Here are a few amazing facts about food to help fuel your next dinner conversation:
First, how come children in places like India, South America, and Thailand can eat spicy-hot dishes that make adults in other countries beg for water? Because their mothers liked it. Studies show that pregnant women who eat spicy foods pass the preference – and the ability to tolerate it - on to their kids.
The next food fact: Ethnic foods aren’t necessarily native to the country. For example, tomatoes weren’t used in Italian cooking until they were imported from the Americas 700 years ago. The same applies to the spicy peppers that we associate with Thai and Chinese food – because all the hot peppers in the world originated in the Yucatan Peninsula. Also, cocoa trees grow in hot climates. But the world’s top chocolate-producing countries are Belgium and Switzerland.
The final food fact: You wouldn’t appreciate your ancestors’ table manners. Popular images of the Devil showed him holding a pitchfork, so people considered forks to be scandalous – and even dangerous - when they were introduced in the 1500s! In fact, most people ate with their fingers and a knife until the 18th century. And it took another hundred years before people in the United States used forks to eat squirrel pie, stewed raccoon, and other popular dishes of the day.