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FEBRUARY 12 - Today in Food History

- National Plum Pudding Day
- St. Julian the Hospitaler, patron of travelers and innkeepers.

- Jell-O Week - February 9-15, 2014 (2nd full week in Feb. - in 2001 declared Official State Snack of Utah and Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt declared an annual "Jell-O Week")

On this day in:

1637 Jan Swammerdam was born (died Feb 17, 1680).  Dutch biologist and microscopist. His investigations into insect anatomy showed that insects did not generate spontaneously as had been previously believed, but were the product of eggs laid by females of the same species. Eggs, larva, pupa and adult are different forms of the same species. He also revealed that 'king bees' have ovaries and were actually 'queen bees.'

1791 Peter Cooper was born. American inventor and founder of the 'Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.' He also obtained the first American patent for the manufacture of gelatin. In 1895, a cough syrup manufacturer, Pearl B. Wait purchased the patent and developed a packaged gelatin dessert. Wait's wife, May David Wait named it Jell-O.

1809 Charles Darwin was born. English naturalist who developed the 'theory of evolution,' inspired in large part by his visit to the isolated Galapagos Islands. His works include 'Origin of Species' and 'The Descent of Man.'

1872 Silas Noble and James P. Cooley of Massachusetts patented a toothpick making machine.

1881 Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was born (according to the new Gregorian calendar; January 31 on the Julian calendar). A famous dessert of Australian or New Zealand origin was named for her.
See October 4 for more information on the calendar adjustment.

1931 'Dracula' starring Bela Lugosi premiers in New York City.

1935 (Georges-) Auguste Escoffier died (born Oct 28, 1846).  The "emperor of chefs."

1961 'Shop Around' by 'The Miracles' becomes Motown Records first million selling single.

1971 Andrew Carmellini was born. American chef and restaurateur. Website:

1973 The first metric distance road signs in the U.S., were erected between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

1976 The popular food coloring, Red Dye No. 2, was banned by the FDA because studies had shown it might cause cancer. Red M&Ms disappeared for 11 years because of the ban.

2000 Charles M. Schulz died. American cartoonist, best known for the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

2003 Kemmons Wilson died (born Jan 5, 1913).  Founder of Holiday Inn hotel chain, the first standardized hotel chain. The 1942 Bing Crosby film 'Holiday Inn' was the inspiration for the hotels name.


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