DECEMBER 22 - Today in Food History
• National Date Nut Bread Day
• Dec 17-23: Saturnalia - Ancient Roman festival honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest.
On this day in:
1850 Constantin Fahlberg was born (died Aug 15, 1910). Russian chemist, codiscoverer in 1879 (with Ira Remsen) of the artificial sweetener, Saccharin.
(See also Feb 27, 1879).
1864 Union Civil War General William T. Sherman sent a message to President Abraham Lincoln from Georgia, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."
1882 Edward H. Johnson, vice-president of Thomas Edison's electric company, created the first electric Christmas tree lights. He displayed the walnut-sized bulbs on a large Christmas tree at his home in New York.
1884 John Simpson Chisum died. An American cattle rancher, in 1867 he blazed the Chisum Trail from Paris, Texas to New Mexico. He developed the largest cattle herd in the United States.
1885 La Marcus Thompson of Coney Island, New York was issued a second patent for a gravity switchback railway. This was an improvement on his previous patent issued January 20 the same year. The "Father of the Gravity Ride" had opened a 600 foot roller coaster the previous year. Stomachs would never be the same again.
1888 Joseph V. Horn and Frank Hardart opened Horn & Hardart, a 15-stool lunchroom, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (see also June 9, 1902).
1922 The 1,046 room Mount Royal Hotel opened in Montreal, Canada.
1937 The Lincoln Tunnel (originally the Midtown Hudson Tunnel) between Midtown Manhattan and Weehawken, New Jersey opened to traffic.
1938 A coelacanth was caught off the coast of South Africa. The coelacanth is a primitive fish thought to have been extinct for more than 80 million years. Since then another coelacanth population has been discovered in Indonesia.
1943 Beatrix Potter died. English author of children's books, her first and most famous story is 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit,' originally written as an illustrated letter to a sick child.
1958 'The Chipmunk Song' by The Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore (David Seville) was #1 on the music charts.
1960 Aluminum Christmas trees go on sale in Canada.
1985 The largest grouper caught with rod and reel weighed over 436 pounds. It was caught in Destin, Florida.
1997 The British government announced an inquiry into the BSE "disaster" (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease) that devastated British farming.