Did You Know . . . ?

Jan 4th

Oh happy day! It’s SATURDAY!  That means it is NO ALARM CLOCK DAY!  It means I actually got some rest . . . sleeping in is always a wonderful thing.  Today I am finally starting the De-Christmas the house process.  This always takes awhile since we take the decorations to an extreme. OK, I take decorations to an extreme.  Every conceivable surface is covered . . . which is awesome when setting it up . . . not so awesome when taking it down.  I’ve been dreading this all week long, but it must be done and the time is now. *sigh*

Trivia Day – People have always loved learning little tidbits of information about a variety of things.  It doesn’t have to be important information, but it helps if it is unique.  For many years the game Trivial Pursuit has come out with different variations on its theme, with different topics showcased for specific interests.  People have won lots of money on games like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy with brains stuffed full of trivia!    When I was researching for this one, I found SO many interesting trivia facts that my brain was spinning.  Here are a few food trivia tidbits for you, but to get a WHOLE bunch of them on lots of topics, click this link and happy reading!  I just spent the last hour that I should have been writing, reading a bunch off to my hubby.

A honey bee must tap two million flowers to make one pound of honey.
A typical American eats 28 pigs in his/her lifetime.
Americans consumed over 3.1 billion pounds of chocolate in 2001, which is almost half of the total world’s production.
Americans spend approximately $25 billion each year on beer.
Americans spent an estimated $267 billion dining out in 1993.
An etiquette writer of the 1840’s advised, “Ladies may wipe their lips on the tablecloth, but not blow their noses on it.”
China’s Beijing Duck Restaurant can seat 9,000 people at one time.
Chocolate manufacturers currently use 40 percent of the world’s almonds and 20 percent of the world’s peanuts.
During World War II, bakers in the United States were ordered to stop selling sliced bread for the duration of the war on January 18, 1943. Only whole loaves were made available to the public. It was never explained how this action helped the war effort.
Fortune cookies were invented in 1916 by George Jung, a Los Angeles noodle maker.
Fried chicken is the most popular meal ordered in sit-down restaurants in the US. The next in popularity are: roast beef, spaghetti, turkey, baked ham, and fried shrimp.
Hostess Twinkies were invented in 1931 by James Dewar, manager of Continental Bakeries’ Chicago factory. He envisioned the product as a way of using the company’s thousands of shortcake pans which were otherwise employed only during the strawberry season. Originally called Little Shortcake Fingers, they were renamed Twinkie Fingers, and finally “Twinkies.”
In 1990, Bill Carson, of Arrington, Tennessee, grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds that is still on the record books according to the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
In 1995, KFC sold 11 pieces of chicken for every man, woman and child in the US.
In an authentic Chinese meal, the last course is soup because it allows the roast duck entree to “swim” toward digestion.
In the United States, a pound of potato chips costs two hundred times more than a pound of potatoes.
Nabisco’s “Oreo’s” are the world’s best-selling brand of cookie at a rate of 6 billion sold each year. The first Oreo was sold in 1912.
Per capita, the Irish eat more chocolate than Americans, Swedes, Danes, French, and Italians.
Persians first began using colored eggs to celebrate spring in 3,000 B.C. 13th century Macedonians were the first Christians on record to use colored eggs in Easter celebrations. Crusaders returning from the Middle East spread the custom of coloring eggs, and Europeans began to use them to celebrate Easter and other warm weather holidays.
Pine, spruce, or other evergreen wood should never be used in barbecues. These woods, when burning or smoking, can add harmful tar and resins to the food. Only hardwoods should be used for smoking and grilling, such as oak, pecan, hickory, maple, cherry, alder, apple, or mesquite, depending on the type of meat being cooked.
Potato chips are American’s favorite snack food.  They are devoured at a rate of 1.2 billion pounds a year.
Research show that only 43% of homemade dinners served in the US include vegetables.
Rice is the staple food of more than one-half of the world’s population.
Saffron, made from the dried stamens of cultivated crocus flowers, is the most expensive cooking spice.
The average child will eat 1,500 PB sandwiches by high school graduation.
The bubbles in Guinness beer sink to the bottom rather than float to the top as in other beers.
The FDA allows an average of 30 or more insect fragments and one or more rodent hairs per 100 grams of peanut butter.
The first ring donuts were produced in 1847 by a 15 year old baker’s apprentice, Hanson Gregory, who knocked the soggy center out of a fried doughnut.
The largest item on any menu in the world is probably the roast camel, sometimes served at Bedouin wedding feasts. The camel is stuffed with a sheep’s carcass, which is stuffed with chickens, which are stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs.  (Makes Turduckhen seem a trifle tame, doesn’t it?)
The largest living organism ever found is a honey mushroom, Armillaria ostoyae. It covers 3.4 square miles of land in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, and it’s still growing
The world’s costliest coffee, at $130 a pound , is called Kopi Luwak. It is in the droppings of a type of marsupial that eats only the very best coffee beans. Plantation workers track them and scoop their precious poop.  (GROSS!)
When Swiss cheese ferments, a bacterial action generates gas.  As the gas is liberated, it bubbles through the cheese leaving holes. Cheese-makers call them “eyes.”

National Hot Tea Month – Is there anything more soothing after a stressful day than a hot cup of tea?  It isn’t just the wonderful warmth of the mug held in cold hands, or the different spices and flavors of the tea that is wonderful . . . no, what is wonderful that this delicious beverage has so many health benefits . . . and it is a medicine that has been used since ancient times.  Recent research suggests that drinking tea may possibly help with everything from preventing cavities to Parkinson’s disease.  Some studies even say it could save lives.  The benefits of drinking tea may extend throughout the entire body, and here is an eye opening list of conditions that some research has shown may be prevented or improved by drinking it (this list is a copy and paste of an article I found):

Arthritis: Research suggests that older women who are tea drinkers are 60 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who do not drink tea.  Bone Density: Drinking tea regularly for years may produce stronger bones. Those who drank tea on a regular basis for 10 or more years had higher-bone mineral density in their spines than those who had not.  Cancer: Green tea extracts were found to inhibit the growth of bladder cancer cells in the lab — while other studies suggest that drinking green tea protects against developing stomach and esophageal cancers.

  • Sipping on a cup of hot tea may be a safeguard against cancer. Population studies have linked the consumption of tea with a reduction in risk for several types of cancer. Researchers speculate that the polyphenols in tea may inhibit certain mechanisms that promote cancer growth. Both green and black teas have been credited with cancer-inhibiting powers.

Flu: You may be able to boost your fight against the flu with black tea.
Your best defense against contracting the flu is to wash your hands often and get vaccinated against the influenza virus. Black tea may further bolster your efforts to stay healthy. In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice per day showed a higher immunity to flu virus compared to the people who did not gargle with black tea.

Heart Disease: A recent study published in the journal Circulation found that drinking more than two cups of tea a day decreased the risk of death following a heart attack by 44 percent. Even less spirited tea drinkers were rewarded: Consuming just two cups a day decreased the risk of death by almost a third.
Tea is a rich source of the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, and research shows that high dietary intake of these compounds is associated with a reduced risk of fatal heart attacks. In one study, people who drank about a cup and a half of tea per day were almost 40% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to tea abstainers.
High Blood Pressure: Tea lovers may be surprised to learn their beverage of choice touts yet another health benefit: blood pressure control. Drinking a half-cup of green or oolong tea per day reduced a person’s risk of high blood pressure by almost 50% in a new study. People who drank at least two and a half cups per day reduced their risk even more. Their risk was reduced even if they had risk factors for high blood pressure, such as high sodium intake.  Parkinson’s Disease: Tea consumption may be protective against developing this debilitating neurological disorder.  Oral Health: Rinsing with tea may prevent cavities and gum disease.   So, what makes tea so good for us?  Well, there is a complex group of chemicals that make up what seems like a simple beverage.  The class of chemicals in tea are called flavonoids.  Flavonoids are a natural class of antioxidants found in many natural plant based foods. In American diets, black tea is probably the single biggest source of flavonoids.  Antioxidants ride the body of molecules called free radicals.  Free radicals are side products of damage done to the body by pollution and the natural aging process.  Free radicals that are in the body’s cells are unstable and they tend to react negatively with other important molecules, like DNA, causing our systems to malfunction and creates injury on the cellular level.  The damage done by these free radicals can pave the way for heart disease and cancer.  In the case of heart disease I read that the antioxidants in tea may prevent death from second heart attack by helping blood vessels relax, letting blood flow through more easily, with the potential to lower blood pressure and reduce the stress on the heart.  Antioxidants are thought to be behind the benefits of tea on dental health as well.  There have been a number of studies suggesting that rinsing with black or green tea may lead to better oral health.  “We have found that the [antioxidants] in black tea will suppress the growth of bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum diseases,” says Christine Wu, professor of periodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. “These will inhibit or interfere with the attachment of bacteria to the tooth surface.”   At this point they haven’t said how much tea to drink, but adding a cup or two to your daily intake would be a really good idea, don’t you think?  

Food Celebration of the Day

National Spaghetti Day – America is nuts for noodles, especially spaghetti! Many people eat the long spaghetti and swirl it up on their fork and slurp it off.  I usually end up slapping the noodles across my chin, or dropping them on my shirt when I eat it that way.  I honestly prefer smaller noodles I can actually pick up with my fork, like penne.  To me, it all tastes the same . . . but maybe to some it doesn’t.  No matter the pasta, have some to celebrate today!



Well, no matter how long I sit here and procrastinate, these decorations aren’t choosing to move themselves into the boxes all on their own . . . so I suppose I’d better get started!  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!


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