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FOOD TRIVIA

Posted on January 13 2018

Food Trivia

Whether it is nachos or hot dogs at a ball game, cotton candy at the rodeo or carnival, popcorn at the movies, or snow cones at summer festivals, classic concession food never goes out of style! Read on for a few historical tidbits that may surprise you about these trusty staples.

NACHOS: Any ideas how these gooey, decadent snacks came about? Or what the significance is behind the name? In 1988, a lady named Adriana P. Orr, a researcher with the Oxford English Dictionary, set out to discover the meaning behind the “nacho.” What she found took her all the way back to Piedras Negras, Mexico, in 1943, when a group of army wives first ate nachos at a restaurant called the Viceroy Club. The chef was not at the restaurant, and so the maitre d’, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, threw together the ingredients that he could muster from the kitchen (cheese, tortilla chips, and jalapenos.) Anaya later called the dish “Nachos Especiales” and the rest is history.

COTTON CANDY: This sugary treat carries with it a surprisingly lengthy history! Spun sugar dates back all the way to Italy in the 1400s, when upper class families would enjoy it for dessert. It continued to be made and served throughout Europe over the centuries. Then, in the late 1800s, a European duo by the name of William Morrison and John Wharton created a “Fairy Floss” machine that would take sugar and melt it before turning it into strands. They would then mold the strands to a paper cone for convenient serving. They patented this machine and took boxes of their fairy floss to the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, where the crowds went wild over it. The product wouldn’t be coined “Cotton Candy” until the 1920s.

HOT DOGS: Historians have long disagreed over the precise moment that hot dogs crossed into American culture, how they came to be served with bread, how they got their name, and how they became the standard at ball parks. Over the years, the stories seemed to tangle. The Germans have been said to be eating frankfurter (or sausage) since the late 1400s! Other stories reference “dachshund” sausages (smaller versions) coming to America through German immigrants in the 1800s. Legend has it that the name “hot dog” came from a cartoonist at the New York Polo grounds who was working a cart selling “red hot dachshund dogs,” though he was unable to spell dachshund and printed “hot dogs” instead.

POPCORN: America’s affinity for salted, buttery popcorn is undeniable and is best seen at your neighborhood movie theater. However, contrary to popular belief, movies and popcorn didn’t always go hand in hand. Since the 1840s, popcorn was ubiquitous to American life and entertainment, with the exception of movie theaters. Why, you ask? Most operators didn’t want to deal with the trash and mess that popcorn can make or the sounds of people crunching and snacking (in the days of silent film.) Then, around the time of the Great Depression, theater operators saw the treat as a way to boost revenue and sustain their businesses. Needless to say, popcorn and movies would never be apart again

 SNOW CONES: On sweltering summer days, there is nothing quite like an icy snow cone to satisfy the soul. These treats debuted at the 1919 State Fair of Texas when Dallas resident Samuel Bert sold them for the first time. That next year, he patented his ice crushing machine. During the Industrial Revolution, wagons would carry blocks of ice from New York to the Southern United States. When they passed through Baltimore, they handed out ice shavings to kids whose families would then flavor them. These “snowballs” as they are called continue to be a tradition in Baltimore today. (FYI: Snow cones have crushed ice and Snowballs have finely shaved ice and oftentimes more syrup!) But perhaps the most well known of all these snowball/snow cone influences is a man named Ernest Hansen of New Orleans. Hansen created the first electric ice-shaving machine called the Hansen Sno-Bliz, and his wife, Mary created all of the syrups to go with it. Their shop first opened in the 1930s and the snowballs are still a massive hit today in the Big Easy! In 2014, the Hansen’s were the recipient of an America’s

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