Hungry History: Lobsters

Hungry History: Lobsters

Ian Knauer at history.com dives into lowbrow history of a pricey food as he assembles two versions of a delicious lobster roll.

You wouldn’t suspect, perhaps, that a close relative of grasshoppers and tarantulas could be widely considered an elegant Hungry History: Lobstersindulgence in the United States or any other nation of generally sophisticated palates.

And yet, every time a chef proudly presents a lobster-based creation as a signature dish, that’s exactly what’s going on. Prepared broiled in butter or scampi, Newburg or in bisque, the lobster—a member of the invertebrate phylum Arthropoda just like insects and spiders—has held a place of honor at countless festive feasts and romantic repasts for well over a century. Nonetheless, trappers have a prosaic nickname for lobsters: bugs.

Lobster’s appeal as a special delicacy wasn’t always so, but not because Americans were necessarily repulsed by lobster’s less appetizing cousins. Rather, back in the colonial era, the clawed crustacean was so abundant that it was hardly deemed exceptional.

Hungry History: LobstersA three-term governor of Plymouth Colony who came over on the Mayflower, Edward Winslow, for instance, wrote to an English friend in 1621 that “Our Bay is full of Lobsters all the Summer.” At the end of that decade, Francis Higginson of Salem, Massachusetts, wrote in his book “New England’s Plantation, or a short and true description of the Commodities of that Country” that the “abundance of sea-fish are almost beyond believing … We take an abundance of lobsters, and the least boy in the Plantation may both catch and eat what he will of them. For my own part, I was soon cloyed with them, they were so great, and fat, and luscious.”

Hungry History: Lobsters

Travel ahead one century and several hundred miles northeast to Nova Scotia, and the situation was similar. In his 1876 book “The Emigrant and Sportsman in Canada: Some Experiences of An Old Country Settler,” essayist John J. Rowan recounted that “on still summer nights, lobster spearing parties are the fashion among Halifax people … On one occasion, I saw several acres of potato ground manured Hungry History: Lobsterswith them … Lobster shells about a house are looked upon as signs of poverty and degradation.”

Yet despite Rowan’s observations, times were in fact changing, and the transformation of Homarus americanus (American, or Maine, lobster) from fertilizer to fanciful indulgence had already begun in the United States by the mid-19th century.

The secret ingredient to lobster becoming a luxury was coal. Not on a barbecue, but as the fuel that powered steam-engine locomotives, explained culinary historian and consultant Lou Greenstein of North Reading, Massachusetts. “As the Industrial Revolution got underway and railroads were built, the capacity existed for perishable foods like lobster to be packed in ice and transported from the point of origin to inland places like Chicago,” said Greenstein, author of “A la Carte: A Tour of Dining History.” Hungry History: LobstersThe perceived romance of the travel story involved—not to mention the very real expense—added to the cachet of regionally “exotic” foods.

What’s more, the fact that eating multi-jointed lobster presented intrinsic logistical difficulties made it even more desirable to some. In the Victorian era, “labor was inexpensive,” explained Greenstein. “So a lot of the dishes served from the 1850s on featured lobster that had already been picked, like molded lobster salad. This way, servants did the work, and Victorian ladies didn’t have to go through the ordeal of eating something difficult in public. Even lobster Newburg—it can be served in the shell, but it was already picked.”

Hungry History: LobstersYet if, on the one claw, lobster has maintained its overall reputation as a luxury food, it has, on the other, spawned a very particular kind of informal dining experience in coastal New England: the lobster shack.

Mike Urban, a Connecticut resident and author of the book “Lobster Shacks: A Road Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints,” said that the first lobster shack most likely emerged in the early 1900s in Maine. “The first ones were offshoots of a lobsterman’s business,” he hypothesized. “His wife or kids might have begun cooking some of the catch right on the dock, for locals. They started small.”

Hungry History: LobstersOne of the earliest lobster shacks whose history Urban can document is Bayley’s Lobster Pound in Scarborough, Maine. Based in a small commercial shack he bought, Steve Bayley lobstered to supplement the income he earned at a clam-packing plant, where he worked beginning in 1916. Sometimes, after he’d supplied lobsters to all his nearby restaurant and market clients, “he would pack overcatch in suitcases, jump on a Portland-bound train and sell it at a local market there,” said Urban. From there, it became a small logical leap to prepare and sell simple boiled lobsters and lobster rolls (possibly a Bayley invention, too) right at the shack, cutting out middlemen. Today, the third and fourth generations of Bayley family members run the seasonal business. And in the century since Bayley’s began, shacks have come to densely dot the New England coast.

Hungry History: Lobsters

A drive or train ride away, New York’s Delmonico’s—in business, on and off, since 1827, but currently thriving on Beaver Street in a Victorian-era building—is also central to the lobster cuisine story. It was one of the first fine restaurants to serve lobster, according to Greenstein. Even more significant, a new way of preparing lobster—with butter, cream, Madeira and eggs—was introduced to one of the original Delmonico brothers by world-traveling sea captain Ben Wenberg in 1876. Lobster à la Wenberg became a favorite of patrons, but when Wenberg and Delmonico had a falling-out, the new specialty fell off the menu, too. When requests for the dish could no longer be ignored, though, it returned—with the letter-shifted name of Lobster à la Newberg (or Newburg, as it’s now spelled).

If the Puritans could see the esteem in which lobster is held today, they would doubtless be shell-shocked. But with melted butter easing its ascent, Homarus americanus clawed its way to the top, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Nedick’s

nedicks_02

Nedick’s was an American chain of fast-food restaurants that originated in New York City in 1913 or the early 1920s, per differing sources, and expanded in the 1950s to Newark, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. Originally known for making and selling a signature orange drink, it added coffee and donuts to its simple menu, and later hot dogs with a unique mustard relish in a toasted bun. The name was formed from the last names of Robert T. Neely and Orville A. Dickinson, who founded the chain with the original stand in a hotel storefront of the Bartholdi Hotel at 23rd Street and Broadway. The chain was known for its orange and white decor and its slogan, “Good food is never expensive at Nedick’s”. Another slogan, evidenced by the image at right, was “Always a pleasure”.

nedicks_06

Following intense competition in the 1970s from such national chains as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, and much criticism in 1981 for the quality of its concession at the Central Park Zoo, Nedick’s ceased operations.

Revival of the brand name

nedicks_04In 2003, the Riese Organization, which operates a number of restaurant chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut, revived the Nedick’s brand, with three restaurants by that name in New York City, at Penn Station; 1286 Broadway between 33rd & 34th Street; and 416 8th Avenue, at West 31st Street. All of these locations have since closed, and Nedick’s is no longer featured on Riese Restaurants webpage.

In popular culture

nedicks_03Nedick’s was a long-time New York landmark; The New York Times in 2003 recalled the chain as “The Starbucks of New York”.

Nedick’s was a sponsor of the New York Knicks basketball team. This gave rise to the catchphrase of the Knicks’ long-time radio announcer, Marty Glickman: “Good like Nedick’s”, intoned after the team scored a basket. Another common phrase was, “Meet me outside Nedick’s”; as a well-known and highly visible location, it was a common place to rendezvous with people.

nedicks_05In the musical On The Town, sailors Gabey, Ozzie, and Chip agree to meet at Nedick’s in Times Square at eleven.

Nedick’s is name-dropped in the liner notes to Leo Kottke’s 6- and 12-String Guitar.

A popular punchline from the heyday of the chain was “I’ll meet you in the Orange Room of the Hotel Nedick’s.”

In his 1971 album, When I Was a Kid, Bill Cosby talked about when he and his Boy Scout troop went on a hike around Fairmount Park in his hometown of Philadelphia. When the police forbade them setting up camp in the park, the

nedicks_01troop went to Nedick’s to eat their lunch (canned beans) before going home.

In the M*A*S*H Season Four episode, “Dear Peggy”, Hawkeye Pierce talks about watching Klinger eat a fresh egg he won in a poker game and facetiously says that for a moment, it evoked the air of “fine dining at Nedick’s in Grand Central Station.”

The Nedick’s neon sign can be seen in several location shots in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

In Audre Lorde’s poem, “Who Said It Was Simple,” the speaker can perceive, just “Sitting at Nedick’s,” the intersections of race, gender and class in the liberation movements of the 1970’s.

Text from Wikipedia

A Brief History of Vanilla

A Brief History of Vanilla

Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family and is native to central Mexico. The ancient Totonac Indians of Mexico were A Brief History of Vanillathe first to learn to use the fruit of the Tlilxochitl vine, vanilla pods. After their defeat by the Aztecs, they were forced to relinquish control of the exotic fruit.

The Aztecs were, in turn, defeated by the Spanish, who returned home with the precious vanilla beans – which were for many years, enjoyed only by the nobility and the very rich. Eventually, the use of vanilla, while still quite expensive, became widespread throughout Europe.

Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as Ambassador to France, he learned the use of vanilla beans, and when he returned to the A Brief History of VanillaUnited States, brought vanilla beans with him.

Today, vanilla beans are grown in several distinct regions of the world. This produces vanilla beans with unique regional characteristics and attributes, each particularly suited to different uses.

Madagascar, the world’s largest producer of vanilla beans, is the source of the famed Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and still produces the world’s finest and most consistent vanilla. (Incidentally, the term “Bourbon” has nothing to do with the liquor produced in Kentucky – but rather, derives its name from the old name for Madagascar – the Bourbon Islands.)

Madagascar Bourbon vanilla is considered to be the highest quality pure vanilla available, typified by a creamy, sweet, smooth, mellow flavor. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is known for its “staying power”, which makes it especially suited to pairing with rich foods.

A Brief History of Vanilla

Mexico, where vanilla originated, now produces only a small percentage of the harvest. Mexican vanilla beans, grown by skilled producers that carefully harvest and cure every pod. It’s this process that produces Mexican vanilla of exceptionally high quality and flavor.

Spicy Mexican vanilla is known by its creamy flavor that complements dishes that contain chocolate, cinnamon and other warm spices. A teaspoon or so of Mexican vanilla in tomato sauces or with citrus can also help reduce acidity.

A Brief History of VanillaThe last of the four major vanilla-producing regions is Tahiti. Tahitian vanilla, grown from a different genus of vanilla orchid (Vanilla Tahitensis Moore), is flowery, fruity and smooth.

Long a favorite of professional bakers and pastry chefs, Tahitian vanilla is known for its aromatic, fruity, cherry, anise-like flavor profile. Tahitian Pure Vanilla has a particular affinity to fruity flavors such as fruited yogurts, sorbets and fruit toppings.

Text from earthy.com

The History of Pineapples

The History of Pineapples

It is not a pine nor an apple, and it is not native to Hawaii. However, since it was first canned and became a major crop there, we associate pineapple with Hawaii and the tastes of the islands. It has wonderful tenderizing enzymes and goes especially well with pork as well as, seafood, and sweet-and-sour dishes. Of course, there are always plenty of dessert recipes using pineapple.

Pineapple History

The History of PineapplesAnanas comosus is the botanical name of the fruit we know as the pineapple.

Native to South America, it was named for its resemblance to a pine cone. The term pineapple (or pinappel in Middle English) did not appear in English print until around 1664.

Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493, although the fruit had long been grown in South America. He called it piña de Indes meaning “pine of the Indians.”

The History of PineapplesSouth American Guarani Indians cultivated pineapples for food. They called it nanã, meaning “excellent fruit.”

Another explorer, Magellan, is credited with finding pineapples in Brazil in 1519, and by 1555, the luscious fruit was being exported with gusto to England. It soon spread to India, Asia, and the West Indies.

When George Washington tasted pineapple in 1751 in Barbados, he declared it his favorite tropical fruit. Although the pineapple thrived in Florida, it was still a rarity for most Americans.

Captain James Cook later introduced the pineapple to Hawaii circa 1770.

However, commercial cultivation did not begin until the 1880s when steamships made transporting the perishable fruit viable.

The History of Pineapples

In 1903, James Drummond Dole began canning pineapple, making it easily accessible worldwide. Production stepped up dramatically when a new machine automated the skinning and coring of the fruit.

The Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company was a booming business by 1921, making pineapple Hawaii’s largest crop and industry.

Today, Hawaii produces only ten percent of the world’s pineapple crops. Other countries contributing to the pineapple industry include Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Thailand, Costa Rica, China, and Asia.

The History of Pineapples

Pineapple is the third most canned fruit behind applesauce and peaches.

Text from thespruce.com

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – TaB

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

Tab (stylized as TaB) is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, introduced in 1963. The soda was popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and several variations were made, including Tab Clear as well as caffeine-free versions.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBAs a result of studies in the early 1970s linking saccharin, TaB’s main sweetener, with bladder cancer in rats, the United States Congress mandated warning labels on products containing the sweetener. The label requirement was later repealed when no evidence was found linking saccharin with cancer in humans.

After its introduction in 1982, Diet Coke quickly replaced TaB as the Coca-Cola Company’s most popular diet cola, although TaB still retained a loyal following. Approximately 3 million cases were sold in the United States in 2008

History

TaB was introduced as a diet drink in 1963. TaB was created by Coca-Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the market. Tab was marketed to consumers who wanted to “keep tabs” on their weight.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

Coca-Cola’s marketing research department used its IBM 1401 computer to generate a list of over 185,000 four-letter words with one vowel, adding names suggested by the company’s own staff; the list was stripped of any words deemed unpronounceable or too similar to existing trademarks. From a final list of about twenty names, “Tabb” was chosen, influenced by the possible play on words, and shortened to “TaB” during development.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBPackaging designer Robert Sidney Dickens gave the name the capitalization pattern (“TaB”) used in the logo as well as creating a new bottle design for the soft drink.

TaB has been reformulated several times. It was initially sweetened with cyclamate. After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on cyclamate in 1969, sodium saccharin was used. Studies in laboratory rats during the early 1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer.

As a result, the United States Congress mandated that further studies of saccharin be performed and required that all food containing saccharin bear a label warning that the sweetener had been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. In the absence of further evidence Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBthat saccharin caused cancer in humans, the substance was delisted in 2000 from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens; this led to the repealing of the warning label requirements for products containing saccharin. In December 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from its list of hazardous substances.

At the height of its popularity, the Tab name was briefly extended to other diet soft drinks, including TaB Lemon-Lime, TaB Black Cherry, TaB Ginger Ale, TaB Root Beer and TaB Orange.

Other variants of Tab have appeared over the years

Caffeine Free TaB was introduced in the 1980s with little fanfare and disappeared soon afterward.

In 1992, Coca-Cola released TaB Clear in the U.S., Australia and UK. It was withdrawn after less than a year.

TaB Energy is an energy drink released in early 2006 that uses a different recipe than Tab cola.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

TaB’s popularity began to decline in 1982 with the introduction of Diet Coke, although TaB retained something of a cult following in the United States, where customers purchased about 3 million cases in 2008. According to the Coca-Cola Company, in 2012 TaB was being sold in the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland), Spain, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States.

Text from Wikipedia

DIY Sunday – Build a Basement Golf Course

heading_diyBasement Golf

Popularity of miniature golf has brought the game right into the basement in the form of a knockdown course that can be picked up and stored away almost as easily as you would a game of croquet. It’s an exciting game the whole family can enjoy the year round from the youngsters on up to the avid golfer who will find it good practice in keeping his putting eye keen. Standard putters and irons are used and scoring is done as in real golf, penalties being counted as strokes.

As for space, most basements, especially those with compact heating units, will accommodate the “concentrated” nine-hole course pictured in the illustration above, but, where there’s only a minimum of space, a lot of fun can be had from a much smaller course. As each green is complete in itself and lightweight, the course can be quickly set up. Most of the greens are fairly shallow to permit stacking them in little space when not in use – By Allan Carpenter

These plans which were featured in the 1950 June edition of Popular Mechanics can be downloaded by clicking the icon below.
And remember if your basement is too small for this project,
your garden may not be

Ted
Winking smile

pdf symbol

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Trocadero

Trocadero_01

Trocadero, sometimes called Troca, is a caffeinated soft drink flavored with orange and apple. It was launched in Sweden in the summer of 1953 the Saturn AB brewery in Malmö. Trocadero has over the years been particularly popular in northern Sweden and has been called “Norrland’s national drink.”

The name

Trocadero was introduced by Nils-Håkan Håkansson at Saturn AB, and according to his grandson Edward Liepe the  named came either from the Place du Trocadero in Paris or from Café de Trocadero in the same city.

Trocadero_02

Furthermore

Trocadero_03The same year the Trocadero was introduced the ban on cola sodas was lifted for in Sweden and both Coca-Cola and Cuba Cola (also brewed by Saturn) was introduced on the market. Trocadero was for long the only soft drink except cola drinks containing caffeine.

Saturn, however, became with the years more and more focused on selling essences for flavoring spirits and cocktail mixing, and in line with this focus also began selling soda essenses to other breweries instead Trocadero_04of manufacturing the soft drinks themselves. Saturn is only selling flavors and essences for Trocadero production to approved breweries to day, and the requirements are that the brewery focuses on the brand, has good water and keeps the amount of essence in relation to the amount of water within a given range.

Trocadero mixed with brandy is called Wholesaler Grog in Sweden.

Trocadero is now available as candyconsisting of two-colored jelly bottles tasting of Trocadero. In 2005 the Trocadero candy started to be produced and sold by Fagerströms candy factory in Hudiksvall.

According to the Trocadero Facebook page, the manufacturing of the candy has now ceased.

The History of Babycham

babycham_02

The name has always been misleading – the ‘cham’ part leads many people to assume that the bubbly liquid they are happily quaffing at parties is champagne, when in fact this popular drink is actually perry; alcoholic sparkling pear juice. This confusion actually led to a more babycham_06serious altercation between the Babycham Company and the gourmand Raymond Postgate. The founder of the Good Food Guide, a once-a-year publication dedicated to searching out the best eateries in the UK, wrote an article in a 1965 edition of Holiday magazine claiming that his readers should know that Babycham looks and is served like champagne, but is actually a pear- based drink. Babycham sued Postgate for libel, stating that he had inferred that the company were trying to pass the drink off as something it wasn’t. Whilst the judge assigned to the case agreed that the wording was derogatory it was agreed that it could be passed as ‘fair comment’ and Postgate walked from court with no punishment.

babycham_03

Largely remembered as a popular 1970s and 80’s drink, Babycham actually hit our shelves and bars in 1953 and had the honour of being the first booze to get a commercial aired on UK television. It almost single-handedly changed UK drinking culture by marketing itself directly at women, targeting them with their first specific ‘ladies’’ drink. Its history actually starts back in the 1940s, however.  

babycham_07Shepton Mallet in Somerset was home to the brewery belonging to the Showering brothers (I promise there will be no jokes about how clean they must have been), Francis, Ralph, Herbert and Arthur. Alongside the normal beer they also produced mineral water and cider and Francis spent time searching for new drinks to bring to the market. He looked into the fermentation of fruit juice, originally to improve upon their cider-making process but as he researched the topic he discovered that he could also make a great tasting beverage from perry pears.

After trying it out in the Bristol area as a test at first, their new alcoholic drink was bottled in 1950. It began its life in large bottles but was later swapped into the familiar small (‘baby’) ones that became its trademark.  It was first sent out under the name of Champagne de la Poire but after winning first prize in every important agricultural show in the country people started referring to it as the ‘Baby Champ’. (See where they went from there?)

babycham_05The Showerings had hit upon a real gap in the market. Up until then the drinks aimed towards women were few; stout, port and lemon, gin or sherry perhaps? Showering’s new sparkling perry was an ideal creation to fill that gap. It could be marketed as a light, fun drink specifically for females – and the cute little deer logo, which appeared on the bottles for its launch in the UK in 1953, just added to that appeal.

In 1957 it made its television commercial debut. It was an example of a truly aspirational brand; its strapline was ‘The genuine Champagne Perry’ and it was shown being drunk in saucer style champagne glasses by stylish and alluring women. The commercial was a success and Babycham’s popularity soared. The little Shepton Mallet brewery had to rapidly expand to keep up with increased demand; the campaign to introduce pear perry to a new (and obviously enthusiastic) audience had worked.

The decades rolled by and the success story continued. The drink and the deer became world famous and the ‘Babycham Babe’ beauty competition was launched in the 1960s. The adverts gained a guest appearance from Patrick Mower (Emmerdale) in the 1970s and further references to the ultimate in cool lifestyles (‘Hey, I’d love a Babycham!’) in the 1980s. Later on the image of the deer was turned into a cartoon; it became a party deer, able to bring a bit of pizzazz to the dullest of social gatherings.

babycham_04

By the 1990s though, the brand was losing ground. By now there were plenty of other cheap and ‘fun’ alcoholic brands on offer and a restriction on television alcohol advertising made it harder for the company to retain their status within the market. In 1993 the brand relaunched, aiming to target a more youthful consumer and a few years later there was a, possibly misguided, attempt to bring the ‘Babycham Babe’ contest back to life. babycham_08(A West End final crowned model Nell McAndrew the winner in case you were curious.)

The millennium saw a new ‘Popping Cork’ bottle added to the brand.

Dogged determination meant that the name survived, and even began gaining in popularity again. The sudden fashion for retro enabled Babycham to become stylish again – even having a regular night held in its honour at Browns’ nightclub in Covent Garden, London.

A range of clothing was launched in 2001; people could now celebrate their love of fizzy perry pear by wearing underwear, outer clothing and accessories adorned by the blue bow-wearing deer.  These caught the eye of the fashion press and Babycham found itself receiving some positive media attention.  A new range of shoes and matching bags came along in 2011.

babycham_01

In 2003 Babycham celebrated 50 years of bubbly pear goodness and also began sponsoring the Funny Women Comedy Awards and ten years later Diamond Anniversary commemorative Babycham glasses could be snapped up with their special pack promotion.

By 2011 Babycham was selling around 15 million bottles a year and two new flavours have been introduced, with an emphasis on its 1950’s heritage: ‘hint of cream soda’ and ‘hint of cherry soda’. Yum.

Text from doyouremember.co.uk


When I went to England as a young man back in the very early seventies all decent girls drank Babycham. The ones I dated drank vodka straight or gallons of bitter

Ted
Winking smile

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Howdy

photo-aug-27-2-55-29-am

Before Sprite and 7-Up, there was Howdy. Orca Beverage President and Owner, Mike Bourgeois, calls Howdy the “original creators of the lemon-lime category.” In fact, Howdy Lemon-Lime was the primordial soda recipe from which 7-Up eventually evolved.

8653269_1

The company originally began in 1929, and according to Bourgeois, back then Howdy was made with seven ingredients. I don’t think I need to explain the connection further. Here’s the weird part: one of those seven ingredients was lithium. Bourgeois tells us the soda was originally marketed as a “Bib-Lable Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.”

50Howdy-Cardboard-sign_crHe goes on to tell us that lithium was used at the turn of the century as a mood-altering stimulant, thought to “give you a lift.” He offered up cocaine as a comparison. Good. Because there’s nothing I like with my lunch more than an ice cold lemon-lime soda chocked full of angel dust. Really makes the rest of the day go faster when I do my afternoon accounting work with a heart rate of 200 BPM.

As you might imagine, lithium has since been regulated out of the drink. Bourgeois did not specify when Howdy went out of business, but notes the company had been dormant for many years until around 2010 when Orca Beverage reactivated the trademark due to its rich history.

Orca has done this several times since the Mukilteo, Washington-based soda distributor began in 1987 because it wants to preserve the nostalgia of retro soda as much as possible. It is now the sole producer of Howdy.

rare-c-1930-tin-howdy-orange-soda-advertising-sign-art-deco-graphics-nr-embossed_231981664062

Currently, the company boasts around 120 different brands. Bourgeois says in the case of Howdy, “It was a natural niche for us to cultivate.” He adds that the recipe has been reformulated to be more modern and clean and uses pure cane sugar and real lemon and lime oils. Even the logo is the same as the original. “It’s more flavorful. It has a little more of everything in it,” Bourgeois says at the end of our conversation. Time to taste the history.

Where to get it

Howdy Lemon Lime soda is distributed nationwide in the US at retro soda retailers. We suggest checking your nearest Rocketfizz retailer. You can also purchase it online at Amazon (via Orca Beverage) and Soda Emporium. And if you’re a retailer looking to sell soda yourself, or you’re just a dude wanting a bunch of soda at one time, Homer Soda is your go-to.

Text from fivestarsoda.com

The History of the Knife and Fork

The History of the Knife and Fork

Chances are you only really think about eating utensils when you forget to pack them in your picnic basket. How can you possibly dole out the potato salad or slice into that wedge of Brie without the proper accessories? Back in the day, this wasn’t a problem: for centuries, people only ate with their hands. Even in the early American colonies, forks were regarded with great suspicion, and knives were few and far between, shared at the dinner table and treasured as heirlooms. So how did these classic cutlery items make their way into your silverware drawer?

The History of the Knife and Fork

When humans first began cooking their food hundreds of thousands of years ago, sharpened stones and sticks helped them break down and consume their newly hot meals. Shells and hollowed animal horns were also commonly used, leading to the early development of the spoon. But spoon technology seems to have hit an impasse in prehistoric times, and the knife became the primary eating tool. In fact, it’s possible to trace human mechanical evolution through this humble instrument, made first with stone, later with bronze and finally with iron around 1000 B.C.

The History of the Knife and Fork

In medieval Europe, knives were often elaborately carved and decorated with bone or ivory handles. Hosts couldn’t be expected to furnish such a costly piece of equipment for large groups of people, so guests had to show up with their own knives in tow. (Given that large squares of stale bread known as trenchers served as plates until the 1600s, this “BYOK” policy probably didn’t seem so uncouth.) Early table knives had sharp, pointed ends that were used to spear food and bring it to the mouth. In an era when nobles and commoners alike guzzled copious amounts of fresh ale, this practice surely led to some punctured palates. Finally, in 1637, Cardinal Richelieu of France had his knife tips ground down to blunt circles, and our modern dinner knives were born.

The History of the Knife and Fork

Forks, meanwhile, had been around since ancient Greece, but they weren’t a regular feature at Western tables until the 1500s. The Byzantine princess Theodora Anna Doukaina, who married the Venetian doge in 1075, is credited with introducing the implement to Italy. Heartily disliked at court for her decadent, pampered lifestyle, she also brought the napkin and finger bowl to her adopted land. When she died in 1083, it was said that her entire body wasted away due to excessive delicacy.

The History of the Knife and Fork

When Catherine de’ Medici wed Henri II in 1533, she brought along a set of eating forks from her native Florence. Members of the French court scoffed at what they considered a typically Italian affectation and continued to plow through their meals with hands and knives. The tool finally gained respect in 1633 when Charles I of England magnanimously declared, “It is Decent to use a Fork,” thereby ensuring clean hands and unburnt fingers for generations of future eaters.

Text from history.com

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

An article by Mary Miley Theobald at history.orgA Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

Some historians think that chocolate drinking spread from England to its North American colonies, but it seems more likely that it came directly in ships that plied the trade routes from the West Indies to the major colonial ports of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island. Whatever the route, chocolate arrived in English North America at about the same time it arrived in England. It was available as chocolate nuts, as shells, and in processed “chocolate cakes,” lumps of grated powder and sugar ready to be stirred into boiling water, mixed with whatever ingredients one preferred, and frothed with the little hand mill.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

Those who bought the cacao seed had to roast and grind the chocolate themselves or, more likely, have their servants or slaves do the tedious job. Those who, like Martha Washington, purchased the cacao shells, steeped them in hot water to make a thin chocolaty drink that was easier on the stomach than oily chocolate.

According to Jim Gay, most chocolate was processed in the northern colonies, in New England, Philadelphia, and New York. It was sold in its various forms in general stores and grocers’ shops. In pre-Revolutionary Williamsburg, unsweetened chocolate went for about two shillings sixpence per pound, slightly more than a free unskilled laborer or sailor earned in a day. Obviously, few of those men drank chocolate. Prices fell, however, and by the nineteenth century, it had become cheap enough to be given to slaves.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya
Nobilities drinking chocolate in Mrs White’s Chocolate House in London.

Its perceived medicinal value made chocolate a natural product for apothecary shops. It was considered nourishing for the sick as well as an aid to digestion and was believed to promote longevity, help lung ailments, energize the body, cure hangovers, suppress coughs, and, as mentioned, stimulate the libido. For that reason, the Virginia A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails YaAlmanac of 1770 cautioned women against it, warning “the fair sex to be in a particular manner careful how they meddle with romances, chocolate, novels, and the like,” especially in the spring, as those were all “inflamers” and “very dangerous.”

“This was very much ignored,” Jim Gay says. “Women were the main consumers of chocolate. Children were denied chocolate because it was a stimulant.” But it was this sexy reputation that caused chocolate to become associated with love, Valentine’s Day, sinful pleasures, and decadence.

Ben Franklin recommended chocolate as a cure for smallpox in Poor Richard’s Almanac of 1761; Doctor Benjamin Rush did the same in his A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Yamedical texts. Thomas Jefferson thought chocolate would overtake tea and coffee as the American beverage of choice. In a letter of November 27, 1785, to John Adams he wrote, “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” In this he was mistaken. Chocolate drinking would soon decline in favor of chocolate eating.

By the late eighteenth century, a very few, very wealthy Americans were eating chocolate as food. Not the creamy sort of milk chocolate candy bars we know today—those would not exist until the nineteenth century—this rather gritty chocolate was shaved and cooked into puddings, pies, and tarts and served as a side dish at dinner. It was also mixed into creams and ice creams and almond-shaped candies and served at the finest tables as part of the dessert course.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

North America’s first cookbook, printed in 1742 in Williamsburg by William Parks, publisher of the Virginia Gazette, contained but one chocolate recipe: “chocolate almonds.” The list of ingredients included A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Yano almonds; the word merely reflected the shape of the chocolate, which was mixed with sugar, orange flower water, and a binder. Today we might call it a chocolate drop.

Gay’s research turned up other Virginia chocolate recipes in manuscript form, sometimes written by an unknown housewife. One of these mixes sugar, chocolate, and almonds, then directs the cook to use cochineal to color them red, saffron for yellow, “Stone blew” for blue, and “the Juice of Spinage” for green. Gay calls this “the eighteenth-century ancestor of M&Ms.”

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails YaChocolate did not really become a food until the middle of the nineteenth century. The pivotal date was 1828, when a Dutchman, Casparus Van Houten, invented a machine for manufacturing powdered low-fat cocoa. Chocolate beverages became easier and cheaper to make, leading to what some have called the democratization of chocolate.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

In 1847, an English chocolate maker that had been in business almost a hundred years, J. S. Fry and Sons, developed the first molded chocolate bar. A Swiss, Henri Nestlé, figured out in 1867 how to make powdered milk by evaporation, and another Swiss, Daniel Peter, came up with the idea of blending Nestlé’s powdered milk with chocolate in 1879. The milk chocolate candy bar was on its way.

Christmas in the Air

An article from “FLIGHT” magazine, January 25, 1934

The Christmas Lunch Served on
Imperial Airways’ Flight for Athens
December 25, 1933

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933
Illustration from the article

Most people on Christmas Day, whether they be in their own homes, travelling, or in whatever state it has pleased Providence to call them, endeavour to celebrate that anniversary by means of something extra special in the way of food and drink.

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933_02
Food being prepared for Imperial Airways and stewards
waiting to pick up whatever is prepared for their next flight.

Imperial Airways always look after their passengers better, perhaps, than any other transport company in the world, and an amusing and effective example of this care is given by the Christmas lunch so carefully arranged for the passengers in Scipio, the fourengined Short flying boat which was to leave Brindisi on the morning of December 25, 1933, for Athens.

The programme did not go quite to schedule owing to delays of the train service which Imperial Airways passengers still unfortunately have to make use of between Pans and Brindisi. The machine actually left Brindisi at 8.15 a.m. on December 26, but the passengers, after consultation, were unanimous in their desire to have the Christmas luncheon which, but for the delay, they would have had on the previous day.

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933_03
A meal being served on Scipio

The staff of the Scipio, in command of Capt. F. J. Bailey, had decorated the cabin very carefully with holly, mistletoe and paper streamers, and a Christmas tree had been rigged up. This was suitably decorated and hung with gifts for each of the 14 passengers, in the shape of Imperial Airways diaries with the passengers names stamped thereon. The tree was a fully illuminated one with coloured lamps lit from the ship’s electrical system.

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933_04
Drinks being served onboard

The lunch, which had been supplied by Fortnum &  Mason, Ltd., was a great success. The turkey was served  cold, but the soup, sausages, potatoes and pudding  were all hot. Just how this was done better remain a secret of Imperial Airways, as a cursory glance at the facilities the steward has in his pantry does not appear to offer any solution. The fact remains, however, that when they do give their passengers anything hot it is really hot.

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933_06
A steward in the pantry on Scipio

The luncheon was served directly after the Scipio had taken off from Corfu, where a landing had been made for fuel. Capt. Bailey, who, as do all Imperial Airways “skippers,” makes a personal matter of the comfort of his passengers, went back into the cabin on several occasions, and after cutting a cake, which had also been provided, presented the diaries from the tree.

Imperial Airways Christmas lunch 1933_08
A diagrammatic drawing of Imperial Airways’ Scipio.

The History of Lutefisk

An article found on whatscookingamerica.netLutefisk_01

It is said that about half the Norwegians who immigrated to America came in order to escape the hated lutefisk and the other half came to spread the gospel of lutefisk’s wonderfulness.

– Norwegian-American saying

Lutefisk History

Lutefisk (pronounced lewd-uh-fisk) is dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for several days to rehydrate it.  It is rinsed with cold water to remove the lye, then boiled or baked, and then served with butter, salt, and pepper.

Lutefisk_02

The finished lutefisk usually is the consistency of Jello.  It is also called lyefish, and in the United States, Norwegian-Americans traditionally serve it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In many Norwegian homes, lutefisk takes the place of the Christmas turkey.  In Minnesota and Wisconsin, you can find lutefisk in local food stores and even at some restaurants. It is a food that you either love or hate, and, as some people say, “Once a year is probably enough!”

During the fall in Wisconsin, people watch their local newspapers for announcements of lutefisk suppers, which are usually held in Norwegian churches.  Usually every Norwegian church will host at least one lutefisk supper between October and the end of the year.  The dinners have become so popular that lovers of this special cod dish drive great distances, and these are not just people of Scandinavian descent.

Lutefisk_04

The history of lutefisk dates back to the Vikings.  On one occasion, according to one legend, plundering Vikings burned down a fishing village, including the wooden racks with drying cod.  The returning villagers poured water on the racks to put out the fire.  Ashes covered the dried fish, and then it rained.  The fish buried in the ashes in the ashes thus became soaked in a lye slush.  Later the villagers were surprised to see that the dried fish had changed to what looked like fresh fish.  They rinsed the fish in water to remove the lye and make it edible, and then boiled it.  The story is that one particularly brave villager tasted the fish and declared it “not bad.”

Lutefisk_03

Norwegian-Americans believe that lutefisk was brought by their ancestors on the ships when they came to America, and that it was all they had to eat.  Today the fish is celebrated in ethnic and religious celebrations and is linked with hardship and courage.


In general I love traditional Norwegian food, both the food eaten during celebrating Christmas and the traditional food eaten the year round. Having said as much that love does not embrace lutefisk, but if it is served with enough crispy bacon and mushy peas as it usually is here in Norway I do eat it.

Ted
Winking smile

A Rather Mannered Plea For Etiquette

An article written by Annalisa Quinn posted at npr.org

“Blow not your broth at Table,” George Washington wrote in an early school exercise on civility. And “bedew no mans face with your Spittle.” Wise man.

A Rather Mannered Plea For EtiquetteOther etiquette rules hold up less well over time (“to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation.”) More recently, Emily Post warned young ladies against unchaperoned boating with young men, lest a sudden fog delay them and her reputation be ruined (sudden fog, as you perhaps know, is prime cover for you-know-what).

Warnings about hat-doffing and female chastity, thankfully, are gone from the modern etiquette book. Nonetheless, the tone of these books is often faux-antiquated, imitating the contractionless, precious, very white English of Ms. Post and her gloved ilk. It is grand-damey and transatlantic, with an implicit quelle horreur! lurking at the end of every “don’t.” (Or rather, “do not.”) Authors of such books do not hate, they loathe. People are not rude, but barbarous. Nothing is good unless it is terribly good. There is a good deal of vague nostalgia for more genteel times, as if our society growing steadily more just and equal does not quite make up for the disappearance of handkerchiefs and place settings.

table manners 3

And yet I love them. There’s something oddly charming about the idea that you could communicate your care and respect for other people through deft use of flatware or timely deployment of a handkerchief. That these rules will somehow help you bypass all the hard work of living a life with other people and learning how to treat them well in the course of it. Table manners are tiny, above-ground traces of a larger, submerged system of ethics; they are tools for expressing what is important to us as a culture.

Tower’s suggestions for those short on cash include replacing table centerpieces with goldfish in a vase. This implies, if not a direct hostility to the poor, at least that Tower did not do the exercise of imagining eating dinner eye-to-eye with a live fish.

Annalisa Quinn

At best, etiquette is ethics in a minor key. At worst, etiquette is a way to tell everyone you’re rich without having to say it aloud.

Jeremiah Tower’s Table Manners is a mix of both. It leans fussy: “The large soup spoons of yesteryear are now considered pretentious.” And prim: He cites “the new me-centered culture” as if people haven’t been making that complaint since Plato. But parts of it seem animated by a real belief that empathy can be taught. “The more you think about those around you and the less you think about yourself,” he writes, “the more likely you are to behave well.” Yet, there’s often an implicit utilitarianism in this guide — behave well and you will be invited to dinner.

table manners 4

Towers is a well-known chef, which makes his restaurant precepts specific and insightful (his advice for treating servers well is valuable, for instance) — but he’s less thoughtful about other aspects of etiquette. He doesn’t have the same open hostility towards the poor that many authors of such books have (Emily Post at one point suggested you pretend not to see beggars on the street, for example). But there is a kind of effective hostility through incomprehension. Tower’s suggestions for those short on cash include replacing table centerpieces with goldfish in a vase. This implies, if not a direct hostility to the poor, at least that Tower did not do the exercise of imagining eating dinner eye-to-eye with a live fish — or the effort of procuring one and caring for it afterwards.

“Even if fragrant old roses are your pride and joy from the garden,” he writes at one point, “you don’t want them competing with your $125 bottles of pinot noir.” People who actually drink $125 bottles of pinot noir just call it “pinot noir,” so it’s not clear why Towers would make himself sound unnecessarily snooty with the price tag, but it’s one of the several details that makes Table Manners not particularly inclusive.

table manners

So, how useful is this book? It depends. Do you really need someone to tell you not to shout “I LOATHE GARLIC” (here we go again with “loathe”) when someone serves it to you? Of course not — or, if you do, you are not likely to be reading an etiquette guide.

table manners 2

But perhaps it is human nature that I would find all the rules I already heed obvious and all the ones I don’t silly. Otherwise I would have to face the fact that my soup spoons are unacceptably, gauchely, preposterously, strivingly large and deal with the accompanying shame.

table manners 5

“No rule of etiquette is of less importance than which fork we use,” says our guiding light, Emily Post. I assume the same holds for spoons. But care for each other, expressed indirectly through small acts? That’s etiquette.

In order not to embarrass the article author completely I hasten to mention that the book cover at the top was the only illustration in her original post – Ted 😉

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – R. White’s Lemonade

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - R. White’s LemonadeR. White’s Lemonade is a brand of a carbonated soft drink, which is produced and sold in the UK by Britvic.

R. White’s is a brand of lemonade that has been produced for over 150 years. Robert and Mary White produced the first R. White’s lemonade in Camberwell, London, in 1845. The White Family took over H.D.Rawlings Ltd., in 1891, the year that it was incorporated, and then R.White & Sons Ltd., was itself incorporated in 1894.

In the 1970s, R White’s also made orangeade, dandelion & burdock and cream soda. R. White’s still contains real lemons and is available as a diet, cloudy or clear drink.

The Company was taken over by Whitbreads in the 1960s, and was later absorbed by the Britvic Corporation in 1986 when Britvic and Canada Dry Rawlings Ltd, merged. This product, formerly made using real sugar, has (as of 2006) changed the traditional recipe replacing sugar with Aspartame, Saccharin & Acesulfame K.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - R. White’s Lemonade

Stables, South Island Place, Brixton, 1964. The R White’s lemonade bottle in the foreground was an icon of London life at the time. The bottle was made from thick glass and was returned to the store where it was purchased, a deposit then refunded. The screw top was made of bakelite, not plastic.

Memorable marketing

1973 saw the launch of the brand’s most famous advertising campaign, ‘The Secret Lemonade Drinker’, which remained on screen until 1984. The ad featured a man in striped pyjamas creeping downstairs to raid the fridge for R Whites Lemonade. Ross MacManus (the father of singer Elvis Costello) wrote and sang the original song with his teenage son, providing backing vocals. The ad won a silver award at the 1974 International Advertising Festival.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - R. White’s Lemonade

Who can forget John Otway looking like Hank Marvin sneaking down the stairs singing “I’m a secret lemonade drinker” Then the chorus “R Whites, R Whites, R Whites lemonade” A Classic advert!

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - R. White’s Lemonade