foods they are cooking -- hamburgers are the most popular followed by chicken and then steak.

Cole Slaw
that the word cole slaw comes from the dutch word "kool sla"?  "Kool" means cabbage and "sla" means salad. . . so it simply means cabbage salad.

that it was the development of bottled mayonnaise that made cole slaw a popular side dish in the U.S.?   It was created in 1903 by Richard Hellmann, a New York City deli owner who was born in Vetschau, near Berlin in 1876.  He moved to the United States and married the daughter of a deli owner.  Mr. Hellmann then opened his own deli and started marketing mayonnaise in 1912.  It was a great hit and sold so well that he ended up closing his deli and devoting all his time to the manufacturing of his mayonnaise.  It was simple and fast to use as a dressing for shredded cabbage.  Today Hellmann's is still spelled with a double "n" as it was spelled in its original German way.  You can read more details here.

Cinco de Mayo
that one reason that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated so much in America is because if there had not been a victory during the Battle of Puebla, France would have helped the South during the American Civil War and that would have greatly affected the war?

that according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the world's largest enchilada was made in Mexico City.  Here is a clip.  It was 230 feet long and weighed almost 3,144 pounds.  It was created during the National Enchilada Fair held at Iztapalapa, and it consisted of corn tortillas, serrano chilies, onions, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, avovado and cream in addition to other ingredients. 

However the people of Las Cruces feel like their's is the largest because their enchilada is rolled and not flat like the one made in Iztapalapa.  Check out the dispute here.  You can also view them making it here

Chicken McNuggetts
that McDonald's first began selling their Chicken McNuggets in 1980?  The reason that they began selling these little morsels goes back to 1977 when the federal government's dietary guidelines suggested that people should eat less fat, especially red meat.  This caused the sales of hamburgers to decrease so the executives of McDonald's hired a European chef (who actually cooked for the Queen of England) to come up with a chicken dish.  With lots of failed experiments, the chicken McNugget was born.  You can read more of the details at this link:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/the-father-of-the-chicken_n_2388347.html.

that the first McNugget commercial aired in 1983?  Check it out here.

that sauces for McDonald's McNuggets included a tangy cranberry sauce with a twist of orange and a sweet apple sauce spiced with cinnamon?  Watch their holiday commercial to see for yourself:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFfm1vWzmT0.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

that April is National Grilled Cheese day?

that April 12th is Grilled Cheese Sandwich day?

that in America, 2.2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches are made at home every year?

that the grilled cheese sandwich is the favorite homemade sandwich of 30 percent of the American people?

that American and cheddar are America's most popular types of cheese used for grilled cheese sandwiches? Other popular varieties include Swiss, Gruyere and Gouda -- these are especially enjoyed in Europe.


that cilantro is the leaves of a coriander plant?  It is the first (or vegetative) state of the this plant's life cycle.  The plant and seed-like fruit is usually referred to as coriander and it occurs after the plant flowers and develops seeds.

that cilantro and coriander cannot be exchanged in recipes?  They each have their own distinctive flavor and are very different from one another.

that cilantro is also known as Chinese parsley?

that cilantro was used in biblical times?  It was in the bitter herbs or morar during Passover.


that the the word Easter gets its name from Pesach which is the Hebrew name for Passover?

that the Easter Bunny symbol came from the Pagan festival of Eastre?  The Anglo-Saxons worshiped the goddess, Eastre, who was represented by her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

that the first Easter baskets were made to look like bird nests?

that the Easter egg represents life or rebirth?

that Easter parades began in the mid 1800's as a way for upper society to show off their Easter finery after going to their church services?

Irish Food
that Irish Soda Bread is called that because it uses baking soda instead of yeast as its leavening agent?

that before thermometers were invented, makers of beer would dip their thumb in the brew to determine if it was time to add yeast?  If it was too hot, the yeast would die, of course. This is where the phrase "rule of thumb" comes from.

that about 4,000 years ago a bride's father would give his son-in-law all the mead he could drink for a month after the wedding?  Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar-based, this time period was called "honey month" or what we call "honeymoon" today.

that the Irish introduced oatmeal to America?

Peanut Butter
that March is the national peanut month?

that it takes 850 peanuts to make an 18 oz. jar of peanut butter?

that there is a reason that peanut butter sticks to your mouth?  It is because the high protein in peanut butter absorbs moisture.

that the average boy in America will eat 1500 peanut butter sandwiches before they're 18 years old?

that peanut butter can become diamonds?  With very high temperatures and very high pressure it can be transformed just like most things that contain carbon.

that because of a Chinese scroll from the 5th century, stylish women used the skin of the purple eggplants to make a dye to polish their teeth with?  They would polish them until they were a shiny gray.  Sounds attractive, doesn't it?!

that if you have arthritis, you may not want to eat eggplant?  The reason is because it may make your symptoms worse.

that an eggplant is mostly water?  That would be almost 95% of it is.

that in some areas of Europe, eggplant was thought to cause cancer, leprosy, bad breath and even madness?  For this reason, eggplants were usually used to decorate with in the United States and in England up to as recently as the 1900s.

that eggplant is part of the Nightshade family and is actually a fruit?  It is considered a berry.  I learned something knew because I always thought it was a vegetable, didn't you?

Candy Conversation Hearts
that sweetheart conversation hearts have been around since the Civil War?  They were created  in 1866 by Daniel Chase and were actually used at weddings, birthday parties and other happy occasions.

that sweetheart conversation hearts are the most popular non-chocolate Valentine's candy the world over?

that the NECCO Company makes over 8 billion of these candies every year and sells the majority of them during a 6 week period?

that every year NECCO creates 10 new sayings to be put on their candy hearts?

You can read the interesting history of this candy as well as of NECCO by clicking on this link:  http://www.necco.com/About.aspx

that Montezuma (the king of the ancient Aztecs) felt that if he consumed chocolate it would make him virile?

that Casanova (an Italian adventurer who was known for loving many women) would eat chocolate rather than sip on champagne to bring about romance?

that Madame Du Barry (a courtesan and mistress of King Louis XV) gave chocolate to all her admirers?

that Napoleon supposedly took chocolate with him on all his military campaigns?

that in the 19th century doctors would typically tell their patients who were looking for love to eat chocolate?  This supposedly would soothe their longings for love.  I personally think chocolate is a cure all for lots of things, don't you agree?!

that in 1973, Roland Ohisson (a Swiss candy salesman) was laid to rest in a coffin solely made of chocolate?

Super Bowl
that next to Thanksgiving, on Super Bowl Sunday we consume the largest amount of food?

that it is estimated that Americans will eat 4,000 tons of popcorn and 14,500 tons of chips during Super Bowl Sunday?

that it is believed that Americans will consume about 1.25 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl Sunday?

that statistics show Americans will eat about 8 million pounds of guacamole?

that the average American will consume 1,200 calories while viewing the big game?

All I can say is that watching commercials must make us very hungry!!

Cheese Ball
that there is a national cheese ball day?  It is celebrated here in the states on April 17th.

that cheddar cheese (as well as leicester and cheshire cheese) gets its color from annatto seed?  Marigold petals as well as carrot juice have also been used.

that the different textures, flavors and colors of various types of cheese are due to many things including the type of milk used, how long the cheese is aged and the conditions used (i.e. humidity levels, etc.), the type of bacterial cultures used, the type of processing used and, of course, the adding of different flavorings.

that cheddar cheese is the second most popular cheese in the U.S.?  Mozzarella is number one.

that cheese can be made from the milk of a cow or goat (this you probably knew!) but also from sheep, buffalo, camel, llama and yak?

that cumin is mentioned in the bible (Isaiah 28:25, 27 -- Matthew 23:23)?

that cumin is part of the parsley family?

that cumin is the second most popular spice?

that in the Middle Ages it was believed that cumin kept lovers and chickens from wandering?

that also during that time period if a bride and groom carried cumin during their ceremony, it was thought to bring them a happy life together?

Grilled Cheese
that on November 22, 2004 a grilled cheese sandwich sold for $28,000 on eBay?  The Golden Palace Casino bought it and the reason. . .  it supposedly had an image of the Virgin Mary on it.  The fortunate seller was Diana Duyser and she truly believed that she received many blessings over the ten years that she had it sitting in her nightstand drawer.  Believe it or not, the claim was that it wasn't even moldy after all that time.

New Year's Eve
that in Denmark boiled cod is what is typically eaten on New Year's Eve?

that in Holland Olie Bollen (translation:  oil balls) is what the Dutch will eat on this night?  Olie Bollen are puffy donuts that can be filled with raisins, diced apples and currants.

that the Polish people will often dine on herring on New Year's Eve because it is said to bring good fortune throughout the new year?

that  the Japanese will eat noodles at the stroke of midnight while listening for the Buddhist temple bells?  These bells are said to purify the listener of their sins.

that in Cuba, Spain and Mexico twelve grapes are eaten when the clock strikes twelve - one for each chime?  Each one symbolizes the twelve months of the new year, and if the grape tastes sweet that month will be a good month.  However, if the grape tastes sour, that month will be sour.

that in Germany you will see carp on the menu for New Year's Eve?  You will also find that some Germans put a few of the carp's scales in their wallets to help bring  financial luck in the coming year!

that the Chinese burn crackers on New Year's Eve because they believe this frightens the evil spirits away?

that in the southern United States, black-eyed peas is the traditional fare because it is believed to bring good luck in the new year?  Other foods often seen on the menu include collard greens, cornbread, cabbage and kale -- it will give you wealth. . . supposedly!

Soup and Celebrities
that Elvis Presley liked to eat potato cheese soup with french fried onion rings on top of it?

that mock turtle soup was included on the menu for the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln?

that for lunch President John F. Kennedy almost always ate a sandwich along with a bowl of soup?

that once Howard Hughes withdrew from the world and lived alone in sealed hotel rooms, he only lived on soup?

that Frank Sinatra always requested that chicken and rice soup be there for him in his dressing rooms before going out on stage?  The reason. . . he felt it cleared his mind and settled his stomach.

that when Giuseppe Verdi (a composer who lived between 1813 - 1901) needed inspiring, he would eat a bowl of noodle soup?

that Andy Warhol painted those infamous soup cans because he loved soup so much?  In fact, he loved it so much that he ate it every day for 20 years!

Wheaties Cereal
that the world's first singing commercial aired on the radio on Christmas Eve, 1926 for Wheaties cereal? The four male singers, eventually known as the Wheaties Quartet, sang the jingle. The Wheaties Quartet, comprised of an undertaker, a bailiff, a printer, and a businessman, performed the song for the next six years, at $6 per singer per week. The commercials were a resounding success.  You can listen to the jingle by clicking on this link:

Animal Crackers
that there are 300,000 animal crackers baked per hour?

that there have been a total of 54 types of animals created since 1902?

that currently there are 18 types of animals?

that in over 100 years, only four of the original types of animals are still being baked today?  They are the lion, tiger, bear and elephant.

that the newest animal cracker today is the koala bear?

(The answer to our question the other day was Animal Crackers, so I thought I would share some Animal Cracker trivia -- per http://freepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bradytrilogy/memories/images/bibliography/na-bis-co/nabisco-history.html)

Holiday Cookies
that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Wyoming is the Candy Cane Cookie?
that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Ohio is the Buckeye Cookie (III)?

that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Georgia is the Fruitcake Cookie?

that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Hawaii is the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread Cookie?

that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Vermont is the Ultimate Maple Snickerdoodle Cookie?

that the favorite holiday cookie in the state of Louisiana is the Yummy Pecan Praline Cookie?

These were all responses that Reader's Digest received when they polled bakers in all 50 states.  You can see the responses for all 50 states (and also links to the recipes) by clicking on this site:  http://www.rd.com/home/the-50-favorite-cookies-by-state-last-christmas/

that originally the Elite only grew paprika for decoration?  It was the lower class that actually used it in their cooking.

that there are many types of paprika ranging from sweet to hot?  

that there is a Paprika Museum in Kalocsa, Hungary?  They also have a Paprika Festival each year held in October.

that paprika added to its food is what helps the pink flamingo in the zoo keep its color?

that the word teriyaki in Japanese means shine (teri) and to broil or grill (yaki) and actually refers to the method of cooking?  Their traditional teriyaki foods look shiny with grill marks.

that teriyaki sauce is believed to have been created in the 1600s by Japanese cooks?  

that teriyaki is extremely popular in Seattle, Washington and has numerous restaurants?  Even Thai restaurants serve teriyaki and one restaurant in Seattle has corn dog teriyaki on its menu. 

that garlic bulbs were actually found in the tomb of King Tut?

that garlic was actually used as currency at one time?  It was used to purchase Egyptian slaves thousands of years ago, and it was also used to pay taxes during the 17th and 18th centuries in Siberia.  That's how valuable garlic was.

that during the olden days brides would carry bouquets of garlic and herbs instead of the traditional flowers we do today?   

that garlic also played a role in early works of art?  It was part of a blended mixture that was used to attach the gold leaf.

that a restaurant in Stockholm serves garlic cheesecake as well as garlic beer?

that there is even garlic ice cream and garlic chocolate chip cookies?  (that doesn't sound appealing to me. . . does it to you?!)

that turkeys have great hearing but no external ears?  They have excellent vision, can see color and also have a wide field of vision (about 270 degrees).  That is why it is hard to sneak up on them.  They have a great sense of taste but a poor sense of smell.

that turkeys in the wild can actually fly for short distances?  They can fly up to 55 miles per hour in the air while reaching speeds of 25 miles per hour on the ground.  It is the domesticated turkey that cannot fly.

that turkeys sometimes spend the night in trees?

that turkeys can actually have heart attacks?  There have been turkeys in fields near the Air Force test areas that have died from the shock of passing jets.

Resource:  http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkeyfacts.html

that candy corn has been around since 1898?  It was made by the Herman Goelitz Confectionery Company in Fairfield, California.  It is now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

that the the first recorded Halloween celebration happened in 1921 in the city of Anoka (Minnesota)?

that the colors orange and black are considered Halloween colors because orange has been associated with the autumn harvest and black has been associated with darkness and death?

that bobbing for apples is thought to have come from the Roman harvest festival which honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees?

that the following states each produce at least 100 million pounds of pumpkins -- Ohio, California and New York?  That's a lot of pumpkins!

References:  Womans Day magazine (October 17, 2011), http://www.foodreference.com/html/fhalloween.html, http://www.halloween-website.com/trivia.htm


that Jesse James, who was an American outlaw (that lived between 1847 and 1882) refused to rob a McKinney, Texas bank?  It was because his favorite chili parlor was located there!

that supposedly the last words of Kit Carson (who was a frontiersman in the 1800s) were "wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili".

that probably the most famous chili came from Chasen's Restaurant in Hollywood, California?  The owner of the restaurant was Dave Chasen (1899 - 1973) who was an ex-vaudeville  performer and never shared the secret of his recipe.  Many famous people loved this chili such as Jack Benny, Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of President, Franklin D. Roosevelt) and Elizabeth Taylor.  In fact, when Elizabeth Taylor was filming "Cleopatra" in Rome, she had Chasen's Restaurant send her 10 quarts.  Reportedly, the cost was $200 to have it shipped!  Clark Gable was another admirer of Chasen's famous chili.  He was sent some while in the hospital and allegedly it was his last meal the night he died.  The restaurant closed in April 2000 so I guess we'll never know the recipe!

that in the late 18th century, the French King at the time was so "in love" with himself, that he had the royal chefs create a soup so that he could see his reflection in his bowl?  That is how consomme (which is a clear broth) was invented!

that during the reign of Louis XI, the women ate mostly soup?  The reason was because they thought chewing would cause facial wrinkles!

that soup became all the rage in Europe during the 1600s because of the invention of the spoon?  And the reason that the spoon was invented had to do with the fashion of the day.  At the time, it was common for the men and women of the high courts to wear large, stiff ruffles around their neck.  The spoon made it easier and less messy to eat soup!

Campbell's Soup
that Campbell's made tuna noodle casserole famous?  According to the chacha.com website, in the 1930s the Campbell Soup Company used advertisements, brochures and cookbooks to promote casserole recipes (including Tuna Noodle Casserole) all the while portraying their Cream of Mushroom soup as a quick and economical alternative to having to make sauces from scratch.

that in 1931 the Campbell Soup Company began radio advertising?  It would sponsor radio programs like the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and the Campbell Playhouse.  This is where the famous slogan "M'm M'm Good" was first aired.

Click on the following link to see the history of Campbell's, hear a commercial, listen to an old radio program, etc.:   http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/LookAround/advertspot_campbells.htm

or you can click on this link to listen to some of the Campbell Playhouse old time radio shows: http://www.radiolovers.com/pages/campbellplayhouse.htm

that in 1584, French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported finding "gros melons" in the St. Lawrence region of North America?  The name was then translated as "pompions" which then evolved into the word "pumpkin".

that during the colonial era, the colonists did not use pumpkins in the filling of their pies?  They used them as part of the crust.

that at one time, using pumpkins to remove freckles and cure snake bites was recommended?

that the flowers of pumpkins are edible?

that pumpkins are 90% water?

that pumpkins grow in all parts of the world except Antarctica?  

that apples are grown in all 50 states?

that 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world?
America's longest-lived apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard and was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866?
that the Granny Smith apple was named for Mrs. Maria Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales, Australia, who is said to have found it in her backyard  in1868?


Johhny Appleseed
that Johnny Appleseed was a hero?  During the War of 1812, Johnny Appleseed heard the British had incited an Indian attack, so he ran 30 miles from Mansfield to Mount Vernon, Ohio, to warn settlers. 

that the last known tree planted by Johnny Appleseed is on a farm owned by Richard and Phyllis Algeon?  It is located in Nova, Ohio?  Cuttings from the tree have been planted throughout the Midwest.

that Urbana University, located in Urbana, OH, maintains the world's only Johnny Appleseed Museum, which is open to the public?  The museum hosts a number of artifacts, including a tree that is believed to have been planted by Johnny Appleseed.  In addition, the museum is also home to a large number of historical memorabilia, the largest in the world.  They also provide a number of services for research, including a national registry of Johnny Appleseed's relatives.


Macaroni & Cheese
that although the definitive origin of macaroni and cheese is not known, the first known written recipe for this dish is from thirteenth century southern Italy?  This recipe calls for lasagna sheets and fermented cheese.

that Kraft introduced its famous boxed version of macaroni and cheese in 1937?  During the first year, nine million boxes were sold.

that in 1993, Crayola named one of their crayon colors “macaroni and cheese"?

that two restaurants in New York City, S'MAC and Supermac, serve only macaroni and cheese?   Both restaurants offer classic macaroni and cheese as well as gourmet varieties of the dish.

Source:  http://mymacaroniandcheese.info/15-fun-facts-about-macaroni-and-cheese

that potatoes first became popular when Marie Antoinette paraded in France wearing a crown of potato blossoms?

that in 1770 a crop failure gave a war its name - "The Potato War" when a war between Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa forced soldiers to steal the enemy's potatoes as there was not much more food to eatWhen the potatoes were finished, so was the war.

that up until the late 18th century, the French believed that potatoes caused leprosy?

that Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was a 18th century agronomist who convinced the common French people to accept the potato as a safe food? He used reverse psychology by posting guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them. He left them unguarded at night. So, every night, the thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of these precious potatoes! 

Sources:  http://www.thehotpotato.com/english/potato_facts.htm and http://www.foodreference.com/html/fpotatoes.html

that the world's fastest pizza maker can make 14 pizzas in 2 minutes and 35 seconds?  Dinner would be quick at this house!!

that the longest pizza delivery was from Cape Town, South Africa to Sydney, Australia?

that what has been called "the world's most extravagant pizza" is available at New York's Nino's Bellissima restaurant?  Topped with six varieties of caviar, chives, fresh lobster and creme fraiche, this 12-inch pie, called the "Luxury Pizza," retails at $1,000.00 (or $125.00 a slice).  Do you want to go?!

that the most expensive pizza created was made by the restaurateur Domenico Crolla who created a $2,745.00 priced Valentine pizza which included toppings such as sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, medallions of venison, edible gold, lobster marinated in the finest cognac and champagne-soaked caviar?
Source:   http://pizza.com/fun-facts

Gooey Butter Cake
that the story as to the origin of the gooey butter cake all started with a mistake?  No one knows for sure whose it was -- there are many people who claim this fame.  However, it most certainly began in St. Louis where most of the German bakers were.  Because this "mistake" (of either adding too much sugar or butter or using the wrong butter "smear" or . . . no one knows for sure) occurred in the 1930s/early 1940s (depending on who is telling the story) during the Great Depression, there was reason not to be wasteful.  So they sold the cake anyways.  Surprisingly, it sold very well.

that even though the gooey butter cakes sold well in St. Louis, they did not in other areas?  It's one of the reasons that this confection stayed a regional favorite.

Sources:  http://www.helferspastries.com/gooeybuttercakehistory.html

Note:  You too can try a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.  There are many bakeries that will send you one.  From what I have read Gooey Louie was voted the #1 bakery for this type of cake.  Here is their website if you would like to place an order:  http://gooeylouiecake.com/general/shopping.php?act=shop&lact=lact

When I was in St. Louis this summer, we tried to get one from this bakery but they were closed due to the excessive heat (it was in 100s!).  Currently their site says "shopping cart closed for the summer.  Please check back in the Fall" but that is only a few weeks away!  If you order one, please let me know how they taste -- I would love to know what you think!

Black Beans
that black beans are also known as turtle beans?

that beans were one of the first foods gathered according to archeologists?

that the black bean was the first bean species to be domesticated over 8,000 years ago?

that ingested beans sometimes cause gas (really?!) due to oligosaccharides, "complex sugars that---because they're indigestible by normal stomach enzymes---proceed into the lower intestine where they're eaten (and fermented) by friendly bacteria, the result of which is gas" (The New Food Lover's Companion, Barron's. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series)

Resources:  http://www.ehow.com/about_5075429_black-beans.html

Tomato Sauce:
that even though pasta had been around for thousands of years it took that long before anyone ever thought to use tomatoes to make sauce?  In 1519, the Spanish explorer Cortez, actually brought tomatoes from Mexico to Europe.  However, it still took almost 200 years before the Italians used tomato sauce on top of spaghetti.  The reason was because tomatoes are a part of the nightshade family of which many plants are considered poisonous.  This made Europeans afraid to eat them.  Surprisingly enough, they used tomatoes as houseplants!

Source: http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/pastas/trivia.asp 

that people around the world eat more pork than any other meat?

that during the War of 1812, a New York pork packer named Uncle Sam Wilson shipped a boatload of several hundred barrels of pork to U.S. troops. Each barrel was stamped "U.S." on the docks, and it was quickly said that the "U.S." stood for "Uncle Sam," whose large shipment seemed to be enough to feed the entire army. This is how "Uncle Sam" came to represent the U.S. Government. 

that the saying "living high on the hog" started among enlisted men in the U.S. Army, who received shoulder and leg cuts of pork while officers received the top loin cuts? So "living high on the hog" came to mean living well.

Source:  http://oklahoma4h.okstate.edu/aitc/lessons/extras/facts/swine.html

that the term "couch potato" (which means sitting around all day and watching television) can be traced to Tom Lacino of Pasadena, California?  He was a member of a group that humorously opposed the exercise and dieting fads of the 1970s.  He made up the term on July 15, 1976 in a telephone conversation.  He said his life focused on the "Boob Tube," a name for TV.  And since tubers is another name for potatoes, Lacino coined the term couch potato.

Source:  Everything but the Kitchen Sink by Frieda Wishinsky and Elizabeth MacLeod

that barbecue generally means to cook something (meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables) directly over the heat of an open fire?

that the most popular holiday to grill in the U.S. is the 4th of July, followed by Labor Day and then Memorial Day?

that ribs must be boiled prior to barbecuing them because putting them on the grill for the full cooking time will leave them burned or dried out? 

that in the year 2009, archeologists found a 31,000 year old site in the Czech Republic that had a cooking pit with the remains of two mammoths along with other animal remains?

that peaches were mentioned in literature as early as 79 A.D.?

that in Ancient China, peaches were a sign of longevity and immortality?

that peaches are members of the rose family?

that Cling or Clingstone peaches are called that because they have a pit in which the flesh "clings" to it.   The freestone peaches are then so called because they have a pit from which the flesh pulls away easily.

that the peach and nectarine are so similar that there is only one gene that makes them distinct from each other?  The nectarine has one recessive gene and it happens to be the one with the fuzz.

that peaches do not ripen in the refrigerator?

that peaches ripen faster in a bag?

that people in the US prefer yellow peaches but that people in Asia prefer white peaches?

that the saying "you're a real peach" started from the tradition of giving peaches to your beloved friends?

that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, granola is defined as a mixture typically of rolled oats and various added ingredients (such as brown sugar, raisins, coconut, and nuts) that is eaten especially for breakfast or as a snack?

that granola was created in the late 1800s during the time that the cereal industry started?  Many religious men who focused on living in a healthy way had a hand in developing granola.

that it all began with Sylvester Graham  (1794 - 1851) who created the graham cracker?  He believed in using whole grain wheat flour (graham flour) and recommended staying away from white bread.

that in 1863, a granola recipe was invented?  Dr. James C. Jackson took graham flour, formed it into sheets, baked it until it was dry, broke those pieces, baked it again and then broke it up into even smaller pieces.  He called it "Granula". 

that Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (famous for Kellogg cereals) developed a breakfast food which was a mix of baked and rebaked whole grains and called it "Granola" (he was sued by Dr. Jackson for calling it granula so he changed the name to granola)?  He was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church which urged temperance, vegetarianism and a healthy diet. 

that Charles W. Post who was a patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium (in which Dr. Kellogg was in charge of), opened up his own health retreat after leaving the facility?  He ended up making his own Granola recipe and named it Grape Nuts.  He made Grape Nuts a commercial success.

that as cereals became more sugary in the mid 1900s, granola became less popular?  However, it was revived again in the 1960's because it was considered a "hippie" health food.

Salisbury Steak:
that Salisbury Steak was named after Dr. James H. Salisbury?  He was born in 1823 and was an early health food advocate.  After creating this dish, Dr. Salisbury advised his patients to eat it three times a day while limiting their consumption of "poisonous" vegetables and starches.

that in Japan Salisbury Steak is called Hamburg Steak?  It is made from ground meat with egg, finely chopped onion and breadcrumbs that have been  flavored with various spices.

that in Hawaii, Salisbury Steak is a burger patty with brown gravy and is usually served with rice and macaroni salad?  They also have a variety which includes an egg and it is called loco moco.

that in Russia their Salisbury Steak is called Minced Cutlet?  It is a staple of the Russian diet but it is rarely made with pure beef.  It is usually made with pork or can be a beef/pork mixture.  The meat is fried in very little oil and is seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic, finely chopped onion, and usually with eggs and breadcrumbs soaked in milk.

that blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America?  It is rarely found growing in Europe but has recently been introduced in Australia.

that blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are truly the color of blue?

that the most favorite muffin flavor is blueberry?

Marsala Wine:
that Marsala is an Italian wine?  According to this website, http://www.wineintro.com/types/marsala.html, Marsala is in the west section of Sicily, the island near the foot end of Italy.  In 1798 the Sicilians managed to substitute their own wines in place of the standard rum in an English naval shipment. In those seafaring days, something had to be done to wine to allow it to last the long ocean journeys. Brandy was added to allow the wine to last longer and to be more resistant to temperature changes. These brandy-dosed wines were called "fortified wines".

Once the British had a taste of Marsala, demand grew quickly. In the United States during Prohibition, things became even more interesting. The typical Marsala bottles made the wine look like medicine. People found that getting Marsala was less risky than other types of wine. While not as popular now for straight drinking, Marsala is still used quite frequently as a cooking wine in Italian dishes.

Ice Cream:
that rumor has it that President George Washington really liked ice cream -- so much in fact that he had a $200 ice cream bill one summer?  (Can you blame him?!) 

that President James Madison wanted to impress his guests so much at his inaugural ball that he had ice cream served to his them?  The milk used to make the ice cream came from his very own cows.

that Mussolini banned ice cream throughout his country?   Even though Italy is the birthplace of this treat, he thought the confection was "too American."

that  Ronald Reagan made July National Ice Cream Month?  He declared it an official US holiday in 1984.

that Margaret Thatcher, the U.K.'s Prime Minister, helped create soft-serve ice cream?  Before entering politics, she was part of a team of chemists who was involved with this process.

that the zucchini squash was brought to the United States by Italian immigrants in the 1920s and that it became popular in the 1930s (according to the University of Illinois Extension)?

that the largest recorded zucchini measured 69.5 inches long (that's almost 7 feet!) and weighed 65 pounds?  It was grown by Bernard Lavery who was from Plymouth Devon, United Kingdom.

that the flower of the zucchini plant is edible?

that according to the the Guiness Book of World Records, it took 110,000 eggs to make the world's largest omelet?   (It sure would take a long time to crack that many eggs!)  It was made on October 8, 2010 at Cepa shopping mall in Ankara, Turkey.   It weighed 9,702 lbs. 8 oz. (4.401 tonnes).  The event was organized by the Turkish Egg Producers Association and the Pruva Neta tourist agency to celebrate World Egg Day 2010.  It took over two hours to prepare the omelet by executive chef Süleyman Aºçioğlu and his team of 60 chefs.  It was made in a 30 foot (10 meter) diameter metal pan and had over 79.25 gallons (300 liters) of oil and salt.  (Source:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/1000/largest-omelette)

Fourth of July:

that according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, U.S. citizens eat over 150 million hot dogs during all their Independence Day celebrations?

H A P P Y    4 T H    O F    J U L Y ! !

that the Snickers bar was named after the family horse of Frank and Ethel Mars?

that Heath bars were included in U.S. soldiers' rations during World War II?  The reason being was that they had been found to have a very long shelf life. Originally the Heath bar was not sold as candy but was marketed as a health food.  Another candy that was also included in soldiers' rations was M&M's because they didn't melt very easily.

that the 3 Musketeers bar was originally packaged with three separate pieces of candy?  Each had a different flavor -- vanilla, chocolate and strawberry -- hence the name 3 Musketeers.  Did you also know that the 3 Musketeers bar is called a Milky Way in European countries, and the U.S. version of the Milky Way is called a Mars Bar in those countries?

that in 1998, Martin Keys, a warehouse worker in the UK was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than 300 tons of Mars Bars?  The value of the stolen candy was worth approximately £70,000 (that's over $100,000!).  Now, there's someone you loves candy!!

that lemon trees bloom all year long?  Each tree can produce between 500 and 600 pounds of lemons in a single year.  That's a lot of lemons!

that during the Renaissance in Europe, ladies of fashion used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips?  It probably made them "pucker" their lips too!

that lemons came to the United States by way of Catholic Missionaries?  The lemons were planted in California and Arizona and today they pretty much produce all the lemons that are used in the United States and about a third of what is consumed in the rest of the world.

that because lemons are high in vitamin C, they prevent scurvy?   For this reason, the British Navy to this day requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor on board can have one ounce of juice a day.

that here in the United States, the demand for lemons hit their peak during the California Gold Rush in 1849?  Again, it was because lemons help to prevent scurvy.  Miners were willing to pay huge sums for one single lemon.

that of all the citrus fruit, the lemon is the most widely used?

that it is believed that lemonade originally came from Egypt? That's because the earliest documented evidence states that the juice of lemons was mixed with sugar and sold in Cairo to a Jewish community there.  The year was around 1104.

that you can make a battery using a lemon?  You just need to place a piece of copper metal and some zinc inside the fruit.

that according to the Worldwide Gourmet, the lemon at one time was excommunicated by Catalan priests?  The reason being was they thought the lemon was made by the devil due to it not being round.

that gelatin has been around since 1845?  Peter Cooper who was a famous inventor, patented a product set with gelatin.  However, no one wanted it.

that Jello-O did not get it's name until 1897.  Pearle B. Wait was the first person to develop a fruit-flavored gelatin, but it was his wife, Mrs. Davis Wait, who gave the gelatin-based dessert its name.  They could not sell this product either.

that in 1899 Pearle Wait sold Jell-O to a local townsman by the name of Frank Woodward for only $450?  Again, no one was interested.  Mr. Woodward was about to give up but in 1904, his advertising finally paid off.  The company had introduced the Jell-O girl and that's what got the ball rolling.

that in 1934, comedian Jack Benny really made Jell-O's popularity soar?  He did it by giving this product airtime along with a snappy jingle that sang out the letters of J - E - L - L - O. 

that there were four original flavors of Jell-O?  They were orange, raspberry, strawberry and lemon.  Currently there are 23 total flavors plus 9 sugar-free flavors available per their website.

that at one time Jell-O was considered a very decadent dessert and served by the upper class?  They used fancy Victorian molds to create these beautiful desserts.

that in 1923 Cecil B. DeMille used Jell-O to create the effect of keeping the Red Sea parted as the Israelites fled Egypt in his silent movie, "The Ten Commandments"?

that in the film, "Wizard of Oz", Jell-O was used on the horse that changed colors?  Six horses were actually sponged down with Jell-O to create this effect.

that before the 17th century, almost all carrots were purple?  The orange carrot of today wasn't cultivated until the late 1500s.  The Dutch growers took mutant strains of the purple carrot along with the yellow and white carrot and gradually developed the orange carrot that we enjoy now.

that you can actually have orange skin from eating too many orange carrots?

that the part of the carrot (the root) that we consume today, was not the typical part eaten in ancient times?  The seeds and leaves were what was valued long ago due to their medicinal properties.  One example is that the King of Pontius (100 BC) had a recipe containing carrot seeds that counteracted certain poisons.  It has been proven that this recipe actually works.

that there is a real carrot tree?  It is native to Madeira.

that the largest carrot ever grown weighed 19 pounds?  (That would take up a good part of my refrigerator!)  It was grown in Palmer, Alaska by John Evans in 1998.

Peanut Butter:
that June 12th is known as National Peanut Butter Cookie Day?  (It was just a coincidence that I posted the Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich recipe!)

that about 540 peanuts make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter?  That's a lot of peanuts!

that the first person to patent peanut butter was Marcellus Gilmore Edson?   He was from Montreal, Quebec and the year was 1884.

there is a name for the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth?  It is called arachibutyrophobia.

that the oldest, continuously operating seller and manufacturer of peanut butter in the United States is still selling it?  The Krema Nut company located in Columbus, Ohio makes the claim that it has been doing so since 1898.

that archeologists have found evidence that people have had apples as part of their diet since at least 6500 B.C.?

that the apple tree originated in an area between the Black and the Caspian Sea?

that apples were the favorite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans?

that the crabapple is the only apple native to North America?

that China is the largest producer of apples, followed by the United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy?

that the apple thought to have struck Sir Isaac Newton was the "Flower of Kent" which is a large green skinned apple?

that one seed of rice produces over 3,000 grains?  Of all the cereal grains, it is the highest producing grain.

that rice grows on every continent except Antarctica?

that the first food a bride from India gives her husband is rice?  

that the reason rice has been traditionally thrown at newly married couples is because it is a symbol of  luck, fertility and wealth?

that in Japan, it is considered rude to leave rice in your bowl?  They don't believe in wasting the rice.

that rice was used in building the city wall in Nanjing, China?  Scientists discovered that the sticky rice was added to lime mortars and was used to provide stability.  The amylopectin in the rice is what makes it sticky and is what makes it to compact, strong and a flexible binding material.  Another benefit to using the rice was that fact that it also guarded against the growth of calcium carbonate crystals. 
that people have been eating rice in China since 5000 BC?  However, this is true of only Southern China because rice does not grow in Northern China which is a much drier and colder area.

that there are more than 40,000 varieties of rice?

that besides white and brown, rice comes in black, red or golden?

that the average American eats about 20 pounds (which is 9 kilograms) of rice each year?  However, the biggest consumers of rice are the people from the United Arab Emirates.  They consume more than 450 pounds (204 kilograms) per year!

National Donut Day:
that the first National Donut Day actually started in the year, 1938?  It was a fundraiser for the Salvation Army in Chicago.  They wanted to help the needy during the Great Depression as well as honoring the women who served donuts to the soldiers during World War I.

Potato Salad:
that May is National Salad Month?

that German potato salad is generally served warm?  Usually it is more sour in taste and contains bacon or pork.

that potato salad in Slovakia or the Czech Republic is a traditional Christmas meal?  It is served as a side dish to fried fish (typically carp) or a certain type of white sausage which is eaten on Christmas Eve.

that potato salad in Italy is made with red onion and string beans and that it is dressed with vinegar and olive oil?

that potato salad in Romania is made with onion and olives?

that strawberries were once used as a toothpaste?  The juice of the berry cleaned discolored teeth.

that there is an old custom that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with someone else you both will fall in love?

that in the 1300s King Charles V of France ordered twelve hundred strawberry plants to be grown in the Royal Gardens of the Louvre?

that in some parts of Bavaria, country folk practice a ritual in the spring by tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to wood elves?  It is believed, as the story goes, that because of their love for strawberries, the elves will show their gratitude by giving the cows healthy calves and an abundance of milk.  

that there's a museum entirely dedicated to strawberries located in Belgium?

that there are more chickens in the world than there are people on this planet?

that in Thailand you're not supposed to eat chicken feet?  Supposedly, if you do, it will give you bad handwriting!

that some breeds of chickens can lay coloured eggs?  Depending on the breed and it's ancestry, the Ameraucana and Araucana can lay colored eggs in shades of blue or green.

that in the chicken capital of the world (Gainesville, Georgia) it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork?

that the chicken is the closest living relative of the t-rex dinosaur?

that a honey bee would have to tap 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey?

that the average honey bee makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime?

that the honey bee flies about 15 miles per hour/24 kilometers per hour?

that a hive of bees will fly up to 90,000 miles, which is like orbiting around the earth three times, just to collect 1 kilogram of honey?

that the first barbecue sauce was simply made of vinegar and pepper sauce?  It is believed to have been made hundreds of years ago.

that in the Deep South barbeque sauce is heavily influenced by Cajun cuisine?

that in Southeastern U.S. the typical sauce is vinegar based and in the Midwest and western part of the country, the sauce is more tomato based?

that the most popular flavor of barbecue sauce is hickory?  Mesquite comes next followed by honey and then spicy hot.

that cherries have been enjoyed since the Stone Age?  Actual cherry pits have been found in several Stone Age caves in Europe.

that there are approximately 27,000 known species of fish but there are still thousands of fish species yet to be discovered?

that fish cannot blink because they do not have eyelids?  There is no need for them to have eyelids because the purpose of them is to hydrate the eyes by spreading the moisture produced by the tear ducts.

that scientists use ear growth rings to determine a fish's age?

that you will find the heart of a shrimp in its head?

that the ocean sunfish (Mola mola) can produce up to 300 million eggs at a single spawning?  This is more eggs than any other species of fish and in fact, it is more eggs than any other vertebrate on the planet.  Ocean sunfish are considered a delicacy in Asia.  A single mola can fetch prices as high as $600 (U.S.)

that fish have been on this earth for more than 450 million years, well before the dinosaurs were here?

that a baby fish is called a fry?  That's where the expression "small fry" comes from!

that icefish from Anarctica survive in the freezing cold water because of special antifreeze chemicals in their blood?

that tunas and billfish are the fastest swimming fish?  One type of billfish called the sailfish can swim in bursts of speeds over 70 miles per hour.

that in Japan meat from the Fugu or spiny puffer fish is considered a great delicacy?   However, chefs who serve this fish in their restaurants must be Fugu certified (they have to work for seven years before they receive their license) because the liver and intestines of the fish contain a powerful neurotoxin.  The tiniest contamination during preparation can be paralyzing and/or deadly.  In fact, there about 100 people on average who die annually in Japan from being poisoned by eating this spiny puffer fish.  It is estimated that the poison from one fugu could kill more than 30 people.  Believe it or not, most people say that the taste of this fish is rather bland!

that the difference between a blondie and a brownie is that a blondie has a vanilla or butterscotch bar base and that a brownie, of course, has a chocolate base?

that according to old cookbooks, blonde brownies (also known as blondies) came before chocolate brownies, though under different names?  The primary ingredients of blonde brownies (brown sugar/molasses and butter) make butterscotch, a candy that was popular in America in the mid-19th century. Some American cookbooks from that time have recipes that combined traditional butterscotch ingredients with flour and a leavening agent (such as baking powder or baking soda). The presumption is that these recipes would have produced something similar to the blondies we enjoy today.
that most likely the beginning of the brownie/blondie recipe goes back even further?   Cookbooks from the European Medieval and Renaissance era have recipes for soft, chewy cakes and cookies that used treacle (a precursor to brown sugar) as an ingredient. It was called gingerbread. Bakers were often instructed to cook gingerbread in shallow pans and add nuts, just like our traditional brownie recipes do today.

that it wasn't until the 1950s that butterscotch or vanilla brownies became known as blonde brownies?

Cinco de Mayo:
that in Mexico you can have a tequila lollipop?  Its ingredients include high fructose corn syrup and insect larvae!

that in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico (as well as in Honduras, Panama and Belize) you will find many recipes for cooked iguana?  How would you like iguana tacos?

that Cinco de Mayo (which we will celebrate this Saturday, May 5th) is one of the most popular Mexican festivals celebrated in America?  It is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla that took place between the Mexicans and the French on May 5, 1862.

that it is celebrated because it remembers the victory of a small, poorly armed force of around 4,500 soldiers over the French invasion of almost twice as many well-armed, professional soldiers led by Napoleon III? 

that this battle became a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism?

that this holiday got its start in the United States in the year 1967 because of a group of California State University student activists?  These students knew that there was no Chicano holiday so they decided that they wanted  one.  They felt that the Battle of Puebla was symbolic and that it recaptured their history.  

that besides being significant in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is important to all Americans because it was the last time that any foreign power has acted aggressively on North American soil?

that the largest Cinco de Mayo event in the world is the Festival de Fiesta Broadway which is held in Los Angeles, California?  More than 600,000 people go to this festival and they celebrate with music and food.

that at the annual Cinco de Mayo festival in Chandler, Arizona chihuahuas are the main focus? This big event has Chihuahua parades, pageants and races and ends with the crowning of a King and Queen from among the dogs.

Almond Extract:
that almond extract does not taste like almonds?

that whole bitter almonds are for the most part inedible? It's their oil that is used.
that pure almond extract is a flavoring produced by combining bitter almond oil (which has a strong, sweet flavor) with ethyl alcohol?

that natural almond extract contains cassia bark essence? 

that the largest living organism every found is a honey mushroom?  It is located in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, covers 3.4 square miles of land and is still growing!

that there are almost 40,000 varieties of mushrooms?

that President Abraham Lincoln's mother supposedly died when their family cow ate poisonous mushrooms and Mrs. Lincoln drank the milk?

that the following were victims of mushroom poisoning:  King Charles V of France, Pope Clement II, Buddha, Alexander I of Russia, Roman Emperors Tiberius and Claudius?

that sliced bread was banned in the United States in 1943?  The reason that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture banned it was because sliced bread went stale faster which caused Americans to use more wheat, wheat that was needed to feed the soldiers.

Bread slicing machines were also banned due to them needing metal parts for repairs -- metal that was needed for manufacturing ships, tanks, guns etc. for the war.

Sweet Potatoes:
that sweet potatoes are often confused with yams, but that they are not even related?  Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family; while yams come from the monocot family.  Yams are actually large, starchy roots grown in Asia and Africa. They can grow up to 100 pounds and they are hard to find in American grocery stores. (I don't think a true yam would fit in my refrigerator!  How about yours?!!)

that  Matthew Morrison (an American actor) said in an interview that he goes on a sweet potato diet before shooting a film?

that Turophilia means a love of or an obsession with cheese?

that from 1935 to 1937 Wisconsin's state law required restaurants to serve 2/3 ounce of Wisconsin butter and 2/3 ounce of Wisconsin cheese with every meal they served?

that the phrases Big Wheel and Big Cheese originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to afford a whole wheel of cheese?

that what seems to be the remains of cheese have been found in tombs in Egypt over 4,000 years old?

that Vieux Boulogne, a type of French cheese, is so smelly that you cannot carry it on public transportation in the country of France?

that the holes in Swiss cheese are caused by carbon dioxide being released when the bacteria in the cheese "burps"?  The holes in the cheese are called eyes, and if your Swiss cheese has no holes, then it is referred to as being "blind".

that the official state beverage of Ohio is tomato juice?

that while tomatoes are safe and healthy to eat, their leaves are actually toxic?!

that in Valencia, Spain a tomato festival is held each year on the last Wednesday in August which attracts tens of thousands of visitors?  The highlight of this festival is a tomato fight where more than 30,000 participants throw an estimated 150,000 overripe tomatoes at each other.  Can you imagine the cleanup?!

that about a thousand years ago in Naples, Italy, circles of baked dough covered with herbs became popular?  It wasn't until the late 1600s that tomatoes were added.  Today it is called pizza!

that according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25 feet high and made of chocolate and marshmallow? The egg weighed 8,968 pounds!

that the first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 1800s?

that more than a third of all eggs people consume are eaten for breakfast?

that most of the eggs eaten come from a hen?

that there are approximately 240 million hens laying eggs in the U.S. and that they produce about 5.5 billion dozen eggs?

that the stringy white part you see when you crack open an egg is called a chalazae (ka-LAY-zee).  It keeps the egg's yolk centered in the white part of the egg.

that the color of the eggshell doesn't tell you anything about the egg's taste or how good it is for you?  Though some people say that brown eggs come from hens with red earlobes and white eggs are laid by hens with whitish earlobes.

St. Patrick's Day:
that in English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts?  In Old England when customers got unruly, the bartender used to yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down.  This is where we get "mind your own P's and Q's".

that before the invention of the thermometer, brewers used to check the temperature by dipping their thumb to find out whether it was time to add the yeast?  If it was too hot, the yeast would die.  This is where we get the phrase "the rule of thumb".

that about 4000 years ago, it was the accepted practice in Babylonia for the bride's father to supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink for a month?  Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we now know today as the "honeymoon".

that a long time ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim of their mugs or ceramic/glass cups?  The whistle was used to order services. This is where we get the phrase "wet your whistle".

that Irish Soda Bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda as its leavening agent instead of yeast?

that Oliver Cromwell banned the eating of pie in 1644, declaring it a pagan form of pleasure? For 16 years,eating pie and making pie was done underground until the Restoration leaders lifted the ban on pie in 1660.

that wealthy English favored "surprise pies" in which live creatures would pop out when the pie was cut open?

that February is known as Fresh Pie Month?