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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: >  1956 to '60




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1956 to 1960

1956 Procter & Gamble introduces Jif Peanut Butter.

1956 'Knott's Berry Farm' trademark was registered (syrups; jellies; jams; fruit preserves; etc.). The name was actually first used in 1928.

1956 The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 500 for the first time, closing at 500.24.

1956 'My Fair Lady' opens on Broadway. It will run until September 29, 1962 for 2,717 performances.

1956 'Heartbreak Hotel' by Elvis Presley was number 1 on the music charts.

1956 Lever Brothers registered 'Wisk' trademark for America's first liquid laundry detergent.

1956 President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. A network of 41,000 miles of limited-access roads, the Interstate System, was planned to link 90 percent of cities with populations over 50,000 people.

1956 Singer Brenda Lee recorded 'Jambalaya' during her first recording session for Decca Records.

1956 The trademark "Chock Full O' Nuts - The Heavenly Coffee" was registered by the Federal Nut Co.

1956 The first completely enclosed shopping mall, Southdale Shopping Center opens in Edina, Minnesota.

1956 Fritz Hofmann died (born 1866). German chemist who first synthesized rubber (German patent No. 250690, Sept 12, 1909).

1956 Chen Kenichi was born. Chinese chef (born in Japan) best known for his role on the TV series 'Iron Chef'.  He is the only Iron Chef to have held his position throughout the life of the show.

1956 Louis Bromfield died.  American conservationist and author. 'The Green Bay Tree' (1924), 'Early Autumn' (1926), 'The Farm' (1933), 'The Rains Came' (1937). His Malabar Farm in Ohio is now a state park. Elected to the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.  His innovative work continues to influence agricultural methodologies around the world.

1956 Anthony Bourdain was born (died June 8, 2018).  Influential American celebrity chef, author ('Kitchen Confidential') and culinary traveler.  Host of  'A Cook's Tour', 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations' and 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown'.  He died of an apparant suicide.

1956 Alain Ducasse was born in France. One of the world's most successful and respected chefs and restaurateurs, with 24 restaurants (three with 3 Michilin stars) and 3 hotels.

1956 Caesar Cardini died. Chef and restaurateur in the U.S. and Mexico, he is credited with creating the Caesar Salad at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s.

1956 'Heartbreak Hotel' by Elvis Presley is number 1 on the music charts.

1956 Elvis Presley sings 'Heartbreak Hotel' on the 'Milton Berle Show.' An estimated 25% of the American population tuned in to hear him.

1956 On the 'I Love Lucy' show, Lucy stomped grapes in Rome, and wrestled with another female grape stomper. An inspiration for future 'food wrestling' entrepreneurs. Actually, this is one of the funniest sitcom episodes ever made.

1956 Ant Farms. At a Fourth of July family picnic, Milton Levine came up with the idea for the Ant Farm. I wonder if he had dreams of fencing them in so they would not bother him at picnics?

1956 Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland) died. At the age of 84, he leaned too far out of his window and fell to his death. French writer, novelist, biographer, and  gastronome. He was known as the "Prince of Gastronomes,"  a title he was awarded in a public referendum in 1927, and a title no one else has ever been given.

1956 Marion trailing blackberry introduced; the most important blackberry cultivar in the world.

1956 'My Friend Flicka' premiers on CBS TV. The series about a boy and his horse is set on the Goose Bar Ranch in Montana.

1956 Singer Parry Donahue of The Waitresses (a New Wave band) was born.

1956 The Soil Bank Program is authorized

1956 Bela Lugosi (Béla Ferenc Dezso Blaskó) died.  Best known for his role as the blood drinking vampire in the 1931 film 'Dracula'

1956 Del Monte Pineapple Grapefruit Drink was introduced.

1956 Clarence Birdseye died in New York. In 1924, Clarence Birdseye, with the financial backing of Wetmore Hodges, William Gamage, Basset Jones, I.L. Rice and J.J. Barry, organized the General Seafood Corporation. The birth of the frozen food industry.

1956 Ice cubes, anyone? The U.S. Navy icebreaker, USS Glacier, sighted the largest iceberg ever recorded. At 208 miles long and 60 miles wide it was about the size of Belgium!. The iceberg had broken from the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic.

1956 80% of U.S. households have a refrigerator, but only 8% of British households do.

1956 Budweiser Brewery introduces Busch beer.

1956 Four U.S. chefs win the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany; Paul Laesecke, Otto Spielbachler, Paul Leuppe, and Paul Debes.

1956 The largest clam ever recorded was found in Okinawa in 1956, it weighed 750 pounds.

1956 First reference in print to the drink Bloody Mary appeared in 'Punch'

1957 Burger King introduced the Whopper burger.

1957 Hamilton Watch Co. introduced the world's first electric watch (battery powered).

1957 Canada makes Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, the 2nd Monday in October ("A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed …")  (It had been an annual holiday since 1879 with varying dates).

1957 'The Hostess with the Mostest' premiered on Playhouse 90 TV show (season 1 episode 25).

1957 The Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC), was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. The Treaty becomes effective on January 1, 1958.

1957 The BBC aired a spoof TV documentary about spaghetti crops in Switzerland, showing women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. Many viewers called in asking where they could purchase their own spaghetti trees.

1957 George B. Hansburg of Walker Valley, N.Y. received U.S. patent # 2,793,036 for his invention of an improved pogo stick (a vertical pole with foot-rests and a spring-loaded assist to enable hopping). Great excercise!

1957 Noda Shoyu Co., Ltd. registered the 'Kikkoman' trademark (for soy sauce), first used in 1885.

1957 Jay Arthur Pritzker purchased the Hyatt House motel at Los Angeles airport from owner Hyatt Von Dehn. The beginning of Hyatt Hotel Corporation.

1957 'Leave It To Beaver' premiers on the CBS TV network.

1957 The largest abattoir in the north of England was closed after foot-and-mouth disease was found in cattle waiting to be slaughtered.

1957 Production of the Pluto Platter began (renamed Frisbee and patented in 1958).  The pie tins of the Frisbee Pie Company of Connecticut were the inspiration for the creation of the Frisbee. A Wham-O employee supposedly saw drivers for the pie company showing Yale students how to throw the pie tins.

1957 Three B-52's made the first nonstop, around the world flight by jet planes, taking off from Castle Air Force Base in California. The trip took 45 hours and 19 minutes. I am curious as to what they ate while on this flight. If anyone has any information, please email me.

1957 The song 'Tequila' by the Champs was recorded.

1957 The styrofoam cooler was invented.

1957 The Banana Boat Song (Day-O) by Harry Belafonte is number one on the charts.

1957 William Cadbury, chocolatier died at age 89.

1957 Actress Kelly McGillis was born. McGillis has a restaurant in Key West, Florida called Kelly's Place.

1957 Last game of the greatest baseball team in history. On September 24, the last game is played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn as the Dodgers prepare to move to LA. On February 23 of 1960, they tear the stadium down. Days that will live in infamy!  I guess you can tell I was born in Brooklyn.

1957 Velcro was patented by George de Mestral of Switzerland.

1957 Humane Slaughter Act passed to govern livestock handling procedures in meat packing plants.

1957 Better Homes & Gardens prints its first microwave-cooking article.

1957 Margarine sales exceed butter sales for the first time.

1957 General Foods Corp. introduces TANG breakfast beverage crystals.

1957 Dairy Queen Hamburgers and Hot Dogs are first added to the Dairy Queen menu at some outlets in Georgia.

1957 The Space Age begins. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I into orbit - the first artificial satellite, it orbited the Earth about every 96 minutes. It burned up as it fell from orbit on January 4, 1958.

1957 William C. Coleman died (born May 21, 1870). Inventor and founder of the Coleman Company, manufacturer of camping equipment.

1957 Craig Claiborne was named food editor of The New York Times.

1957 Idaho became the largest producer of potatoes, overtaking Maine.

1957 Poultry Inspection Act authorized compulsory Federal inspection of poultry sold in interstate commerce.

1957 Kentucky Fried Chicken begins selling chicken in buckets.

1957 Ainsley Harriott was born. British celebrity chef. TV cooking shows include ‘Ready Steady Cook’, ‘Can't Cook Won't Cook’, ‘Ainsley's Barbeque Bible’, ‘Gourmet Express’.

1958 The Boston Herald printed a letter from Olga Owens Huckins attacking the pesticide DDT as dangerous. She also wrote to her friend Rachel Carson, which prompted Carson to write 'Silent Spring.' The public outcry that followed the book's publication forced the banning of DDT.

1958 Procter & Gamble Company registered 'Mr. Clean' trademark (cleanser, detergent)

1958 'Tequila' by the Champs was number one on the music charts.

1958 The Brussels World's Fair, Expo 58 (Universal and International Exhibition) opened in Belgium (closed Oct 19, 1958).  The overall theme was "A World View, A New Humanism."  It was the first major world's fair after World War II.

1958 'Splish Splash' by Bobby Darin was released by Atco Records.

1958 'The Purple People Eater' by Sheb Wooley was number one on the music charts.

1958 An magnitude 7 earthquake in Southeast Alaska triggered a landslide that dropped into Lituya Bay. The resulting 1720 foot wave washed away the forest on the opposite shore. This was the largest wave ever recorded

1958 U.S. first class postage rates were raised to 4 cents and post cards to 3 cents..

1958 Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Foods, markets the first precooked instant noodles (Chikin Ramen).

1958 American Express launched the American Express travel & entertainment charge card. The cards were paper until 1959 when plastic cards were issued.

1958 'The Old Man and the Sea' opened in U.S. theatres. Based on Earnest Hemingway's 1952 novel, it is the story of an aging fisherman and starred Spencer Tracy.

1958 Samuel Hopkins Adams died.  American author and journalist. His series of articles in 1905 about patent medicines ('The Great American Fraud') for Collier's Weekly, led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

1958 'The Chipmunk Song' by The Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore (David Seville) was #1 on the music charts.

1958 James Drummond Dole died (born sept 27, 1877).  The 'Pineapple King' he founded Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, renamed Dole Pineapple Co., later Dole Food Co.

1958 The first IHOP (International House of Pancakes) opened on July 7 at 4301 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California.

1958 Sputnik I fell to Earth (see also 1957).

1958 The agreements establishing the European Economic Community (EEC or Common Market) went into effect.

1958 The CBS TV program 'General Electric Theater' aired an episode titled 'A Turkey for the President.' It starred Nancy Davis (Reagan) with husband Ronald Reagan, future 40th president of the U.S. (1981-1989).

1958 Ant Farms go on sale. Milton Levine had the idea at a July 4th picnic. I wonder if he had dreams of fencing them in so they would not bother him at picnics?

1958 'Sugartime' by the McGuire Sister topped the charts.
1958 'Tequila' by The Champs is #1 on the charts
1958 Shep Wooley recorded "The Purple Eater", it reaches #1 on the charts.
1958 'The Chipmunk Song' becomes the only Christmas song in U.S. in history to be Number #1 on Christmas Day.

1958 Continuous method of making jelly with fruit-juice concentrates developed, instead of using single-strength juice.

1958 Velcro was trademarked.

1958 The first parking meters are installed in England.

1958 The first potato flake manufacturing plant opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

1958 Walter Frederick Morrison of La Puente, California was granted U.S. Design Patent No. 183,626 for a plastic 'Flying Toy' which he sold under the name 'Pluto Platter' - this was the basic design for the 'Frisbee.'

1958 A National Airlines Boeing 707 with 111 passengers flew from New York to Miami. It was the first domestic passenger jet flight. ** I am trying to locate information on what food was served on this flight. If anyone has information, please email me [email protected]

1958 Friskees introduced the first dry cat food

1958 Rice-A-Roni goes on sale. Produced by Vince DeDomenico from an Armenian family recipe.

1958 Cocoa Puffs cereal is introduced by General Mills; it contains 43% sugar.

1958 Cocoa Krispies is introduced by Kellogg’s - it's 45.9% sugar.

1958 There are 4,063 drive in movie screens nationwide

1958 The Jolly Green Giant appears on TV with less than stellar results! In his first incarnation he looks like a monster which scares kids. So they lightened him up and added 'Ho, ho, ho' and the lilting 'Good things from the garden' song.

1958 Sweet n' Low was introduced as an artificial sweetener (granulated saccharin, dextrose, cream of tartar and calcium silicate). It received U.S. trademark patent no. 1,000,000.

1958 Frank Carney, 18 years old, reads about the pizza fad with college students. He borrows $600 from his mother and opens the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas

1958 McDonald's sold its 100 millionth hamburger.

1958 Jif peanut butter was introduced (creamy).

1958 Royal Crown Cola begins test marketing Diet Rite Cola, the first diet cola. It goes national in 1962.

1959 Duncan Hines died on March 15 (born March 26, 1880).  A traveling salesman, he published a list of his favorite restaurants and dishes 'Adventures in Good Eating' in 1935. The book was a big hit and in 1938 he wrote 'Lodging for a Night' and also wrote a newspaper column and became a favorite American restaurant and lodging critic.  In the 1950s he licensed the Duncan Hines name for ice cream, cake mixes and other products.

1959 Alaska was admitted as the 49th U.S. state.

1959 American Airlines opened the jet age in the U.S. with the first scheduled transcontinental flight of a Boeing 707.

1959 Oklahoma finally ends prohibition.  Oklahoma had prohibited the sale of alcohol since it became a state in 1907. The state legalized beer sales in 1933, but hard liquor was still banned until 1959.  However, liquor by the drink was not legalized in Oklahoma until 1984.

1959 Alfred Dean caught a record 2,664 pound great white shark with rod and reel off Ceduna, Australia.

1959 Golden Grain Macaroni Corp. registered "Rice-A-Roni" trademark (first used 1957).

1959 Alberta, Canada bans trading stamps and similar sales promotional items.

1959 Mattel Inc. registered the 'Barbie' trademark (for dolls).

1959 Charles Lavelle Broley died on May 4 (born Dec 7, 1879). A Canadian banker and ornithologist, he was one of the first to implicate DDT in the declining hatching success of bald eagles, and the environmental dangers of pesticides.

1959 The Barbie doll debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.

1959 The last Edsel rolled off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company.

1959 U.S. agricultural exports were about $3.53 billion a year during the 1950s (22% of total exports).

1959 The Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin introduced the aluminum Christmas Tree.

1959 Average commercial fertilizer use on U.S. farms during the 1950s was about 22.3 million tons per year.

1959 Danny's Coffee Shops are renamed Denny’s.

1959 In 1959 there were about 15,000 'delis' in New York City.

1959 Maxwell House inaugurates the 'Good to the last drop' ad campaign.

1959 Bic Pens are introduced in the U.S. Europe has had them since 1952.

1959 At the first Grammy Awards, 'Tequila' by the Champs won best Best Rhythm & Blues Performance for 1958.

1959 Oklahoma repeals its 51 year old Prohibition law leaving Mississippi the only 'dry' state in America.

1959 Food for Peace Program inaugurated.

1959 The heavy, fudge-like Chocolate Velvet Cake was created by pastry chef Albert Kumin of the Four Seasons restaurant.

1959 There are 32,000 supermarkets in the U.S. and account for 69 percent of all food store sales.

1959 The 7 oz. seamless, recyclable aluminum beer can is introduced by Coors of Golden, Colorado.

1959 The one billionth can of Spam was sold.

1959 Mechanical tomato harvester developed.

1959 McDonald's opens its 100th restaurant in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.

1959 New York's Four Seasons restaurant and The Brasserie open in the new Seagram Building.

1959 The day the music died. February 3, 1959. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) are killed in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa.

1959 Rap singer 'Ice T' was born (Tracy Morrow).

1959 The Coasters song 'Charlie Brown' is banned by the BBC because it refers to 'throwin' spitballs.'  The ban only lasted 2 weeks.

1959 The St. Lawrence Seaway opened. It connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. Its completion opened the heart of Americas industrial and agricultural areas to ocean going vessels for shipping.

1959 Icelandic gunboats fired on British trawlers during their 'Cod War' over fishing rights.

1959 Mary Leakey, wife of Louis Leakey, discovered a human skull in Tanganyika (Tanzania). It is about 1.8 million years old.

1959 Kitchen Debate. Then vice president Richard M. Nixon argued with Soviet Leader Nikita Khruschev while Khruschev was touring the United States. They were touring a kitchen at the time, and the discussion became known as the Kitchen Debate.

1959 Congress passes legislation authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to run a Food Stamp program through 1962. However the Eisenhower Administration never uses the authority.

1959 The TV show 'Bonanza' premiers. The frontier adventures of the Cartwright family, father and 3 sons and Chinese cook Hop Sing, on the 'Ponderosa' ranch near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

1959 Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev is told he cannot visit Disneyland. Krushchev was indignant. The reason given was security concerns. Can you picture Krushchev cavorting with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse?

1959 Emeril Lagasse was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. American celebrity chef, restaurateur (13 restaurants), cookbook author and cooking show host ('Emeril Live', 'Essence of Emeril', etc).

1959 Polish born New York businessman Reuben Mattus created a premium ice cream. He gave it the Danish sounding name, Haagan Dazs, and put a map of Scandinavia on the carton.

1959 Mike Ilitch opened the first 'Little Caesars Pizza'

1959 Hawaii officially became the 50th state of the U.S..  (Voters in the Hawaii Territory had ratified a state constitution in 1950).

1959 Charles 'Charlie' Trotter was born.  Famed American chef and restaurateur. His eponymous Chicago restaurant (opened in 1987) was recognized as one of the finest in the world. He was also host of the PBS cooking show 'Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter' and the author of 14 cookbooks.

1960 Nigella Lawson was born. English food writer, cook and television host (Nigella Bites; Nigella Feasts, etc.).

1960 Adolph Coors, grandson of the Coors brewery founder, was kidnapped and held for ransom. He was later found shot to death.

1960 Gary Rhodes was born (died Nov 26, 2019).  British restaurateur and celebrity chef, known as an ambassador for British cuisine .  He presented TV shows 'MasterChef', 'MasterChef USA', 'Hell's Kitchen' and his own series, 'Rhodes Around Britain'.  He also owned four restaurants and had his own line of cookware and bread mixes.

1960 OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formed by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

1960 'The Flintstones' premiered, the first prime time animation show.

1960 Floyd Cardoz was born (died March 25, 2020).  World-renowned chef and TV star, Cardoz combined regional Indian cuisine with French and new American flavors, with several restaurants in his native Mumbai (Bombay) India and New York.  He died from complications from COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

1960 The United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba.

1960 Fishermen in British Columbia, Canada end a 12-month labor dispute that shut down province's herring fishery.

1960 'Calendar Girl' by Neil Sedaka is released by RCA Victor Records.

1960 Aluminum Christmas trees go on sale in Canada.

1960 Wilbur Hardee opened the first Hardee's restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina on Sept 3.  It had no tables, and only a few items on the menu, but the drive-thru restaurant was an immediate success. The main attraction was a 15-cent fresh-ground, lean beef burger made to order on a custom-built charcoal broiler.

1960 Mario Batali was born. American chef, author, restaurateur.

1960 OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, was formed.

1960 Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller 'Psycho' premiered on June 16.  It was the first film to show a toilet flushing.  (Janet Leigh's character flushed a torn up piece of paper).

1960 The population of the U.S. is now 179,323,175. Farmers are 8.3% of the labor force. There are about 3,711,000 farms, averaging about 303 acres.

1960 There are about 45 million television sets in the U.S.  About 90% of homes had at least one TV set.

1960 More than 95% of U.S. corn acreage is planted with hybrid seed.

1960 Dr. Asselbergs developed the process for making instant mashed potato flakes, the basic process that is still used today.

1960 The 'I Hate to Cook Book' by Ruth Eleanor 'Peg' Bracken was published.

1960 Walter D. Teague died on Dec 5 (born Dec 18, 1883).  A pioneering industrial designer, he designed Steuben glassware, cameras for Kodak and Polaroid and Texaco gas stations.

1960 Frozen bagels were introduced.

1960 Instant sweet potatoes developed.

1960 Four 'colored' students from the Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina sat down at the lunch counter in Woolworth's and ordered coffee. They were refused service, but made history.

1960 The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago at 116 E. Walton Street, in downtown Chicago.

1960 Agnes Arber died. Arber was a British botanist, who wrote 'Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution' (1912) and 'The Gramineae: A Study of Cereal, Bamboo and Grass' (1934).

1960 Tiros I, the first weather observation satellite was launched from Cape Kennedy.

1960 Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies were introduced for 49 cents.

1960 'How America Eats' by Clementine Paddleford was published.

1960 Georges Claude died. A French engineer, he invented the neon light, commonly used for signs.

1960 Chubby Checker's 'The Twist' was released. It reached #1 on the charts.

1960 The National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame established.

1960 The last episode of 'The Howdy Doody Show' airs on NBC. Remember the ‘Peanut Gallery’?

1960 Dr. Irving Cooper received a wine bottle opener for Christmas. It injected carbon dioxide gas into the bottle to force the cork out. He noticed the gas was extremely cold coming out from the needle-like device. This gave him the idea to develop a brain surgery technique using liquid nitrogen to freeze tiny areas of brain cells or tumors.

1960 Ray Charles recorded 'One Mint Julep.'

Chicago's last packing house closed.

1960 'A Taste of Honey' opened at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City.

1960 The Hawaiian Pineapple Company was renamed Dole Corp.

1960 The non-dairy coffee creamer, 'Coffee Rich' was introduced.

1960 Aluminum cans were first used commercially for food and beverages.

1960 The Four Seasons hotel chain was founded.

1960 Domino's Pizza was founded.

1960 Granny Smith apples were first imported from New Zealand and sold in the U.S.

1960 The USSR launched Sputnik 5 into Earth orbit carrying 2 dogs, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. The capsule was successfully returned to Earth the next day on August 20.


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