Friday, December 03, 2004

Carolyn Wyman's Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed the Way We Eat.

I'm not sure why I checked this out but this book gives the skinny on 46 types of processed food/drink/semi-digestibles including Twinkies, Pringles, Kool-Aid, Cheez Whiz, Clamato, and Tang.

Apparently Pringles gets its name from a street in Finneytown.

Clamato is 99.9% clam-free.

Ataullah Durani, the inventor of Minute Rice, was a member of the Afghan royal family and became a star in Hollywood. He gave up the royal and acting life to experiment on rice.

Jim Jones did not use Kool Aid for the Jonestown Massacre. Apparently he was too cheap to spring for the real stuff and gave his followers grape Flavor Aid (at least according to Kool Aid execs).

Lawyers stopped Screw Magazine from publishing photos of Pillsbury's Poppin' Fresh Doughboy enjoying "lovin' from the oven" (after David Souter's 1994 Supreme Court decision protecting parody, you could get away with it today).

Lipton Cup-a-Soup was used in the first fatal case of food tampering with a packet of chicken noodle soup laced with cyanide in 1986 (I'm not sure how they figured this—obviously food has been poisoned in the past but this must have been the first known case when someone did it in a store to a random stranger).

According to Michael J. Weiss's Latitudes and Attitudes, consumption of Twinkies is linked to diets of bacon, malt liquor, and bacon (as well as the consumer enjoying professional wrestling, country music, and chewing tobacco).

Discontinued Jell-O flavors include celery, mixed vegetables,, coffee, cola, bubble gum, cinnamon, and Italian salad.

General Foods created Pop-Tarts while working on a moist non-spoiling dog food.

Hawaiian Punch had such a small advertising budget that when it premiered they only had enough money for one television commercial during the Tonight Show. Jack Paar was so amazed by Punchy's antics that he ran the commercial repeatedly for free, boosting sales through the roof.

It's heavily illustrated--See the evolution of the Kool Aid packet over the years, starting with an old newspaper style 1930s version offering "10 Glasses . . . [of] Sherbet" to the obnoxious Kool Aid Man of today. See junk food ads from the 1920s. See a photo of the original Beer Nuts factory. See George and Gracie hawking Spam.

If you have any taste at all, avoid this book. I couldn't put it down.

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