These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

OK, I'm watching what I'm eating (yes, I look at every bite that goes down!), so what else wold I do for trivia? Of course! Food!! Does getting this long list out of my computer count as weight loss? I think it should!

The invention of the TV dinner has been attributed to at least three different sources, primarily Gerry Thomas, the Swanson Brothers, and Maxson Food Systems, Inc.

In 1945, Maxson Food Systems, Inc. manufactured “Strato-Plates” – complete meals that were reheated on the plane for military and civilian airplane passengers. The meals consisted of a basic three-part equation of meat, vegetable and potato, each housed in its own separate compartment on a plastic plate.

In 1949, Albert and Meyer Bernstein organized Frozen Dinners, Inc., which packaged frozen dinners on aluminum trays with three compartments. By 1950, the company had produced over 400,000 frozen dinners.

In 1952, the Bernstein brothers formed the Quaker State Food Corporation and expanded distribution to markets east of the Mississippi. By 1954, Quaker State Foods had produced and sold over 2,500,000 frozen dinners.

Swanson’s frozen meals appeared in 1954. Swanson was a well-known brand that consumers recognized, and Swanson launched a massive advertising campaign for their product. They also coined the phrase TV Dinner, which helped to transform their frozen meals into a cultural icon.

Until recently, the most widely credited individual inventor of the TV dinner was Gerry Thomas, a salesman for C.A. Swanson & Son in 1953. However, Betty Cronin, a bacteriologist who was working for the Swanson brothers at that time, asserts that it was the Swanson brothers themselves, Gilbert and Clarke Swanson, who came up with the concept of the TV dinner.

Onion is Latin for “large pearl.” A basket of onions was considered a respectable funeral offering in ancient Egypt, second only to a basket of bread. Onions, with their circular layers, represented eternity and were found in the eyes of King Ramses IV who died in 1160 B.C.

The earliest form of eating processed food occurred in early hunting cultures when the men who made a kill would be rewarded with a meal of the partially digested contents of the stomach of their prey.

Drinking fresh milk in the classical world was considered a luxury because milk was so difficult to preserve.

The Arabs invented caramel, which served as a depilatory (hair removal) for women in a harem.

Beans have historically been a symbol of the embryo and of growth in most societies. The ancient Egyptians called the place in which the Ka, the souls of the dead awaited reincarnation “the bean field.”

During the Middle Ages, a lemon slice was served with fish because it was thought the juice would dissolve any bones that were accidentally swallowed.

In the Pacific Islands, natives pickle their foods in holes in the ground lined with banana leaves, and use them as food reserves in case of storms. The pickles are so valuable that they've become part of the courting process, helping a man prove he'll be able to provide for a woman.

The majority of pickle factories in America ferment their pickles in outdoor vats without lids (leaving them subject to insects and bird droppings). But there's a reason. According to food scientists, the sun's direct rays prevent yeast and mold from growing in the brine.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American eats 8.5 lbs of pickles a year.

In his famous 1492 voyage, Christopher Columbus rationed pickles to his sailors to keep them from getting scurvy. He even grew cucumbers during a pit stop in Haiti to restock for the rest of the voyage.

Napoleon was also a big fan of pickle power. In fact, he put up the equivalent of $250,000 as a prize to whoever could figure out the best way to pickle and preserve foods for his troops.

Berrien Springs, Michigan, has dubbed itself the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World. In early December, they host a parade, led by the Grand Dillmeister, who tosses out fresh pickles to parade watchers.

A cluster of bananas is called a hand and consists of 10 to 20 bananas, which are known as fingers.

As bananas ripen, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. Therefore, the riper the banana the sweeter it will taste.

Banana plants are the largest plants on earth without a woody stem. They are actually giant herbs of the same family as lilies, orchids and palms.

Bananas are one of the few fruits that ripen best off the plant. If left on the plant, the fruit splits open and the pulp has a "cottony" texture and flavor.

Bananas were officially introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Each banana was wrapped in foil and sold for 10 cents. Before that time, bananas came to America on the decks of sailing ships as sailors took a few stems home after traveling in the Caribbean.

Each banana plant bears only one stem of fruit. To produce a new stem, only two shoots - known as the daughter and the granddaughter - are allowed to grow and be cultivated from the main plant.

Apples contain vitamins A, B, C, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain important flavanoids, and help fight the effects of bad cholesterol.

Carrots help lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and help fight cancer. Carrots are loaded with nutrients and vitamins including vitamins B,C,D,E, and K along with folic acid and the anti- cancer protecting ingredient beta carotene.

Pineapples are packed full of vitamin C and fiber which help the immune and digestive system. They also have anti-inflammatory effects and they contain the protein digesting ingredient bromelain.

Raspberries are high in ellagic acid which is good for the immune system. This fruit is packed full of vitamins and minerals including cancer fighting beta carotene, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium.

A handful of strawberries contains 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Strawberries also contain natural pain killing substances some of which are included in aspirin.

Oranges contain antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that damage and age our skin, and are loaded with beta carotene and are a good source of calcium and other minerals.

The average hot dog is consumed in 6.1 bites (average sized mouth tested). The most popular hot dog topping among adults is mustard (87.6%). Among children, it is ketchup.

Baseball fans will enjoy about 26.8 million hot dogs at U.S. baseball stadiums this season. That's enough hot dogs to circle the bases 36,000 times!

On July 4, 1916 four Irish immigrants held a hot dog eating contest to decide which of them was the most patriotic. The winner, James Mullen, at 13 dogs & buns in 12 minutes.

The world’s biggest hot dog was 1,996 feet long, created by Sara Lee Corporation in honor of the 1996 Olympics. In 1978, David Berg of Chicago made a six-foot, 681-pound beef hot dog in a 100-pound poppy seed bun covered with two gallons of mustard.

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport sells more than two million hot dogs a year.

President Franklin Roosevelt served King George VI of England hot dogs and beer during a White House visit in 1939.

[Facts from the State Cafe & Catering Restaurant, South Bend, IN]

~ ~ ~ ~
QUOTE: "A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at
the Ritz."

ANSWER: Humphrey Bogart, (1899-1957), American actor and cultural icon, named
by Entertainment Weekly magazine as the number one movie
legend of all time.
~ ~ ~ ~


  1. WOW! That really is a lot of information, so much of it I had never heard before. I really love that you shared this with us, I love knowing the history behind every day things, even food. So much we just take for granted, but when you think about it, there is really a story behind everything, even food. One of our teachers, at my old school, always had students do a reasearch project on some random, everyday item. The kids loved it and learned so much history from it. I loved to read through the papers before she graded and put them on display. I can't tell you how much I learned.

    Very cool stuff. As for me, I'm afraid, it is Jenny Craig, for a while now.

    Thanks for the well wishes. Still have the headache, but not as bad. See my own Neurologist in the am, I have lots of questions!

    Have a good night.

  2. I'm glad you are better. That was one scary episode! And if reading this was fun, then perhaps that's my contribution to your healing! :D

  3. I always loved the TV dinners of my youth in the aluminum trays!
    They were a rare "luxury"!

    My favorite hot dog is at a store less than a mile from my house "Spring St Grocery" and second would be at Florence Motor Speedway! I take my hotdogs with mustard, chili, onions & hot sauce!

  4. frozen dinners used to be a treat back in the 70's when i was a kid. now, it seems, a home cooked meal is a treat and microwaved food and fast food the norm!

    bannanas...i heard an on the npr show Fresh Air about how bannanas will not be around in the is a link to a popular science article:

    ps...i always put too many N's in banana (bannana?)

  5. monogram queen: i just read your comment and was true of our family too. to have a frozen dinner (on tv trays in the living room no less) was like a great night out at fancy restaurant.

  6. Now you know that FOOD is like my favorite topic in the whole wide world (although I can do without pickles; lol).

    Have a fantabulous day!!

  7. I'm SOOO old that I remember when TV dinners (the Swanson variety) first came out! My mother scoffed at them, but like the memories you all have, we soon were having them more often, and the scenario of on TV trays in from of the TV with an air of elegance was true at my house, too. What a memory!

    Hot dogs - Wow, Queenie, yours was loaded! I like mine similarly decorated, but I've never tried hot sauce. I like some relish tossed n with it, preferably dill.

    Mary, what an interesting article about the banana (or bannana or bannanna; it's my blog and you can spell it any way you want!)

    CW, I can't imagine life without pickles! To each her own, eh?

  8. I always associate TV dinner with my Grandma Alice. It seemed that we always had those to eat when we would come stay with her. There is even a picture of me sitting in the back yard of the house on Bennington and I am eating a TV dinner.

    I love pickles and could eat them at every meal. But I don't like them on a hamburgers. S's Mom makes her own pickles and they are sooooo good. I always feel bad because when I am over there to eat dinner I always take more pickles than I should...thankfully she doesn't mind. :)

  9. I'm sure she loves it that you eat "too many" pickles, Caroline. Great compliment! What kind of pickles?


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