Tag «mental floss»

Food History: Ketchup and Mustard

Food History: Ketchup and Mustard

Around 300 BCE, people in China were experimenting with making pungent pastes out of fermented fish guts. A few centuries later, the Greek historian Pliny shared a method to treat scorpion stings using the ground-up seeds of a common plant. These are the unlikely origin stories of ketchup and mustard. Hi, I’m Justin Dodd. *And …

Food History: Ramen

Food History: Ramen

If the first thing you picture when you hear ramen is this, you can thank Momofuku Ando. And World War II…and the Yakuza crime syndicate. Let’s begin in August, 1945. Japan had just announced its surrender to the Allies, and Ando was walking through war-torn Osaka. The Allied Forces’ aerial bombing had wrought destruction on …

Nachos (Food History Ep. 2)

Nachos (Food History Ep. 2)

Nachos were invented in Mexico, by a Mexican, but they’re not exactly Mexican food. They’re enormously successful, available in restaurants around the world, but their creator wasn’t even a chef. Confused? Me too. All the time. Let’s go back to the 1940s. Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya was working at Club Victoria in the border town of …

Food History: Mashed Potatoes

Food History: Mashed Potatoes

During the Seven Years War of the mid-1700s, a French army pharmacist named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier was captured by Prussian soldiers. As a prisoner of war, he was forced to live on rations of potatoes. In mid-18th century France, this would practically qualify as cruel and unusual punishment: potatoes were thought of as feed for livestock, …