Food Facts & Lore, Monday Magazine

This Week in Food History – 01/23/2017


This week’s historical journey begins in the Sonoma Valley. If this conjures up a moment of well-earned peace, bright red wine in hand, we are exactly on the same wavelength. You may not have heard the name Agoston Haraszthy de Mokcsa before, but in California the Hungarian-born American writer, traveler and pioneer is legend. On January 23, 1862, he brought and planted 1,400 varieties of grapevines from Europe to California’s famous valley. This was the largest vineyard to date.

De Mokcsa already operated vineyard in Wisconsin at the time, but it is the Sonoma Valley vines that are credited with saving the European wine industry following a blight that destroyed much of the home land’s crops. The fresh, American root-stock proved to be resistant to the infestation. We propose a toast to American resilience.

Other Momentous Happenings This Week…

January 24, 1920
Christian K. Nelson, a WWI Veteran and University of Nebraska Certified teacher, taught and ran an ice cream shop in Iowa. He received a patent for the “Eskimo Pie” on this day. He later explained that the idea to combine chocolate and ice cream was inspired by a young boy visiting his shop who struggled to decide between the two.

January 25, 1858
Mendelssohn’s Wedding March was played at an actual wedding for the first time on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s daughter’s wedding. The feast, on such an occasion, consists in several consecutive meals, beginning with a wedding’s eve dinner, followed by a fastidious breakfast on the day of the event. A main course may include select organic lamb with Jersey Royal potatoes and sauce Windsor.

January 26, 1932
Surely you have enjoyed the irresistible flavor of Juicy Fruit gum many times in your childhood. It was difficult to stick to just one stick, wasn’t it. The inventor, William Wrigley Jr., passed away on this day. Wrigley remains the largest chewing gum manufacturer worldwide.

January 27, 1984
An unfortunate incident took place on the set of a Pepsi commercial when Michael Jackson’s hair and jacket caught on fire when he moved too close to a pyrotechnics display. His fans were shaken, but he made a prompt recovery.

January 28, 1855
Today is National Blueberry Pancake Day. The glory is shared by the Panama Railway for the first locomotive run from Atlantic to Pacific. This also marks the maiden voyage of the very first trans-continental dining cars.

January 29, 1878
Another historical patent is celebrated on this day. It was issued to New Yorker George Henry Lester, for the first glass milk container.

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