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Jazzin' on caffeine and a good laugh

November 8th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

In my endless research on food holidays and/or food facts to discuss for 30 days, I came across a site called Learn Something New Today and discovered some rather silly and inane things about food. So before we get to National Cappuccino Day and National Harvey Wallbanger Day, let’s have a chuckle.

Since it is National Fig Week still, here’s a bit of trivia on the good ol’ Fig Newton, one of my favorite packaged cookies. Created in 1851 by the Kennedy Biscuit Works in Cambridge, MA, the previous discoveries had been named for local towns and the Fig Newton nearly was called the Fig Shrewsbury. It’s a good thing that didn’t stick or we likely would have never known the fun commercial jingle done by the guy in the fig suit. ‘Oooey gooey rich and chewy inside; golden flaky tender cakey outside, wrap the inside in the outside, is it good?? Darn tootin! Doin’t the big Fig Newton!!’

When KFC’s slogan ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ was translated in Chinese, it came out as ‘Eat your fingers off’. Hmmm…..Must. Not. Respond.

In the Great Food Almanac by Irene Chalmers, Elvis Presley’s last meal was apparently four scoops of ice cream and half a dozen chocolate chip cookies. There’s an verbal bomb in there that I won’t touch because I just love ‘Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love’ and ‘Cold Kentucky Rain’.

In total there have been 37 different kinds of  Nabisco animal crackers since 1902.  The current crackers are tiger, cougar, camel, rhinoceros, kangaroo, hippopotamus, bison, lion, hyena, zebra, elephant, sheep, bear, gorilla, monkey, seal and giraffe. They’ve also gotten far more detailed too.

Apples are more efficient than caffeine at waking you up in the morning.  Anyone want to test this one out and let me know the results??

And um……ewww- The average chocolate bar has 8 insect legs in it.

Double in the ‘ewwww’ department- Coca-Cola was originally green. Yummay, huh?

Peanuts are an ingredient in dynamite so if you eat too many and feel like you might explode then you’ll know why.

Pearls melt in vinegar.

Although it can’t really be proven, in deference to the classic commercial, it takes approximately 317 licks to get to the Tootsie roll center of a Tootsie pop. If you watch the video, prepare for some creative license with a new millenium twist and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ok, whooo boy that was fun huh? Let’s move on.

It’s National Cappuccino Day, today November 8th. Having worked in coffee shops and studied coffee and coffee drink history, this is one of those terms that has been so far removed from it’s original form and meaning that almost no one knows what it means anymore.  And given the prevalence of those ridiculous machines in convenience stores around the country that dispense scalding hot flavored instant coffee and milk powder and call it a Cappuccino, it’s no wonder most everyone who ever ordered a ‘Vanilla Nut Cappuccino’ from me in the coffee shop had to be patiently educated about what to expect. Or silently beaten over the head; I could never decide.

The very very first coffee drink that was called a Cappuccino was named as such due to the similar color between the espresso coffee, steamed milk or cream drink and the brown color of the robes worn by Capuchin order of Friars- not Monks as many believe, there is a difference and you should know what it is- and in it’s original form, never was topped with a ‘cap’ of foam, suggesting the origin of the name. The Italians were the first to give it the dollop of foam and called it a ‘Cappucio’, wherein it derived into ‘Cappucino’, a diminutive in the Italian language. Whatever people wish to call it, the drink is made with espresso and usually a half milk/half foam topping. Most people who drink the Cappuccino prefer it to be ‘wet, or a Cappuccino Chiaro that has more milk and less foam, as opposed to a ‘dry’, or Cappuccino Scuro, which is less milk and more foam. You can also order a Macchiato, and if it’s made correctly, it should be just a shot of espresso topped with nothing but foam. This was my preferred drink on those mornings in the coffee biz, like the middle of dark and cold January, when I would unlock the door at 6:00am and just know that I needed something akin to an intravenous feed of caffeine to make it to 11:00am when my shift would end. Thankfully those days are long gone- the coffee shop, not the caffeine. I’ve been a caffeine junkie since high school and have no plan to quit any time soon.

It’s also National Harvey Wallbanger Day. This obscure drink is basically a Screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) with a shot of Galliano liquor in it, an herby anise flavored liquid with some hints of vanilla. The origin of the drink is sketchy, but legend has it that a California surfer named Harvey liked his Screwdrivers with a shot of Galliano in them, and after one too many of them, he used to bang into walls. ‘Nuf said about that.


(cappuccino photo courtesy of All Coffee Recipes)