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FEBRUARY 23 - Today in Food History

- National Banana Bread Day.
- International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
- Ebbets Field Memorial Day (see 1960 below)

- National Eating Disorders Awareness Week  (Feb 23 - Mar 1, 2014)

On this day in:

1603 Andrea Cesalpino died. An Italian philosopher and botanist, he helped establish botany as a separate science. He concentrated on fruits and seeds, and he classified them by logical principles, instead of their supposed medical properties.

1846 William Horlick was born (died Sept 25, 1936). Manufacturer of food for infants and invalids, he created and patented (1883) a new formulae named  'Diastoid' - later renamed and trademarked as 'malted milk' which found new and unexpected uses and markets.

1850 Cesar Ritz was born in Niederwald, Switzerland. He managed the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo and the Grand Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. He also worked with Escoffier at the Savoy and Carlton in London. In 1898 he opened the first hotel with his name, The Ritz Hotel in Paris. His name and his hotels became synonymous with the luxury.

1869 Frederick Walton of London, England was granted U.S. patent 87,227 for his invention, Linoleum, the first widely used smooth floor covering. (British patent 3,210 granted May 31, 1864).

1879 Agnes Arber was born. She was a British botanist, who wrote 'Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution' (1912) and 'The Gramineae: A Study of Cereal, Bamboo and Grass.'

1884 Casimir Funk was born (died Nov 19, 1967). Funk was a Polish-American biochemist who realized certain substances in food were essential for good health, He called them 'vitamines' later changed to 'vitamins.'

1896 Leo Hirshfield introduced the Tootsie Roll at his small store in New York City. It was supposedly named after his 5 year old daughter, whose nickname was 'Tootsie.'

1931 Helen Porter Mitchel died. You probably do not recognize that name, but you may recognize her stage name, Nellie Melba. A world famous operatic soprano born in Australia, Melba Toast and Peach Melba were named for her. Escoffier is thought to have been involved with the creation and/or naming of both dishes

1944 Leo Hendrik Baekeland was born. He was a chemist who invented Bakelite, the first plastic that did not soften when heated. Those black plastic knobs on stoves were made of bakelite.

1960 Ebbets Field is torn down, the former home of the former Brooklyn Dodgers. They played their last game in Ebbets Field on September 4, 1957 and deserted to Los Angeles, California.

1997 Scientists in Scotland announced the first successful cloning of an adult mammal, Dolly, a sheep.


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