In every social gathering, there is a person that never ceases to impress everyone with immense knowledge and insightful tales. Now, you too can be that person! We have brought 10 cool facts for social gatherings that will definitely leave an impression on people. From knowing about how pricey pineapples were to the first bikini gals, here are the 10 cool facts for social gatherings.
1. Sweet iced tea started as a symbol of luxury due to the combined expensive nature of tea, ice, and sugar. The oldest known recipe dates back to 1879.
Sweet iced tea is one of the most common drinks today. It is also quite affordable as compared to the other super-expensive drinks that have made their way to the cafe tables. But sweet iced tea did not start as an affordable drink. It was seen as a symbol of wealth when it first started.
The oldest known recipe of sweet iced tea dates back to 1879. It was published in a community cookbook by Marion Cabell Tyree called Housekeeping in Old Virginia. The recipe actually had green tea in it as, at that time, mostly only the sweetened version of green tea was consumed. But during World War II, the major green tea sources were cut off from the United States and only the Indian black tea was available. So, Americans started drinking predominantly black tea.
Anyway, when it started, sweet iced tea was really expensive. The reason was the ingredients used – green tea, ice, and sugar – were expensive. Ice, in fact, was the most expensive as it was shipped from far places. It is said that even cold drinking water was a luxury at that time. (source)
2. German chocolate cake is not actually German. It was named after Samuel German, an American, who developed the type of baking chocolate that is used in the cake.
Although its name starts with “German,” German chocolate cake is in no way related to Germany. The cake’s origin dates back to 1852 when baker Samuel German, an American, developed a new type of dark chocolate to be used for baking by the Baker’s Chocolate Company. The product was named “Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate” in honor of Samuel German.
On June 3, 1957, a recipe called the “German’s Chocolate Cake” appeared in The Dallas Morning News as the recipe of the day. A homemaker, Mrs. George Clay, was the creator of the recipe. The recipe used the chocolate that Samuel German developed almost 105 years ago and became quite popular. The chocolate brand was owned by General Foods at that time. They noticed the popularity and distributed the recipe to other newspapers. This skyrocketed the sales of Baker’s Chocolate by 73%!
In the middle of mass distribution, the fact that the cake is not actually German got lost and the misconception developed that German chocolate cake was, in fact, from Germany. (source)
3. Even though tomatoes are an indispensable part of Italian cuisine, they were not incorporated into Italian foods until the late 17th or early 18th century. Before that, they were just used for their beauty as a tabletop decoration. Also, the original Italian recipes involving tomatoes are said to have Spanish origins.
When anyone says “Italian food,” the first thing that comes to mind is pasta with tomato sauce. Pasta and tomatoes make up the essence of Italian cuisine. But surprisingly, tomatoes were not even part of the original Italian cuisine. The first ever recorded mention of tomatoes in the Italian diet was on October 31, 1548. Apparently, it was a letter from the house of Cosimo de’ Medici informing the safe arrival of a basket of tomatoes.
In ancient Italy, tomatoes were merely grown in vegetable gardens for their ornamental value. Even poor people didn’t consume them as they were not as filling as the other available fruits and vegetables. The rich used tomatoes just as a tabletop decoration.
It was not until the late 17th century or the early 18th century that tomatoes were incorporated into the cuisine. The earliest cookbook that had a recipe based on tomatoes dates back to 1692, and it is said that the author had copied these recipes from Spanish sources. (source)
4. The idea of M&Ms was copied from the chocolate pellets that the Spanish army used to eat during the Spanish Civil War. The pellets were designed so that soldiers could have chocolate in their rations without it melting in tropical climates. The first big customer for the M&Ms was the US army.
Frank C. Mars, son of the founder of the Mars Company, Forrest Mars Sr., copied the idea of M&Ms from the Spanish Civil War. In the 1930s during the war, Frank saw that the soldiers were indulging on “Smarties,” a type of chocolate pellet made by the British. The pellets had a colored shell of hardened sugar syrup that prevented the chocolate inside from melting.
Frank patented his own method in 1941 and started production the same year. The company was named “M&M Limited,” named after his father, Forrest Mars, and Bruce Murrie, the son of President William F. R. Murrie of Hershey Chocolate. This is the source of the two Ms. Bruce Murrie had a 20% share in the company which allowed the M&Ms to be made from Hershey Chocolate. The partnership was also based on the fact that during that time, Hershey controlled the market of rationed chocolate.
As history would have it, the first big customer for the company was the US army. The army saw it as a way to feed soldiers chocolate without having it melt in tropical climates. During World War II, M&Ms were sold exclusively to the army. This resulted in an increasing demand for the candies causing the company to grow bigger.
The tagline, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” was started by the brand in 1949. (source)
5. It is a myth that Einstein failed a math exam. He actually failed his entrance test to Zurich Polytechnic as he scored poorly in botany, zoology, and the language sections.
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Buckminster Fuller – they all have something in common apart from the fact that they have revolutionized the respective fields they worked in. They were either dropouts or expelled from college. In other words, none of them finished college. Common people love to associate prior failures with current successful people as it gives them a sense of inspiration that if those people can, they can too. So, when the myth about Einstein failing math gained momentum, no one stopped to check the sources and everybody started taking it as a fact.
Einstein never failed a math test. From a young age, Einstein had a knack for solving problems. It’s mind-blowing that in just a matter of four months, Einstein authored four papers that completely altered everything we knew about the workings of the universe. And, he did all that in his spare time, because in his day job, he had a lot of free time!
But he did fail once. He failed the college entrance exam to Zurich Polytechnic. Einstein was always good at math, but he was really bad in the other subjects. He flunked the botany, zoology, and language sections in the entrance exam. This is where the myth originated. (source)