Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fun Food Facts!

I've been doing a good bit of reading lately. Mostly recipes and articles about food. What? You're surprised? That's one of the perks of my job. I work as a security officer in a library and am at a computer quite a bit. I have a dual screen set-up so I can watch the cameras on one and the badge monitor on the other. But we're also allowed to surf the web. Let's face it, not too much hard crime goes down in a collegiate library. Not in this area, anyway. So I get to read online. A lot.

Throughout my surfing and browsing over the past few days, I've stumbled on some little gems of information that I thought were pretty great. Plus, I didn't know about them previously. So now I'm going to share them with you! And if you know about these things already then good for you, smartypants!

Pancake day is a thing. Like, for real. It's not just something that IHOP is using as a marketing ploy. Pancake day falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent in certain faiths. Most Americans call this day Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It's known in the UK, Australia, New Zealeand, and Canada as Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are associated with the day before Lent because they are a really good way to include rich food products or ingredients like eggs, sugar, and milk in the celebrations and feasts before the 40 day fast of Lent begins. Admittedly, I feel a little silly for not knowing this. But as I'm not of a faith that participates in Lent I'm going to give myself a pass on this one. Just this once.

Cardamom, which happens to be one of my favorite spices, is the 3rd most expensive spice in the world. Oh! And I knew this already, but it's one of the oldest known spices in the world, too. The only two giving it a run for it's money are vanilla and saffron. All of these spices are so expensive for two main reasons. They are only grown (well) in very specific areas of the world. In this case, the spice is grown in southern India and Sri Lanka. It is also a pain in the butt to harvest these items. Cardamom is particularly difficult to harvest because the seeds sprout in clusters of pods that tend to ripen at different times. So the pods have to be picked by hand just before they reach maturity in the dry period of late autumn.

Carrots were white, yellow, and purple before they were ever orange. It's suspected that the orange color we find in cultivated carrots today is due to a naturally occurring mutation. Who knew?! I though the fun colored carrots were a new thing as the result of hybridization. So that means that Bugs Bunny's great great great great great great great great grandbunny was chomping on purple carrots with some dude probably named Ug ug. All terrible jokes aside, this site has a lot of good information on the history of carrots if you have the time and/or desire to browse through such a thing.

Neat, right?! I thought they were interesting little tidbits. What's a fun and interesting fact about food that you know?


PS WE GOT A NEW DISHWASHER! It actually cleans the dishes. No, really. It cleans them. Hooray!

PPS The links in the above paragraphs will take you to the main sources I used for research and not necessarily where I discovered my facts.

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