Friday, January 18, 2019

The History Of Chewing Gum

Candy, Chiclets, Brand, Gum, ColorfulI seldom chewed gum growing up because it was seen as something nice people didn't do.  Actually, the only time I could chew gum was when I flew somewhere because it relieved the pressure in my ears, otherwise, I couldn't.  I think there was a song in the 60's about leaving your chewing gum on the bedpost over night so it would taste better but I have no idea if that was true.

During my research on gum flavors, I stumbled across a comment about chewing gum being around for a very long time.  I thought it was rather recent but apparently, this item has been around a lot longer. 

According to several sources, people as far back as 9000 years ago were chewing a birch bark tar while the Ancient Greeks chewed a mastic gum made out of resin from the mastic tree.  Ancient Mayas chewed a derivative of the Sapodillo tree while Native Americans chewed spruce tree resin, a practice taken up by European settlers. 

This lead to John Curtis developing the first commercial chewing gum in 1840 by boiling spruce tree resin before cutting it into strips, coating it with cornstarch and selling it. He called it "The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.  About 10 years later, Mr Curtis build the first chewing gum factory in Portland, Maine but spruce resin gum had a few problems.  The gum really didn't taste good and it became too brittle when chewed, so he and others began playing around with the recipe to make it better by adding paraffin wax.

It wasn' until 1869 that the United States issued the first chewing gum patent to Amos Tyler who never actually commercially made chewing gum.  However, a dentist took the patent and marketed a chewing gum with charcoal and chalk.

About the same time, another inventor - Mr Adams - got some chicle, the derivative from the Sapodillo tree, from the Mexican President to produce some type of rubber but he discovered it worked better as chewing gum by flavoring it.  He founded a company to produce the Adams New York Chewing Gum which was really the first mass marketed gum. 

Over the next few years, the company marketed Sour Orange gum as an after dinner gum and Black Jack - a licorice flavored gum. Unfortunately there was only one big problem with all these gums, they were unable to hold flavor for very long.  This problem was overcome in the 1880's when someone added sugar and corn syrup to the Chicle, threw in some peppermint for longer flavor and marketed it as Yucatan Gum.

Adams took advantage of this technology to create Tutti-Fruitti flavored gum, the first chewing gum sold in vending machines located in the New York subways.   Until the mid-1900's, Chicle was imported from Mexico and South America and used as the main ingredient in chewing gum. 

Around the same time as this was happening, William Wrigley Jr was selling soap to stores and offering free cans of baking powder as a reward.  He discovered store owners were more interested in the baking powder than the soap, he began selling baking powder while offering chewing gum as a reward for buying the baking powder.

In 1893, he began offering two new flavors of gum.  One was Juicy Fruit while the other was Spearmint.  Wrigley decided to stand out in the crowd of competitors by heavily advertising his product and using direct marketing.  He did things like mail samples of chewing gum to every person listed in the phone books, or sending gum to every child on their second birthday. 

While Wrigley did this, Frank Fleer took a different path after he made cubes of chicle overlaid with a sweet material marketed as Chiclets.  He was one of those numerous competitors, so he focused on creating a chewing gum that could be blown into bubbles.  In 1906, he came up with "Blibber-Blubber" the first bubble gum but it didn't sell well because it was way too sticky.  However, in 1928, one of his employees finally solved the problem and the company released the first commercial bubble gum dubbed "Dubble Bubble". 

Competition continued with changes to the basic recipe so gum improved along with new flavors, colors, etc.  In 1951, the Tripp company created a new demand for bubble gum when they began packaging baseball cards with the gum, instead of a single cigarette.  This lead to children beginning their baseball card collection.

The other big development of the 1950's, was the invention of sugar gum and bubble gum to decrease the formation of cavities.  So now you can find gum in all sorts of flavors, shapes, and sizes.  I'd love to hear what you think.  Let me know.  Have a great day.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

11 Weird Flavors of Gum.

Child, Chewing Gum, Surprised It seems that more and more people are chewing gum, from students, to waitresses, to the paperboy.  Most of the gum chewers I know, tend to stick to regular flavors such as wintergreen, mint, or possibly a fruit flavor but there are flavors out there, I've never heard of.

In addition, most of these flavors I've never seen in the stores I visit, but I'm assured they exist. You'll find flavors you might want to try and other flavors you'll say no way but I hope you enjoy reading about each and every one.

1.  For those who love, love, love bacon, there is a bacon flavored chewing gum produced in the United States. According to the description, this gum allows you all the flavor without any of the calories associated with real bacon.

2.  On the other hand, for those who love a spicy flavor of gum, check out the Wasabi gum made by Archie McPhee specialty company.  Wasabi is becoming quite a popular flavor for things like chips and dried peas.

3. Don't have time for dinner, try TV dinner chewing gum with three flavors, beef, corn, and apple cobbler. I suspect they expect you to chew one flavor at a time, rather than all three at once.  Don't worry, the gum comes in three different colors so you can tell the difference.  I'm not sure I'd like the beef or corn but the apple cobbler sounds appealing.

4. From Japan comes Man Smells Gum which is labeled as having a rose menthol flavor.  The gum is marketed towards older men with the idea that the rose essence soaks into a man's pores making the whole gum chewing experience so much more.

5. Back to America to try Meatball chewing gum which is shaped like meatballs and tastes like meatballs but it does not include marinara sauce.  This gum was designed for those who like Italian food.

6. The next flavor sounds like something that would work out in the Alaskan bush where frozen ice cream often melts and is refrozen before it arrives in town.  Wrigley's made a sugar free Mint chocolate chip flavored gum to join its "Desserts Delights" line of gum.

7. Now for those people who love to celebrate Thanksgiving year round are in luck.  They can buy the Thanksgiving Gumballs with turkey, pumpkin pie, and cranberry flavored gum.  Each flavor is a different color so you know which one is which flavor.  Again, all the flavor without the calories.

8. If you prefer something a bit more highbrow, check out the Fois gras flavor or as my father would say "Duck liver" flavored gum. Quite fancy but affordable for everyone.

9. Do you like fruit?  If so, head to Mexico and check out the Mojitas Bananas gum which I'm told is quite close to the original. 

10.  Back to Japan for a Pepper Fruit gum which is a combination of fruit with the spicy tank of black pepper.  I've heard the balance of the two flavors is quite good because they compliment each other beautifully, sweet against spicy.

11.  For the last flavor, we return to the United States to enjoy pickle flavored gum.  If you are curious as to the type of pickle, the gum balls are dill flavored.  If my sister had kept these around, she wouldn't have had to send her husband out in the middle of the night to buy more pickles when she was pregnant.

I hope you enjoyed reading the list.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

One Pot Pasta Meals

Pasta, Noodles, Plate, Eat, Lunch The other day, I came across a basic formula for making one pot pasta.  I'd never done anything like that so I tried it for dinner and it worked so well. Using only one pot to cook dinner meant clean up was so much easier. 

I chose to make the pasta because I'm waiting for my fresh produce to arrive later this week.  I'll describe what I did to make my dinner.

The first thing I did was to grab a handful of dried mushrooms and reconstituted them in 2 1/4 cups of hot water.  Once they were soft, I pulled them out, cut them up and threw them back into the mushroom water with onions, garlic, basil pesto and tomato paste along with 8 ounces of whole grain macaroni.

I put it over medium heat for 15 minutes until the liquid was almost absorbed, pulled the pan off the burner, and let it sit on the stove top for about 15 more minutes until the liquid was fully absorbed. The last thing I did was throw a bit of grated Parmesan on top and I had a lovely meal.

The great thing about this formula is the ratio of pasta to liquid is 8 ounces to 2 1/4 cups.  The liquid could be water but it could be a combination of water and beer or wine or even stock or broth for a more flavorful base.  This is where you'd add tomato sauce or paste if you prefer a tomato flavor.

To the liquid you need to add the pasta, spices,  some sort of protein like chicken, tofu, beans, but not the cheese.  That comes later.  You'd also add any veggies you want such as mushrooms, eggplants, peppers, etc at the beginning.  Put a tight fitting lid on the pot, put it over medium heat so it doesn't boil over and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender with a bit of liquid left in the pot.

If you want to add cheese, this is when you would add it with some heavy cream for a smoother mac and cheese or broccoli and cheese type of pasta.  I would recommend you cut the meat into small pieces if you want it to cook properly or use left over meat from the night before. 

I didn't need an instant pot, or a slow cooker.  I just used one of my regular pots with a tight fitting  lid and it worked properly.  This is a dish I can make any night I have little time or I'm extremely tired.  It made enough for me to have for lunch later in the week.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Salt, Salt, and More Salt.

Salt, Hand, Food, White, Salt, Salt The other night, I grabbed a packet of dried soup to make for dinner.  It was a simple vegetable soup with dumplings that took about 5 minutes to cook.  Once it was done, I tasted it and it had so much salt, I could have floated an egg on the liquid.  I needed to double the amount of water to make it almost edible. 

I checked the back of the soup packet to check the nutritional contents.  The amount of sodium listed turned out to be about 40 percent of the daily required amount per person.

I looked at another packet and it contained enough sodium to meet 44 percent of the daily required amount per person.  I don't usually buy preprocessed foods so it was a surprise to find so much sodium in the soup.  One reason, there is so much salt in processed foods is due to salt's preservative characteristics.  Salt when used as a preservative, absorbs water from bacteria either killing it or slow down its growth.

The second thing salt does is enhance the flavor of the food being prepared.  For this, its best to use a sprinkle of salt once the dish is prepared because you don't need much at all.  Unfortunately, people get into a habit of salting the food before they taste it so they add to the amount there.  One important thing is that salt is not the only item that adds sodium to the food.  It can also be added via Mono sodium glutamate,  sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate, and many other additives.

Some of the foods you'll find high levels of sodium, include processed cheese, dried foods, luncheon meats, bacon, sausage, pasta mixes like mac and cheese, pizza, chips, crackers, soups, rice dishes, fast food, etc.  At this point over 70% of sodium consumed by Americans is by eating processed food from the store or from restaurants.  Since the daily required amount of sodium recommended is between 1500 and 2300 milligrams each day, that means most people are getting between 1000 and 1650 milligrams of sodium by eating processed foods.

Think about this,  if I ate two servings of that soup every day, I'd have used most of my recommended daily amount.  Unfortunately, too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease and strokes. 

The fastest way to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet is to read the nutritional labels on every product you purchase to make life easier or even better is to make everything from scratch so you are not adding sodium by adding a can of mushroom soup and onion rings to your cooked green beans for your famous green bean casserole you bring to every potluck.

If you buy it at the store, check the nutritional label even if its labeled all natural or whole grains because it can still have a fair bit of salt.  Even your bottled salad dressings often have 300 to 400 milligrams of salt per serving.  If you buy it at the store and it has a nutritional label, there is a good chance it has quite a bit of sodium.

I now know, not to assume but to double check.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bad Beginning to January

Snowflakes, Snow, Bokeh, Snow Bokeh After two days of bad weather, I arrived home to frozen pipes.  Part of it was due to the fact I'd been for two weeks and the other had to do with the way the system had been constructed. 

The running water flows through a double pipe system filled glycol between the two pipes designed to keep the water from freezing.

Unfortunately, over the years, they system has spring leaks which have not necessarily been fixed properly.  In addition, the pipes lie on top of the ground because if the pipes were buried under ground, it would be too hard to dig the ground up around them due to the frozen ground.

Originally, the village got several feet of snow each year which provided a natural insulation around the pipes.  The water never got cold enough to freeze and generally worked well but over the past few years the amount of snow had decreased significantly and this year, there is not enough snow to properly insulate the pipes. 

They got my plumbing working by around Tuesday of this past week but by Saturday night, it was down again.  My toilet flushed but no water flowed in to replace the liquid which was sucked out by the suction system.  I replace the water so I didn't burn the suction system out but by the time I got ready for bed, the tub was not draining properly. 

Come Sunday morning, I had several inches of standing water in my tub and my toilet wasn't even working. I called maintenance to report the situation only to find out the whole east side of town had no running water due to everything being frozen.  I was told I'd be put on the list but they'd eventually get around to fixing it eventually.

I also heard the pipes in the boys locker room at school were frozen today so if they don't thaw and if the city doesn't get all the plumbing working properly we might have an abbreviated day.  The school has some sort of holding tanks for the toilets so when the city water goes down, we can still hold school for a few hours until they are full.

In the meantime, I couldn't clean house the way I wanted due to a lack of water but it got working in my kitchen sink so I washed hair there.  I can't take a shower, so it'll be what my mother calls a "spit bath" and hopefully, everything will be up and running. 

That is one of the things about living out in the bush of Alaska.  Even when you have running water, it is still controlled by the weather.  Its been so cold here, you could feel the cold work its way through your outer coat to your bones.  I don't know the temperatures, but it has been extremely cold.  Cold enough to freeze half the pipes in town.

I'm hoping by the time you read this, I'll have everything up and running so I can do the laundry I couldn't do over the weekend.  I hope you've had a better weekend then I did.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.