I thought I would take a break from giving you my recipes and throw in some more fun food facts for everyone to enjoy today. I don’t know about all of you, but when I do these “fun food facts” pieces, I always learn a lot. There is so much to learn about food. Who knew? After today’s post hopefully we will all know a little bit more than we did before.
- The MacDonald’s franchises around the world make about 9 million lbs of fries a day. Most of all us have grown up with MacDonald’s and their French fries. I used to LOVE their fries. They were the best. Part of what made them so good and so unique is that originally they were cooked in beef tallow. Ray Croc, the founder of MacDonald’s, was inspired by his favorite hot dog stand in Chicago, Sam’s. The MacDonald fries were cooked this way until about 1990. In 1990 they switched from frying them in beef tallow to frying them in vegetable oil, thinking it would make them healthier. WRONG. Not only were the fries even worse for our health than they were originally, but they didn’t taste as good either. MacDonald’s stocks starting falling too. There were two more changes made to the frying oil in recent years, in 2002 and again in 2008, and each time, the taste of the fries paid the price. Today, MacDonald’s cooks their fries in a trans-fat free oil. I don’t even eat them any more. They are not worth the calories to me. And for all you vegans out there who think that MacDonald’s fries are vegan friendly, WRONG again. Their natural flavor is made of “wheat and milk derivatives.” So there isn’t any actual beef product in the fries—although they aren’t vegan-friendly, thanks to the hydrolyzed milk that’s used.
2. The Otis Spunkmeyer brand of cookies and treats is a combination of the names of football player Otis Sistrunk and Orville Redenbacker, the famous popcorn maker. The name came from a 12 year-old little girl whose dad just happened to be Ken Rawlings, the founder of the company.
3. SPAM. We’ve all heard of it, and probably most of us have eaten it and used it at some point too. In fact, Spam has been around for a very long time and has entered its third quarter-century on the rise. More than eight billion cans have been sold since the Hormel Corporation unleashed the product in 1937; it’s currently available in 44 countries throughout the world. But did you know where the name “SPAM comes from? SPAM is a combination of the words “spice” and “ham”.
4. Who doesn’t love pineapple? It is one of Hawai’i’s most treasured items. But it doesn’t just grow on trees. No, no. It actually grows from the ground, and each pineapple takes about 2-3 years to reach maturity. The pineapple plant doesn’t reproduce from seeds, but instead new plants form from the roots of the main plant or from the crown of the fruit. Each pineapple plant can only flower and fruit once, but the main plant usually produces offsets once it begins to flower.
5. The Butterfinger candy bar, a beloved chocolate concoction here in the United States, has gone through some transformations since it’s American debut. While the original Butterfinger made its debut in 1923, it’s had a few different corporate “homes” over the years, from its originator — Curtiss Candy Company — to Nestle, to, as of April 2018, Ferrara, an American candy company owned by (as of December 2017) Luxembourg-based Ferrero, which then added Nestle’s U.S. product line (including Nerds and Baby Ruth) to its portfolio earlier this year. Butterfingers were started with the key ingredients — peanuts, cocoa, and milk — behind this bar that people are obsessed with and love, and looked at how we could make it even better,” Ferrara Marketing Senior Director Kristen Mandel told me. “The Ferraro philosophy is that quality always wins.” Those higher quality ingredients include U.S.-grown jumbo peanuts which, according to Mandel, allow for a more “uniform and well-rounded roast.” The cocoa in the chocolate-y (not technically full-on “chocolate”) coating has been upgraded as has the amount of milk in the mix, with the goal of a smoother, less gritty mouthfeel and stronger chocolate flavor. At the moment, there are no artificial flavorings or coloring used to produce these delicious treats either. The chocolate-flavored coating is less waxy, less cloyingly sweet, and more cocoa forward. The famous “crispety, crunchety” interior is still flaky but boasts a more natural-tasting roasted peanut flavor. There’s also a richer aftertaste that lingers on the roof of the mouth, which, unlike the old recipe, feels as though it’s a side effect of eating peanut butter rather than candy.
I hope you all enjoyed your food lessons for the day. I hope you all learned something new about some of our favorite foods that many of us have enjoyed for years, if not a lifetime.
Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.