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The Toasty Kettle Podcast
20 minutes | 4 days ago
The Great Molasses Flood: How Boston Was Changed Forever
There are many disasters that happen all too often in today’s world. The great molasses flood was one for the ages. This unique disaster happened at a time when construction regulation was lax or non existent. Today we are going to talk about how a sticky situation quickly grew dire for hundreds of people in Boston. The date was January 15, 1919. It was a mild winter day for Boston. The thermometer hovered around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there was no snow around. Boston’s North End neighborhood was a picture of activity. The neighborhood was close to the docks so it became a sort of industrial center in the town. It was here that a company known as US Industrial Alcohol had a massive steel tank designed to hold 2,500,000 gallons of molasses. They were able to ferment that molasses and quickly turn it into alcohol that was used in the war effort to make dynamite and other explosives. Around 12:30pm workers began taking their lunch breaks when the ground began to rumble. The next several hours brought chaos to the area as people tried to make sense of what had just happened. Before we talk about the flood of molasses, I want to talk about this steel tank. The Great Molasses Flood: Tank Failure This disaster happened at a time when it was notoriously difficult to hold a business accountable for their mistakes. The U>S. Industrial Alcohol Co. cut corners in how they constructed this tank. The tank was not designed to hold that much molasses. Growing up I was an amateur aquarium enthusiast. As my fish tanks increased in size, the thickness of the glass or plastic also increased. It is basic engineering. The steel tank that U.S. Industrial Alcohol Co. built to store their molasses was designed to hold 2.5 million gallons of molasses. It was 50 feet tall and about 90 feet in diameter. The steel walls ranged in thickness from .31 inches to .67 inches. These were far too thin to support the weight of a full tank of molasses. USIA also cut corners in other areas. They didn’t do full testing for flaws and imperfections. Simply filling the tank with water first would have revealed several flaws with the tank. In addition to the thin walls, they had a rivet design that leaked. The first cracks in the tank originated from these rivets. Leaky Rivets and Brittle Steel It was a known fact that this tank leaked. Kids showed up to the site with cups to gather molasses that was leaking from the tank. Molasses was poured into the tank 29 times before the tank failed. Only four of those filled the tank to capacity. The fourth time the tank was filled to capacity happened two days before the catastrophe. The raw steel used to construct this tank had fundamental flaws. It had been mixed with too little manganese. This meant that the steel would get brittle when it cooled below 59 degrees Fahrenheit. As I mentioned previously, the temperature the day of the disaster was 40 degrees. A perfect storm had been put in place. A tank that was not designed and properly engineered to hold this amount of liquid. To recap, metal is brittle, tank is full, and it is a busy time of day. The stage was set for what was to come next. Rapid Emergency Response Growing up I moved slow. I’m sure for my parents it was maddeningly slow. On more than one occasion my mom said that I was moving about as fast as molasses in January. After this episode, I’m going to view that as a compliment. Molasses is not like water. If you tip over a bottle of molasses, it takes a second for the syrup to come out. If the molasses is cold, it moves even slower. However, on the day of the great molasses flood, you had a proverbial wall of molasses released all at once on the town without warning. As the tank failed, 2.3 million gallons of molasses responded to the pull of gravity and picked up dramatic speed very quickly. The tsunami of molasses was 15 feet high and was moving at a rapid 35 mph. The unsuspecting victims had no chance to get out of the way. Within just a few minutes, the wave of molasses ran its course. In its wake it demolished six buildings and took down a support for a nearby elevated rail line. 21 people were killed and 150 people were injured. 6 of the people who were killed were city workers who were eating their lunch when they were hit by the molasses. USIA Held Accountable for Their Negligence I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it would be to witness these events unfold. So what happened to USIA? They ended up in court. Many people expected them to get away with the disaster without any punishment. They made a passionate case as to why this wasn’t their fault. Instead of owning the problem for a poorly engineered tank, they tried to push the blame on others. They came up with a crazy theory that an anarchist climbed up the ladder on the tank and dropped a pipe bomb into a fermentation vent and that was what caused the tank to explode. So because it was a terrorist act, USIA should be absolved of responsibility. At the end of a lengthy civil suit Judge Hugh Ogden awarded those who died, $6,000. That would be around $600,000 today. For people who suffered before they died, they were awarded $7,500 Where We Are At Today Today the great Boston molasses flood is something you’d read about in the history books. It is a distant memory. However, for decades after the accident, you could still smell molasses on the streets of Boston’s North End neighborhood. Some people still swear they can smell it today. Did You Like Learning About The Great Molasses Flood? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post The Great Molasses Flood: How Boston Was Changed Forever appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
14 minutes | 25 days ago
Who Is Jimmy John: My Favorite Sandwich Unwrapped
It’s no secret, this week’s episode is all about Jimmy John’s. I have often wondered, who is Jimmy John? Today we are going to dive deep into James John Liautaud and the sandwich empire he built. Warning! You may want some freaky fast delivery after listening to this show. The Early Years: Who Is Jimmy John James John Liautaud was born January 12, 1964 in Arlington Heights, Illinois to Gina and James Liautaud. His mother was a Lithuanian immigrant who came to America when she was 12. His dad was an entrepreneur who seemed to fail more than he succeeded. They filed for bankruptcy twice as Jimmy was growing up. Money was tight. Jimmy wasn’t the best student and graduated 2nd to last in his class. By this point his father had a business in the plastics industry that was taking off and he made a deal with his son. He was willing to put up $25,000 in seed money for Jimmy to open a business. The only condition was if the business venture failed within a year, he’d have to join the army. Jimmy decided to take the money and started exploring how he was going to start his business. Military or Business: The Ultimate Ultimatum This is where the story gets interesting. Jimmy didn’t want to fail. With the threat of military service, and a desire to become a better student in business than he was in high school, he dove in head first and started doing his homework. He originally wanted to do a hotdog stand. However, his research over the summer showed him that $25,000 would not be enough money to open a hotdog stand and be profitable. The equipment was too expensive. He found that he could buy premium meat from local grocery stores, bake bread at home and have a profitable business. It took him just a few days to perfect his bread recipe. Once he had the bread down, he could focus on the combinations that would make up his menu. He had family and friends taste his creations and settled on four original sandwiches to put on the menu. They were the Pepe, The Big John, The S&M, and The Vito Geneveso. First Store Opens The very first Jimmy John’s opened on January 13, 1983, in Charleston, Illinois. It was a garage where the rent was only $200. Jimmy bought used equipment and opened with the bare essentials, a small fridge, a chest freezer, an oven and a meat slicer. The location was bad and the business was slow to take off. Jimmy would take sandwich samples door to door to get people interested in what he had to offer. He also started delivering sandwiches to nearby dorms at Eastern Illinois University. Early Business Lessons When learning about who is Jimmy John, it became apparent that he doesn’t like to learn the same hard lesson twice. He knew next to nothing about business. So he set out to learn basic finance principles on the fly. He said, “I watched what makes the bank balance go up and what makes it go down. Well, when I wrote the payroll checks, the bank balance went down.” He began to make some smart strategic changes with his staff. He’d stagger his employee arrival times by 15 minutes each shift. That allowed him to save a few bucks in labor each day. That really added up in the long term. In his first 12 months in business Jimmy pulled in $154,000 in sales and netted $40,000. He was profitable. Jimmy split his profits with his dad. The following year sales were slightly better. This time he used the profits to buy out his dad’s share of the business with interest. He was now the sole owner of his budding sandwich empire. Franchising and Explosive Growth In 1986 and 1987, Jimmy opened his second and third locations. They were located in Macomb, Illinois and Champaign, Illinois. Within 10 years of opening Jimmy had opened 10 locations. He also began franchising to grow at an even more rapid pace. In 2002, Jimmy John’s had 160 locations. 70 of those locations were failing. Jimmy stopped franchising for a period and focused on turning the failing businesses around. Ultimately 7 of the shops closed, but he was able to save the other 63. He later reflected on that experience, “I learned a lot from that experience so I changed the rules for allowing people to buy into my system as a franchisee. I explained in detail how tough running a Jimmy John’s can be. I explained the long hours, the unforgiving weather, the late nights, the weekends, and all of the sacrifices that go along with the industry.” He continued, “I made it tough for people to get into the system.” Freaky Fast Food So how was Jimmy John’s able to set itself apart from Subway and other sandwich shops? They used premium meats that lacked artificial ingredients. They also use fresh produce in their stores. Jimmy is often saying it doesn’t cost much more to go first class, so just go first class. All of their ingredients are best in class. The defining characteristic of a Jimmy John’s sandwich is that they are made incredibly fast. Jimmy claims that his employees can make a sandwich in 60 seconds. I remember one time I was standing in line to order a sandwich at a local Jimmy John’s. A husband and wife were in front of me, and it was clear they had never been to a Jimmy John’s before. They were thinking that the process was like a Subway. You order a sandwich and then move down the line while the sandwich expert customizes your sandwich to your tastes. Before they were even able to finish paying, their sandwiches were done. The look of confusion was priceless. It was also fun watching them stumble through having the store unpack their sandwiches and make their customizations. Jimmy John’s will happily customize a sandwich to your liking. Just make sure you order the sub with customizations mind at the outset. Otherwise you will be blitzed with a perfectly crafted sandwich before you even know what hit you. Too Big to Handle Jimmy Liautaud suffered the consequences of many successful companies. His empire became too big to handle. He was feeling burned out and unable to keep up. In 2007 he sold off 28% of his business. That seemed to help things for awhile. However, by 2014, they had expanded to over 2,000 locations. He said, “I felt like I was running out of bandwidth. It was getting so big and so complex. In the marketing department I had a $100 million ad fund, and I’m like, ‘How do I effectively execute a $100 million ad fund?” The answer? Sell off even more of the company. In 2016 Jimmy sold a majority of his business to Roark Capital Group. Jimmy Liautaud retained a 35% stake in his company. Roark manages stakes in Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jamba Juice, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and more. They definitely know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in the restaurant industry. This deal has allowed Jimmy to focus on the culture of his restaurant and the brand. The other guys take care of everything else. Final Thoughts on Who Is Jimmy John As I’m wrapping up this episode, it is taking everything I have to keep from ordering some freaky fast delivery from Jimmy John’s. I loved learning the history behind one of my favorite sandwiches. It is also fascinating to me that a 19 year old fresh out of high school was able to build a sandwich empire and a net worth of over 1.7 billion dollars with just a humble $25,000 investment from his dad. One last thought. Have you ever wondered what Jimmy John orders from Jimmy John’s? Jimmy’s favorite is a turkey tom with onion, vinegar and oil. However, if you are going to order it that way, he is adamant that you have to eat it quick. Otherwise it gets soggy. He’s also a big fan of their new spicy Italian sandwich. What is your favorite sandwich at Jimmy John’s? Did You Like Learning About Who Is Jimmy John? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Who Is Jimmy John: My Favorite Sandwich Unwrapped appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
14 minutes | 2 months ago
What is a Frito Pie: The Controversy Behind This Classic
Today I am going to talk all about Fritos and answering the all important question, what is a Frito pie? This iconic chip has led to the development of the humble Frito pie. This is a culinary masterpiece that is considered low-brow by many. However, they are a big deal in both Texas and New Mexico. There is even some controversy between the two states on who was first in developing the Frito pie. When digging into the background of Fritos, there is a difference between the invention of the company and the actual recipe itself. The Frito Company was born in 1932 during the Great Depression. Charles Elmer Doolin worked at the Highland Park Confectionary in San Antonio, TX. The company was owned by his family. They were always trying to add new products to their portfolio and decided they needed something salty to offset all of the sweets they had to offer. Charles started looking around and responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express. The ad was placed by Gustavo Olguin who was the inventor of the original Frito recipe. His ad offered for sale the original recipe for fried corn chips, a modified potato ricer, and some retail accounts. Charles bought the business from Gustavo and began pumping out chips in his mother’s kitchen. Charles had his mom, dad, and brother helping out. These four people formed the first board of directors with their father, Charles Bernard Doolin serving as the first chairman of the board. The Frito Corporation These chips were sold under the name of the Frito Corporation. It was located in the garage, which they quickly outgrew. They bought the house next door and expanded their operations. The following year in 1933-1934, they opened plants in Dallas and Tulsa. By 1947 demand for these chips became so high, that they opened additional plants in Los Angeles and Denver. They also licensed franchises nationwide. One of their most famous franchisees was H.W. Lay and Company. They had exclusive franchise rights to sell Fritos in the southeastern United States. This relationship with Lay really helped Fritos take off. It was mutually beneficial. Charles had exclusive rights to sell Lay’s potato chips in the Southwest United States. As the company grew and expanded, they developed other products. You may have heard of Cheetos. They also developed additional Frito flavors and various dips. Charles was obsessed with perfecting the Frito recipe. He even went as far as to work with Texas farmers to develop his own special hybrid corn variety. He felt this specific variety gave Fritos the perfect flavor. What Is A Frito Pie Now that we have gone through a brief history of Fritos, I’m going to turn my attention to Frito pies. We have to first discuss what is a Frito Pie. A Frito Pie is comfort food central. You get a small bag of Fritos, open the bag, add in chili, cheese and chopped onion. That’s it! Some people will get “fancy” and add pickled jalapeños or sour cream, among other toppings. Frito Pies are known by various names. In the Midwest you’ll hear them referred to as walking tacos. You also might hear Texas straw hat, or the classic Frito Pie. You’ll find these all over Texas. Go to any high school football game and you’re in business. You’ll easily find many people willing to scoop some hormel chili into a bag of Fritos. They are traditionally served in a paper boat with the bag of chips split down the middle and the chili poured right inside. How can you go wrong with that? Who Invented The Frito Pie? So how can there be any controversy? Like many food items we have tackled on this show, the exact origins have become myth and legend before our very eyes. Multiple groups of very passionate people claim to be the first to come up with this combination of flavors and toppings. New Mexicans claim that they invented the Frito Pie in the 1960s at a Woolworth’s in Santa Fe by a woman named Teresa Hernandez. However, that theory doesn’t hold any water. Sorry New Mexico! The dates just don’t line up. The Texas theory is that Charles Doolin’s mother, Daisy Doolin was the first person to come up with this iconic recipe. That theory lines up with the original invention of the Frito in the 1930s. It would make sense that as Fritos were being refined and produced in her own home, that Daisy would do some research into how this unique chip could be used in various recipes. It wouldn’t seem a giant leap to think that she put some chili on the chips and called it a Frito Pie. Dates Continue to Not Support New Mexico Even if Daisy Doolin didn’t develop the recipe, other dates still don’t support the New Mexico theory. The Frito-Lay company attributes the recipe to Nell Morris, who joined Frito-Lay in the 1950s and helped develop an official cookbook that capitalized on Frito-Lay products. A recipe for Frito Pie was included in that cookbook. Charles Doolin and the Frito Corporation were also early investors in Disneyland. In 1955 a Casa de Fritos restaurant opened in Disneyland itself. Frito Pie was an item on that early menu. All of those dates are well ahead of the 1960s date claimed by New Mexico. Anthony Bourdain Ups The Controversy Many people have eaten Frito pie all over Texas and New Mexico. There are those who will admit that Texas was first, however, New Mexico is the best. Anthony Bourdain went to Santa Fe, New Mexico and ate a Frito pie. He was not kind to the dish. He said they feel disgusting, are indigenous to Texas and hazardous to one’s health. Bourdain might have gotten less backlash if he went out and slapped a kid on the sidewalk. He continued to say that the Five & Dime General Store’s snack bar, which stands in the same corner as the original Woolworth’s lunch counter, uses canned hormel chili and a day-glow orange cheese-like substance. Ouch! The store owners, employees and customers were quick to defend the Frito pie. Lorraine Chavez cooks the Chile con carne from scratch every morning, using ground beef, and powdered red Chile. It is then carefully ladled into a bag of Fritos and topped with real cheddar cheese. If I’m being honest, that does sound much better than the gut busting rendition served at Texas fairs and ball games. Most will use hormel chili and likely embrace the cheapest cheese like product they can scrounge up. Where We are Today So the battle will rage on. Who’s Frito pie was first? Who’s Frito pie is better? You’ll have fierce opposition on either side of those questions. What I do know is that whether you are in Texas or New Mexico, you’re sure to find people willing to slice open a bag of Fritos, slap in some chili, onions, and cheese, and send you on your way. Did You Like Learning About Frito Pie? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post What is a Frito Pie: The Controversy Behind This Classic appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Presidential Food Favorites: Modern Presidential Recipes (Part 2)
Today’s episode continues the discussion on presidential food favorites. We cover the rest of the presidents in this fantastic second part to last week’s episode. I have more recipes in this episode. If you cook any of these presidential food favorites, let me know how it goes in the comments below! One of my favorite stories in the episode was FDR giving hot dogs to the king and queen of England. It was a shocking story that just showed how comfortable he was in different social situations. Recipes for Presidential Food Favorites Woodrow Wilson’s wife loved to cook and had some good recipes for appetizers. You can bust these out at your next family gathering. Mrs. Wilson’s Clam Dip Ingredients: 1 small can clams 1 package cream cheese Drain off juice, mince clams, add onion (grated), salt and pepper. Blend. Mrs. Wilson’s ‘Angels on Horseback’ Ingredients: Small raw oystersBaconTartar sauceBread slices in oval shape Wrap oysters in three-inch strips of bacon. Fasten with toothpicks. Broil in oven until bacon is crisp. Remove toothpicks and serve on toasted bread ovals spread with tartar sauce. Mrs. Wilson’s ‘Hot Peppered Nuts’ Into an iron skillet over a low flame put a pound of shelled paper-shell pecans, halved. Add two or three lumps of butter the size of walnuts. Stir frequently and when almost toasted add salt and cayenne pepper generously. Place in a warm oven to keep hot until served.” Mrs. Harding’s Chicken Pot Pie Stewing chicken (fowl), Bay leaf, Potatoes, Onions, Butter, Salt, pepper, Biscuit dough or pie crust, Egg. Simnmer a large fowl with bay leaf in water to cover until thorougly tender. Remove meat from bones, separate into fairly large pieces. Retain chicken stock. Boil 8 to 10 small peeled potatoes and 6 or 8 small white onions in the stock until tender. Grease a deep baking dish with butter; combine chicken, potatoes, and onions. Pour in thickened stock–enough barely to cover the other ingredients–season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with biscuit dough or pie crust. Paint top with slightly beaten egg, bake in medium (350 degree F.) oven until top is nicely browned. Serve with remainder of stock., slightly thickened, in gravy boat. Resist the temptation to add cream or milk to the sauce. Country folks never do. Serves 4 to 6. Mrs. Roosevelt’s Scrambled Eggs in Chafing Dish Ingredients 1 tablespoon butter6 eggs3 tablespoons cream1/2 teaspoon salt Melt butter in pan, stir in lightly eggs and cream beaten together. Don’t overcook. Two eggs to each portion. President Eisenhower’s Old-Fashioned Beef Stew 2 pounds beef round, cubed2 (12-ounce) cans connsommeWater3 tablespoons shortening3 scant tablespoons flour1 pound small red potatoes, peeled2 cups 1-inch carrot pieces12 small onions1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes or 1 (8-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, drained and choppedSalt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperMSG (optional) 1/4 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon thyme2 bay leaves, crumbledA clove garlic, halved lengthwise1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, bruised1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns, bruised2 sprigs parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried Wash beef cubes. While still wet, place in large heavy pot over medium heat. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Stir, cover, and continue cooking. Meanwhile, blend consomme with 2 1/2 cans water. Set aside. In saucepan heat shortening. Add flour and stir over medium heat until mixture turns medium brown. Remove from heat and add 1 cup connsome water mixture, stirring to blend. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups more liquid until roux is smooth. Set aside. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes to meat. Stir in salt to taste, pepper and MSG. Make bouquet garni by tying thume, bay leaves, garlic, black and white peppercorns and parsley in square of cheesecloth with long string. Add bouquet garni to pot along with remaning consomme. Cover and simmer 30 to 45 minutes until beef and vegetables are tender. Into roux stir some of hot liquid from stew pot until smooth and liquid. Stir warmed roux mixture into stew. Cover and cook over low heat another 30 minutes. Serve with crusty French bread. Makes 6 to 8 servings. President Kennedy’s New England Fish Chowder 2 pounds haddock2 cups watersalt pork, 2 ounces, diced2 onions, sliced4 large potatoes, diced1 cup chopped celeryA bay leaf, crumbled1 teaspoon saltFreshly ground black pepper1 quart milk2 tablespoons butter Simmer the haddock in the water for 15 minutes. Drain. Reserve the broth. Remove the bones from the fish. Saute the pork until crisp, remove from pan, and set aside. Saute the onions in the pork fat until golden brown. Add the fish, potatoes, celery, bay leafy, salt, and pepper. Pour in fish broth, plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the milk and butter, and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve the chowder sprinkled with pork dice. Serves 6. Pat Nixon’s meatloaf 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup finely chopped onions2 garlic cloves, minced 3 slices white bead 1 cup milk 2 pounds lean ground beef 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon salt Ground black pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 2 tablespoons tomato puree2 tablespoons bread crumbs Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.Melt butter in a saute pan, add garlic and saute until just golden — do not brown. Let cool.Dice bread and soak it in milk.In a large mixing bowl, mix ground beef by hand with sauteed onions and garlic and bread pieces. Add eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and marjoram and mix by hand in a circular motion.Turn this mixture into the prepared baking pan and pat into a loaf shape, leaving at least one inch of space around the edges to allow fat to run off.Brush the top with the tomato puree and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate and to firm up the loaf.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Bake meatloaf on lower shelf of oven for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked through. Pour off accumulated fat several times while baking and after meat is fully c ooked. Let stand on wire rack for five minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings. Obama Family Chili Ingredients 1 Tbsp olive oil1 large onion, choppedA green bell pepper, chopped5 cloves of garlic, chopped1 lb ground turkey or beef1/2 tsp ground cumin1/2 tsp ground oregano3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar1/2 tsp ground turmeric1/2 tsp ground basilOne 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)1 Tbsp chili powderOne 29-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heatAdd the onions, green pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutesAdd the meat to the pan. Once the meat has browned, add the spicesStir in the red-wine vinegar and tomatoesUsing a potato masher, mash the whole tomatoes downStir in the kidney beans.Cook the chili covered for 15 minutes on medium-low heat. Did You Like Learning About A President’s Favorite Food? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about presidential food favorites, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Presidential Food Favorites: Modern Presidential Recipes (Part 2) appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
29 minutes | 2 months ago
Presidential Food Favorites: What President’s Really Eat
On today’s episode we are going to talk all about presidential food and what our President’s really eat. From George Washington’s simple love of cherries to Thomas Jefferson’s profound love for French cuisine, we’ve got you covered. A Presidential Food Tale of Two Men This is an exciting episode. As I dug in and did the research, it became apparent that there were two types of men in the White House. You had men that were consumed by the job. They were at their desk each morning at a set time and rarely got excited by food. Then you had others that enjoyed the mantel of President. They realized that in addition to the desk work, there was a social and relationship component to the job. These presidents would host lavish dinners and big parties for the social elite of Washington DC. Presidential food is not an easy topic. There are some presidents, like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who are surrounded by multiple myths and legends. Wading through those is no easy task. Furthermore, some of the presidents truly were boring when it came to food. They didn’t care for it and ate to live, instead of living to eat. Today’s episode will cover the presidential food that was eaten from George Washington through Benjamin Harrison. Next week’s episode will take on the rest of them. Now for some recipes from today’s episode! Martha Washington’s Boozy Cake Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter1 cup raw sugar1/2 teaspoon sea salt1/2 teaspoon vanilla4 eggs2 cups all purpose unbleached flour2 teaspoons cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ginger1/2 teaspoon nutmegAdd 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1 cup raisinsAdd 1 cup slivered almonds1 cup dried cherries1/4 – 1/2 cup candied orange peel, if available1/2 cup whiskey or bourbon Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom and slightly up the sides of 2 loaf pans, or a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. In batter bowl soften the butter 30 seconds in microwave and then beat the softened butter with the sugar. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and beat to blend nicely. In another bowl whisk the flour with the spices and fold into the batter and then blend in the raisins, almonds, cherries and orange peel. Scrape into prepared pan or pans and bake 50 – 60 minutes, or until top is nicely browned and cake tests done when tapped with your finger. Allow to cool and then remove from the pan. Pour the whiskey over and allow to stand a bit. The original recipe stated to wrap the cooled cakes in a clean tea towel and then pour the whisky over and let it stand in an airtight container. Either way works! Just EAT and enjoy! Recipe for Apple Pan Dowdy Ingredients: FlourSaltShorteningIce waterMelted butterSugarCinnamonNutmegApplesMolasses To make the pastry: Sift 1 1/2 cups flour with a dash of salt. Blend in 1/2 cup shortening until the mixture is mealy. Sprinkle a little ice water over the mixture, just enough to hold the dough together. Roll the pastry out, brush with 1/4 cup melted butter, and cut pastry in half. Place the halves on top of each other and cut again. Repeat until you have 16 separate but equal pieces of pastry piled on top of each other, then chill them a full hour. Roll the pastry once again, cut in half, and line the bottom of the baking dish with one half. Save the other half for the top. Keep both on ice while making the filling. To make the filling: Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Peel and core 10 large apples. Cut then into thin slices. Mix the apples with sugar-spice mixture and place in pastry-lined dish. Combine 1/2 cup molasses (or maple syrup) with 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup water. Pour this over the apples. Cover with the top pastry layer and seal. Place in a preheated hot (400 degree F.) oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low (325 degrees F.). After reducing the heat, “dowdy” the dish by cutting the crust into the apples with a sharp knife. Return dish to oven and bake a full hour. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or with heavy cream or whipped cream. Serves 6.” Did You Like Learning About A President’s Favorite Food? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Presidential Food Favorites: What President’s Really Eat appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
16 minutes | 3 months ago
Ruth Fertel: Putting The Ruth in Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
The other day I was reading about Ruth Fertel and her contribution to food history. We all know that one person who cooks a mean steak. Today we are going to talk all about Ruth Fertel and how she earned the nickname, “Empress of Steak.” Let’s take a trip to New Orleans in 1965. Chris Matulich had a restaurant for sale. This was his baby. He opened the original Chris Steak House in 1927. This was a small restaurant located near the Fair Grounds Race Course. It seated 60 people and had no parking lot to speak of. Chris was a savvy entrepreneur. During his ownership spanning 1927-1965 he sold the restaurant 6 times. Each time the restaurant sold it failed. Chris then would buy the restaurant back cheap. After another failed owner the restaurant was again on the market. This is where Ruth Fertel came on the scene. To understand Ruth, I have to spend a minute on her early life. Ruth was born on February 5, 1927. Her father sold insurance and her mother taught kindergarten. She was a smart girl and skipped several grades in elementary school. She graduated from high school when she was 15 years old. Her family used her brother’s WWII G.I. benefits to put Ruth through college. She attended Lousiana State University where she graduated in honors in chemistry and physics at the age of 19. That’s incredible! Ruth’s Marriage and Divorce In 1946 she had a brief stint teaching at McNeese State University. She lasted 2 semesters before moving on to other things. In October 1948 she married Rodney Fertel. They lived in Baton Rouge and had two sons, Jerry and Randy. Rodney and Ruth shared a deep love for horses and opened a racing stable in Baton Rouge. Ruth earned a thoroughbred trainer’s license, making her the first female horse trainer in Louisiana. In 1958 Ruth and Rodney divorced. Ruth was unable to support herself and her sons on her alimony payments. She supplemented that income by making drapes at home. The critically tight budget led her to take a job at the Tulane University School of Medicine as a lab tech. She was earning $4,800 a year. Things were slightly better financially, but as a single mom of two boys she realized she was going to need more money. College for her boys was going to come fast and it wasn’t going to be cheap. She started looking around for opportunities and stumbled across a classified ad in the paper offering a restaurant for sale. Ruth Purchases Chris Steakhouse As I researched Ruth and learned more about her story I’m blown away. Ruth was a small woman. She was five-foot-two and 110-pounds. However, she had seemingly endless grit and determination packed into her small frame. She wasn’t someone who was content to sit back and let life come to her. She knew that she had to get out there and make the magic happen. As she contemplated this newspaper ad she did a little more digging into Chris Steak House. She realized that it opened for business on February 5, 1927. This was the exact same day that she was born. Ruth Fertel took this as a sign that it was meant to be. She ignored the advice of her banker, lawyer, friends and family and took the plunge. She mortgaged her house and purchased the restaurant. People must have thought that she had lost her mind. Even though the restaurant had failed 6 times previously, she was confident she could turn things around. The seventh time’s the charm right? Ruth knew nothing about the restaurant business. She planned to borrow only $18,000 to cover the purchase of the business. However, it was quickly pointed out that she’d need an additional $4,000 to cover the cost of renovations and food. First Day in Business May 24, 1965 was the first day with Ruth Fertel running the show as the new owner of Chris Steak House. That first day saw her selling 35 steaks at $5 a piece. Within six months she h ad made over double her annual salary from her previous job. It was starting to look like she was onto something after all. Ruth didn’t have anyone to show her the ropes of the business. Perhaps this is why the previous 6 owners had failed. Ruth took a very hands on approach to her new venture. She learned how to butcher steak. Ruth sawed up 30-pound short loins by hand until she was able to afford an electric band saw. Another amazing aspect of her business is that she staffed her restaurant with single mothers. She said that they were hard workers and very reliable. For many years, Chris Steak House was the only upscale restaurant in New Orleans with an all-female wait staff. Her restaurant attracted local politicians, athletes, businessmen and reporters. Ruth Fertel Puts The Ruth in Ruth’s Chris In 1976 disaster struck. Ruth Fertel had just signed a new ten-year lease on the restaurant when she discovered a fire had destroyed the property. Fertel had another property that she had purchased to hold events and parties. The problem was she had built Chris Steak House into a brand. It was a real destination spot for diners in New Orleans. Her purchase agreement clearly stated that the name Chris Steak House could only be used in that original location. She couldn’t move the name without violating her agreement. She had a choice, kill her brand and start over with a new name or get creative. Ruth chose to be creative. She slapped her name on the sign in front of Chris Steak House. The new restaurant was called Ruth’s Chris Steak House. She quickly moved her equipment into the new space and within 7 days she was able to reopen. Ruth later admitted that, “I’ve always hated the name, but we’ve always managed to work around it.” That attitude demonstrates perfectly why Ruth Fertel was destined to succeed. She was going to overcome every problem that came her way. Later Life and Death In 1997 she turned 70 years old. That year she personally visited 42 of her restaurants to, “smell out how they’re doing.” Ruth continued to be involved in the business until 1999 when she got sick. She made the hard decision to part ways with the company and sold her business to Madison Dearborn Partners of Chicago, Illinois. In 2000 Ruth was confronted with a problem she couldn’t solve. Ruth was a lifelong smoker. As a result of being a smoker for more than 50 years, Ruth was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer ultimately won and she died two years later in 2002 at the age of 75. Ruth Fertel was buried in Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. She was buried in a lavish mausoleum that she and her business partner and friend, Lana Duke, had commissioned in the mid 90s. In 1999 the structure was completed and Ruth and Lana held a massive party. Father Bob Massett presided over the event and, in typical New Orleans fashion, blessed the crowd with a sprinkling of beer. The giant granite building has black columns and stained glass windows that feature pictures of angels. It also contains the words, “It’s a wonderful world.” Final Thoughts During her lifetime Ruth Fertel scrapped and clawed for everything she received. Nothing was just given to her. She is an example of what can happen when you put your mind to something. During her business career she earned a couple of nicknames that speak to her meteoric rise. She was known as The First Lady of American Restaurants and The Empress of Steak. On Ruth’s Chris website you can see an amazing quote from Ruth Fertel herself that made me laugh. It speaks to the humor she brought to the difficult circumstances she faced throughout her life. “If you’ve ever had a filet this good, welcome back.” Did You Like Learning About Ruth Fertel? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Ruth Fertel: Putting The Ruth in Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
13 minutes | 3 months ago
What is a Scotch Egg: A Fascinating History of This Tasty Treat
What is a Scotch egg? The history of Scotch eggs is fascinating and contains some controversy. Many people and organizations claim to have invented this unique culinary creation. Everyone wants to say they were first. However, before I talk about the origin story of the Scotch egg, I feel I first have to discuss what exactly a scotch egg is. What is a Scotch Egg Anyway? A Scotch egg is a common picnic food in England . In the UK you can buy packaged Scotch eggs in supermarkets, corner shops and gas stations. A classic Scotch egg is a soft boiled egg that has been completely wrapped in sausage. It is then breaded and baked or fried. I can’t find anything wrong with this food. Anytime you can combine sausage, eggs, and deep frying, I’m gonna be there. In the UK there are different versions and variations. You have mini Scotch eggs that are chopped up eggs or a quail egg. Sometimes they make an egg salad out of the chopped egg by adding some mayonnaise or chopped bacon. I swear this just keeps getting better and better! However, in my mind it shouldn’t be an either or with the mayonnaise or chopped bacon. Let’s just add both. Give the people what they really want, right? In the UK these are often served cold. In the US they are served in British-style pubs. They are often served hot with dipping sauces like ranch dressing or hot sauce. If there is one thing you can count on in America it’s that we are going to find a way to fry something and cover it in sauce. It’s just a formula that continues to work well. Renaissance festivals and state fairs are also locations you can find a Scotch egg in the United States. Some fairs will serve them on a stick. Different Variations of a Scotch Egg There are some interesting regional varieties in England. In Manchester there is a version that uses a pickled egg wrapped in a mix of pork meat and black pudding. This is called a Manchester Egg. There is a Worcester egg that uses an egg that has been pickled in Worcestershire sauce and wrapped in a mix of local sausage meat and white pudding. I had no idea what white pudding was so I looked it up quickly. It is like a black pudding except it doesn’t include the blood. There is meat, oatmeal and usually fat or suet. However, I’m not sure how much interest I have in a Scotch egg that has been pickled if I’m being honest. History of a Scotch Egg Now that we have covered what a Scotch egg is, let’s dive into its origin story. In 1805 a recipe for Scotch eggs appeared in an edition of Maria Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery. This recipe did not have a breadcrumb layer that we have today. We know that one of the first instances of the name, “Scotch egg,” was in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1809. The Oxford Companion to Food theorized that the origin of a Scotch egg may be Indian koftas. That theory makes a lot of sense to me when you think about England’s history with India. A lot of Indian spices and influence came to England’s cuisine. However, I’m not sure it really stands up. A kofta is a meatball that is stuffed with chopped hard boiled egg and spices. However, there is one burning question. If the scotch egg was inspired by an Indian dish, why were the exotic spices removed? This theory is just that, a theory. There are many cultures through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia that all have a variation of some form kofta. Some are wrapped around an egg like a Scotch egg. Each culture with a similar dish has put their own spin on it. The UK has done the same. That’s the beauty of the culinary world. Someone will have a great idea for a dish. That idea is then copied and assimilated by chefs in different cultures. Furthermore, each iteration will contain a unique twist specific to that culture. What is a Scotch Egg: Their History in the UK One of the earliest claims to inventing the Scotch egg came from Fortnum & Mason. This is a London department store that claims to have invented the snack back in 1738. This claim is based on documentation that was found in their archives. This documentation has since been conveniently lost. Another claim of invention was put forward by William J. Scott & Sons. However, the date they claim doesn’t match up with the original dates found in dictionaries and cookbooks. Furthermore, their claim came almost a full 75 years after those early references. There is no way in my mind that they could possibly be the first to develop a Scotch egg. However, they do have one of the more interesting variations that I have seen. The Scotch egg found at William J. Scott & Sons is an egg that is covered in a thick fish paste, then breaded and deep fried. That doesn’t sound good at all. They called them scorch eggs because they were cooked over an open flame. Fortnum & Mason Comes on the Scene Fortnum & Mason’s claim is the fascinating one to me. Furthermore, they really doubled down on their Scotch egg being the first. They are also quick to note that if they weren’t the first, that they were certainly the best. I’m going to quote from their own website: “Back then ours consisted of a pullet’s egg – so rather smaller than a chicken’s egg – surrounded by forcemeat, dipped in egg wash and then in breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt, pepper and mace, and deep fried. At the time, we referred to it as a ‘scotched’ egg because of anchovies added to the meat to give it a stronger flavour, and to cut through the fattiness of the meat. Then came the dark days. A shortage of meat during the Second World War meant that the quality of the Scotch Egg suffered, and we lost our confidence somewhat. Food manufacturing embraced technology more and more, and by the 1960s and ‘70s, our breadcrumbed hero lost its superpowers thanks to less-than-satisfactory rivals who were using inferior, over-processed meat and the wrong kind of breadcrumbs. As a result it became perceived by many to be rather naff and unfashionable. Through these turbulent times it’s been up to us to keep the standard going and maintaining its position as a desirable product – at least when Fortnum’s produces it. Always made with care and love, ours is the real thing.” Fortnum & Mason Wrapped Up I love that. I love how it has been up to them to keep the standard going. Furthermore, it is also interesting to see that they have changed their recipe over time. For example, today they do not add anchovy to the ground meat. Whether or not they were first isn’t a huge deal to me. It is nice to see them continue this fantastic tradition. Popularity For me the idea of an egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried is mind blowing. It sounds like an amazing dish. However, according to a survey done in 2019, Scotch eggs were found to be one of Britain’s least liked foods. It was right up there with bubble and squeak, beef Wellington, Lancashire hotpot, pork pies and steak and kidney pies. I don’t personally understand that, oh well. Did You Like Learning About Scotch Eggs? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post What is a Scotch Egg: A Fascinating History of This Tasty Treat appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
What Is A Chinese Gooseberry: How Kiwifruit Got Its Start
Have you ever heard of a Chinese Gooseberry? You might be asking yourself, “what is a Chinese gooseberry?” Today’s episode is going to take you on a long journey from California to New Zealand to China as we dive deep into the history behind this humble fruit. Here in the states we know the Chinese gooseberry simply as kiwifruit or kiwis. Kiwifruit has been around in china for centuries. The first recorded description of kiwifruit dates back to the 12th century China during the Song Dynasty. It was harvested from the wild and consumed for medicinal purposes. The Chinese called the fruit mihoutao, or macaque fruit after the macaque monkeys that loved to feast on this sweet snack. This was not a plant or species that the Chinese cultivated or bred. That all changed in the early 1900s thanks to Mary Isabel Fraser of Dunedin, New Zealand. Mary Isabel Fraser was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on March 20, 1863. She went by her middle name Isabel. Isabel grew up to be an educated woman became the principal of Wanganui Girls’ College. Under her direction, it became the largest girls’ boarding school in New Zealand. Slowly but surely the school began to wear on Isabel. The buildings and grounds were inadequate and Isabel had to spend a lot of her time juggling teaching and administrative duties with various building projects. In 1901 she attempted to resign from her position. However, it was refused. Instead she was offered another teacher to help relieve some of the load. This new teacher caught tuberculosis and Isabel found herself back at square one. In 1903 she was finally granted a leave of absence. Isabell Goes to China She took off for Japan to meet up with her sister Katie who had been teaching there. They traveled to China to visit some schools that Katie had taught at earlier in her life. While they were there, Isabel came across some Actinidia delicious seeds and took them back with her to New Zealand. The nurseryman at the girls’ college, Alexander Allison took on a grand experiment. Could he make these mysterious seeds grow? Eventually he was successful and the kiwifruit as we know it today was born. Around the same time these seeds were making their way to New Zealand, the species was also being experimented with as a potential commercial crop in England and the U.S. However, both attempts failed miserably. Britain’s Veitch Nursery successfully grew plants from the seeds. However, they were all male plants and wouldn’t produce fruit. The U.S. had a similar setback. Meanwhile, Alexander Allison managed to do what the United States Department of Agriculture and the Veitch Nursery could not, grow thriving, fruit-yielding plants. The fruit was branded as a Chinese gooseberry because it had the flavor of a ripe gooseberry. They became incredibly popular with US and British serviceman who were stationed in New Zealand in WWII. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, retired military personnel were excited to see kiwifruit on store shelves. Exports started arriving first in England and then made their way to California. This is the fruit we know and love today. The Chinese Gooseberry Becomes A Kiwifruit So obviously when we go to the grocery store we don’t buy Chinese gooseberries. We buy kiwifruit. Where did that name come from? In 1962, New Zealand growers began calling it kiwifruit for export marketing. Savvy marketers decided on a name change to increase interest and demand for this exotic fruit. In 1974 they settled on kiwifruit. In New Zealand and Australia, the word “kiwi” refers to the kiwi bird. It is also often used as a nickname for New Zealanders. Many New Zealanders view the term as a symbol of pride and endearment. Different Varieties of Kiwifruit Now let’s talk different varieties. The most common type is fuzzy kiwifruit. That’s what you’re likely going to find going into a grocery store. These have a fuzzy skin. The entire kiwifruit is edible. However, many people peel the skin on these because of the unpleasant fuzzy texture. Golden kiwifruit have a smoother skin. The flesh on these ranges in color from a bright green to an almost clear yellow. This is a sweeter and more aromatic kiwifruit. Finally there are kiwi berries. These are edible fruits roughly the size of a large grape. They are similar in taste to the fuzzy kiwifruit. They have a thin, smooth green skin. It doesn’t have the fuzzy exterior seen on the fuzzy kiwifruit. Kiwifruit Today Kiwifruit continues to be popular today. In 2015, it was a billion dollar export for New Zealand. It is now widely cultivated in China and they have become major kiwifruit producers over the years. In 2018 they produced half of the world’s kiwifruit. The top 10 producers of kiwifruit are in order from most to least, China, Italy, New Zealand, Iran, Greece, Chile, Turkey, France, United States and Portugal. I was surprised to see Italy at #2. I thought it would be China then New Zealand. However, it makes sense when you know a little bit about how kiwifruit is grown. Kiwifruit grows on vines, similar to how grapes are grown. Italy already had a great infrastructure in place to support grape production. These techniques were simply adapted to support kiwifruit. In 1989 they became the leading producer of kiwifruit. Did You Like Learning About Chinese Gooseberries? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post What Is A Chinese Gooseberry: How Kiwifruit Got Its Start appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
23 minutes | 4 months ago
Snake Oil Salesmen: How Patent Medicines Changed Food Forever (Part 2)
This week’s episode is all about what happens when snake oil salesmen become doctors in dangerous ways. These pseudo doctors became a main reason the FDA was formed and given teeth to go after harmful medicine. Today we are going to talk about the dangerous medicines of the 1800s and early 1900s. We will also discuss some of those medications that have stuck around to today. The Formation of the FDA In the late 1800s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had a special division assigned to investigate food fraud and pharmaceutical claims. The Division of Chemistry in the USDA later became the Bureau of Chemistry. Harvard Washington Wiley was appointed Chief Chemist in 1993. Wiley became a major activist for food and drug regulation. The public supported these movements due to journalists that did their part to get the horrors of food and drug production out to the general public. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, was one of these major publications during this time. I also have to add that it is a horrifying book about the meat packing industry. In 1901 a diphtheria vaccine that had been developed was tainted with tetanus. These vaccines were distributed and led to the deaths of 12 kids in Missouri. This, and other incidents like it, led President Theodore Roosevelt to sign the Pure Food and Drug Act into law in 1906. This law was also known as the “Wiley Act” because of Wiley’s activism. This act formed the Food and Drug Administration. Pure Food and Drug Act This act gave the government and law enforcement some teeth in handling allegations regarding food fraud and false claims made by those who produced patent medicine. The act prohibited the interstate transport of food that had been adulterated. There were similar penalties for adulterated drugs where the strength , quality or purity of the active ingredient wasn’t clearly listed on the label. However, they still lacked the authority to do much more than that. If you remember back to last week’s episode, the Bureau of Chemistry examined Snake Oil and concluded that it had violated the Food and Drug Act because it contained no actual snake oil. Journalists and consumer advocacy groups continued their relentless assault on products that were allowed under the 1906 legislation, but were in reality quite dangerous to humans. There were worthless cures for diabetes and tuberculosis, a mascara lash lure that caused blindness and I’m not kidding you, radioactive drinks. However, none of these complaints were able to produce legislation with enough support to get through congress. However, that all changed in 1937. Snake Oil Salesmen At Their Worst: Elixir Sulfanilamide In 1937 the S. E. Massengill Company created their own preparation of sulfanilamide using diethylene glycol as the solvent. Diethylene glycol, or DEG, is poisonous to humans and other mammals. The company’s chief pharmacist and chemist, Harold Watkins, was not aware of this. Elixir Sulfanilamide was born. Remember at the time there were no regulations on drugs and pharmaceuticals. There was no oversight from the government. Animal testing was not required by law before drugs were released, so these harmful effects weren’t widely known. Harold Watkins mixed raspberry flavoring into the drug and they were off to the races. In September 1937, the company began distributing the medication. By October 11, the American Medical Association received a report of several deaths related to this new medication. The Food and Drug Administration began an extensive search for a cause. They discovered that the DEG solvent was responsible for the fatal effects of the drug. At least 100 deaths were blamed on the medication. The fallout from this ordeal was tremendous. People wanted answers and justice. The owner of the S.E. Massengill Company was pressed to admit some measure of responsibility. He infamously answered, “We have been supplying a legitimate professional demand and not once could have foreseen the unlooked-for results. I do not feel that there was any responsibility on our part.” Harold Watkins committed suicide while awaiting trial. Grieving Families Petition for Change A grieving mother wrote to President Roosevelt and described the death of her daughter: “The first time I ever had occasion to call in a doctor for Joan and she was given Elixir of Sulfanilamide. All that is left to us is the caring for her little grave. Even the memory of her is mixed with sorrow for we can see her little body tossing to and fro and hear that little voice screaming with pain and it seems as though it would drive me insane… It is my plea that you will take steps to prevent such sales of drugs that will take little lives and leave such suffering behind and such a bleak outlook on the future as I have tonight.” That is deep. I can feel this woman’s pain reading this letter. You have to remember that many families could tell a similar story regarding their children and loved ones thanks to this medication. No Heavy Punishment for S.E. Massengill Company So what happened to the S.E. Massengill Company? The government used the power that they had under the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act. They found that they had broken the rules because they called their product an elixir even though it contained no ethanol. They were hit with a minimum fine. A slap on the wrist for being directly responsible for the deaths of over 100 patients. However, that is all that the government could do. The company had broken no other laws. The public outcry was intense. Furthermore, there was no way congress could deny it this time. It would be political suicide to continue to ignore the dangers that some medication could present. In 1938 they passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This significantly increased the FDA’s power to regulate drugs. Part of this legislation required companies to perform animal safety tests on their proposed new drugs and submit the data to the FDA before being allowed to market their products. Finally, the FDA had teeth to pursue some of these fraudulent and dangerous medications. Other Dangerous Patent Medicines There were a host of other dangerous patent medicines. Many contained harmful ingredients like chloroform, mercury, lead, arsenic, tar and radium. The problem with these snake oil salesmen is that they didn’t understand how their medications would impact the body. They thought they could make a quick buck without any harmful consequences. That simply wasn’t the case. Journalists investigated and held them accountable. Government got their act together and began legislating which gave the FDA teeth to go after these guys. Finally, not all patent medicines were harmful. Most were just not effective. However, there were a few that have stuck around to today. Patent Medicines That Survived There are several brands that were popular in the past and managed to find some longevity. Not all manufacturers were snake oil salesmen. Instead of continuing to harp on pointless health claims, they rebranded and narrowed the focus of what their product could actually be used for. In the case of soda manufacturers, health claims were abandoned entirely. As I dive into this next segment, I’m sure you are going to recognize some of these brands that have become household names over the years. Most soda brands that were produced in the 1800s were patent medicines. They had various health claims that really held no water. Furthermore, most of their medicinal ingredients have been removed over the years. Now they exist as beverages we might drink at any meal. Coca Cola, 7-Up, Hires Root Beer, Dr Pepper, Moxie and Pepsi all had their roots in patent medicine. Fletcher’s Laxatives is another medication that dropped their excessive and dubious health claims. Instead they focused on being a powerful laxative. I mentioned the craziness that happened with cough syrup between morphine, opiates and chloroform all being early ingredients. A popular cough drop has survived the test of time and is still around today. Don’t worry, Smith Brothers Cough Drops do not contain any ingredients that will kill you or harm your health. Did You Like Learning About Snake Oil Salesmen Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Snake Oil Salesmen: How Patent Medicines Changed Food Forever (Part 2) appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Snake Oil Salesmen: How Patent Medicines Changed Food Forever (Part1)
I’m sure you have heard the term “snake oil salesman.” However, have you ever stopped to wonder how that term came to be? Snake oil salesmen got their name from Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment. It was mineral oil that had been mixed with various herbs and compounds. It was marketed as a cure for a variety of joint and back pain. For good measure Stanley thought he’d pitch his snake oil as providing instant relief from frostbite, bruises, sore throat, and bug and animal bites. A well known ad for the product said, “Good for everything a liniment ought to be good for.” With claims like these it is no wonder that Clark Stanley had a successful venture on his hands. He wasn’t the first, and he wasn’t the last. However, his snake oil became a common term for medication that boasted outlandish and fraudulent claims. While doing little, if anything, of real benefit to the recipient. Snake Oil Salesmen Go to Court In 1916, Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment was tested by the government’s Bureau of Chemistry. This was a government agency that was a precursor to the Food and Drug Administration. It provided limited value for its cost. It contained mineral oil, 1% fatty oil, capsaicin from chili peppers, turpentine and camphor. Stanley faced federal prosecution for distributing mineral oil in a fraudulent manner as snake oil. There was nothing involving snakes in his oil. Stanley pleaded no contest to the charges. The judge accepted his plea and he fined him $20. In today’s money that would be around $470. He basically got off with nothing but a slap on the wrist. Snake oil is a prime example of a patent medicine. This was a concoction that was put together and had claims of tremendous benefit to those who would take it. This is a topic that has come up again and again as I’ve researched other episodes. A lot of soda that we know and love today started as a patent medicine. Coca Cola, Dr Pepper, Pepsi, 7 Up and Root Beer all have roots in promising tremendous health benefits for nothing more than a sip of the product. The First Patent Medicines Patent medicine originated in England. The name originates from the letters of patent that were granted by the English Crown. After patent medicine came to America, few producers actually sought patents. As time went on, the term “patent medicine” began to describe any medicine sold over the counter. Early colonial life proved that no one could escape the reach and popularity of these early patent medicines. Turlington’s Balsam of Life, Bateman’s Pectoral Drops and Hooper’s Female Pills were very successful in early America. Some, like Bateman’s Pectoral Drops maintained popularity well into the 1900s. The original patent for these drops was granted by King George I in 1726. Of course, it didn’t take long for Americans to understand the vast potential and financial success that could come with development of patent medicines. Successful inventors enlisted the help of savvy marketers to get their products noticed by the public. Patent medicines were one of the first major product categories that the advertising industry promoted. Advertising often promoted these medications as a cure to multiple ailments. They emphasized exotic ingredients and were often endorsed by experts or well known celebrities. This influx of medication showed that no disease was beyond a possible cure. So how did this craze start? The very first letters of patent given to an inventor of a secret remedy was issued during the late 17th century. The patent ensured that the medicine maker had a monopoly over his particular formula. They could then market and sell that medicine at will. Different Types of Patent Medicines There were hundreds of different patent medicines on display across the country. Some of these contained hard drugs such as opium, meth, morphine, heroin and cocaine. There were also absurd concoctions that were nothing more than a placebo. However, people still sought out these cures. Next week I’m going to discuss how these medications could be dangerous. Furthermore, we will discuss how these dangers led to the formation of the FDA. Did You Like Learning About Snake Oil Salesmen Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Snake Oil Salesmen: How Patent Medicines Changed Food Forever (Part1) appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
14 minutes | 5 months ago
Food Superstitions: A Few Ways Food Is Bringing Bad Luck
Food superstitions are fun myths that are rooted deep in history. Some of them go far enough back to be woven into our DNA and cultural identity. Today’s episode is going to do a deeper dive into several of these food superstitions and their background. To quote the great Michael Scott, “I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious.” Food superstitions are fascinating. Most cultures have their own unique variants. As we head into the new year, I couldn’t think of a better topic than to discuss several interesting superstitions involving food. Food Superstitions Behind Apple Peels Are you single and ready to mingle, but you just wish you had a little hint on who to look for? Next time you eat an apple, try peeling it first. Try to make a strand of peel as long as you can until it breaks. Then take the peel and toss it on the counter. Whatever letter that peel resembles is the first letter of your true love’s name. Apples have a few other superstitions. In the Jewish new year, people dip apples in honey to symbolize the hopes of a sweet year to come. Also people believed that if you cut into an apple and counted the seeds, it would predict how many children you’d have. Eggs and Egg Shells Eggs are symbolic of many things There are also many food superstitions around them. Farmers used to spread broken eggs into their fields hoping to grow an abundant crop. If you happen to crack an egg that contains two yolks, it is a sign that someone you know will be getting married or having twins. Finally, when cracking an egg make sure you crush the eggshell after. There is a superstition that says a witch will gather up the pieces, set sail and cause terrible storms at sea. Do you really want a severe oceanic storm, and any fallout from it, weighing on your conscience? Bread Superstitions Did you know that if you slice open a loaf of bread and see a large air pocket that it means someone will die soon? The hole in the bread represents a coffin. Also, hot cross buns have an interesting history rooted in superstition. Anytime you bake bread you should cut a cross into the top of your loaf. Otherwise the devil will sit on it while baking and ruin your loaf. There is a fascinating french superstition about placing a loaf of bread upside down. If a loaf is placed upside down on a table, it invites bad luck. I dug deeper into this one and it is fascinating. It dates back to the Middle Ages and public executions. Public executions were often scheduled at a time when most people were going to be out and about. The purpose behind the execution was to make an example after all. The executioner was often busy prepping his tools for the execution and was unable to go to the market to buy bread. Bakers didn’t want to have to tell a man with an axe and no problem with killing why they ran out of bread. So bakers began to turn a loaf upside down. Patrons recognized this loaf as the executioners loaf and no one would touch it. The executioner could go in the shop, grab their loaf and be on their way. Custom allowed them to take whatever they could hold in one hand free of charge. No one ever argued with him. Chinese Noodles There are few things on this earth more comforting to me than Chinese noodle dishes. Whether they are in a soup or stir fried, they always warm my soul. In China, long noodles symbolize a long life. You should never ever cut your noodles. Doing so means that you are cutting life short. You should instead slurp those long noodles and be careful not to break them. This is a problem for me because I often find myself cutting long noodles. Hopefully I’m not inadvertently cursing myself. The Wishbone Wishbones have a unique superstition in the States and UK. This is a bone in the chicken near the neck that forms a horseshoe type shape. Two people participate in this activity. Each one grabs an end of the wishbone and pulls at the same time. When it snaps, the person with the largest piece gets to make a wish. This was often a source of fighting and argument when we had chicken at least a few times growing up. Salty Superstitions Spilling salt is considered to be very unlucky. You may recall anytime a character in a movie spills some salt, they always grab some and toss it over their shoulder. If you spill salt, the only way to change your bad luck is to throw salt over the shoulder. This blinds the devil and keeps him from messing with your life. In Russia, there is a tradition that states if a woman uses too much salt in the kitchen, then it means they are in love. Brides who would cook for their in-laws would always over salt their food. That way they could signal to the world that they were still deeply in love with their new husband. Sour Grapes In South America, there is a tradition of welcoming the new year by eating 12 grapes precisely at midnight. Each sour grape in that bunch represents a bad month ahead. Tea Time Tea has some great superstitions attached to it. You should never put milk in your tea before the sugar if you ever want to get married. In the same line of thinking, if you have any undissolved sugar in the bottom of your teacup, it means someone is in love with you. Spilling your tea means a stranger is about to visit. Finally, make sure you only let one person pour the tea. If multiple people share that responsibility, it is considered to be bad luck. Coffee Coffee Coffee! If you see bubbles in your coffee, you should drink it immediately. If you manage to drink the cup before the bubbles disappear, you will receive money from an unexpected source. I guess people have nothing better to do when drinking coffee than to watch the bubbles. The bubbles apparently can tell a person many things. If the bubbles move towards the person drinking coffee, they are destined to become rich. If the bubbles move away from the person drinking, then hard times are ahead. In Greece if you spill coffee on a coffee plaque or a picture of a cup of coffee, you will have money. This seems like an easy way to come into some money. It also seems like there are a lot of coffee drinkers out there hoping their next cup brings them wealth and prosperity. Knives We all have that special someone in our lives who loves to cook. Shopping for these people can be super easy. You can get them a variety of items from cookbooks to stock pots. Whatever you do don’t give them a knife. Giving someone a knife symbolizes severing ties with that person. If you insist on giving a knife as a gift, make sure you ask for a penny in return. This apparently breaks the curse. Parsley This one fascinated me. Planting parsley seeds will help a woman become pregnant. If the parsley plant thrives, then it means her husband is weak. If you take parsley as a gift to a dinner party, it is considered bad luck. Hot Peppers If you want to give someone a hot pepper, you should never give it directly to them. Unless you want them to have bad luck. Instead, you should place the pepper on a table and then have your friend pick it up. That is the only way to avoid bad luck in that transaction. Peanuts Eating peanuts at any kind of a performance is a sure way to make sure the performers have bad luck. This is a fascinating superstition to me. I can’t tell you how many circus and sport venues sell peanuts for their patrons to consume. I guess they don’t mind the bad luck spreading. Birthday Cake Food Superstitions Hopefully we have all had that experience of being given a birthday cake with candles and blowing them out. I hate being the center of attention and always feel awkward during this birthday tradition. Have you ever wondered how it started? To discover the beginning of birthday candles and cake, you have to go back to Ancient Greece. They baked moon-shaped cakes to celebrate the birth of the moon goddess Artemis. However, they also believed the celebration would attract evil spirits to the party. By saying happy birthday and burning candles, the spirits are chased away. Remember that the next time you attend a birthday celebration and make sure you do your part. It is also widely believed that blowing out all of your candles will grant you a wish. However, growing up my mom transitioned to the numbered candles instead of the actual number of individual candles for our cakes. Hopefully that didn’t mess with the wish granting process. Onions In addition to being a major flavor addition to food, onions have another amazing quality. If you stick pins into a small onion and keep it on your windowsill, it drives bad spirits from your house. Worth a try, right? Did You Like Learning About Food Superstitions Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Food Superstitions: A Few Ways Food Is Bringing Bad Luck appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
12 minutes | 5 months ago
The History of Gingerbread Houses: A Christmas Classic
The history of gingerbread houses is fascinating. This time of year always makes me think of the treats of the season. Nothing screams Christmas like a gingerbread house. I have great memories growing up of making simple gingerbread houses. I remember being nice and warm inside while the snow was falling outside. However, our gingerbread houses were not made from gingerbread. We used graham crackers instead of gingerbread. My siblings and I had a blast. I think more candy ended up in our mouths than on the houses. Furthermore, I t was a lot of fun. Gingerbread houses are everywhere this time of the year. Have you ever stopped and wondered why? A Fascinating Gingerbread Legend There is a fascinating medieval Christian legend that expands the account of the birth of Jesus. It also sheds some light on how gingerbread houses relate to Christmas. In this legend, there were four wise men that set out to visit the baby Jesus. However, one of these wisemen got sick and ended his journey in a city in Syria. A local Rabbi watched over and cared for him during his illness. The Rabbi told him of the prophecies that foretold a great King who was to come to the Jews. Furthermore, the prophecies stated that he would be born in Bethlehem. In Hebrew, Bethlehem means house of bread. This Rabbi had a custom with his young students of making houses of bread to eat over time to remember these prophecies and the Messiah that was to come. However, when it came time for the wiseman to leave, he left his kingly treasure with the Rabbi. You might be wondering what this treasure consisted of? Ginger root! The wiseman suggested that the Rabbi grind up the ginger root and mix it in with his bread. In a very literal sense, the gingerbread house was born. The Real History of Gingerbread Houses Now I have to remind you, this was a legend and not a historical record. However, this legend is a great story that must be told when the history of gingerbread houses is discussed. This story came from a greek document from the 8th century. It is presumed it was Irish in origin and translated into Latin. Gingerbread as we know it today came to Europe in the 11th century. Crusaders brought back ginger and other spices from their wars. It didn’t take long for these exotic spices to find their way into bread. Monks in Franconia, Germany were recorded as shaping gingerbread into various shapes in the 13th century. Shaping gingerbread was slow to catch. However, it eventually grew in popularity and spread through Germany and into Europe at large. Special bakers were tasked with baking gingerbread. They held a special place in various bakers guilds. In the 17th century only professional bakers were allowed to bake gingerbread except for Christmas and Easter. During these holidays anyone was allowed to bake gingerbread. Before we had gingerbread houses, gingerbread took a variety of shapes. However, these weren’t your mother’s gingerbread men. These were elaborate works of art made by these master bakers. They were painstakingly detailed. Hearts, stars, soldiers , babies, trumpets and animals were just a few of the shapes that made their way to specialized gingerbread shops. 1800s to Today Gingerbread houses made their appearance in Germany in the early 1800s. However, historians are split on how gingerbread houses came to be. Furthermore, some historians believe that gingerbread houses were inspired by the Grimm Brothers tale of Hansel and Gretel. That after the story was published, German bakers started making detailed gingerbread fairy tale houses. Other historians believe the Grimm Brothers were speaking about something that already existed. Regardless of the origin, gingerbread houses became popular during Christmas. This tradition spread to America with the Pennsylvanian German immigrants. Finally, that brings us to where we are at today. Constructing gingerbread houses has become a major tradition for many families throughout the world. What is the craziest gingerbread house you have ever seen? If you have a few minutes, spend some time looking through images on google. It’s crazy what some people are able to do with a little gingerbread and a lot of imagination. Did You Like Learning About Gingerbreadhouses? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post The History of Gingerbread Houses: A Christmas Classic appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
11 minutes | 5 months ago
What Are Victory Gardens: Hidden Heroes of WWII
Today’s episode is all about food rationing and victory gardens during WWI and WWII. Have you ever wondered what a victory garden is? During WWI and WWII, there were serious food shortages in Europe. Overnight a generation of farmers and producers were called into military service. Their fields and farms became battlefields. The food that was produced went to feed the soldiers and support the war effort. It was a tough time. The US government did their part by sending food to their allies and troops overseas. They asked citizens to do their part by reducing consumption on a number of different items. Food rationing was in full swing. The government pitched rationing as a heroic thing for citizens to do. Food Rationing Leads to Victory Gardens I have a cookbook from the early 1900s that is one of my favorites, Foods That Will Win The War: And How to Cook Them. The reason I love it so much is because it was war propaganda. World War I was in full swing when this cookbook was published in 1918. The intro shows fruits and veggies in abundance. It says: “This is what God gives us. What are you giving so that others may live? Eat less wheat, meat, fats, sugar. Send more to Europe or they will starve.” This book goes on to provide recipes for wheat, meat, fats and sugars, but it gets creative in the approach. It also gives an interesting snapshot into the household dietary life of WWI households. In the section on meat it talks about meat as red meat. It recommends scaling back meat dramatically and instead of having red meat twice a day, a household should find other substitutes. It then mentions chicken, fish, dairy products, nuts and beans as substitutes. Don’t Eat Sugar, Eat Corn Syrup Instead In their section on sugarless desserts it is apparent they are speaking of refined granulated sugar. When I looked at the table of contents and saw that it had a section on sugarless desserts I was intrigued. What kind of desserts are there and can they possibly be good without sugar? My fears were laid to rest when I saw that everything was sweetened with molasses or.. drum roll… corn syrup! This cookbook said, “Study attractive ways of serving food. Plain, cheap dishes can be made appetizing if they look attractive on the table.” This book highlights the reality of war and what we were facing here at home. The truth is, people were starving in Europe. America was a land of seemingly endless resources and consumption. The simple ask was to scale back. Change how you are eating and you will save lives. During this time, the government had many campaigns to highlight the importance of food conservation and helping the public see that by cutting back on these necessities, they were directly contributing to the war effort. This leads me to victory gardens. So What Are Victory Gardens? A victory garden was a fruit, vegetable or herb garden that was planted on a private residence and public parks in the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain during WWI and WWII. These gardens provided food for the growers and relieved strain on the food supply. The idea was to make produce purchased by the government cheaper, allowing the government to pay less and use the money saved on other parts of the war effort. Victory Gardens also had a tremendous morale boost for those who participated. They gave the average citizen something they could do to contribute to the war effort. As a result they were rewarded with fresh, locally grown, produce. During WWII around one third of the vegetables produced in the United States was produced by victory gardens. By May of 1943, there were 18 million victory gardens in the US. Even the White House Got Involved Even the White House got involved. Eleanor Roosevelt planted a victory garden on the White House lawn in 1943. This garden served as a reminder that it was a patriotic duty to garden. Even though this was pitched as a way for Americans to do their patriotic duty, many Americans surveyed said they did it for economic reasons. 54% of those polled said that they grew the garden for economic reasons. 20% mentioned their patriotic duty. Some of the most popular home crops were cabbage, beets, beans, carrots, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, squash and turnips. Basically everything you might see in a home garden today. T The Department of Agriculture was wary of this movement. However, they found a way to casually support the gardening movement by distributing informational pamphlets on basic gardening principles. These pamphlets taught the home farmer how to maximize their garden’s productivity. They taught them how to track the germination period of various seeds as well as looking out for insects and diseases they might encounter with their crop. The goal was to increase their yield year over year and to learn something while doing it. Where We Are Today Of the 18 million victory gardens started during WWI and WWII in the United States, only 2 are still around today. The Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis. This year we have seen a strain on the food system that we haven’t seen in a long long time. We all lived through it. Dried food and canned goods became hard to find. I remember walking through grocery stores and experience the frustration of empty shelf after empty shelf. This uncertainty at the grocery store sparked another home garden movement. Nurseries and seed catalogs sold out. Youtube videos demonstrating home garden tips quickly became popular. People were embracing the home economy like never before. Social media was full of pictures of people’s sour dough starters. Fresh produce was brought into work and distributed freely. Now that the store shelves are restocked and we can all find toilet paper again, it will be interesting to see if these community gardens have staying power. Time will tell. Perhaps the key to life is learning to live better on less. Going back to the cookbook I read from earlier. The close to that cookbook is how I’m going to close the show today. The cookbook closes with, “Of our men we ask their lives; of ourselves, a little less food.” Did You Like Learning About Victory Gardens? Subscribe! This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post What Are Victory Gardens: Hidden Heroes of WWII appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
14 minutes | 5 months ago
Who Is Marie Callender: The Queen of Pie
Who is Marie Callender? We’ve seen the pies in the grocery store, but many are surprised to know Marie Callender was a real person. Her story and history are a rags to riches tale that would make any American proud. Today we are going to dive into the history behind the legendary Marie Callender’s pie. Birth and Early Life Marie Callender was born in 1907 in South Dakota. Her family was poor, but was never afraid of hard work. Early in her life they picked up all of their possessions and made the move to California searching for a better life and more economic opportunity. In 1924, Marie met Cal Callender. The two really hit it off and were eventually married. At the time of their marriage they were both 17! For much of their early married life, Marie and Cal struggled financially. There always seemed to be more month than paycheck. They had one son, Donald. The family worked a series of odd jobs trying to keep food on the table. Marie answered an ad at a local delicatessen that was looking for part time help. She got the job and settled right in preparing salads and simple hot meals. The additional pay was a welcome sight for the family. However, they still struggled mightily to make ends meet. The owner of the deli started a snack bar and asked Marie if she’d bake pie for customers. Here is where things start to get interesting. Pie, Pie and More Pie Marie was excited about her new role. She loved to bake pie and was really skilled at it. The customers also loved her pie. Business was good. However, Marie quickly realized there is a big difference baking a pie here or there for your family and keeping a snack bar fully stocked. The hours were long and the labor was grueling. She finally came to the conclusion that she was sick of hauling giant bags of flour around, and quit. The owner of the deli was disappointed. He urged Marie to go into business for herself. If she made pie, he’d become a steady customer. Marie gave it some thought and decided to take the plunge. The family had virtually no capital to start a business. Marie and Cal sold the one possession they had, the family car. They paid some bills and were left with $700 to fund their dream. The Callenders purchased an old oven and three rolling pins. In 1962, they rented a small shop and got busy. The race was on. Marie and Cal needed to sell enough pies each month to keep from going bankrupt. It was hard work and in its early years the business grew at a snails pace. Don dropped out of college and decided to help his parents out with the pie shop full time. This proved to be a major turning point for the business. Free Pie and Coffee to All First Time Customers Don had a brilliant idea. To increase traffic into the pie shop, he suggested they offer a free slice of pie and coffee to all first time customers. The promotion caught on quick and spread like wildfire. They had a line of eager customers that was three blocks long. Turns out all Marie needed for a successful business was for people to taste her pie just once. This promotion led to many of these people becoming frequent customers. Marie had another great idea. She moved the pie oven to the window overlooking the street. As people would pass by, they could see the pie baking in the window. This gave them a sense of inclusion. They felt that they were part of the process. By 1964 business was booming. Marie added soup and sandwiches to the menu. The Callenders made a great team. Marie and Cal would man the kitchen and Don would handle the marketing. By 1985 they had 119 restaurants across 11 states. Marie said, “everybody predicted we’d go broke, but we outlived ‘em all. So we knew we had something better.” Retirement and Death Marie eventually left the business and enjoyed a quiet retirement in California. Don continued to run the company successfully. He led them to a sale of the business to Ramada Inns for $90 million in stocks and cash. As part of the deal, Don stayed on as CEO. Marie Callender died in a nursing home in Laguna Hills on November 11, 1995. She left a business and a legacy that is still a household name to this day. It is incredible what a fearless attitude and hard work accomplished for the Callender family. Did You Like Learning About Who is Marie Callender? Subscribe! Marie Callender has a tremendous rags to riches story. This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about food history by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Who Is Marie Callender: The Queen of Pie appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
14 minutes | 6 months ago
Is Banana Pudding Southern: Let’s Dig In
Banana pudding has a rich and storied history. I can’t think of few things that ring the bells of nostalgia quite like banana pudding. Have you ever wondered is banana pudding southern? Today’s episode dives deep into how this favorite treat moved south. There are some interesting theories we will discuss. My Food Memory! The inspiration for this weeks episode came from a family group chat where my dad posted a picture and said, “this is the only way I’ll eat bananas.“ The picture contained a beautiful image I have a delicious banana pudding. Now this instantly took me back to earlier days growing up where my dad would often make Banana pudding. Of course, he would use the Nilla wafers as the base and pour over cheap banana pudding and sliced bananas and top it all with whip cream. Fast forward a few years and I’m living in Tennessee. I found myself at a meat and three for lunch one day. Now for those of you who haven’t been to the south I’ll explain briefly what a meat and three is. This is a restaurant that serves a helping of protein with three vegetables. I should say they call them vegetables, but that is really a loose definition of what they actually serve. So what do I mean by that? Well for example, they call french fries vegetables. They call macaroni and cheese vegetables. And perhaps most shocking of all, they call banana pudding a vegetable. My Kind of Vegetable Now before everyone in the south sends me hate mail. Let me just say it was this particular place that called banana pudding a vegetable. And if this is what they mean when they say eat more vegetables, I can really support that. So here I am in this restaurant about to eat my lunch and my coworker says I have to get the banana pudding. I decided that more vegetables wouldn’t hurt anything, so I quickly ordered a banana pudding. I was delighted to find out that this was exactly like the banana putting my dad made growing up. It was a little bit of nostalgia in the bowl. I quickly dug in and deeply enjoyed that part of the meal. Banana pudding is huge in the south. You’ll find it on almost every restaurant menu. It’s everywhere! So today we’re going to dive into the history behind this classic southern dish. The First Mention of Banana Pudding The first mention of banana pudding in print is from 1878 in The New York Times. The first recipe for banana pudding in print seems to be from Good Housekeeping in 1888. This recipe was super simple and super straightforward. The article said, “Make and chill a pint of custard, line a pretty dish with alternating layers of sliced sponge cake and sliced bananas, pour custard over the layers and top with whipped cream. This is essentially the recipe that we have today. To Nilla or Not to Nilla When did Nilla Wafers come on the scene? A humble woman from Bloomington, Illinois, shared her recipe for banana pudding with her local paper. This was the first known printed recipe for banana pudding using Nilla Wafers. The article was printed in 1921. The National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco as we know it, decided to capitalize on this opportunity. They began printing recipes for banana pudding on boxes of Vanilla Wafers in the 40s. In 1967 Nabisco shortened the name to Nilla Wafers. The recipe remained on the box. Banana Pudding Comes to the South To this point, the history of banana pudding has been tied to the northeast and the Midwest. How on earth did banana pudding become a cultural icon in the south? It seems to be the media that began to put the southern spin on this classic dessert. In 1933 a news column posted a recipe for “Southern Banana Pudding.” The southern twist was frying the bananas before adding them to the dessert. I’ve been going through my grandma’s recipes and any time she calls out something as being “southern,” it usually means additional butter or frying in some way. So I understand this southern twist. Serious Eats did a fascinating analysis on this idea of journalists declaring banana pudding a Southern dessert. They ran a text search through online newspaper archives. What they showed is that banana pudding started the 20th century with no Southern identity. 17.89% of references in the 1900s and 10.81% of the references in the 1910s appeared in Southern newspapers. In the 1920s, those numbers jumped to 39.56% of the references. Between the 1930s to the 1950s the percent of references hovered steady around 50%. By the 1980s they had risen to 83.78% of all printed references in the news. Why the South? But why the south? No one really knows. Common theories range from bananas running through the ports of New Orleans to it was a cool dessert that didn’t require heating up the oven in summer. None of those hold much water though. The most plausible theory I came across is simply that it is cheap and easy to make in a large group of people. It is virtually the same level of effort to make banana pudding for 2 people or 20 people. In the south families gather for a variety of events. It is a huge part of the culture. It makes sense that a cheap and delicious dessert would have some real staying power. So while we don’t know why it took off in the south, we can be grateful that they embraced it. This has kept this cherished banana dessert alive and well. Did You Like Learning About Banana Pudding? Subscribe! Banana pudding has a fascinating story. This is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about cereal by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Is Banana Pudding Southern: Let’s Dig In appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
10 minutes | 6 months ago
Who Was Jimmy Dean: Sausage Reinvented
I am someone who is incredibly passionate about sausage. I have eaten Jimmy Dean sausage more times than I can count. However, I never stopped to ask myself, who was Jimmy Dean? Today’s episode is a deeper dive into the man behind this incredible brand and how he took it from nothing to something. Who was Jimmy Dean in His Early Years? Jimmy Ray Dean was born August 10, 1928 in Olton, Texas. The family moved to Plainview where Jimmy was raised. You have to remember that as Jimmy grew up, the depression was in full swing. He grew up in crushing poverty. His mother would sew clothes for him and his brother out of sugar sacks. Kids at school would make fun of him for this. His father was in and out of his life during his early years. He slaughtered Jimmy’s pet goat to put food on the table. That sounds cruel, but times were tough. He credited growing up in poverty for his entrepreneurial mindset. He once said, “I think the kids in school that laughed at the clothes that we wore and the house that we lived in and then my mother had to cut hair … I think that was a good motivator. Every time they laughed at me, they just built a fire and there was only one way to put it out—to try and show ’em I was as good as they were.” Jimmy and his family were devout southern baptists. You would find them in church every single week. This is where Jimmy Dean found a fantastic escape from the difficult life he was in. He fell head over heels in love with music. He sang in the church choir. Jimmy’s mom, Ruth Taylor, also taught Jimmy how to play the piano at a very young age. Along the way he picked up other instruments that helped further his musical career. Music and Entertainment Career Jimmy Dean dropped out of high school to help provide for the family. He started with the merchant marines when he was 16 and then later served in the Air Force. After his time in the service, Jimmy decided to make an honest go at being a professional entertainer. He was just getting his start in show business when he married his first wife Mary Sue in 1950 at the age of 22. In 1953, Jimmy Dean had his first hit, Bumming Around. It made it to number 5 on the billboard country charts. He hosted a popular radio show, Town and Country Time in Washington, D.C. TV and Music Hits In 1958 He was the host of the Jimmy Dean Show on CBS. That show aired for 9 months before being pulled. In 1961 Jimmy had his next major hit, Big Bad John.It was a recitation style song about a miner. The song was recorded in Nashville and went to number one on the Billboard pop chart. It sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold record. Jimmy Dean won a grammy for Best Country & Western Recording for the song in 1962. In the 1960s Jimmy was a guest host on a number of occasions on The Tonight Show. ABC wanted him to do another show. Unsurprisingly it was called, The Jimmy Dean Show. This was a variety show that had a number of country music stars on. Jimmy Dean also made a point of having singers on who hadn’t had their big break yet. In 1964 he had Hank Williams Jr. on the show in his first TV appearance at the age of 14. He also had a few comedy sketches with Rolfe the Dog, one of Jim Henson’s muppets. Jim Henson was so grateful for this big break that Jimmy Dean provided, that he offered Jimmy a 40% stake in his production company. Jimmy Dean declined the offer. He said that he had done nothing to earn it. When he’d speak about declining that offer later in life, Jimmy Dean would repeatedly say that he never regretted it. Jimmy’s Next Act: Sausage!! It’s often said that we are our own harshest critic. Jimmy Dean was no exception to this. Even though he enjoyed some success in music, television and film, he still felt he wasn’t the best actor or musician. In this mindset, Jimmy decided to diversify his professional life. In the 60s he started a pig butchering company with his brother in his hometown of Plainview, Texas. When people would ask why he started a meat company, Jimmy would joke, “if you had ever seen my act, you would’ve realized that diversification was imperative.” They had quite the operation. They would grind the meat and their mom would season it. Jimmy Dean sausage was born. He used his clout in the entertainment industry to drive buzz for his company and product. He was the face of the brand and starred in all of their commercials. People loved it and the company was profitable after just a few months in business. Business was so good that by the 1980s, they were making $75 million in profits. Jimmy Dean sold the company to Sara Lee foods in 1984. He remained the face of the business until 2003. Hall of Fame and Death In 2010, Jimmy Dean was nominated for the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was scheduled to be inducted in October of 2010. However, Jimmy Dean passed away before that could take place. His induction happened after his death. Jimmy Dean lived a full life. He lived the life he wanted to live and brought passion and a willingness to work hard at whatever he did. He was buried in a piano shaped mausoleum overlooking the James River on his property in Virginia. The epitaph on his tomb reads, “Here lies one hell of a man.” This was an excerpt from his song Big Bad John. I’ll leave you with one final pearl of wisdom from Jimmy Dean. He once said, “You can’t change the direction of the wind. But you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination.” Did You Like Learning About the Jimmy Dean? Subscribe! Jimmy Dean had a fascinating story. He is just one example of the type of show I put together each week. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe today! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about cereal by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Who Was Jimmy Dean: Sausage Reinvented appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
20 minutes | 7 months ago
Welcome to the Candy Graveyard: The History of Halloween
Have you ever wondered how trick or treating came to be? On today’s episode we are going to visit the candy graveyard and dive deep into the history of Halloween. The tradition of dressing up in costume and going door to door for food has had roots in many ancient cultures. The greeks had a version of this behavior as well as the ancient Romans. For example, the Greek island of Rhodes had a custom where children would dress up as swallows. They would go door to door singing songs. It was expected that the owner of the home would give them food for the performance. If they didn’t give the children food, then the children would perform a trick on the poor homeowner. The trick took the form of mischief against the homeowner. It is unlikely that this custom from a remote Greek island spawned Halloween as we know it today. Celtic Festivals to Soul Cakes Fast forward a bit to the Celts. There is actually a Celtic festival that takes place on October 31 – November 1 that seems a dead ringer for Halloween as we know it today. Samhain is a Celtic festival that celebrates the end of the harvest. It was believed that during this time spirits and souls of the dead would wander through our world. They’d be appeased with offerings of food and drink from different homes. This belief is found through several European cultures. Many people believe that trick or treating evolved from this custom. People began to dress up as the dead and went door to door to receive the offerings. Another tradition in England seems to have contributed further to modern day trick or treating. Have you ever heard of soul cakes? This is a very Halloween sounding morsel of food. Back in the Middle Ages, Christians would celebrate Allhallowtide. This took place October 31-November 2. People would visit homes and ask for soul cakes. They would say they represented the dead and promised pray for the souls of the relatives who had passed of the homeowner. Soul Cakes sound really creepy. However, I promise they are completely harmless. They are small cakes usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and other sweet spices. Raisins and currents were also added to the mix inside. They were often topped with the mark of a cross before baking to signify that these were offerings to the poor. Souling: The Roots of Trick or Treating The act of going door to door hunting for soul cakes became known as “souling”. Soul cakes were often kept for luck and not eaten. In the 1800s, a lady reported that she had a soul cake that was over 100 years old. Let’s talk about souling for a minute. Souling is a fusion of Pagan and Christian rituals. It was popular in England and spread to Portugal. There is actually a former Portuguese colony in the Philippines that still practices souling to this day! The earliest record of souling is found in 1511. It was once a widespread tradition throughout England. By the end of the 1800s, only a few towns were still embracing this activity in parts of England and Wales. Souling involves a group of people who go door to door to sing a traditional request for apples, ale and soul cakes. These songs were known as Souler’s songs and had a somber lamenting tone to them. Some towns fully embraced this practice and would leave heaping piles of soul cakes out for people to take. As souling evolved, people began to dress in costumes or disguises. They would carry lanterns and have bonfires while playing divination games. It sounds pretty dark, but seems to be a main contributor to our modern day Halloween. The Candy Graveyard: Trick or Treat Becomes A National Phenomenon Dressing in costumes became known as guising. In 1911 we have the first written documentation of guising in North America. Ritual begging on Halloween also appears in 1915. The earliest documented record of the phrase, “trick or treat”, took place in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta in Canada. Shoutout to my Canadian relatives! The text is as follows: “Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.” Post cards printed for Halloween in the early 1900s showed children, but no costumes and candy. Postcards showing children in costumes started showing up around the 1930s. Trick or treating really started to gain steam in the mid and late 30s. Modern Day Halloween Trick or treating struggled to catch on. Just as it was gaining steam, WWII was fully underway. The practice took a hiatus until around 1947 when radio programs and children’s magazines started pitching trick or treating extensively. I’m picturing this crazy image in my mind as trick or treating struggled to take off. Kids would knock on doors and explain to confused adults what they were doing and that they expected a treat. Some adults went along with it, others would write to their local newspapers furious. They saw it as a form of extortion. There were even some kids who didn’t want to be associated with the practice. In 1948, the Madison square boys club in New York City marched around with a banner that said, “American boys don’t beg.” I guess the kids and the candy companies won out in the end. The practice is now wide spread and embraced by the majority of Americans. A survey done by the National Confectioners Association showed that in 2005, 80% of adults planned to give out candy to kids on Halloween. The same survey also showed that 93% of kids, teenagers and young adults planned to go trick or treating or participate in other Halloween activities. That is an overwhelming majority and major participation. The candy graveyard consists of many candy bars and candies that weren’t meant to last. From chicken dinner to dweebs, there are some weird ones out there. Make sure you listen to today’s episode to hear about some of these crazy candy bars and some awesome Halloween fun facts. Did You Like Learning About the Candy Graveyard? Subscribe! The candy graveyard is fascinating. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at email@example.com. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about cereal by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Welcome to the Candy Graveyard: The History of Halloween appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
35 minutes | 7 months ago
Gendusa Bakery With Jason Gendusa: A NOLA Staple
A few weeks ago we had an episode all about the history of the Po’ Boy sandwich. Gendusa Bakery was at the core of that discussion. As I learned more about Gendusa Bakery, I knew I had to get them on the show. Today’s episode features Jason Gendusa. He is the fourth generation owner of the John Gendusa Baker in New Orleans. He dives into the history of this iconic New Orleans bakery. John Gendusa Bakery Gets Its Start To fully understand the contribution John Gendusa made to the culinary world, we have to start at the beginning. John Gendusa grew up in Sicily before making his way to the states. One thing led to another and he found himself purchasing a bakery that also doubled as a grocery store. Over the years he phased out the grocery side of the business and focused full time on the bread. Sandwich bread at the time produced a unique problem. The loaves were irregular. Jason pointed out that you might be sitting at lunch with a friend. One of you might get the end of a loaf that was skinny and lacked substance. The other might get a sandwich made with bread near the middle. This would be more substantial. In the 1920s, Bennie and Clovis Martin approached John Gendusa and a partnership was born. The Martin Brothers needed a sizable loaf that would help feed striking streetcar workers. John created a loaf that was innovative and was a perfect fit for this type of sandwich. He created a uniform loaf that was an equal width throughout the entire length of the loaf. This eliminated the skinny sandwich problem. The Po’ Boy was born! Katrina and Beyond What stood out to me on this episode is the resilience of the folks in New Orleans. Jason commented on how they accept hurricanes as a fact of life. They close down and get safe when needed, but otherwise operate business as usual. John Gendusa Bakery was destroyed when Katrina hit. Jason originally wasn’t going to rebuild. However, he was encouraged by the locals and decided to rebuild. That commitment and dedication to the business ensured that this New Orleans staple was going to be around for years to come. Where To Find John Gendusa Bakery Jason told us that Gendusa Bakery does not have a retail store. However, they do have an active Facebook page here. You can also look at their website here. If you are in the New Orleans area, there is a good chance the bread you’ll find on a Po’ Boy comes from Gendusa Bakery. They even list some places they service on their site. Make sure you check out this iconic New Orleans institution. Subscribe To The Toasty Kettle Podcast Using These Links iTunesStitcherGoogle Play If you use another pod catcher and you don’t see it here, let me know and I’ll try to get the show added wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Leave a note in the comments or send a message to email@example.com. Follow Me On Social Media FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. If you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Gendusa Bakery With Jason Gendusa: A NOLA Staple appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
18 minutes | 7 months ago
Fun Facts About Cereal: The Epic Breakfast Battle
Today’s show is focused on fun facts about cereal. Growing up, cereal was a huge treat. My parents wanted us to have a balanced breakfast and they were also budget conscious. As a result, we had an endless supply of porridge and oatmeal. I hated both. I would often just eat leftovers from dinner the night before. During the summer, I would long for the sugary colorful cereal I’d see advertised during cartoons. I remember going to my grandma’s house growing up. She always had a selection of cereals. It was an amazing moment in time. I could enjoy as much Apple Jacks as I could stomach. Grandma also had a special drawer in her basement that had happy meal toys and cereal box toys that had accumulated over the years. She really knew the way to my heart with McDonald’s and cereal! There were rare moments when visiting Grandma over the summer. If I was super lucky, I’d get to open a fresh box of cereal from the store. That meant the prize was still inside. Finally I was able to experience what the kids in the cereal ads got to experience. Amazing sugary cereal AND a fun prize. Could childhood get any better? If you haven’t put two and two together yet, today is all about cereal. So grab a favorite box, your spoon and some milk and let’s dig in! Brief History of Cereal As always, we have to go back in time and start at the beginning to really understand where we are today. Breakfast cereal as we know it today got its start in the mid 1800s. James Caleb Jackson ran a medical sanitarium in western New York. He was religiously conservative and was also a vegetarian. He created a breakfast cereal from a whole wheat dough. Once the dough dried, they broke it into pieces. These chunks of cereal were so hard that they had to be soaked in milk overnight. He called it granula. John Harvey Kellogg iterated on this idea. Kellogg was a physician in a health spa in Michigan. He made his own version of the cereal and called it granola. One of Kellogg’s former patients, C.W. Post took this same idea and created grape nuts. John Kellogg and his brother Will, continued to work on cereal. Instead of dense chunks of wheat cereal, they developed a way to make a flaked cereal. They called this creation, “Corn Flakes.” C.W. Post didn’t want to be outdone by the Kellogg brothers. He decided to develop his own cereal. This was the first major competition to corn flakes. I seriously laughed out loud when I saw the name of their corn flake competitor. Kelloggs stuck with something original and descriptive, Corn Flakes.” Post decided to name their product Elijah’s Manna. Obviously these cereal companies had strong religious roots, but this pushed things too far. A number of religious groups got very loud about Post’s choice of names for their product. Post caved to the pressure and eventually renamed the product, “Post Toasties.” Much better! Toys in Cereal Let’s talk about prizes and cereal for a minute. Kellogg’s was the first cereal brand to include a prize with the purchase of cereal. In 1909 customers were given The Funny Jungle Moving Pictures Book when they bought 2 boxes of corn flakes. This promotion was a huge success. By 1912, Kellogg’s distributed 2.5 million copies of the Jungleland books. It didn’t take long for all of the other cereal producers to follow Kellogg’s example. Over the years, cereal producers had promotions that highlighted Star Trek, the Beatles, Ghostbusters, GI Joe and more. They offered candy, iron on patches, small toys and offers for shirts. One of the more bizarre offers I saw was a 1974 offer on Cherrios boxes. They offered a terrarium for moms and a mystery garden for kids. You had to show proof of purchase and pay a small fee. Other cereals also offered terrariums.. Must have been a thing in the 70s. One of the coolest cereal prizes came in 1996. Chex released the game Chex Quest. It was a non violent first person shooter based on the popular and much more violent game, “Doom”. A team of developers was hired with a small budget of $500,000. However, the goal was to produce a game that would release in boxes of Chex cereal for free. The result was the average consumer could get a game valued around $30 for no additional cost. You can download a newer version of Chex quest on their website. Still free and now it supports multiplayer. It is on Steam. If you are a gamer and like Steam, make sure you check this out. Weird and Crazy Cereals I love walking through the grocery store aisle today. We are in the golden age of cereal. There is always something crazy and colorful. Some of these cereals are amazing and others just don’t pan out. That isn’t unique to today. Throughout the past several decades we have seen some crazy cereals come and go. In the 1980s Nerds cereal was a thing. It came in 2, technically 4 flavors. They contained two flavors in each box. In their advertising, they often asked, “Which side are you going to eat first?” Urkel-Os were a thing in the 1990s. You know the show Family Matters? The one and only super nerd Steve Urkel. This was a complete dud as far as cereal goes. Family Matters ran on air between 1989 to 1998. The cereal didn’t even make it 1 year before it was yanked off shelves. Sprinkle Spangles was another cereal of the 1990s. This was a sugar cookie flavored cereal in star shapes with sprinkles. What’s not to like. It was produced by General Mills and had a genie as a mascot. However, people complained that the cereal was too sweet. It was eventually discontinued. After Lion King came out, someone had a brilliant idea of a new breakfast cereal. Kellogg’s produced a chocolate cereal with bug shaped marshmallows. The name? Mud and Bugs! Kellogg’s had a nice mix of odd cereals. Another one was launched in 1978. It was called Crunchy Logs. They featured a beaver mascot named Bixby. The logs were sweetened corn and oat pieces. Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs was another interesting cereal. You had 4 characters, Grins, Smiles, Giggles and Laughs. It was a crunchy cereal that smiles back at you. The TV commercials were apparently quite the production. The characters would try to make a robot laugh. If it laughed, it would spit up boxes of cereal. It debuted in 1976. Other Interesting Cereal Options: Freakies, produced in 1973Wackies were made in the 1960sMr. T hit the shelves as a breakfast cereal in 1984. Crazy Cow cereal came on the scene in the 1970s. As the cereal sat in the milk, it turned the milk sweet.7-Eleven sold Krusty-Os which was an exclusive cereal in 2007 in conjunction with the Simpsons movie. In the 1960s Kellogg’s produced OKs. Their mascot was a burly Scotsman. The box looks crazy and weird. Yogi Bear later became the OKs mascot. It was cereal that had O and K shapes. Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy were monster themed cereals released by General Mills. I’d love to see these make a Halloween comeback. Post introduced Corn Cracks in 1967.Powdered Donutz were introduced all the way back in 1928. I just had a variation of this a few months back when I purchased a box of Hostess Powdered Sugar Donut Cereal. What is the craziest cereal you have ever tried? I was talking with a friend about doing an episode on Cereal. Furthermore, He mentioned there is a restaurant here in town that is all about cereal. Sure enough there are now restaurants that cater to cereal lovers. They boast a wide selection of cereals and flavored milks to wake up everyone’s inner child. I’ll wrap up today with a few fun facts about cereal. However, if you like what you heard, make sure you leave a 5 star review wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to continue the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and instagram @toastykettle. Random Fun Facts: March 7th is national Cereal day50% of Americans start their day with cerealThe cereal industry uses 816 million pounds of cereal each yearAmericans consume 101 pounds, or 160 bowls, of cereal each yearThis next fact sounds like I spent a little too much time reading the back of a cereal box. The mascot for Cap’n Crunch is Horatio Magellan Crunch. His place of birth is Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk Did You Like Learning About Cereal History? Subscribe! The history of breakfast cereal is fascinating and complex. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to email@example.com. Follow Me On Social Media Learn more fun facts about cereal by following me on social media. FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post Fun Facts About Cereal: The Epic Breakfast Battle appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
15 minutes | 7 months ago
What is a Saucier: How the French Changed the World
Have you ever wondered what is a saucier? Do you know what Georges Auguste Escoffier contributed to the culinary world? You are going to learn the answers to those questions and more on today’s episode. Today is all about French food and French cooking and its unique history. At the end I’m going to wrap up my conversation about Michelin Stars and how they fit into the history of French cuisine. I think it is safe to say that there are few cultures as obsessed with their cuisine as France is with their food. It has shaped the culinary landscape around the world for centuries. Many of the biggest names in the culinary world have some background in classic French cuisine. History of the French Kitchen To understand the French kitchen, we need to understand the origin of the French restaurant. A popular theory for the origin of the French restaurant states that after the French revolution, gourmet chefs were looking for work after their employers lost their heads. It was shocking how often this story popped up as I was wading through the research. However, this has repeatedly been proven false. The first true French restaurants opened decades before the revolution. In the 1760s and 1770s some enterprising individuals began to capitalize on a notion of enlightenment. You might not have royal blood, but you can show you are something other than a peasant by eating something delicate. Something other than brown bread and sausage. These first restaurants were bullion shops. It bullion was delicate and full of nutrients. However, what set these shops apart wasn’t that they were serving bullion, it was how they were serving the bullion. They copied a successful model already adopted by cafes. They would seat patrons at a small table and give them a menu. It didn’t take long for other items to begin popping up on the menu in addition to the bullion. Meat dishes, stews and wine were common. Restaurants to this point were taverns. The tavern keeper would serve a set meal at a set time. You had to be there at that time and eat what was served or you didn’t get fed. This new approach to dining was radically different. For the first time patrons had choice. They could select items from the menu that suited them. There was also greater flexibility with when the meal was going to be served. It was revolutionary for the French at this time and it only got better from there. Georges Auguste Escoffier Reinvents the Wheel In the late 1800s, Georges Auguste Escoffier came on the scene and transformed the French kitchen into what it is today. Escoffier made a name for himself working in some of the largest hotels throughout Europe. One of his direct contributions to the culinary world was his idea of the kitchen brigade. The kitchen brigade broke up the workings of a kitchen into five separate stations. You had the grade manger that prepared all of the cold dishes. Next you had the entremettier who prepared starches and vegetables. The rotisseur who prepared roasts, grilled dishes and some fried items. The saucier prepared sauces and soups and the patissier prepared all pastry and desserts. Before this system caught on, one chef would cook a meal in the kitchen start to finish. What made this system innovative, was each of these components came together to prepare a portion of the meal. A dish that took 15 minutes to prepare could now be done in much less time. Did You Like Learning About What is a saucier? Subscribe! The history of the French kitchen is fascinating and complex. If you liked learning about food history, make sure you subscribe! You can use these links to subscribe to the show! iTunesStitcherGoogle Play Don’t see the podcast in your pod catcher? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will add it. Furthermore, leave a note in the comments or send a message to email@example.com. Follow Me On Social Media FacebookTwitterInstagram Know A Restaurant or Business I Should Interview?? The world is a very big place. However, if you have a restaurant contributing to food history in some way, I want to know about it. Finally, complete the form here and we will make it happen! The post What is a Saucier: How the French Changed the World appeared first on Toasty Kettle.
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