FEBRUARY 2 - Today in Food History
• Groundhog Day (see 1887 below)
• Heavenly Hash Day
• African Heritage & Health Week February 1-7
(commemorates the foods, flavors and healthy cooking techniques that were core to the wellbeing of African ancestors from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.)
On this day in:
1659 Jan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, planted a vineyard in 1655. On February 2, 1659 he made the first wine from grapes grown at the Cape.
1754 Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was born. Known simply as Talleyrand, French statesman, diplomat and grand gourmet, called the 'first fork of France.' He served at the top levels of French governments for almost 50 years. During this time his chefs included Bouchee, Careme, and Avice. Many culinary preparations have been created or named for him.
1795 The French government offers a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food for transport to the French army. It was eventually won by Nicholas Appert who invented a successful method to can food.
1820 Jean Etienne Bore, died. Inventor of the sugar granulating process (1794 or 1795), founder of the sugar industry in Louisiana.
1826 Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin died. A French lawyer and politician, author of ‘La Physiologie du gout’ (The Physiology of Taste) (1825). He was probably the greatest food critic that ever lived.
1852 The first public lavatory opened in London.
1869 A removable steel plow blade is patented by James Oliver of South Bend, Indiana.
1880 The first successful shipment of frozen mutton made it to London from Australia, aboard the SS Strathleven.
1887 The first Groundhog day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
1892 William Painter received a patent for the crown-cork bottle cap with a cork seal. It was used up until the 1970s, when the cork liner was replaced with a plastic liner.
1897 Alfred L. Cralle of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, patented an "Ice-Cream Mold and Disher" (ice cream scoop). His basic design is still used.
1897 Howard Deering Johnson was born (died June 20, 1972). Founder of Howard Johnson's chain of restaurants and motels.
1913 Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval died. A Swedish scientist and inventor. Among his inventions was the centrifugal cream separator and a vacuum milking machine.
1925 Sears, Roebuck & Co. expanded it's catalog business by opening its first retail store in the Merchandise building (its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois).
1961 U.S. President Kennedy announces pilot food stamp programs would be initiated. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods. A Department spokesman indicated the emphasis would be on increasing the consumption of perishables. (see also May 29, 1961)
1971 Richard Hellmann died (born 1876). New York deli owner and creator of Hellmann's Mayonnaise.
1996 Ray McIntire died. A chemical engineer who worked for Dow Chemical Company, he invented Styrofoam.
2010 Kraft Foods announced that more than 71% of Cadbury shareholders had voted to approve Kraft's takeover bid of the British confectioner.