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Food and Drink Trivia

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Of all cheese customs, one of the more unusual was that of the "groaning cheese." Years ago in Europe, a prospective father would nibble on a huge chunk of cheese while awaiting the home birth of his child. Instead of pacing outside the bedroom door, the father would eat from the center of the cheese until a large hole had been gnawed out. Later, his newborn infant was ceremoniously passed through the hole.

In 1893, Milwaukee's Pabst beer won a blue ribbon at the Chicago Fair, and was sold thereafter as Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Of all the major brewing nations, England remains the only one in which ale is the primary beer consumed. This is in contrast to lager, which is the world's overall dominant beer style.

In 1918, Welch's developed its first jam product called "Grapelade." The initial quantity of Grapelade was purchased in its entirety by the U.S. Army. It was an immediate hit in the military lower ranks, and became a demanded product by doughboys when they returned to civilian life.

Of all the potatoes grown in the United States, only 8 percent are used to make potato chips. Special varieties referred to as "chipping potatoes" are grown for this purpose.

In 1928, William Dreyer and Joseph Edy opened a small ice cream factory at 3315 Grand Avenue in Oakland, California. "Grand" has been part of the Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream company name ever since: as a memento of the company's birthplace on Grand Avenue and a declaration of the magnificence of their ice cream.

Official FDA guidelines allow whole pepper to be sold with up to 1 percent of the volume made up of rodent droppings.

In 1938, a comic strip was used to advertise Pepsi-cola. It was titled "Pepsi and Pete."

Often a child's first solid food, one of every 11 boxes of cereal sold in the United States is Cheerios.

In 1948, it was common to see carhops serving those who wanted to order food from their car. Harry Snyder of Baldwin park, California had the idea of a drive-thru hamburger stand where customers could order through a two-way speaker box. Harry opened California's first drive-thru hamburger stand, named "In-N-Out Burger". Today In-N-Out remains privately owned and has 148 stores in 3 states.

Okonomiyaki is considered to be Japan's answer to pizza. It consists of a potpourri of grilled vegetables, noodles, and meat or seafood, placed between two pancake-like layers of fried batter.

In 1954, Trix breakfast cereal was introduced by General Mills. The new cereal, a huge hit with kids, was 46.6 percent sugar.

Olive oil is made only from green olives. Nearly the entire production of green olives grown in Italy is converted into olive oil.

In 1963, Kellogg's launched a new cereal, Froot Loops, and introduced cereal character Toucan Sam. The colorful toucan talked in Pig Latin (called "Toucanese") and wore a towering hat of fruit. While Sam still graces boxes of Froot Loops, he's gone through many changes since his debut, including dropping the Pig Latin and hat.

On food, writer Barbara Costikyan notes, "In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom."

In 1965, a collection of eight bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild was sold at auction of $2,200.

In 1976, the first eight Jelly Belly® flavors were launched: Orange, Green Apple, Root Beer, Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Grape, and Licorice.

In 1984, Britons ate 41 pounds of beef per person per year, according to the Meat & Livestock Commission. By 1994, the figure dropped to 35 pounds. In March 1996, "Mad Cow Disease" in Britain lowered the consumption figure even more, although many Britons continued to eat roast beef despite the food scare.

"Big cheese" and "big wheel" are Medieval terms of envious respect for those who could afford to buy whole wheels of cheese at a time, an expense few could enjoy. Both these terms are often used sarcastically today.

"Colonial goose" is the name Australians give to stuffed mutton.

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