Food can be a serious topic for people committed to healthy eating, but these amusing food facts will inject a dose of lightness and humor into your busy day.
1. Graham crackers were invented to reduce sexual desire.
Apparently, the graham cracker inventor, Sylvester Graham, was a 19th century minister who believed that the frequent meals of fatty meat that were common at the time, stimulated sexual urges.
So he became a diet guru and created a new way of eating ardently followed by thousands, that held at its center a bland and relatively tasteless biscuit — the original graham cracker, which was meant to help curb libido.
Little did he know that a few years after his death, the graham cracker would be heavily sweetened and cinnamon-flavored, and would become an enduring classic of American cuisine.
2. Mangoes are like poison ivy.
Mangoes belong to the same plant family as poison ivy, so if you react to poison ivy, you might also react to the skin of a mango. That’s because they both contain a toxic chemical, urushiol, that can be very irritating to some people.
3. Apples belong to the rose family, as do pears and plums.
Part of the rose family, or Rosaceae, apples are in good company, as pears, peaches, plums, and even blackberries and strawberries also belong to it.
4. Chocolate was once used as currency.
The name of the cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao) literally means “food of the Gods”, and for good reason. When the beans are transformed into chocolate, their taste and consistency become instantly addictive.
A few centuries ago in South America, cacao beans were so valuable that they were actually used as currency.
Records show that a turkey, for example, could be purchased for 100 cacao beans, whereas a large tomato would only cost one.
5. Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re actually legumes.
Peanuts (and cashews and pine nuts) aren’t actually nuts. It’s confusing, since peanuts have the word “nut” in their name, but along with beans, they're part of the legume family like peas and lentils.
Peanuts also grow underground, unlike nuts such as walnuts and almonds that grow on trees (hence the name “tree nuts”).
6. When taken in large doses, nutmeg is a hallucinogen.
Yes, nutmeg contains myristicin, a natural mind-altering compound. But it would take an extremely large dose of it to produce a high. This high would usually come long after a host of nasty side effects, such as severe gastrointestinal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, among others.
7. Orange juice sometimes contains fish.
Well, not really fish, but fish oil and fish gelatin, as many brands of processed boxed orange juice add them to (supposedly) raise the nutritional value. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer my orange juice un-processed, vegan and certainly not fishy.
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