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Food and Drink Trivia

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The first frozen foods were launched back in the mid-1920s. (Of course, the microwave to cook them in took a while longer!) Clarence Birdseye came up with the idea from his work with the US government surveys of fish and wildlife in Labrador in 1912 and 1915. While working on the surveys, he noted that the natives preserved their fish in ice. He claimed: "I saw natives catching fish in fifty below zero weather, which froze stiff as soon as they were taken out of the water. Months later, when they were thawed out, some of those fish were still alive." Birds Eye's first products were individually boxed packages of peas, cherries, berries, spinach, fish, and meats. Birds Eye products, of course, are still sold.

The National Sausage and Hot Dog Council says when kids were asked what they would like on their hot dogs if their moms weren't watching, 25 percent said they would prefer chocolate sauce.

A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds.

The color of a chile is no indication of its spiciness, but size usually is - the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.

The Southern dish "Chitlins" is made up of pigs' small intestines.

The dark meat on a roast turkey has more calories than the white meat.

The most widely eaten fruit in America is the banana.

The first U.S. consumer product sold in the old Soviet Union was Pepsi-Cola.

Sometimes vanilla ice cream looks as if it has bits of chocolate in it, as if only that could make the flavor acceptable. What are those dark specks, anyway? If you thought they might be parts of vanilla beans, you're right. But they're only the flavorless residue of the bean. Companies put them in just for show, to prove that they used real beans and not artificial flavor.

What is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? According to the Mayo Clinic dietician, a true yam is a large, starchy root that can get up to 100 pounds. It is native to Africa and Asia and is seldom available in the USA. The sweet potato is a native American plant. It was a staple for early settlers and was actually brought to Europe by Columbus. There are two varieties of sweet potatoes: One is moist and orange-fleshed, the other is drier and yellow. The orange-fleshed potato is commonly - and incorrectly - called a yam. This common practice has resulted in confusion when it comes to labels. Some stores incorrectly label the darker of the two sweet potatoes as being a yam, and they list the nutrient content for yams. True yams have no vitamin A. So consumers mistakenly think that the product has no vitamin A, even though it actually does. Consumers are most likely eating sweet potatoes - and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber.

Juan Metzger, a former Dannon Co. executive, is credited with putting fruit in yogurt. Metzger was recognized for suggesting the addition of fruit at the bottom of containers of the dairy product to improve its taste. The first flavor was strawberry. Metzger's father, Joe, co-founded Dannon Co. in the Bronx in 1942.

Ice Cream Sundaes were created when it became illegal to sell ice cream with flavored soda on a Sunday in the Evanston, Illinois during the late 19th century. Some traders got round it by serving it with syrup instead, calling it an 'Ice Cream Sunday' and eventually replacing the final 'y' with an 'e' to avoid upsetting religious leaders.

In 1765, the sandwich was invented by John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who gave the food its name. The Earl used to order roast beef between pieces of toast for a snack while he was at the gaming tables, it allowed him to keep one hand free to play while he ate.

Caviar, or fish eggs, contain the same healthful omega-3 fatty acids as salmon.

In 1889, Aunt Jemima pancake flour, invented at St. Joseph, Missouri, was the first self-rising flour for pancakes and the first ready-mix food ever to be introduced commercially.

Celery has negative calories it takes more calories to eat and digest a piece of celery than the celery has in it initially.

Cellophane noodles must typically be soaked before using, as must dried porcini mushrooms and most dried beans.

Centuries ago, men were told that the evil effects of coffee would make them sterile; women were cautioned to avoid caffeine unless they wanted to be barren.

Nutella is a hazelnut spread made with skim milk and cocoa. It is virtually unknown in America, but European children have happily smeared it on breakfast croissants for decades.

Of about 350 million cans of chicken noodle soup of all commercial brands sold annually in the United States, 60 percent is purchased during the cold and flu season. January is the top-selling month of the year.

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