Spamtown USA

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canned meatSpamtown USA is the nickname given to Austin, Minnesota, a town full of spirit and community pride.  Austin acquired its name from one of its original settlers, Austin Nichols.  This town is home to the Hormel Foods Corporation, the maker of the world’s supply of Spam, as well as a variety of other products. 

Spam, once touted as the miracle meat in a can, was developed in 1937.  This clever meat product did not need to be refrigerated and was created from a mixture of ham and pork that was chopped and flavored.  Unfortunately for its makers, competitors honed in on the market and presented fierce competition initially. 

The Hormel Company created a contest to come up with a catchy name for their product in an attempt to garner more of the canned meat market.  Obviously, the winning entry was “Spam” and the winner received one hundred dollars for the prize.  A singing commercial, one of the first, followed in 1940. 
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The Birthplace of Kool-Aid

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Kool AidEdwin Perkins, the discoverer of Kool-Aid, was a dreamer.  He realized his dream of becoming a successful self-employed individual in 1927 with his discovery of Kool-Aid in Hastings, Nebraska.

A well-known soft drink mix, Kool-Aid began under the distinctly different name of “Fruit Smack,” also discovered by Perkins.  In fact, Kool-Aid, rather than the powdery mix that it is today, started its career as a liquid concentrate that was both affordable and flavorful.

Perkins, who always had aspirations of becoming an inventor, went through a series of enterprises in his youth in his effort to become successfully self-employed.  He worked as a newspaper publisher, printing his own paper.  Additionally, he became a printer for hire and worked as a postmaster.  Eventually, he started his own mail order business to market a series of products that he had created.
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16 Fascinating Facts About the Healing Power of Bananas

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BananaSmarter Students: Research indicates that fruit containing lots of potassium can make students more alert. So technically, the key to acing that difficult calculus test, SATs, or GREs could be a handful of ripe bananas.

Hangover-No-More: Drank just a little more than intended the night before? No problem – banana milkshakes with honey rehydrate, soothe a queasy stomach, and restore blood sugar levels to their pre-hangover state.

PMS – Pretty Measly Symptoms: Instead of popping Midol like candy every time the crimson wave hits, try eating a banana. It contains a vitamin (B6) that regulates blood glucose levels, which can make you feel a lot less irritable.
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20 Fast Facts About Blue Crabs

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CrabHere are some facts about the blue crab that are interesting enough to know.

1. Crisfield, Maryland is known as ‘Crab Capitol of the World’.

Every year on Labor Day weekend the town hosts a huge celebration that includes a parade, a beauty pageant, cooking contests and even a crab race called, “The National Hard Crab Derby”. I wonder how they train those crabs to race?

2. Crabs are called a ‘Jimmie’, ‘Sook’, ‘Sally’, and ‘Sponge Crab.

“Jimmie, Sook, Sally, Sponge Crab” sounds confusing! Blue crab males are called ‘Jimmies’ and females are called “Sook, Sally, or Sponge Crab’ depending on their stage of sexual maturity.
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Fascinating Facts About Holiday Spices

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SpicesHave you ever wondered about holiday spices?  How are they important?  And what are they used for?  Can we live without them?  Not if you love pumpkin pie, you can’t!

Trading in spices goes back before recorded history.  Early written records and letters are full of references to illustrate the importance of spices to our early ancestors.  For thousands of years spices were a rare and costly ingredient, brought from mysterious lands on tiny ships that plowed their way through pirate infested waters, usually by Arab traders.  It was a dangerous voyage, and many ships sailed never to return.

In Europe of the 13th century demand was so high for spices, that a bag of peppercorns could pay a king’s ransom.  All spices came from the orient and had to be brought through Cairo, Egypt.  From there they were transported to Alexandria, where they were bought and shipped by European traders from Venice and Genoa Italy.  The great wealth of these traders helped spark the Age of the Renaissance.
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Useful Facts about Lemons

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LemonCitrus x limon, better known as the lemon is a citrus tree primarily grown in Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain, but also is grown commercially in the United States, India and Brazil as well as some other tropical and subtropical locales.  The following factual offerings provide a vast array of information about growing lemons, harvesting lemons, and using lemons for various household purposes.

Although lemon trees require plenty of sunshine and cannot tolerate cold temperatures of killing frosts, they grow surprisingly well in poor soil, even extremely sandy soils. 

According to reference sources, it is believed that the first cultivated lemons derived from Central India-specifically, the Deccan Plateau.  However, the word “lemon” is actually of Persian origins.
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The History of McDonalds

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Well-known throughout the world, the McDonalds we know today got its start in the form of a hot dog stand and has come a long ways over the years.

Unbeknownst by many, McDonalds was actually a product of three people: Ray Krock, Dick McDonald, and Mac McDonald.

Ray Krock was born to be an entrepreneur and spent most of his life dreaming up new selling schemes and attempting to find the right business. Before McDonalds, Krock worked at a lemonade stand, in a grocery store, at a soda fountain and in the paper cup selling business. Working at the soda fountain, Ray discovered the multi mixer, a milkshake mixer, and became the multi mixer’s exclusive dealer. As the multi mixer’s popularity began to decline, he noticed that there was one company that was buying an increasing number of machines-McDonalds.
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The World’s First Ice Cream Cone

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Ice CreamWho ever says that the U.S. isn’t a place famous for introducing any type of food to the world never heard of the ice cream cone. Anyone who attended the World’s Fair in St. Louis Missouri in 1904 witnessed something historical … if they sampled an ice cream cone.

In 1904 vendors scrambled to meet demand, the crowds were enormous and one ice cream vendor plum ran out of cups. A vendor next door was selling waffles, and thus necessity is the Mother of invention.

The nifty vendor ran next door for some waffles to put ice cream in and people loved it. The ‘Waffle Cone’ earned its name.
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What Most People Don’t Know About Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin PieI love pumpkin pie, but most people don’t.  What is wrong with some people? How can anyone not like pumpkin pie?

So, in place of actually baking such a pie, I decided to see what I could dig up. Doesn’t taste quite as good, but what I found was at least ¦ fascinating.

1. Now for all of you who celebrate the holiday with a lot of family members, see if you can beat this. I did a little checking and found that the largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet round and weighed in at a little over 350 pounds. Now that is one big pumpkin pie. I can’t help but wonder how much whipped cream would be needed for that much pie?
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Fast Facts about Foods that Heal

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Healthy FoodIt doesn’t take much research to learn that a diet based on fast foods makes one feel sluggish while eating a healthier diet results in more energy and overall health.  Some foods are packed with healthful benefits causing researchers to term them as healing foods.  The following facts discuss various foods that help ward away illness and promote a healthier state of being.

Research has demonstrated that an antioxidant-rich diet can significantly help ward off heart disease, stroke and some cancers–also cataracts!

Calcium-rich foods include yogurt, almonds, sardines, tofu, milk, hard cheese, and green leafy vegetables.
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All About Cookies

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CookieA cookie a small usually sweet portable snack. Every country has is own traditional version. The concept can be traced back to Persia in the 7th century AD.

The main ingredient, sugar, was discovered in Southeast Asia. As early as 510BC soldiers of the Emperor Darius discovered sugar cane growing near the river Indus. The potential of the reed was not realised. It was not until the time of Alexander the Great that sugar cane was introduced to countries around the Mediterranean.

As people began to journey around the world it became important to carry food that would not spoil. Ships biscuit or hardtack filled the bill. It was similar to today’s cracker, but very hard. It could last for months under the right conditions.
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Mayan Chocolateers and Other Chocolate Facts

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ChocolateChocolate could well be called the food of gods and kings.  Early Mayan writings record pictures of gods with cacao pods and bowls of cacao beans.  Elite members of upper Mayan society had ornately carved vessels depicting these same cacao pods. Chocolate drinks were important to Mayan ceremony as well and used to seal contracts and marriages.  The Aztecs borrowed Mayan chocolate tradition and also celebrated the primitive confectionary.

Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to come in contact with this precious stuff that was typically drunk.  The first imports to Europe were regarded as healthy drinks and the chocolate was believed to be infused with medicinal properties.  Cacao beans became so valuable to the Spanish that they were even at times used as currency.  Chocolate drinks then went on to become the beverage of wealthy continental European aristocrats who woke up to their customary cups of chocolate.

Chocolate fared a bit differently in England where it entered the country at roughly the same time as sugar, coffee and tea.  Here, at least, anyone could afford the new commodity from the New World.  Of course, of all countries, Switzerland is often most closely linked to chocolate.  By the 1800s, Switzerland’s people consumed more chocolate than anywhere else.  Today, it’s even estimated that the Swiss eat about annually about twelve pounds per person.  Switzerland, if you may remember, is also the birthplace of Nestle. 
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15 Fun Facts about Animal Crackers

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1. Even though they are commonly just called ˜animal crackers’, their actual name is really ˜Barnum’s Animals Crackers’. The latter is a little more difficult to say (especially with the ˜s’ on animals) so I can see why we’ve resorted to the shorter version.

2. Despite the name, it is reported that Barnum & Bailey’s Circus never received any payment for the product, nor do they now. This seems rather strange because it is clear that the name is reminiscent of the animals in the circus baring the same name.

3. Another thing that seems to go against their name is the fact that animal crackers actually have more in common with a cookie than a cracker. In fact some people have debated on whether or not they can even be called a cracker. I personally see them as cookies myself, but you are entitled to whatever opinion you choose.
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Pizza Pizzazz

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PizzaThe First Pizza

Pizza, in one form or another has been around for ages. The Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians, and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures consumed flat unleavened bread that resembled pizza. The flat bread was cooked in mud ovens and used as plates to hold food because only the very rich had plates to put their food on.  Great idea, no dishes to wash! The Greeks and Romans also enjoyed their pizza topped with olive oil and spices.
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The Garlic Factor

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GarlicThe Romans used it in cooking before the birth of Christ and garlic continues to be popular with home cooks and restaurant chefs alike – but what makes this humble bulb such a culinary star?

Garlic is a member of the onion family, although it has a stronger and more pungent flavor and smell than most onions. Garlic is easily cultivated by separating the cloves of a bulb and planting them separately in the ground. Each clove forms a new plant.

Garlic is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, and is an essential ingredient in many Italian, Greek and Spanish recipes, such as aioli, pesto and skordalia. Without garlic, salami would be just a meat roll, and with garlic and butter, a simple French loaf becomes a tasty accompaniment to pizza.
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The History of Macaroni and Cheese

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Macaroni and CheeseThink that you know everything there is to know about the old stand-by ¦.. Macaroni and Cheese? You might be surprised. Even I didn’t know some of this stuff and I’ve been eating it for years.

Could it be that it was the infamous Marco Polo who first discovered Macaroni and Cheese in the late 13th century? It is thought that he found the dish in China, but the fact could never be proved. So, it remains simply … a legend.

Another legend has it that Thomas Jefferson actually served Macaroni and Cheese in the White House in 1802. That must have been some dinner party!
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26 Delicious Facts about Milkshakes

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MilkshakeSome are thick. Some are thin. Most are yummy. Milkshakes are the popular drink of ice cream, milk, and select flavoring. However, they did not always look the way they do today. There are many interesting facts and an even more intriguing history that can be learned about milkshakes.

1. Milkshakes have been around for a long time. “How long?” you ask. The first milkshake is documented in print at 1885 in a newspaper.

2. In the early days, milkshakes did not just include the typical ingredients of milk, ice cream, and flavoring. Back then, a little whisky was added to milkshakes. No wonder they became so popular!
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The People You Sit Down To Eat With

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EatChips of Cookie History

Quick, who makes good cookies? Hint: it’s a man! “Mr. Christie, you make good cookies.” But what was Mr. Christie’s name, and did he really make cookies himself? You bet he did. Born William Mellis Christie in Scotland (1829), he was apprenticed to a baker at 14. Five years later, training complete, he bet his bottom biscuit that opportunities awaited in Canada. By 1856, he had purchased the shop he was working in and the dough began rolling out…and in.

After winning a medal for his cookie collection in 1858, the business focused on biscuit manufacturing only, turning out 4300 boxes a year, valued at $13,000. Christie could now afford a house bigger than a biscuit box, and built a mansion in Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, which would later figure in one of Canada’s great ghost stories.
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Never Mind The Turkey Leg, Where’s the Bromo?

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MedievalDid you ever wonder why Henry VIII was forever pictured with a turkey leg in his hand?  Or maybe why he was so grumpy, especially with his wives?  All you need do is look at the menu of a  medieval feast, to find out not only why he was so dyspeptic but why he was so distanced from his courtiers…because he became so broad of girth from food and dropsy, that he couldn’t belly up to the table.

Let’s sit down and open up ye olde medieval menu. Nope, don’t bother looking at the dinner setting. There aren’t any. Well into the 16th century folks ate off trenchers: the precursors of plates, being a slab of wood, metal, or earthenware, but more often plain bread. You just whacked a slice off the loaf on the table, and piled your food on it. Not only did the bread have food value, it soaked up gravy, could be eaten, and was often tossed to a favorite dog or passed out to beggars at the gate. The chief guests or lords had theirs cut for them, and according to their status, a diner might have anywhere from one to four trenchers provided during the meal.
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What You Should Know About Pasta

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PastaWhen you eat out at the finest Italian restaurants, one of the first things you notice is that the pasta is perfect, like Baby Bear’s porridge.

It isn’t too soft or too hard; the shape of the pasta holds the sauce the way it is supposed to do; there are no sticky lumpy bits; and the variety of the pasta complements the dish.

When you cook pasta at home, there are a bewildering number of decisions to be made. Should you use linguini or rigatoni? White, green or red pasta? And what’s the difference between semolina and durum?
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The Complete Coffee Compendium

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IntroductionWoman Drinking Coffee

Beside water, coffee is the most widely and frequently enjoyed drink in the world. Hundreds of billions of cups are prepared and consumed every single year in every conceivable country. Coffee has been brandished as a work of the devil on at least two occasions and blessed as a truly Christian drink by the Pope, and sacred by a 16th century sultan. In 1773 the Boston Tea Party ironically made the consumption of coffee a patriotic event, in order to undermine the extortionate taxes being placed on tea. At least 90% of the world’s coffee producing plants can be traced back to one individual plant presented to Louis XIV of France by the Dutch.
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The Truth about Nutella

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NutellaNutella is like peanut butter, except better.  It is a chocolate-hazelnut spread great for bread, fruit, crackers, waffles, or pretzels.

It was first created in 1940 by the Ferrero company, now famous for their Ferrero Rocher chocolates. 

The hazelnuts were used originally as a filler because during Nutella’s first production, cocoa was difficult to come by.
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Fast Facts About Freshwater Shrimp

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ShrimpIf you’re a shrimp fan like I am this will probably interest you. I was amazed to learn some of these little tidbits and at the least; I can look smarter at parties!

* Freshwater shrimp can’t be boiled because they shrink to nearly nothing. I always wondered why my Daddy never passed a recipe to boil them up. I guess this is why.

* Freshwater shrimp are harvested on tiny farms. Most are from Asia.

* The word ‘prawn’ relates to freshwater shrimp.
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Strawberry, Yum, Yum, Yum Facts!

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StrawberriesPeople love to see strawberry season! Fortunate people lucky enough to live near pick-your-own strawberry patches make picking a family affair but there’s a lot of things I bet you didn’t know about strawberries that will make these luscious summertime yummies, even yummier.

1. Health researchers say that 7-8 medium sized strawberries are considered one serving!

2. Strawberries only have 22 calories plus they’re rich in vitamin C and fiber.

3. Plant City, Florida is known as the Winter Strawberry Capitol of the World.
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Strange Foods that People Really Eat

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Strange Food* In Thailand, giant water bugs are served as a treat with chili and rice. Dung beetles are added to curry to give it more flavor.

* People in Ghana roast and make soup out of frogs that they catch in the wild.

* Sweet treats in Sweden and Holland are not always sweet. These people love salt liquorice.
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Vinegar – More Than Just a Stinky Liquid

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VinegarWe all know the common uses for vinegar, like adding it to your fish or french fries to give them some flavor.  But there are a lot of uses for the stinky liquid that many folks do not know.

White vinegar makes a wonderful window cleaner.  Next time you run out of your favorite window cleaner, use give white vinegar a try.  Mix one fourth a cup of vinegar to one quart water.  Also use newspaper to dry the windows.  You will be shocked at the wonderful results.

Most folks do not know this, but white vinegar can act as a chewing gum dissolver.  You should saturate the area with the chewing gum with vinegar and let it sit.  After it has had time to soak in real good, wash with warm, soapy water.  Note:  If the vinegar is heated before application, it will work a lot faster.
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The History of Peanut Butter

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Peanut ButterGeorge Washington Carver was an agricultural chemist who discovered over 300 uses for peanuts. He made the first peanut butter in 1880, but believing that food was a gift from God, he never applied for a patent.

Before Carver, the Incas of South America made peanuts into an edible paste. Then, Africans began growing peanuts, which was introduced to the country by explorers. Spain became familiar with peanuts through trade and from there the crops were introduced to the American colonies where the first commercial crop was grown in Virginia in the mid 1840s.

A “Process of Preparing Nut Meal,” that used peanuts was patented in 1895, by Dr. John Kellogg, who ran the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He served the patients at the hospital peanut butter.
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M&M Candy Trivia

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Chocolate Candy* M&Ms were invented after Forrest Mars, the company’s founder, saw soldiers eating pellet sized snacks out of a long tube during the Spanish Civil War.

* M&Ms were first sold in long, cardboard tubes in 1941. The tubes were replaced with small, brown pouches in 1948.

* In 1954, the slogan “Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand,” was incorporated to describe M&Ms. This was also the year that green, red and yellow M&Ms were first made.
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A Perfect Brew – Facts About Tea

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TeaIt makes a refreshing brew and is particularly popular with the British, but how much do you know about tea?

Tea is a member of the Camellia family and is an evergreen plant.

There are more than 1,500 different types of tea in the world, including black, green, white and herbal varieties.
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Facts about Feta Cheese

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Feta CheeseYes, it’s great on a Greek salad and good to share with olives and pita wedges, but how much do you really about this quintessentially Greek cheese?  Test your knowledge with these fun feta facts.

1. To be called “feta,” a cheese must be produced in Greece.  “Feta” is a legal designation, similar to Champagne or Roquefort.  Romania, Bulgaria, France, and Denmark, among others, make similar cheeses, but they can’t be called “feta.”

2. The word “feta” is derived for an ancient Greek word, meaning, “slice.”

3. Feta cheese can be made from goat or sheep’s milk.  Most cheese lovers say the best comes from sheep’s milk.
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The Truth about Sponge Cake

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Sponge CakeSponge cake is similar to angel cake-but different.  The recipe for sponge cake calls for whole eggs and angel cake calls for only the egg whites.

During the Renaissance, English and French chefs introduced into their nations’ cuisine something called a “biscuit.” These “biscuits” were the forerunners of today’s sponge cake.

The earliest sponge cake recipe recorded in English dates back to 1615.  They were reportedly thin and crisp, more like a modern cookie than a cake.
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All About Grappa

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GrappaGrappa is Italy’s brandy.  Like Cognac in France or Sherry in Portugal, Grappa has come to symbolize the Italian “joie de vie.” Are you familiar with this potent potable?   Test your knowledge with the fun facts about Grappa.

1. Grappa is made from pomace, that is the stems, peels, and seeds discarded during the winemaking process.  Usually, this consists of 50 percent skins, 25 percent grape stalks, and 25 percent seeds.

2. Grappa was first made in the Middle Ages.
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Frozen Food Facts

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Frozen FoodToday, we can barely live without packaged frozen food, but this ubiquitous food staple, as we know it, is only seventy-five years old.  See how many of these frozen food facts you know.

1. Clarence Birdseye is generally acknowledged as the father of frozen food.  His “Birdseye” line first appeared in March of 1930.  The company stills sells frozen fruits and vegetables.

2. Mr. Birdseye learned about preserving food by freezing it from Canada’s Inuit people.

3. Frozen food was rather slow to catch on.  Consumers didn’t think to look in the ice cream cooler for dinner.
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12 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Pumpkins

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PumpkinDid you know¦

¢ A pumpkin isn’t really a vegetable? It’s actually a fruit!

¢ Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack?

¢ Before pumpkins were discovered, turnips, potatoes and even large beets were used for carving scary faces in?
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