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Today in Food History, Timeline & Food Holidays: National Food Days, Weeks & Months

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Today in Food HistoryFOOD TIMELINE: >  1981 to '85




50,000 BC to 1 BC
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1400 to 1499   ·   1500 to 1550
1551 to 1599   ·   1600 to 1625
1626 to 1650   ·   1651 to 1675
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1750 to 1759   ·   1760 to 1769
1770 to 1779   ·   1780 to 1784
1785 to 1789   ·   1790 to 1794
1795 to 1799   ·   1800 to 1805
1806 to 1810   ·   1811 to 1819
1820 to 1824   ·   1825 to 1830
1831 to 1835   ·   1836 to 1840
1841 to 1845   ·   1846 to 1849
1850 to 1854   ·   1855 to 1859
1860 to 1864   ·   1865 to 1869
1870 to 1874   ·   1875 to 1879
1880 to 1884   ·   1885 to 1889
1890 to 1894   ·   1895 to 1899
1900 to 1905   ·   1906 to 1910
1911 to 1915   ·   1916 to 1920
1921 to 1925   ·   1926 to 1930
1931 to 1935   ·   1936 to 1940
1941 to 1945   ·   1946 to 1950
1951 to 1955   ·   1956 to 1960
1961 to 1965   ·   1966 to 1970
1971 to 1975   ·   1976 to 1980
1981 to 1985   ·   1986 to 1990
1991 to 1995   ·   1996 to 2000
2001 to 2005   ·   2006   ·   2007
2008   ·   2009   ·   2010
2011 to 2012   ·   2013 to 2014
2015 to 2019   ·   2020 to 2021
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See Also: Today in Food History
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MAY   |   JUNE   |   JULY   |   AUG
SEPT   |   OCT   |   NOV   |   DEC



1981 to 1985

1981 Lean Cuisine frozen dinners were introduced.

1981 The artificial sweetener aspartame was approved by the FDA.

1981 The Yukon Gold potato was introduced.

1981 Jell-O Gelatin Pops were introduced.

1981 Radicchio (a red variety of chicory) was first grown commercially in this country in 1981 in California.

1981 U.S. first class postage rates are raised to 18 cents and post cards to 12 cents.

1981 The U.K. bans all animal transport on the Isle of Wight and in southern Hampshire in an attempt to contain a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

1981 Charles F. Mara paid $24,000 for a 12 bottle case of 1979 Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon at a Napa Valley wine auction. The record price for a case of American wine.

1981 Harry Chapin died (born 1942). American singer-songwriter ('Taxi,' 'Cat's in the Cradle,' etc.). A dedicated humanitarian, a co-founder of the organization World Hunger Year in 1975 and influential in President Jimmy Carter's establishment of the Presidential Commission  on World Hunger in 1977. Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1987 for his humanitarian work.

1981 U.S. first class postage rates were raised to 20 cents and post cards to 13 cents.

1981 The Metric Commission of Canada orders scales across Canada changed to metric by January, 1982; advertising allowed only in metric after December 31, 1983.

1981 Bob (The Bear) Hite died. Lead singer with Canned Heat.

1981 Dunkin Donuts opened its first store in the Philippines.

1981 In Mountain Home, Idaho, Virginia Campbell took her coupons and rebates and bought $26,460 worth of groceries. She only paid 67 cents after all the discounts.

1981 Shukuni Sasaki spins 72 plates simultaneously.

1981 IBM introduced its Personal Computer (PC) and PC-DOS 1.0

1981 The USDA announced that ketchup could be counted as a vegetable in the school lunch program.

1981 The FDA approved the artificial sweetener Aspartame (NutraSweet) for tabletop use.

1981 Dunkin' Donuts opened its first store in Thailand.

1981 'Pigmeat' Markham died. American actor, comedian. ("Here comes the Judge.").

1981 Hunt's increased the number of tomatoes in each can of tomato sauce from 4 to 4 1/2 due to consumer demand for thicker sauce.

1981 UHT (ultra high temperature) milk gains national recognition.

1981 Walter Knott died. Co-founder, with his wife Cordellia, of Knott's Berry Farm in California.

1981 The largest Jell-O mold ever is made in Brisbane, Australia, using 9,246 gallons of Jell-O.

1982 AT&T settles antitrust lawsuit by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System telephone companies.
1982 The world's largest oil rig 'The Ocean Ranger' sank in the storm-tossed north Atlantic with the loss of 84 crew members

1982 The last Checker taxi cab rolled off the assembly line in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

1982 The International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted to ban commercial whaling beginning with the 1985/86 season.

1982 A bad day for hot dog vendors. Only 2,251 fans came to see last place NY Mets play the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium in New York City. (The Mets lost, 5-1)

1982 'Cats' opened on Broadway.

1982 'Maneater' by Daryl Hall and John Oates was #1 on the music charts.

1982 Karl von Frisch died.  He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen.  Working with honey bees he showed that they can recognize different odors and tastes and using their 'waggle dance' could communicate the location of food to other bees in the hive.

1982 Bud Light beer was introduced by Anheuser-Busch.

1982 A record setting 8,000 foot long banana split was created in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. (See also April 30, 1988)

1982 The Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) was founded.

1982 In the 1982 movie 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' Reese's Pieces were E.T's favorite candy.

1982 New infectious agent, "prions," discovered; proposed as cause of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases. (Mad Cow disease)

1982 First genetically engineered crop plant developed (tomato).

1982 Crystal Light powdered drink mix is introduced by General Foods.

1982 Newman's Own Food is founded by Paul Newman and he devotes the profits to charity.

1982 A cow in Cuba, named Ubre Blanca, set a world record when it produced 28 gallons of milk in one day, which is about 4 times an average cow's daily output. Ubre Blanca later set the record for total output during a 305 day lactation period of 6,405 gallons.

1982 Wolfgang Puck and his wife & partner, Barbara Lazaroff, opened their restaurant 'Spago' in Los Angeles.

1982 Saturday Night Live had viewers vote whether to boil 'Larry the Lobster' or not. The audience voted to free him

1982 The Conch Republic (Florida Keys) seceded from the United States to protest an INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) roadblock on the only road into the Keys.

1982 A record low temperature of -117 F was recorded at the South Pole.

1982 The population of China reached 1 billion.

1982 Larry Walters used 45 helium filled weather ballons tied to an aluminum lawn chair to ascend to 16,000 feet above Long Beach. Several very perplexed commercial airline pilots reported seeing Larry sittring in his lawn chair in the sky to the Long Beach airport. The FAA fined him $4,000, but later settled for $1,500.

1982 Diet Coke was introduced.

1982 On April 3 the temperature in Lamberton, Minnesota dropped from 78 degrees F to 7 degrees F in 24 hours.  The 71 degree drop in temperature is a Minnesota record.

1982 The TV show 'Cheers' debuted.

1982 Waverley Root, cookbook and food author died in Paris at age 79.

1982 'Maneater' by Daryl Hall & John Oates hit #1 on the charts.

1982 The 'Time' magazine Man of the Year was the personal computer.

1982 A second full moon occurred during the month (a 'blue moon'). What makes this one even more unusual was that it was also a total lunar eclipse in the U.S. (A 'blue moon' occurs once every 2.7 years)

1982 French's introduced its 'Bold'n Spicy' mustard (now called 'Spicy Brown')

1983 Pillsbury acquires Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

1983 Jenny Craig Inc. weight loss program is founded by Sid and Jenny Craig.

1983 Denny's Restaurants acquires the U.S. El Pollo Loco restaurants.

1983 Allen Products Company is renamed ALPO Petfoods Inc.

1983 A Danish trawler captain is arrested for fishing inside the new UK 12 mile limit.

1983 Tennessee Williams died Feb 23 (born March 26, 1911). American playwright. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (1947); ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ (1955); ‘The Night of the Iguana’ (1961); ‘The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore’ (1963) etc.

1983 Wendy's introduced Baked Potatoes with toppings.

1983 Karen Carpenter died from anorexia nervosa.

1983 Jack Dempsey died. Regarded as one of the greatest boxers, he held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. He then became a successful restaurateur in New York City.

1983 A new low record temperature was recorded at Vostok Station, Antartica, -128.6 F

1983 Dave Winfield, a N.Y. Yankee outfielder accidentally killed a seagull with an errant throw in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was arrested, charged with cruelty to animals and had to post a $500 bond. The charges were dropped the following day.

1983 Rolla N. Harger died. A biochemist, he invented the first successful test machine for blood alcohol content, the Drunkometer, in 1931.

1983 Earl Silas Tupper died. The inventor of Tupperware. (Tupperware makes the containers used to conduct mold and bacterial experiments in the back of refrigerator shelves).

1983 White House Counselor (later Attorney General) Edwin Messe says: "I don't know of any authoritative figures that there are hungry children.....We've had considerable evidence that people go to soup kitchens because the food is free and that's easier than paying for it."

1983 The last hand cranked telephones in the United States were taken out of service as the 440 telephone customers in Bryant Pond, Main were switched over to direct dial service.

1983 'Maneater' by Daryl Hall & John Oates hit #1 on the charts.

1983 Maytag built its last wringer-washing machine, a Master Model E. It had been introduced in 1939.

1983 Alfred Heineken, president of Heinken (the beer) was kidnapped on Nov 9.  He was freed on November 30 after a ransom was paid (over $20 million). The kidnappers were eventually caught.

1983 French's introduced its Dijon mustard.

1984 Sugar Free Jell-O is introduced.

1984 Bottled Hidden Valley Ranch Dressings are introduced.

1984 Ontario, Canada bans mixed pricing and cut rate drinks, effectively ending Happy Hours in bars.

1984 The Apple Macintosh computer was introduced in a TV commercial ("1984") during Super Bowl XVIII. Two days later they went on sale to the public.

1984 McDonald's served its 50 billionth hamburger.

1984 The California Dancing Raisin was introduced in 1984 by the California Raisin Industry marketing staff to increase awareness and demand for California raisins.

1984 Ronald Reagan declared July 'National Ice Cream Month'

1984 Wendy's 'Where's the Beef?' ad campaign debuted

1984 First transgenic farm animals born (sheep and pigs).

1984 The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened. Built on Cannery Row in Monterey, California on the site of an old sardine cannery, it is the world's largest.

1984 Ray Kroc died in San Diego, California. Ray Kroc sold blenders for milkshakes, and one of his customers was a restaurant in San Bernardino, California owned by Maurice and Richard McDonald. Kroc set up a chain of drive-in restaurants based on their efficient assembly line production kitchen. He opened his first restaurant on April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. By 1961 he had 228 restaurants and he bought out the McDonald brothers. When he died in 1984 there were over 7,500 McDonald's restaurants.

1984 Michael Jackson's hair catches fire while filming a Pepsi commercial.

1984 A section of Central Park is renamed 'Strawberry Fields' to honor John Lennon.

1984 Fred Waring, musician, died. Frederick Osius worked on improving the electric blender, and went to Waring for financial backing. Waring backed its development, in part, so he could puree raw vegetables for the ulcer diet his doctors prescribed. The Waring Blender (originally called the Miracle Mixer) debuted in 1937 and sold for $29.75.  By 1954 one million Waring Blendors had been sold.

1984 Sylvan N. Goldman died. Goldman ran a successful chain of grocery stores, and while a major owner of the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain he invented the shopping cart. He hired fake shoppers to wheel them around the store to encourage his customers to see how useful they could be.

1984 The world's worst industrial disaster occurred in Bhopal, India. Over 40 tons of poisonous gas leaked out of a Union carbide pesticide factory. About 3,800 were killed and over 300,000 people suffered acute respiratory problems, burning eyes and vomiting. An independent Investigation has shown a strong possibility of employee sabotage as a cause of the disaster, although this has not been proved.

1984 McDonald's sold its 50 billionth hamburger today.

1984 Ray Kroc's first McDonald's franchise restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois closed. It had opened for business on April 15, 1955.

1985 Coca-Cola announced it had received permission to sell Coca-Cola in the Soviet Union.

1985 Carmela Vitale received U.S. patent No. 4,498,586 for a plastic package saver "suitable for supporting large carton covers such as those used for pizza pies"

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

1985 Clara Peller, the "Where's the Beef" lady in Wendy's burger commercials (Jan 10, 1984), was fired for making a spaghetti sauce commercial for Campbell Soup Co.  Wendy's said this caused her to lose credibility .

1985 During a minor league baseball game in Clearwater, Florida, organ player Wilbur Snapp was ejected from the game for playing 'Three Blind Mice' in response to a bad call by the umpire.

1985 Route 66, which originally ran from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, was officially decertified and removed from the U.S. Highway System, having been replaced by the new Interstate Highway System.

1985 The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that there were more than 400,000 American millionaires and 13 billionaires

1985 Thomas Stanley, a researcher at Georgia State University, reported that there were 832,602 millionaires in the U.S. Their average age was 57 years old.

1985 Former vice-residential candidate Geraldine Ferraro appeared in a Diet Pepsi TV commercial.

1985 A bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux that had belonged to Thomas Jefferson, sold at Christie’s London for 105,000 British Pounds ($158,000). The world's most expensive wine.

1985 Two days of record breaking cold temperatures damaged 90% of Florida's orange and grapefruit crop.

1985 Dorthy Richards the 'Beaver’ Woman died. (born July 7, 1894). She spent 50 years studying beavers in the Adirondack foothills of New York. July 7 is celebrated annually as International Beaver Day.

1985 Hole in Earth's ozone shield discovered over Antarctica.

1985 The Food Security Act lowered government farm supports, promoted exports, & set up the Conservation Reserve Program.

1985 Coca Cola introduces its new formula - no one wants it.

1985 James Beard, culinary expert and cookbook author, died in New York at age 81.

1985 Perrier introduced Perrier with 'a twist of lemon' - its first new product in 125 years.

1985 Cherry Coke is introduced. Actually, soda fountains (remember them?) had been making them for decades.

1985 Clarence Nash died. The original voice of Donald Duck.

1985 Nathan Pritikin died. A nutritionist who believed that exercise and a low fat, high unrefined carbohydrate diet helped reverse his own heart disease. He founded the Pritikin Longevity Center in 1976.

1985 The Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, California closed after 57 years. Robert Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby, created the Cobb Salad there in 1936.

1985 First Farm Aid Concert was held at Champaign, Illinois.

1985 The four 'unicorns' of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus were declared to be only goats with surgically implanted horns by federal inspectors. The circus was ordered to stop advertising them as unicorns.

1985 The first McDonald’s restaurant, in Des Plains, Illinois, became the first fast food museum.

1985 The largest salmon, a chinook salmon, caught with rod and reel weighed over 97 pounds and was caught in Alaska.

1985 Creme Fraiche won the Belmont Stakes, ridden by Jockey Eddie Maple.

1985 Ettore ‘Hector’ Boiardi died.  Better known as Chef Boyardee.

1985 Live Aid rock concert was held to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia. Events were held in numerous venues around the world and broadcast live on TV. It is estimated that almost 2 billion people in more than 100 countries watched the live broadcast. Live Aid raised a total of more than $280 million for famine relief.

1985 'Most Embarrassing Moment': Coca Cola announced it was bringing back the old formula Coke, to replace the New Coke nobody wanted.

1985 James A. Dewar, died. The creator of the Twinkie (1930)

1985 The honey bee was designated the official state insect of Missouri on July 3, 1985.

1985 'Raspberry Beret' by Prince & The Revolution hit #1 on the charts.

1985 Dr. Harlan Stone announced he had developed zippers to use in place of stitches after operations on patients who might require a second operation.

1985 The wreckage of the British luxury liner 'Titanic' was located 73 years after it sank. This inspired a new interest in the menu and last meals that were served on the ship.

1985 William Cumming Rose died. An American biochemist, he researched amino acids, and established the importance of the 8 essential amino acids in human nutrition.

1985 Strawberry Fields, a 2 1/2 acre garden memorial in New York City's Central Park, was formally dedicated to John Lennon.

1985 The largest grouper caught with rod and reel weighed over 436 pounds. It was caught in Destin, Florida.


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