Category Archives: Food

The Origin of Gatorade and How the Tradition of the “Gatorade Shower” Got Started

gatorade-sideline

chastitydetori. asks: Why do athletes dump Gatorade on their coaches after winning a game? During a typical sticky, unbearable August weekend in 1965 in Gainesville- the home of the University of Florida Gators- football practices were well underway in anticipation for the upcoming season. However, the weather had wreaked havoc on the freshman football team over the weekend. 25 players […]

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The Origin of Nachos and How Football Helped Popularize Them Surprisingly Recently

football-and-nachos

Americans eat a lot on Super Bowl Sunday, according to one 2015 study consuming triple the amount of their daily allowance of calories per serving during the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s the second largest food consumption day of the year in the country (behind Thanksgiving). Of the many millions of pounds of snacks eaten in honor of America’s (still) […]

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How Did Cereal Become “Part of a Complete Breakfast”?

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Mike D. asks: Why is cereal considered a breakfast food? For kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was sugary cereal commercials that dotted the television landscape, featuring lucky leprechauns, wise-cracking droids and adorable Gremlins. A common theme among all of them was advocating these products were a “magical part of a complete breakfast“, helping to ingrain […]

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The Fascinating Origin of the Oreo Cookie

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Harry K. asks: Who invented the Oreo cookie? In 1890, a group of eight large New York City bakeries combined to form the New York Biscuit Company and built a giant six-story factory in West Chelsea. Eight years later, they merged with their competitor, Chicago’s American Biscuit and Manufacturing to form an even larger conglomerate – the National Biscuit Company, […]

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How the Practice of Putting Candles on Cakes for Birthdays Started

birthday-cake

Heily O. asks: How did the tradition of having cakes with candles on them for birthdays start? For most of human history, ordinary people’s birthdays weren’t cause for much celebration. In fact, in the ancient world if you weren’t among the elite, odds are your birthday would have mostly just been noted for things like astrological purposes, rather than throwing […]

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Grape-Nuts Contain Neither Grapes Nor Nuts… So What are They Made Of?

whole-grains

Grape-Nuts is a wheat and barley cereal developed by C.W. Post in 1897, and it has actually made some interesting contributions to American food history. A box of Grape-Nuts actually contains “whole grain wheat flour, malted barley flour, isolated soy protein, salt, whole grain barley flour, malt extract, and dried yeast.” It also boasts a number of essential vitamins and […]

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Chewing on Gum’s History

chewing-gum

Gum is everywhere. It could be in someone’s pocket, in a woman’s purse, underneath a classroom’s desk or lining the checkout lines at the local grocery store. Or it could be in a person’s mouth- teeth chomping away on a stick that rapidly loses its flavor. Gum is one of the most ubiquitous confectioneries in our culture, yet few know […]

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The Story of Pasteurization and How It Changed the World

LouisPasteur

In the mid-19th century, French scientist Louis Pasteur made a discovery that has reverberated through the ages. Perhaps working at the behest of Emperor Napoleon to figure out why wine and beer sometimes soured during fermentation, he found out that this was due to unwanted microorganisms, or “germs,” converting the alcohol into acetic acid. This produced the sour or vinegary […]

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Why Teachers are Associated with and Traditionally Given Apples

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Gloria N. asks: Why is the stereotype to give apples to teachers? Widespread publicly funded, mandatory education has only been around since about the 19th century. Before then, the responsibility of providing schooling to children fell primarily on their families. Upper- and middle-class families tended to hire tutors or send their children to a private school run by a schoolmaster. […]

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Inventing Bubble Gum

Bubble-gum

Gracen A. asks: What is original flavor bubblegum supposed to taste like? Bubblegum, the ambiguously flavoured, obnoxiously pink candy gum that is the favourite treat of Violet Beauregarde and, seemingly, a shocking amount of stock photo actors was first invented in 1928 by an accountant called Walter Diemer. Despite being asked in dozens of interviews throughout his life, Diemer took […]

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What Happens to Big Food Made to Break World Records?

Guiness World Record

Randal T. asks: When someone makes some giant food item for publicity, what do they actually do with the thing after? According to Guinness World Records, the de-facto authority on world record breaking, this is one of the most common questions they’re asked alongside “What record is broken the most often?” (the heaviest object lifted with glue according to them) […]

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Who Invented the Bloody Mary Drink and Who is It Really Named After?

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Saurabh A. asks: Is the bloody Mary drink really named after Queen Mary Tudor? For many, Sundays mean brunch and a delicious morning cocktail. Quite often, that early alcoholic beverage is the odd combination of tomato juice, celery, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce (see: The Stomach Turning Thing Worcestershire Sauce is Made Of), vodka and other spices that’s known as a […]

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Why Are You Not Supposed to Use Twice Boiled Water for Tea?

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Jeremy W. asks: Is it true that drinking tea made from twice boiled water is bad for you? There’s a rather persistent idea that “reboiling” water (i.e. boiling water two or more times and allowing it to cool in-between) while making a cup of tea is potentially harmful to your health, with some going so far as stating that regularly […]

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