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FEBRUARY 17 - Today in Food History

• National Cafe Au Lait Day (Coffee History)
• Feast of Shesmu, Egyptian god of the Wine Press.
• Fornacalia: Old Roman Bread Festival or Feast of Ovens

On this day in:

1665 Rudolph Jacob Camerarius was born. A German botanist, he showed the existence of sexes in plants, and identified the stamen and pistil as the male and female organs.

1680 Jan Swammerdam died (born Feb 12, 1637).  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.'

1827 Chester Stone of Middlebury, Connecticut received a patent for a washing machine.

1844 Aaron Montgomery Ward was born (died Dec 7, 1913). Founder of Montgomery Ward & Co. to sell general merchandise by mail order.

1863 The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva, Switzerland.

1869 The Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded.

1876 Canned sardines went on sale in the U.S. for the first time. They were packed in oil. (Some sources say 1873).

1883 A. Ashwell, of West Dulwich, UK, received a patent for the "vacant/engaged" door bolt for lavatory doors.

1889 H.L. Hunt, the pioneering Texas oil millionaire (Hunt Oil Company) was born. He carried a brown bag lunch to his office each day and considered himself as 'just plain folks.'

1897 Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst  founded the National Congress of Mothers, forerunner of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), in Washington, D.C.

1958 'Sugartime' by the McGuire Sister topped the charts.

1970 Canada bans the use of phosphates in laundry detergent, to prevent damage to lakes and rivers by excessive weed growth.

1985 U.S. first class postage rates are raised to 22 cents and post cards to 14 cents.

2002 New regulations to go into effect this year require German pig farmers to spend at least 20 seconds every day with each pig, 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the afternoon. I do not know about what regulations there might be for spending time with German cows, sheep, chickens and other farm animals.

2008 The USDA announced the largest beef recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse.


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