We all have some gross food-related stories that we can share. Maybe it was a hair in your quinoa, a needle in your strawberry, or a human tooth in your Milky Way bar — we have all found something super unappetizing and sometimes even inedible in our food. We have put together a list of the grossest and, to some extent, horrifying food processing facts out there that will definitely make you rethink some of your life choices!
If you’re a seafood lover, then you’ll need to prepare yourself for this fact — because it’s fairly shocking! Uni is the only edible part of a sea urchin.
It turns out, though, that this so-called edible part is actually the animal’s gonads. For some, this may not be an issue. For us, well, that’s where we draw the line! And if you decide to as well, we completely understand!
Figs are another example of a tasty and colorful fruit — that are now about to be destroyed by facts. Their dark purple-ish color can make any dish look vibrant, whether it be a fruit salad or a tasty pastry of sorts. However, with all these happy colors and vibes, they have one thing that will truly depress and gross you out.
There are certain types of wasps that spend their larval stage inside figs. If the fig is a male, a female wasp will climb inside and lay her eggs there. These hatch into larvae that burrow out, turn into wasps, and fly off. If the fig is a female, however, a female wasp can climb into and even pollinate the fig, but she will not be able to lay her eggs there and instead, dies alone. This fact seriously sent shivers down our spine!
Berries are such amazing fruits. They add so much flavor and color to anything you pair them with — especially if you’re making a fruit cake, or just topping a chocolate cake.
However, the berries have their share of insect problems. They contain about four larvae in every 100 grams. These larvae can secrete in the fruits. So, with that, make sure to thoroughly wash your berries.
Canned pineapples have their advantages and — according to this article – disadvantages. Compared to raw pineapple, the canned one contains only about 60% bromelain. The canned pineapples destroy the bromelain, which is the most beneficial ingredient.
The canned pineapple has a much higher level of sugar and calories. The grossest part is that the canned pineapple packs up to 20% of moldy fruit. The moldy fruit packed in the can is not a pretty scenario.
Oftentimes, the ice machines in different restaurants and ice cream parlors aren’t cleaned. In fact, they can remain like that for weeks, months, and years. The state of cleanliness for these machines all depends on the type of equipment the employees use to scoop the ice — are they using a scooper or their own hand?
If someone with dirty hands is scooping the ice, well then you know what your ice contains. The dirt can accumulate if you factor in the number of times the ice is scooped out throughout the day.
We all love a plate of momos, especially when they’re found in the street-side stalls and food trucks. However, these street-side momos aren’t exactly the healthiest. According to research, these roadside momos are made from dog meat.
If it’s not dog meat, they are made with rotten chicken meat. There’s no need of telling how harmful they are. All you can do is head to YouTube and learn how to make momos yourself.
If this article has taught us anything so far, it’s to steer clear of canned goods. After all, mold, insects, and whatnot are crammed into those cans — and this product is no different.
Canned asparagus contains about 10% of egg sacs and/or beetles. Are you even surprised at this point? Clearly, canned goods aren’t the best choice. Perhaps it’s just better to buy these veggies raw and give them a really thorough wash.
Well, the lavish caviar that you save for your most special occasions has secrets of its own. Their journey from the ocean to your fancy china is certainly not the prettiest. The egg sac is sliced from the fish’s belly before the fish is gutted.
From there, the finest quality eggs are selected. They are then packaged, but not before generously bathing them in salt. The high cost is probably from all the suffering that the fish undergoes.
Blasting the Cheese Powder
The granular cheese powder on different cheese-flavored chips is like a dehydrated solution to keep the chips from spoiling. These cheese products were developed for the US Army as they can be preserved under any conditions.
The cheese is first dehydrated. Then, they are blasted through a hot dryer. This blasting creates a powdered texture. The extra layer of cheese that makes our life so easy does go through its fair share of blasting.
Who doesn’t love hotdogs? They are the perfect meal when you’re looking for something affordable. However, have you ever wondered how this super delicious and budget-friendly meal is made? Hot dogs are not made from perfectly sourced meat.
The butchers take the leftover scraps from different cuts of beef and pork. Then, they are mixed and ground up together with some chicken parts thrown in there. That’s why hot dogs contain a mixture of different meat.
Sometimes you come across the correct use of something and you realize that you were using it all wrong — and then you wonder whether or not your whole life has been a lie. Well, this is something like that. Your favorite potato chips, Pringles, are not made from potatoes.
They are made of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes. They are mixed and then dropped into boiling oil, which then forms their ultra-thin shape. Lastly, they are dried and dusted with flavors.
Maraschino cherries look like a fruit that Snow White would eat — we mean, instead of an apple. The cherries have a radiant color. But, have you ever wondered how these cherries even come to be that way? Well, they go through a rigorous process to become the Maraschino cherries that we know and love.
Their natural color is distorted as they are put in a mixture of sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride. At this point, the cherries take on a yellowish hue. Then, they are soaked in fructose corn syrup and red dye. The food coloring is made from ground-up insects.
Red Food Coloring
Most of us have red food coloring somewhere in our kitchen. The luscious red color does add some extra sparkle to our food — be it our favorite red velvet cake, a holiday-themed Frappuccino, or even ketchup. However, that red color doesn’t come as easily as you would think.
Believe it or not but that perfect red shade comes from crushed cochineal insects. Factories collect these little insects and crush them up. Then, they mix the crushed up insects with powder and water. Some of them are also made from coal or petroleum.
The non-dairy creamer is truly a wonder product. This creamer can stay in your pantry for weeks or even months. Though it’s used to give our coffee or tea that milky, creamy taste we all love, the product has no trace of milk in it.
The non-dairy creamer is made of corn syrup solids, a milk protein named casein, and many diglycerides and monoglycerides. These ingredients enable the creamer to mix well with liquid. So, the moral here is that although these creamers have a great shelf life, you’re not actually getting any milk out of them.
Let’s walk you through the process of how nuggets are made, because why not! First, there’s a de-boning department in which the chicken breasts are removed from the whole chicken. Then the chicken breasts are trimmed.
They are grounded up and blended with seasoning and chicken skin. Then, the chicken paste is shaped into different required shapes before they are battered and fried partially. Lastly, they are frozen and shipped to different places.
Marshmallows speak celebration and they are included in some of the best treats — s’mores, Rice Krispies treats, Lucky Charms. What you may have not known, though, is that marshmallows are made of sugar, gelatin, and water. Although it may seem like there’s nothing wrong with them, one of the ingredients used does have some secrets.
The gelatin used in making the marshmallows are made of different parts of innocent animals including bones, tissues, skin, and hooves. The animals have to suffer in making this gelatin, which is then used in making different foods, like marshmallows.
The process of making ground beef is truly horrifying. The cows are stunned with electric current and shot with a pistol or carbon dioxide. Then, the cows are slaughtered before the facilities and factories remove the internal organs.
The carcass is cut in half and hung in a cooler after being sprayed with water or chemicals. This increases the flavor and further tenderizes the beef. From there starts the grounding and packaging process.
Who doesn’t love jelly beans? They’re a colorful concoction of sugar, after all — or so we all thought. We’re sorry to break it to you but our next fact will probably make eating jelly beans a whole lot less pleasurable now.
So, let’s not beat around the bush — jelly beans are shiny because they’re coated in shellac, which is a resin that’s secreted by the female lac bug (laccifer lacca) after it drinks the sap of trees.
The orange color that makes the oranges so appealing is due to citrus red applied to them. The citrus red keeps the oranges fresh and attractive. This is a trick to increase the shelf life of the fruits, which shouldn’t be more than a few days.
The citrus red does its job perfectly but it is harmful to us, as it’s proven to be carcinogenic. Carcinogens may increase the risk of cancer by altering cellular metabolism or damaging DNA directly in cells.
Castoreum is a natural flavor that’s used to substitute vanilla. Castoreum is used in place of real vanilla in many desserts — including ice cream, pudding, and brownies.
Well, what you may find surprising is that castoreum comes from the beaver’s castor sac, located between the pelvis and base of the tail. Knowing this now, how do you feel about eating that big bowl of ice cream you just served yourself?
We all know soft drinks are not the healthiest of choices out there, yet we still pair them with our burgers or pizzas. Here’s a fact that might make you rethink the soda fountain you’ve grown accustomed to. Recent studies have found that these soda fountains — which dispense all types of soft drinks that quench our thirst and cravings — could also contain fecal bacteria.
According to a study published in the January issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, nearly half of the 90 beverages from soda fountain machines in one area in Virginia tested positive for coliform bacteria, which could indicate possible fecal contamination. Are you rethinking that order of Coke now?
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that your body makes, and it plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. Many food manufacturers have begun making their foods extremely addictive by pumping their products full of sugar.
Having that sugar could release dopamine, the feel-good hormone in the brain, which associates that food with pleasure — causing the body to crave more. This, in turn, increases the demand. So, keep this in mind when you’re ordering from a fast-food restaurant or buying snacks from the store.
By now, you’ve probably realized that the snacks and candies we eat are full of harmful ingredients, preservatives, and artificial flavoring. But, let’s get specific! Firstly, the shine that many candies and chocolates have is due to a substance called lac.
Lac — or shellac, as many know it — functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odor-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Of course, there are other ingredients mixed with the shellac to create those products but it’s not at all comforting to know that shellac is also in the snacks we eat. And that’s also because we’ve learned that lac is sourced from a female insect. So, long story short, the candies that you munch on during Halloween are sourced from a bug.
Gelatin is used to make different kinds of desserts — like ice cream, yogurt, Jell-O, and other sweet treats. However, the gelatin used to make these products are made from — you guessed it — animal parts.
These animal parts include bones, skin, and ligaments. Those parts are boiled to make gelatin, which is also oftentimes used to make beauty products including face masks and shampoos.
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ piece of steak and mashed potatoes? Because many of us don’t eat steak every day, it’s definitely a special treat. However, what if we told you that the steak you’ve been buying may not actually be just one cut of meat? At times, the steak flanks that you find at the grocery store are made with several chunks of meat. Now, how is the meat combined to form one whole flank? Well, there’s a special meat glue that’s used.
Meat glue is a food additive used to improve the texture and appearance of foods like processed meats. Though major food safety organizations consider it safe, some health concerns surround it, including an increased risk of bacterial contamination. Meat glue is used in several types of foods including imitation crab meat, chicken nuggets, and fish balls. It also creates reconstituted steaks, fillets, roasts, and cutlets
Before diving into what’s wrong with this product, let’s first talk about what it is. L-Cysteine is a type of amino acid that’s used to prolong shelf-life in products such as commercial bread. L-Cysteine can be found in duck and chicken feathers and cow horns. However, what’s mostly used in food comes from human hair.
It has been reported that most of the hair used to make L-Cysteine comes from China, where it’s gathered from barbershops and hair salons. Luckily, you can avoid L-Cysteine by buying fresh bread from a local baker, as it’s not an additive in flour.
Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely used food pigments. An odorless powder, titanium dioxide enhances the white color or opacity of foods and over-the-counter products including chewing gum, coffee creamers, candies, sunscreen, and toothpaste.
It’s also used in different food packaging to increase the shelf life as well as various types of cosmetics and beauty products. Although it’s considered safe for consumption to date, it’s important to be aware of its effects, so make sure you read the labels before buying a product.
Oregano is one of the most beloved herbs. People use it in pizza, pasta sauce, and whatnot. The flavor enhances the food’s taste and value. It’s a favorite in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine. Oregano is one of the components of chili powder.
We’re not the only ones to love oregano, though. It happens to also be a favorite for other species. Aphids and spider mites sometimes infest oregano plants. There are around 1200 insects in about 10 grams of oregano. On average, about 300 fragments of insects are present. If you have your own plant at home, you can control mild infestations with a strong spray of water from a hose every other day until the insects are gone.
Cinnamon is an absolute must for so many dishes and desserts. The flavor makes the dish more flavorful. However, the time has come to bid cinnamon goodbye for good. Why? Well, this spice actually contains animal feces — and the FDA allows it! The amount of excrement permitted varies from food to food.
Many spices and herbs including pepper, thyme, hot peppers, cinnamon bark, and oregano have a limit of one milligram of excrement per pound of food. And while it’s a very small fraction of excrement, how does it make you feel knowing this now?
Dry fruits — one of the most recommended foods by health experts. Doctors often recommend that people make dried fruit a regular part of their diet. Why? Well, dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage, and reduced risk of many diseases.
Still, there are some downsides, at least in the case of raisins. According to studies, there are about 40 milligrams of sand in 100 grams of raisins. Now, these dry fruits may be healthy, but what do we do about the sand?
It’s no secret that wheat is one of the world’s most commonly consumed cereal grains. White and whole-wheat flour are key ingredients in baked goods, such as bread. Other wheat-based foods include pasta, noodles, semolina, bulgur, and couscous.
What you probably didn’t know, though, is that wheat can contain up to an average of nine rodent poop pellets per kilogram (or about four pellets/pound). And popcorn, which the FDA also permits rodents to gnaw on a bit, can contain up to one poop pellet in a subsample. Gross!
Peanut butter is a household favorite — whether you’re in the mood to make a PB&J sandwich, peanut butter cookies, or even an Asian peanut butter sauce. Well, if you use it a lot, here is a horrifying fact that may change your future choices.
There is rodent hair in every 100 grams of peanut butter. Still, peanut butter is one of the most controlled foods on the FDA list. An average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments are allowed for every 100 grams, which is 3.5 ounces. The typical serving size for peanut butter is two tablespoons, unless you slather! So perhaps you shouldn’t give up peanut butter altogether!
There’s no need to explain what a brew or ale is, or why it’s so widely consumed. Some people just cannot cut these drinks from their lives. However, we have sourced a fact that might reduce the beverage’s position in your life.
One of the components of the drink is isinglass — a type of gelatin that’s taken from swim bladders of certain tropical and subtropical fish. Isinglass finings are widely used as a processing aid in the British brewing industry to accelerate the fining, or clarification, of the beverage.
Salami is a cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meat. During the process, makers hang the salami in warm and humid conditions to encourage the fermenting bacteria to grow, before hanging it in a cool, humid environment to dry out. The bacteria that grows throughout this process produces lactic acid, which makes the meat an inhospitable environment for pathogenic bacteria. This makes the food safe to eat.
That is unless meat mites, beetles, and maggots find their way to the salami, as they feed on the surface of cured meat. Only a small number are necessary to begin a damaging infestation. And no insecticides can be applied directly to infested meats, meaning that proper measures must be taken to prevent infestation.
Kopi luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. The extraction process of this coffee is what makes it so expensive — not to mention gross. The coffee consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by an animal known as the Asian palm civet.
A small to medium-sized mammal, the palm civet is native to South and Southeast Asia. Producers of this coffee bean argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms including selection – civets choosing to eat only certain cherries — and digestion.
Now, it’s time for us to ruin honey for you. Raw honey can contain spores of the bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is especially harmful to babies or children under the age of one. Why?
The bacteria can actually cause botulism poisoning that can, in turn, result in life-threatening paralysis. However, botulism is very rare among healthy adults and older children.
Casu Marzu Cheese
All you cheese lovers may very well be horrified by this next fact. What you see here is known as Casu Marzu, which can be translated into maggot cheese. If the sight of hundreds of tiny worms crawling around in your cheese doesn’t upset you, then you have an iron will.
To end up with this kind of cheese, the top half is sliced off so that flies can lay eggs inside, which then grow into larvae that consume the fat in the cheese. The final result is a cheese with a creamy texture on the verge of being classified as rotten. The cheese is eaten when the maggots are alive, as it’s considered unsafe when the maggots have perished.
We rely on the FDA to ensure that the food we eat is safe, right? However, facts like these can truly destroy our faith. Manufacturers are legally allowed to sell curry powder that has 100 insect fragments in every 25 grams.
The FDA completely allows these insects in our food. The reason is that even the most efficient modern technology cannot fully eliminate the defects. These are considered allowable defects by the FDA.
As yummy as they are, shrimps are actually one of the grossest types of seafood you could eat. They are found contaminated with different kinds of pesticides, chemicals, and cockroaches. And when we say chemicals, we mean the ones that have been banned.
So, you can imagine the extent of toxins and harm they contain. The main reason for this is the poor farmed conditions they are raised in. If you’ve ever eaten shrimp, then you’ve eaten the feces of several different animals — and humans! Are you gagging yet?
Salads are often people’s go-to meal. After all, they’re healthy and fairly easy to prepare. Just take the lettuce and vegetables, and cut everything up before drizzling the dressing. If you don’t even want to do that, you can buy the pre-packed salads, which most people do.
However, there’s also a risk with the fresh produce, as they contain all sorts of bacteria. This is more evident in the case of pre-packed salads. So, always make sure to wash your produce thoroughly.
Lemons are a perfect ingredient in almost anything. You can make salad dressing, you can marinate meats, you can add it for some zest or extra flavor in any dish, and then there’s lemon juice.
However, lemons contain high fecal content. So, next time you’re peeling a lemon, make sure to properly wash it beforehand.
Broccoli is a staple vegetable in almost any and every healthy diet plan. However, if the broccoli itself is contaminated, then what’s the point in a healthy diet plan?
There are about 60 mites, thrips, or aphids in every 100 grams of broccoli. It’s almost like you might have to call pest management to clean your broccoli so you can actually start a healthy and safe diet.
Chocolate bars are the perfect celebratory dessert — or so we thought. It turns out that chocolate bars contain an average of eight insect legs in them. We guess we’re not really in the celebratory mood, after all.
Well, we’re trying a lot of new things this year. So, with that, maybe this year we completely move away from chocolate. It might hurt, but who wants to eat insect legs?
What’s more perfect than a can of tomato paste when you’re making pasta or pizza? Little did we know, though, that the process of making tomato paste is a bit of a hassle — a hassle that we definitely wouldn’t want to undertake.
Maybe after hearing the fact that we’re about to mention, you will lean towards making your own homemade tomato paste. It turns out that canned tomato pastes contain around 45% percent of mold. In other words, almost half of the can is mold. Gross, and highly dangerous!
We all enjoy food every day but even the savviest home chefs don’t know every food fact out there. Still, there’s an interesting story behind a lot of the food that you might enjoy almost every day! These are some of the most interesting food facts that we learned and just couldn’t stop thinking about.
Everyone has seen the images of the men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, taking the first steps on the moon. It marked an amazing advancement in science.
However, these men also had the chance to enjoy a meal on the moon or, at least, in space right after the first steps on the moon in 1969. The food served at this meal included peaches, squares of bacon, sugar cookie cubes, a pineapple grapefruit drink, and coffee.
Spaghetti or Spaghetto
Spaghetti is a favorite all around the world. Not to mention, it’s a popular choice among families because a basic spaghetti recipe is a quick and easy dish.
However, you might be surprised to learn that this food name is plural! The definition of the word spaghetti refers to the dish as a whole. So, what would be the word to describe a single noodle for spaghetti? The singular form of this word is actually spaghetto.
The Magic of Sesame Seeds
There are some food items that we eat that actually have a rich history of interpretation. This includes the sesame seeds that you’d see on a hamburger bun.
Sesame seeds were once highly valuable. This is partially because some cultures throughout history have regarded sesame seeds as symbols of good fortune, good luck, or even more magical properties. It’s interesting to see how something once regarded as so highly valuable is now a commonly used ingredient.
When you think of asparagus, you probably picture it wrapped up in the grocery store or even roasted on a plate. This food has an interesting origin, though.
Asparagus grows straight out of the ground and can dwarf the results that you see on your plate. The largest asparagus in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, belongs to Susan Mast in Washington. It measures out to 11 feet and 7.7 inches tall.
There are certain things about food that you always expect and if they’re wrong, it can be off-putting. For instance, a food that’s the wrong color can seem jarring at first glance.
A great example of this food phenomenon is that you always expect carrots to be orange. After all, they always have been, right? Actually, this might not be the case at all! Earlier in history, carrots were purple! In the 17th century, Dutch farmers cultivated mutated carrots, including the orange color we’re used to today.
You Probably Don’t Have Real Wasabi
When sushi is served up, it’s usually accompanied by some pickled ginger and a dollop of wasabi. That is, that’s what comes with your sushi in theory.
Genuine wasabi isn’t as easy to come by as it seems. First, it’s hard to grow. In addition, it’s also an expensive ingredient that is ideally eaten within 15 minutes of being grated onto the plate. The “wasabi” that most places serve with their sushi is actually just horseradish with green dye in it.
The Birth of the Pound Cake
Pound cake is a versatile dessert component. It’s tasty enough to enjoy on its own but it also pairs well with other foods like fruits, ricotta, nuts, whipped cream, and more.
Yet, where did this food get its odd name? The name actually refers to the original recipe. When pound cake originally came into creation in 1975, the recipe called for a pound of each ingredient. This included a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs, and a pound of sugar.
Behind Banana Flavoring
If you’ve ever had a banana-flavored candy, you’ve probably been surprised at the results. It usually doesn’t taste much like a banana at all!
Well, once upon a time it did taste like bananas! There’s a theory that the banana flavoring that many companies use today actually comes from a recipe that mimics bananas that have since gone extinct. We’ll never know, though, because this type of banana, Gros Michel bananas, aren’t commercially grown anymore.
A New Butterfinger
If there’s one candy that often doesn’t get enough attention, it’s Butterfinger. Still, the candy bar is a favorite for many people looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Despite the fact that Butterfingers have been in production since 1923, they haven’t always been the same. Actually, the formula for Butterfinger was changed as recently as 2018! While the recipe came to be the one that Butterfinger relied on, it wasn’t always popular. Some people are really unhappy with the results.
America’s First Cake
In today’s world, there are few types of food that grace American tables as frequently for dessert like a chocolate cake. Whether it’s to satisfy a craving or to celebrate events, it’s a popular choice.
However, there’s a first for everything and the chocolate cake wasn’t always in the United States. According to records, the first-mentioned chocolate cake showed up in America during the 1800s. This was a mahogany cake with ermine frosting. Another food fact for this, ermine frosting was popular before cream cheese frosting.
Temporary Bans on Sliced Bread
We’ve all heard the saying comparing various things to the invention of sliced bread. Sliced bread has a surprising history behind it, to many people’s shock.
One food fact about sliced bread that’s particularly unexpected is that it was once banned by the FDA in the United States. While it was first introduced in 1928, the FDA banned it in 1943. This was because it used plastic that was valuable to the war effort. Due to public outrage, the ban only lasted for three months.
Ritter Chocolate Bars Shape
If you’re a chocolate fan, you’ve probably at least seen a Ritter Chocolate Bar. They stand out from other candy bars because they opt for a square rather than a rectangular shape.
This isn’t just to make them stand out on the shelf, though. The chocolate bars were actually designed in a square so that this could slip into a jacket pocket without breaking apart. Ritter has even won a German lawsuit that only allowed them to sell a square chocolate bar.
The Great Molasses Flood
When we think of food, we often think of our favorites or what food we’re craving. You might not think right away that food could cause a disaster.
Unfortunately, it can! In fact, one strange food disaster occurred in 1919: the Great Molasses Flood. This incident involved more a storage tank with more than 2 million gallons of molasses inside. When it exploded, Boston suffered damaged or crushed buildings and flooded streets. There were 21 fatalities and 150 more injuries.
Girl Scout Cookie Differences
If you’ve lived in a few different places around the map, you might have noticed that your Girl Scouts cookie order has changed a bit. Maybe the name and recipe might seem slightly different.
This is because the formulas for Girl Scout Cookies aren’t uniform all over the place. In fact, they’re split between two bakeries. This has led to dual names and varying recipes that make them slightly different. For example, this is why you might buy Samoas in one state but buy Caramel deLites instead after you move.
Cilantro and Coriander
When you’re learning your way around food, adding herbs and seasonings can be intimidating. After all, there are so many different options out there!
On the other hand, there are some ingredients that are more alike than you might think. For instance, cilantro and fresh coriander look identical when they’re placed side-by-side. That’s actually because these are the same thing! Coriander and cilantro are practically interchangeable names for one plant. Coriander seeds come from the same plant as well.
Lobsters Weren’t Always a Luxury
There are certain food items that we associate with luxury. For instance, there’s no way to teach the modern person to feel luxurious as an order of lobster.
This wasn’t actually always the case. Back during the colonial era, crustaceans like crabs and lobsters were widely fished and, thus, widely available. Since they were common, they weren’t a symbol of wealth. Then, lobster was more likely to grace the plate of a prisoner than to be fed to kings.
Peaches and Nectarines
Earlier, we looked at cilantro and coriander. These two terms turned out to be named for one plant. They aren’t the only food items like this.
The same general principle applies to nectarines and peaches. They’re the same plant but their genes determine their identifying characteristics. Peaches feature the dominant gene and nectarines feature the recessive one. This determines whether or not the skin of the fruit is fuzzy or not but both grow from the same parent plant.
Hawaiian Pizza From Canada
If there’s one highly controversial pizza choice, it’s Hawaiian pizza. After all, people tend to have strong opinions about pineapple on pizza.
No matter where you stand on the issue of pineapple on pizza, you’re probably surprised to learn that this dish isn’t from Hawaii at all. Instead, Hawaiian pizza has its origins in Canada. The pizza was the product of a cook named Sam Panopoulos. He was offering a novelty option for Canadians who were still staying fairly conservative with their pizzas.
The Story Behind Spam
Spam is a food that people tend to either love or avoid. It can be fashioned into some tasty dishes but some still see it as something to eat when there are no other options.
One tall tale states that the name Spam is actually an acronym for Scientifically Processed Animal Matter. You’ll be happy to know that the real reason for the name is much less upsetting. Instead of an acronym, Spam is just two words mashed together. The “Sp” comes from “spice” and the “am” comes from “ham.”
George Washington and Carrot Cake
There are times when food intersects with historical events. After all, food comes into play in every part of human history since it’s a basic human need.
In 1783, George Washington and his troops were celebrating British Evacuation Day. While there was a lot of planning ahead, Washington did take time to celebrate. He went to the Fraunces Tavern in New York to enjoy some carrot cake. This would have been an unfrosted tea cake instead of the modern, sweet, and frosted carrot cake.
Jelly or Jam?
Unlike the fresh coriander and cilantro point, some food names that seem interchangeable actually have distinct meanings. Take jelly and jam as an example.
There are plenty of people who would use these two names for both of the food items. However, there is a difference between the two. Jelly has three main ingredients: fruit juice, pectin, and sugar. Jam has these ingredients as well but swaps out the fruit juice for actual fruit which is mashed to create the jam.
Allspice Isn’t All Spices
There are certain names that you hear for food items and other items that make sense. They’re just self-explanatory and tell you exactly what they are.
As for food items, it seems like allspice would be a mix of other spices. It even reminds some of cinnamon and nutmeg when it’s ground and sold as a seasoning. Conversely, allspice is actually a fruit in its own right. When that fruit is ground up, you get the ground allspice in your spice cabinet.
Don’t Snack on Raw Cashews
There are certain food items that people eat all the time that are lethal in massive doses. It’s an interesting position to balance between what we can eat and what we can’t.
One thing that we definitely can’t eat is the shells of raw cashews. They contain urushiol, a compound that’s toxic to humans. This is why the cashews you might pick up at the store have gone through a rigorous steaming or roasting process in manufacturing to remove the urushiol.
Sour Candy and Swedish Fish
There are countless recipes out there, so it only makes sense that some would overlap. There are some food items that are surprisingly similar, though.
Two candies that people enjoy that don’t seem similar at first include Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish. These two candies actually use the same base recipe for the gummy candy itself. The only difference between them is the shape they’re molded into and Sour Patch Kids get a sour coat.
Careful With Rhubarb Leaves
We’ve already seen food items that aren’t as safe for human consumption in their raw form as you’d think. There are other poisonous components to popular ingredients too.
Another example comes from the rhubarb plant. Specifically, rhubarb leaves can prove poisonous to humans. This is because these leaves, when raw, contain something called oxalic acid. This can be lethal to humans but you don’t have to worry too much. You’d have to eat quite a few raw rhubarb leaves to feel the effects.
German Chocolate Cake
There are a variety of cakes out there for those with a sweet tooth to sample. Plus, if you’re interested in food history, these recipes often have an interesting tale to tell.
For one, you probably think that German chocolate cake comes from Germany. Otherwise, why would it be in the name? This isn’t actually the case! The name comes from the name of the man who invented the baking chocolate used in this type of cake, Sam German. German chocolate cake actually originated in Texas.
Invented by Mistake
There are countless kinds of cake out there if you’re craving sweet food. For Midwesterners, the option of St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake is a classic choice.
Yet, it wasn’t always around. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even invented on purpose! Back in the 1930s, a baker in St. Louis was working on a coffee cake. However, he made the mistake of using the wrong measurement of butter. Instead of tossing the result, it became St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake.
The Truth About Cookie Monster
It’s interesting to see how much food has made its way into pop culture. For example, who doesn’t think of Cookie Monster from time to time when they see cookies?
There’s a secret behind Cookie Monster, though. The “cookies” that you see him eat on Sesame Street aren’t cookies at all! Using real cookies would damage the puppet with too much grease. To solve this problem, the show’s creator’s swapped out real cookies for rice cakes painted to look like chocolate chip cookies.
American food is interesting because it’s often a mix of different cultural recipes. However, there are certain types of food associated with specific regions.
As for one of the western-most states, California, actually had one of its first recorded instances of California cuisine during the Gold Rush in the 1800s, prompting mass westward migration. The dish became known as Hangtown fry. This is an omelet complete with not only the traditional choices of eggs and bacon but oysters as well.
The Secret of Fruity Pebbles
Anyone who appreciates a sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast has probably given Fruity Pebbles a try. There’s just something that sets this classic choice apart from the competition.
If you’ve ever wondered how these cereal bites are made, you don’t have to wonder much longer! In the manufacturing process, the main ingredient in the dish is actually grains of white rice. They’ve just been flattened and puffed up again with both coloring dye and flavoring added to give them the classic taste.
PETA’s Influence on Animal Crackers
Over the course of marketing history, there have been changes to company packaging for a variety of reasons. In the end, the companies want to appeal to as many people as possible.
Sometimes, a change may come as public perception of an issue changes. That’s why the box for animal crackers now may look different from when you were young. Nabisco changed the box after its art was flagged by PETA since the animals were in cages like at a circus. Now, the animals are roaming free.
From Frozen Soda to Popsicles
No matter how old you are, a popsicle on a hot summer day is a great way to cool off. Yet, these necessary snacks were another accidental food invention.
The name behind Popsicle is actually Frank Epperson. Interestingly, the first time he figured the formula out, he was only 11 years old. In 1905, he had a cup of soda but forgot it on the back porch overnight where it froze. The result was actually tasty and later in life, he would patent the Popsicle.
There are certain foods that we enjoy every day without recognizing how much work it takes to get them in our kitchens. This includes the time it takes for fruits and veggies to mature.
One particularly surprisingly long growth period goes to the pineapple you picked up from the produce section. To get large enough to mature completely and sold to a consumer, a pineapple is two to three years in the making. That means there are a few years of work behind every pineapple!
A Change in McDonald’s Fries
When you’re trying to avoid meat, it’s hard to monitor all the elements where animal products come into play. Would you have known to avoid french fries before 1990?
Well, the french fries sold at McDonald’s, at least. Before this point, the french fries were always cooked in beef fat. In 1990, McDonald’s switched over to the use of vegetable oil in the place of beef fat. This was part of a growing effort for the fast-food chain to appear healthier.
Vanilla Beans Take a While
Pineapples are far from the only food item that takes a while to make it to your table. Another example is the growth of vanilla beans, the core of vanilla flavoring.
Genuine vanilla, that is, takes a lot of time and work to create for consumers. For one, it takes a vanilla plant a minimum of three years to mature before it will even produce a vanilla bean. Plus, the flowers of the plant are only open for pollination a single day after blooming.
Costco’s Best Sellers
Costco has a lot of great selling points for members. Aside from large orders of products, Costco members can enjoy a snack or even a meal while they shop.
In fact, the best-selling items at Costco include their food court hot dogs, rotisserie chicken, and bacon. The only non-food item that beats them out is toilet paper. On top of that, the chicken and hot dogs have both stayed at the same price now as when they debuted over ten years ago.
Thank Mistakes for Toll House
As we’ve learned so far, the mistakes made in food are sometimes golden ideas. Some of your favorite snacks wouldn’t be possible without one person’s mistake.
This actually includes the Toll House cookie dough that you pick up at the store. In 1930, the owner of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, Ruth Wakefield, added semisweet chocolate chips to her cookie dough. She expected them to melt but they actually held their shape! Later, she sold the recipe to Nestle.
Fruit Salad Trees?
Fruit salad is a great snack to turn to when you want something a little sweet but much healthier than the average candy bar to fix this craving.
Fruit salads are also great because they have a lot of variety. There are plenty of different types of fruit from a variety of plants that go into a fruit salad. That is all this food used to be spread out across multiple plants. In Australia, a fruit salad tree with up to six fruit types was actually developed.
Quinoa is a popular ingredient anymore and for good reason! It’s a tasty food to add to a dish and it’s fairly good for you, making it even better.
The plant quinoa comes from, seen here, isn’t how most people picture it, though. The seeds of the plant are actually what you eat. Yet, the seeds are inaccessible until the quinoa plant flowers. This means that it isn’t until later on in the process that quinoa can be harvested.
Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Cups
Reese’s has been a successful name in candy for quite some time. In fact, there are plenty of different types of Reese’s candy that you can snack on when you need something sweet.
Not all of these food items are as similar as you might think, though. The filling that Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups isn’t the same. Another interesting food fact about Reese’s Pieces is that every box or bag of candy is broken down to about 25% yellow, 25% brown, and 50% orange pieces.
Don’t Eat Too Much Nutmeg
Most people have a bottle of ground nutmeg in their cabinet. After all, it’s a useful tool to shake up the flavor of a number of different food items.
Still, you won’t want to overdo it – especially with nutmeg. The seasoning actually contains myristicin which isn’t great for humans. The results of ingestion of too much myristicin include hallucinatory results. The good news is that you’d need to ingest a lot of nutmeg to experience any of these adverse effects.
Plenty of Veggies From One Plant
There are plenty of vegetables out there. Even the pickiest eater can find a plant they love! At least, a product of a plant that they love with their food.
You might be surprised to learn that cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower are all from one plant! They come from the Brassica oleracea. Over a few hundred years, the plant was selectively bred, ensuring that it produced plenty of different types of veggies. That’s a pretty powerful plant!
On a Roll
Any inventor who creates a food most people love is already impressive. When you create multiple foods, though, you’ve earned your place in culinary history.
The latter situation is the case for William A. Mitchell. Originally from Minnesota, he invented quite a few items almost everyone is familiar with. This includes Tang, Pop Rocks, and Cool Whip. Even more interestingly, his daughter, Cheryl, would go on to help create plant-based milk in the form of products like Rice Dream rice milk.
McDonald’s Onion Nuggets
There are few fast food companies as recognizable as McDonald’s. Not only that, their McNuggets are nearly synonymous with the name of their brand.
The chicken nuggets weren’t always the only nugget option the fast-food joint offered. Later in the 1970s, onion nuggets were test run. These were bite-sized bits of onion that were deep-fried. The “Onion Nuggets” made their debut in select markets but never took off, paving the way for chicken McNuggets later which performed much better.
Introducing Sequin Salad
Looking at cookbooks throughout the 1900s, especially the 1970s, the love for gelatin is clear. There was no shortage of recipes in which food was suspended in gelatin molds.
In the 1950s, Jell-O actually advertised their first gelatin recipe. This was called sequin salad. Sequin salad featured lime Jell-O. As for the food suspended inside of it, the recipe relied on cauliflower and red peppers. Both of these ingredients were soaked in vinegar before their introduction to the Jell-O.