Jest a Moment column: A short timeline of food history
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
In honor of World Food Day on Oct. 16, here is a brief timeline of some lesser-known moments in food history:
A.D. 79: Lone survivor of Mt. Vesuvius volcanic eruption relocates to find work in Italian bakery and the Lava Cake is born.
1195: Royal cook meets with King Richard, recovering from severe bout of acne, to discuss new menu items for upcoming commemorative banquet. Creates popular pudding, Spotted Dick.
1453: Brutal Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler invents the shish kabob.
1805: Admiral Lord Nelson inadvertently creates a name for a popular breakfast meal when asked to predict the outcome of England’s naval campaign with France in the Battle of Trafalgar. “French? Toast!” he reportedly says.
1851: Yorkshire sheepherder accidentally falls into a large grinder while working in an automated food-masher factory. Favorite local meat and potato dish renamed Shepherd’s Pie.
1894: Podiatrist brother of John Harvey Kellogg suggests use for growing a collection of small calluses scraped from patients’ feet and Corn Flakes created.
1909: Absent-minded Idaho chef prepares the first twice-baked potato.
1912: Rotund U.S. President William Howard Taft stops by White House kitchen for an evening snack and inadvertently sits on meat and cheese pot pie left on a chair. Observant staff chef immediately resigns to form first American pizza franchise.
1915: After visiting Fort Yukon on the hottest day (100 °F) in state’s history, Anchorage dessert chef conceives Baked Alaska.
1919: Airline company serves the first meal to passengers during the London to Paris route creating what would become universally known as plain food.
1924: Italian-American restaurateur notices wife mixing romaine lettuce with parmesan cheese, croutons, anchovies and Worcestershire sauce. Creates new leafy greens dish when he … sees her salad.
1837: Group of U.S. senators talk endlessly on the Senate floor during first filibuster and the waffle is invented.
1942: Moe, Larry and Curly perfect fastest known pie delivery service.
1953: Swanson markets the first TV dinner ensuring the proliferation of couch potatoes for generations.
1971: Post cereal corporation introduces Fruity Pebbles. Despite high mineral content, the product is largely unpopular with consumers until the company replaces the small fruit-infused rocks with flavored crisp rice bits.
Nick Thomas has written features, columns, and interviews for over 850 newspapers and magazines. See www.getnickt.org.