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Clarence Birdseye

(December 9, 1886 - October 7, 1956).

There really was a Clarence Birdseye. The creator of the modern frozen food industry, he helped pay his way through college by trapping and selling black rats to a geneticist and frogs to the Bronx Zoo.

During World War I, Birdseye and his wife lived in Labrador, where he trapped animals and traded furs. He noticed that food frozen in midwinter tended to taste better than similar foods frozen at slightly warmer times. It was the speed with which something was frozen, he concluded, that made the difference: the faster the freeze, the less chance that ice crystals would tear apart cell walls and release natural juices.

After much experimentation, retail frozen foods finally reached the market on March 6, 1930. By the time of his death in 1956, Birdseye held almost 300 patents related to food processing.




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