Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Food Trivia



Have you had your daily dose of trivia?
Today we’re serving up a big bowl of smarty pants.
You’ll be the life of the party with this stockpile of facts, or maybe just the world’s leading authority of an esoteric knowledge domain.

I’ll bet you didn’t know…

  • Hippopotamus milk is pink
  • avocados are poisonous to birds
  • falling coconuts kill more people each year (around 150) than sharks (about 4)
  • internet spam is not named for the canned pork product; it’s an homage to a 1970 Monty Python’s Flying Circus skit in which a group of Vikings sing ‘SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM!’ drowning out all other conversation
  • a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball
  • a typical American will eat 28 pigs’ worth of pork in their lifetime
  • Russian children blow out the candles on a birthday pie

Where did it come from?

  • The microwave oven was invented when an employee of the Raytheon Company walked past a radar tube and noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. His second experiment was popcorn.
  • Lithium, the drug used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, was one of the seven original ingredients in 7-Up, then known as Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. Lithium remained in the recipe until a 1950 reformulation.
  • The term ‘brain freeze’ was invented by 7-11 to explain the pain from drinking a slurpee too fast.

Food by the numbers:

  • Two-thirds of the world’s eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
  • An ear of corn has 800 kernels, give or take.
  • There are around 180 sesame seeds on each Big Mac bun.
  • Add fries and a Coke to that Big Mac and it will take you seven straight hours of walking to burn off the calories. It takes 100 yards to walk off a single M&M—Americans go through 200 million of them every day.
  • Seven percent of Ireland’s barley crop goes to the production of Guinness beer.

Food facts we could have done without:

  • Sugar derived from sugar cane is processed with animal bones. Most U.S. sugar cane refineries filter the sugar through charcoal made from the bones of cows.
  • Most jelly beans are coated with shellac—yes, the stuff used to polish furniture—to keep their shine. And to add to the nastiness, shellac is made from insect excretions, mostly from the forests of Thailand. Easter’s coming; you might want to fill your baskets with Jelly Bellies, coated with shellac-less bees’ wax.
  • And while we’re on the subject of furniture polish, there’s more lemon juice in Lemon Pledge than Country Time Lemonade.

The uncommon food facts, the curious bits of culinary miscellany, the flotsam and jetsam of the kitchen— each tasty tidbit is more useless than the next, but still we gather. And who knows; someday, maybe, just maybe, there will be an opportunity to flaunt it.

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Is it appropriate conversation for the dinner table? Then it should be fine.

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