I love trivia. My family and friends will be the first to tell you that I’m a plethora of useless facts but I can’t help myself. (“Did you know this?”) Perhaps I’m a philomath or perhaps I just love having the answer to whatever ridiculous question that gets posed sometime after the second round of drinks. And to the delight (or dismay?) of everyone, the advent of technology has made it possible for me to instantly look up any information I don’t currently have in my arsenal.
Because I also happen to love food, it makes sense that it was only a matter of time before I came up with an article full of fun food facts
It’s All In Your Head
Do you like spicy food? Or can’t you take the heat? You might be surprised to learn that there actually is no heat in hot peppers. There’s a chemical in chili peppers called capsaicin that tricks your mouth to feeling like it’s being burned – that’s why spicy food hurts.
Food phobias, anyone? Cibophobia is the fear of food in general. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of your mouth. Lachanophobia is the fear of eating vegetables while Fructophobia is the fear of eating fruit. I’m very happy that I don’t have any of these!
Restaurants use certain colors to increase your desire to eat there…and to eat more. Bright reds and yellows elevate heart rate and blood pressure, causing diners to eat more quickly and be more impulsive, while warmer shades of red, orange and brown promote relaxation and boosts appetite. Purple and blue, on the other hand, tend to decrease appetite and are used more rarely.
Pasteurized processed cheese is typically referred to as American cheese but it was actually invented in Switzerland. Cheese alchemists Waltz Gerber and Fritz Stettler came up with the idea in 1911 to lengthen the shelf-life of emmental before it was shipped overseas. James Lewis Kraft patented the idea 5 years later.
Froot Loops has been sued at least four times for being misleading due to the fact that it does not contain any fruit. The Courts have always ruled in Kellogg’s favor due to the company’s deliberate misspelling of “fruit”. Since “froot” isn’t a real word, it can’t be reasonable to interpret it to mean “fruit”. And, for the record, all Froot Loops are the same flavor.
“As American as apple pie”? Nope. Pie was invented in Medieval England, while the modern recipe for apple pie with a lattice crust was created and perfected by the Dutch.
German chocolate cake does not hail from Germany. It’s named after its inventor, Sam German, who came up with the cake as a way to promote a blend of chocolate that he also invented: German’s Chocolate.
White chocolate isn’t chocolate at all. This is because it doesn’t have any components of regular chocolate. It’s really just a mixture of sugar, milk, vanilla, lecithin, and cocoa butter.
Until 2013 beer and other alcohol that was under 10% ABV was classified as a soft drink in Russia! Even today, it’s common for people to drink beer in the streets and parks as commonly as you would see soda.
Bugs, Bugs, The Magical Fruit
Red Skittles get their color from common red food dye, carminic acid, which is made from the crushed bodies of a beetle called the dactylopius coccus. This dye also is used to color maraschino cherries, strawberry and raspberry flavored candy, and lipstick.
Next time you’re in South Africa, you may want to skip the popcorn. It’s more common that what they call popcorn is actually roasted termites and ants.
According to FDA standards, there’s an allowance for the level of traces of bugs could be in your food. For example, chocolate can have no more than 60 insects fragments per 100 grams. Peanut butter can’t have more than 30 insects per 100 grams.
Figs are actually inverted flowers with a unique pollination process requiring wasps instead of bees. Female wasps lay their eggs in male figs (which we don’t eat), but it’s also necessary for a wasp to enter a female fig (that we do eat) to pollinate it. The wasp gets stuck and dies inside. Luckily for us, the female fig produces an enzyme that digests this wasp completely so we’re not actually crunching on a wasp…just a seed!
Time For A New You
Scientists at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Germany have discovered that since peanut butter is so rich in carbon, it’s possible to turn simple Skippy into diamonds. All you need to do is to extract the oxygen from the carbon dioxide found in the peanut spread, and then enact immense pressure on the carbon left behind.
According to the National Carrot Museum in the UK, the first carrots looked nothing like they do today. Originally these vegetables were purple or white with a thin root. The orange carrots we know and eat today are actually the result of a genetic mutation in the late 16th century that won out over the original color.
Wild salmon is naturally pink because of all the shrimp they eat but farm-raised salmon have a different diet and end up being white. These pale faced fish are fed specific plant pigments to achieve the same hue as the wild salmon.
The famous Three Musketeers candy bar originally had vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate flavors all in one! During World War II, they changed to only chocolate due to rationing.
The More You Know
In this case, I suppose “The More You Know” amounts to nothing but a fun conversation. There’s nothing wrong with that! I hope you enjoyed it!
What about you? What little known trivia facts do you have about food? Or any subject, really. Let me know in the comments below!
All my best,
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