Which is more “American”: Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie?
Did you know?
As American as John Chapman better known as Johnny Appleseed and regardless of the 90 or so different varieties of apples grown commercially in North America today it could be argued that pumpkin pie is actually more “American” than apple pie as pumpkins are indigenous to North America and apples originated in Central Asia.
Here are some other fun food facts!
Garlic fights against bloodsuckers
Garlic was used to repel vampires long before Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published. Folklorists suggest it is because vampires have a heightened sense of smell and the garlic’s strong smell was overpowering. Although maybe not effective on vampires garlic is proven to be effective against two other bloodsuckers: mosquitoes and ticks.
Milk was not always so common
Milk was not always so commonplace. In the classical world drinking fresh milk in was considered a luxury because milk was so difficult to preserve. We have come so far with the science and knowledge of Louis Pasteur.
Onions make great gifts
Onion is Latin for “large pearl.” A basket of onions was considered a respectable funeral offering in ancient Egypt, second only to a basket of bread. Onions, with their circular layers, represented eternity and were found in the eyes of King Ramses IV who died in 1160 B.C.
Salt was just as valuable as currency
Salt is used for more than just seasoning and preserving foods. The word “salary” derived from the word “salt.” Salt was highly valued and its production was legally restricted in ancient times, so it was historically used as a method of trade and currency.
How Lemons and Fish became a pair
Lemon has always gone well with fish but this tradition started in the Middle Ages when a lemon slice was served with fish because it was thought the juice would dissolve any bones that were accidentally swallowed.
Goats were the first animals to enjoy the effects of coffee
Coffee was discovered by goats in the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not want to sleep at night. Kaldi notified the local monastery of this who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept them alert for the long hours of evening prayer.
Applesauce eaten in outer space
In 1962 it was not known if ingestion and absorption of nutrients were possible in a state of zero gravity. John Glenn, the first American to eat in space aboard Friendship 7 consumed applesauce packed in a tube. This demonstrated that people could eat, swallow, and digest food in a weightless environment.
Interesting huh? Who new tasty foods had such fun food facts and stories behind them? There is more to food than just eating it. Each food has a story to tell and can often be linked to more interesting discoveries, stories, celebrations, healing qualities, and cultural traditions. Food had evolved over the years and is still continuing to change the way we eat, interact with others and shape the way the environment looks. Food plays a huge role in who we are today as the processing of food has made it more stable, safe, accessible and affordable. Next time you prepare a meal I invite you to think about the food you are eating in a new way. You may be surprised at what you find and the conversation that it evokes. Here are a few questions to think about and begin your food discovery.
See what Fun Food Facts and History in the kitchen you can discover:
- Where did this food originally come from?
- Where was it grown?
- How was this food created or discovered?
- When is it typically eaten? Or with what other foods?
- When did this food become popular?
- How is this food celebrated?
- Is this food assorted with a certain holiday, ethnic group or part of the world?
- What makes this food special?
- How would you prepare this food differently?
- Who do you like sharing this food with?
- How does this food make you feel?
- What does this food remind you of?
- Dalby, Andrew. 2003. Food in the Ancient World from A to Z. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. 1993. A History of Food. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.