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    Updated on May 15, 2020. Posted on Sep 20, 2019

    17 Fascinating Food History Facts You Should Know

    Seriously, who knew??

    1. America's first chocolate cake was mahogany cake.

    Joe Lingeman / Via thekitchn.com

    Dating back to the 1800s, it's America's first chocolate cake on record. Early versions used ermine frosting, a whipped buttercream that was America's icing of choice before cream cheese frosting took off.

    Recipe: Classic Mahogany Cake With Ermine Frosting

    2. Cool Whip, Pop Rocks, and Tang were all invented by the same dude.

    Walmart

    That's native Minnesotan William A. Mitchell. (And apparently, inventing runs in the family: His daughter Cheryl helped pioneer plant-based milk.)

    3. The first meal eaten on the moon included bacon.

    Nathan Brescia / Via Flickr: dinnerseries

    Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin enjoyed "bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, pineapple grapefruit drink, and coffee" after their moon landing in 1969.

    4. In the 1950s, Jello placed a magazine ad advocating its Sequin Salad recipe.

    Danny Kim / John Gara / Alice Mongkonglite / Via BuzzFeed

    Sequin salad was vinegar-soaked cauliflower and red peppers — both suspended in lime jello. (Also? A bunch of us actually tried it.)

    Read more: Here's What Actually Happens When You Eat Horrifying Vintage Recipes

    5. The first St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake was a mistake.

    chocolatemoosey.com

    The Midwestern favorite can be traced back to the 1930s — when a baker in St. Louis botched the amount of butter in a coffee cake he was making.

    Recipe: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

    6. Toll House chocolate chip cookies were kind of an accident too.

    instacart.com, Lauren Zaser/BuzzFeed

    In 1930, Ruth Wakefield — who ran the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts — added semisweet chocolate to her cookie dough, expecting the chunks to melt. Instead, the chocolate held its shape and became an instant hit. Wakefield eventually sold the recipe and rights to Nestlé.

    7. And so were Popsicles.

    Walmart / Via walmart.com

    In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left his cup of soda on his back porch overnight — with a stir stick in it. It froze, people loved it, and he went on to patent the Popsicle later in life.

    8. Before McDonald's Chicken McNuggets, there were Onion Nuggets.

    McDonalds

    In the late 1970s, Onion Nuggets — bite-size onion chunks that were battered and fried — were tested in a few McDonald's markets but never made it nationwide. Instead, Mickey D's debuted its chicken nuggets a few years later.

    9. Back in the day, most carrots were purple.

    haha21 / Getty Images

    The modern-day orange carrot only exists because in the late 17th century, Dutch growers developed and cultivated mutated versions of the purple kind.

    10. Graham crackers were created in the 1800s as a way to prevent sexual urges.

    Scott Akerman / Via Flickr: sterlic

    That was according to their inventor, the Rev. Sylvester Graham of Connecticut, who preached that a bland diet could curb sexual appetite.

    11. One of the strangest food-related disasters was the Great Molasses Flood in Boston.

    Boston Public Library / Via Flickr: boston_public_library

    In 1919, a storage tank containing more than 2 million gallons of molasses exploded. It flooded Boston streets, crushed buildings, and killed 21 people and injured 150 more.

    12. Pound cake got its name because the original 1795 recipe contained 1 pound of each main ingredient.

    Flickr: jcheung2009

    That's four pounds total — of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.

    13. Pez were originally invented as anti-smoking mints.

    PEZ

    In the 1920s, they were marketed as an alternative to smoking. Pez is a shortened version of the German word “Pfefferminz,” which means peppermint — and the first flavor of the candy was mint.

    Read more: The Original Reason Behind Pez Dispensers Has Me Shook

    14. On British Evacuation Day in 1783, George Washington feasted on this carrot cake.

    American Cake / Anne Byrn

    As the Brits were making their way out, Gen. Washington (not yet president!) had a celebratory feast at the still-standing Fraunces Tavern in NYC. The grand finale? This old-school — and frostingless — carrot cake.

    Recipe: Fraunces Tavern Carrot Tea Cake

    15. Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi all come from the same plant.

    Karaidel / Getty Images

    Brassica oleracea was selectively bred over hundreds of years to create dozens of very different vegetables.

    16. One of the earliest recorded instances of California cuisine was the Hangtown fry.

    Todd Coleman / Via saveur.com

    It's an omelette of eggs, oysters, and bacon — and it was concocted during the gold rush.

    Recipe: Hangtown Fry

    17. In the 1970s, Vogue published a wine-and-eggs diet.

    i.redd.it

    It said that if you eat nothing but eggs, white wine, steak, and black coffee for three days, you’ll lose 5 pounds. LOL. 🍷

    What's your favorite random food fact from years past? Share it in the comments!