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Food Trivia

Click on the titles of each section to view the fun facts.

FRUIT & VEGETABLES

There are different kinds of vegetarians. Vegans eat only plant food. They eat no animal flesh, no eggs and no dairy products. Lacto Vegetarians eat no animal flesh, but will eat plant foods and dairy products. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians eat the same as lacto vegetarians, but also eat eggs. Fruitarians eat only fruit, nuts and seeds. Pesco Vegetarians will not eat red flesh, but will eat fish, chicken, eggs and dairy products.

There are only a handful of fruits native to North America, including: blueberries, concord grapes, cranberries and Saskatoons.

Sweet potatoes and yams are not the same vegetable. Sweet potatoes are a new world plant and indigenous to the Americas. Yams are native to Africa and are much larger than sweet potatoes, growing up to 100 lbs in size. The yam is sweeter and has fewer nutrients than the sweet potato and it is not often seen in North American grocery stores.

Cut fruit loses up to 20% of its vitamin C in as little as 3 hours.

The kiwi has twice as much vitamin C as oranges and as much potassium as bananas.

Apples float in water because 25% of their volume is made up of air pockets found between cells.

China is the world’s largest apple producer, growing 7 times more apples than the US and Canada combined.

The pumpkin is thought to be the first vegetable cultivated by humans over 10,000 years ago in, what is now, Mexico.

Papaya, pineapple and kiwi all contain an enzyme which allows them to be used as a natural meat tenderizer.

Potatoes were banned in in Burgundy, France in 1910 because it was believed that frequent use caused leprosy.

Spinach and fish were the 1st frozen foods to be sold commercially.

On average, there are 8 peas to a pod.

There are over 2,500 varieties of mango.

During the 16th century, tomatoes were grown as decorative plants and thought to be poisonous.

Sweet onions were one of the favourite desserts of the ancient Romans.

Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable.

Dried fruits lose their vitamin C content in the drying process.

Cranberries were first used by Native Americans to dress wounds and cure other ailments.

The blossom end of a fruit is generally sweeter than the stem end because it develops more sugars.

Unlike most other vegetables, properly cooked spinach and carrots are more nutritious than raw.

Baby-cut carrots aren’t really young or miniature, but are full-sized carrots which are peeled and polished down to a smaller size.

Carrots were originally purple in colour and the orange variety we grow today was developed in England in the 17th century.

The banana is botanically a berry which grows upside down. India grows more of them than any other country.

Apples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, strawberries, grapes, pineapples and watermelons will not ripen after they have been picked.

Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.

By weight, pumpkin seeds contain more iron than liver.

MILK PRODUCTS

Homogenized milk is milk that has been shot through a fine nozzel to break up fat gobules so that the butterfat (commonly called cream) doesn’t separate.

Cheddar cheese is dyed orange and the yellow-red dye commonly used in its making comes from the seeds of a tree. If Cheddar wasn’t artificially coloured, it would be white.

In 1841, in a skirmish with Argentina’s Navy, Uraguay’s army used old and very hard edam cheeses in their cannons when they ran out of conventional ammunition.

Around 1 in 3 adults believe that they have milk allergies, while fewer than 2% of adults actually suffer from any type of food allergy.

It takes 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese. There are approximately 340-350 udderly delicious squirts in a 4 litre container of milk.

In Spain, it is not uncommon for people to pour chocolate milk over their breakfast cereal.

Eating cheese helps prevent tooth decay.

Milk is better than water or other beverages for cooling your mouth after eating spicy food. Milk products contain casein, a protein that cleanses burning taste buds.

Although North Americans eat an average of 23 pounds of cheese every year, many African, Asian and Latino cultures consider cheese to be disgusting.

A single bite of cheese can contain one-trillion bacteria.

Skim milk contains the same amount of calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients as whole milk.

Within 2 hours of standing exposed to daylight, milk loses between one-half and two-thirds of its vitamin B content.

The tradition of making swiss cheese in 200 pound wheels began in the middle ages when the Swiss government taxed cheesemakers on the number of pieces of cheese they made, rather than its weight.

The French eat more cheese per capita than anyone else in the world, eating around twice as much as North Americans.

There are more than 400 kinds of cheese in the world, each with a unique taste & texture.

GRAIN PRODUCTS

One out of every 11 boxes of cereal sold in North America is Cheerios.

Cereal grains like wheat, corn, rice, rye, millet, sorghum and barley provide more than 85% of the world’s protein consumption.

The word cereal derives from the name of the Roman goddess Ceres, protector of crops.

The diet of the average Roman in 27 BC consisted primarily of puls, a gruel made with barley, wheat or millet.

Converted rice is parboiled, a process which includes soaking, steaming and drying and which makes the cooked rice fluffier.

Wild rice is not a grain, it is a grass seed.

One in 3 Canadians eat cereal on an average morning and 46% of Canadian adults regularly eat it as an evening snack.

It takes 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of water to grow the wheat to produce a one pound loaf of bread.

There are over 15,000 varieties of rice.

Rice is the staple food to over half of the world’s population.

Wheat is the number 1 grain crop in the world.

MEATS & ALTERNATIVES

Bacon spatters out of the frying pan because the pork is cured by soaking in brine. This infuses the bacon with a liquid which is released with fat upon cooking.

Bats are a popular meat in parts of Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.

In 1937, the average hot dog contained 19% fat and 20% protein. The average hot dog today contains 29% fat and only 11% protein.

Insects provide 10% of the quality protein consumed worldwide.

The ancient Chinese, influenced by Buddhist dietary laws, would not eat red meat, which they considered to be the food of the “barbarians.”

The largest item on any menu in the world is probably the camel. It is sometimes served at Bedouin wedding feasts and it is stuffed with a sheep’s carcass, which has been stuffed with chicken, which are stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs.

It takes a lobster about 7 years to grow 1 lb.

There are over 250 species of shrimp in the world, the largest called prawns.

It takes about 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, 8 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of pork, 3 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of chicken.

There are over 1.5 billion cattle worldwide and they consume 1/3 of all the worlds grain.

Bison meat is lower in fat and has less calories than beef, pork or lamb.

The first sausage was made about 900 BC.

The turkey was first domesticated in the Americas around 2000 BC and was a favourite food of the Aztecs and the Mayans.

A cooked chicken’s dark meat has as much as 10% more calories, 1/3 more fat and less protein than its white meat (breast).

There are over 6.5 billion eggs produced in Canada each year by 24 million chickens.

Brazil nuts are the only nut variety consumed by humans which are not cultivated on farms.

Prior to the 16th century, organ meats were known as garbage, the term then used for the innards of an animal.

White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and earlobes and brown eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and earlobes. The colour has no relationship to the nutritional quality or taste of the eggs.

Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than 1 week in the refrigerator.

There are more chickens than people in the world.

Cornish game hens are really just regular chickens that are only 4-6 weeks old when butchered.

The most expensive beef in the world is raised in Japan and called Kobe beef. The cows are fed a diet of soybeans, rice and beer and given a daily massage. They have up to 3 times more fat content than North American beef.

The red stuff coming from a rare steak is not blood, it is myoglobin, a red pigment found in muscle tissue and which combines with moisture forced out of the meat by heat to give the appearance of blood.

LEFTOVERS

Canada has more donut shops per capita than any other country in the world.

Eating a 270 gram bag of potato chips is like eating a 270 gram potato with 10-22 teaspoons of vegetable oil drizzled over it.

A Burger King Whopper with cheese has nearly twice the saturated fat than a Big Mac at McDonald’s - about a full days worth.

John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca Cola, referred to the drink as “the esteemed brain tonic and intellectual beverage.”

The average person eats a ton of food each year.

The average North American consumes betwwen 2721 and 4083 grams of chemical food additives every year.

One out of 3 cows butchered for food in the U.S.A. are used by McDonald’s.

The cacao been was used as currency by the Aztecs. 1 bean would buy a tomato, 3 beans would get you an avocado and 100 beans would purchase a “good turkey hen.”

It takes 50 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple sugar.

A nineteenth century American etiquitte writer wrote, “Ladies may wipe their lips on the tablecloth, but not blow their nose on it.”

Oreo cookies are the best-selling brand of cookie in the world, going at a rate of 6 billion a year.

Vanilla is the extract of fermented and dried orchid pods.

Dinner guests in medieval England were expected to bring their own knives to a meal. Forks were not commonly used until the sixteenth century. Spoons are the oldest eating utensil, with crude prototypes dating back to the paleolithic period.

You would have to walk 5 or more miles to burn off the calories in 1 hot fudge sundae.

In a typical restaurant, customers receive about 27 cents worth of food for every dollar they spend.

Poutine was created in Quebec by restaurant owner Fernand Lachance in 1957.

A one-day-old baby can already detect the taste of sweet and will respond to the taste of salt within 6 weeks.

Honey contains more calories by volume than sugar.

A single cup of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup has more sodium (salt) than five medium bags of McDonald’s French fries.

Domino’s Pizza International reports their top pie topping requests to include: egg in Australia, tuna and corn in England, squid in Japan and pickled ginger in India.

Most people have lost 50% of their taste buds by the time they reach 60.

China is the second largest fast food market in the world, after the United States.

The average chocolate bar has eight insect legs in it.

On average, the cost of potato chips is 200 times more than the cost of potaoes.

The sandwich is named after the forth Earl of Sandwich (1718-92), who came up with the idea so he wouldn’t have to leave the gaming tables for meals.

Coca Cola would be green if colouring were not added to it.

The microwave was invented after a scientist walked by a new, experiemental radar tube called the magnatron, and had a chocolate bar melt in his pocket.

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