Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hats off to pioneers of food

Did you ever look at one of your favorite food items and wonder "who was the first person to think 'this would be a tasty treat' "? I do. I wonder mostly about things like truffles (the fungus ones, not the chocolate ones) and shrimp. But what about everyday foods that wouldn't be so every day had not been for someone long, long ago deciding it was good to eat. To them I say, "Thanks."

Hooray for the first person to grind a coffee bean and mix it with hot water. And hooray for Pope Clement VIII for not thinking that coffee was a terrorist plot to destroy Christianity. (My Catholic guilt would have killed me by now otherwise)

Hooray for Alexander the Great for discovering that bananas are darn tasty and thus instigating their mass cultivation.

Hooray for the ancient Egyptians for separating curds and whey to make cottage cheese and feta.

Hooray for the first baker to create a bagel, and for the immigrants who brought them to the Lower East Side. Because everyone knows that New York City bagels are the only ones worth eating.

Can you tell I wrote this after breakfast?

Hooray for those ancient Mayans for drinking chocolate . Hooray for Christopher Columbus for bringing it back to Ferdie and Izzie. And especially, Hooray for Joseph Fry and the Cadburys for making the delicious chocolate bars we love today.

Hooray, again, for the Egyptians--this time for mushroom consumption. Food of royalty? You bet! But we commoners love them too. Let's not forget the first person to figure out the mind-altering effects of 'shrooms, too. You know, they say women in the hunting-and-gathering era had better eyesight in dim light and could tell the good mushrooms from the bad. I wonder how many early women "accidentally" slipped their knuckle-dragging husbands a bad mushroom to get out of a bad match.

And speaking of mind altering, who was the first person to lick a toad? Why would you even consider toad licking? I digress...

And while I'm at it, can I get an Amen for the harnessing of fire! Go Homo Erectus! Without you, what would we do on the 4th of July? (psst...that's a reference to outdoor grilling--try to keep up).

Hooray for the ancient civilizations of the mediterranian region for olives, especially the black ones. Yum. Put 'em on your fingertips and pretend they are pretty fake nails and them eat them off one by one. Or, use them to cut chunks out of the canned Cranberry Sauce, thus filling them with jellied cranberry and making them extra tasty. What? You never played with your food? You never pulled the pimento half way out of a stuffed olive and made an olive turkey? Pffft...you're no fun.
Also, olives are good for your skin.

Hooray for the Persians, Chinese, Arabs and Italians, all of whom had a hand in creating Ice Cream. Sorbets, Italian Ices, Iced Creams--whatever they are, frozen confections are my favorite. Bring on the brain freeze!

Lastly, Hooray for Wikipedia for all the information above.