My friend, Alice, has a love for trivia, which can be annoying. I’m sorry, Alice. I know you are reading this.
Don’t get me wrong; I love random facts. Did you know sharks have no bones? Instead, they have cartilage for their skeletal system. Also, were you aware that Christopher Columbus was not Spanish, rather his exploration was funded by the Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Columbus himself was Italian. Speaking of Italians, did you know pizza is not a native Italian dish? It was created by an Italian man in the USA. As a matter of fact, spaghetti and meatballs are not native to Italy either.
Back to Alice, she has a talent for remembering a lot of useless information, a skill she passed on to me as you can tell from the above paragraph. One famous example is her knowledge of cucumbers.
Picture the scene: We’re in the school locker room and I take a cucumber out of my lunchbox.
Alice: “Did you know cucumbers have nerves?”
Me, with my mouth full: “….What?”
Alice: “They have nerves. They can feel you chewing them.”
Me: “Not true…”
Me: I am a murderer!
This memory got me thinking about other weird facts about food. I hope random trivia doesn’t annoy you because here are 20 useless things I bet you never knew about food.
- Chocolate was once used as currency in ancient civilizations of Mexico and South America.
- Shellac nail polish is also used to make jelly beans shiny. I dare you to eat one now with that knowledge in mind.
- Back in the 1800s, people believed tomatoes had powerful healing properties for curing diarrhea, jaundice, and indigestion so they ate ketchup and tomato pills until the medicine was proved to be a hoax.
- Four or more teaspoons of nutmeg can give you hallucinations. Do not try this at home!
- Not only do cucumbers have nerves (thanks, Alice) but it is also made up of 96% water. It seems there’s not much vegetable in there…
- Here’s one of my personal favorites: There are over 7,500 varieties of apples in the world. Did I mention I love apples?
- If you drop your pearls in vinegar, they’ll melt. Am I the only ones mildly tempted to try this?
- Peanuts are an ingredient in dynamite. I mean, I knew peanut butter was awesome, but I didn’t realize this! They contain an oil that is used when in the making of glycerol which is one of the main ingredients in nitroglycerin and nitroglycerin is the main part of dynamite. Cool or what?
- The first food to be microwaved was popcorn. The second was an egg which exploded in the experimenter’s face.
- Canned peach was the first fruit to be eaten on the moon. That’s a large step for fruit-kind.
- Eating too many carrots may turn you slightly orange due to the beta carotene in them. In small words, you will become an Oompa Loompa. But then you get to work at Wonka’s Chocolate Factory so that’s neat.
- Honey is the only food with an eternal shelf life. Archeologists found honey in pyramids that were still edible.
- Ripe cranberries will bounce like rubber balls. I will definitely try this one!
- Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes. So if someone has a tree nut allergy, they are able to eat peanuts. I don’t care that it has ‘nuts’ in its name. Is there any apple in pineapple? No. Now hush, ignorant one.
- No matter what color Fruit Loop you eat, they all taste the same… My childhood is ruined.
- Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. You would think they’d be more concerned that the peanut butter would explode like dynamite…
- Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same things. Sweet potatoes are orange on the inside, sweet, and dark red on the outside. Yams may look identical externally but are white on the inside and less sweet. So please do not interchange them; it confuses me.
- A row of corn always has an even number. Start counting.
- In Alabama, it’s considered illegal to put an ice cream cone in your back pocket. I would like to know the history behind that law
- A person may unknowingly consume several pounds of dirt during their lifetime. Lovely.
Here’s a bonus fact: If you haven’t figured it out already those grilled baguettes you see in the pictures are not bread. They are actually portabella mushrooms. If your mind is not blown, mine certainly was when I tasted these paninis. You eat it like a sandwich but with the nutrition value of a salad. Plus they are as quick and easy. My favorite combination was the avocado, goat cheese, and olives, but I did enjoy the hummus and red peppers one as well.
The possibilities are endless! And did you know paninis originated in Italy?
Grilled Mushroom Paninis
- 6 portabella mushrooms
- eggs, fried or boiled
- goat cheese
- grilled eggplant
- grilled zucchini
- anything else you put in a sandwich!
- Peel the tops of the mushrooms and remove the stems.
- Place one mushroom with the white top facing down and fill as desired.
- Top with another mushroom and place in greased panini maker or grill pan for a few minutes until grill marks show and the mushroom is slightly softened.
- Set the panini on a few paper towels to drain the extra juices and cool slightly.
- Option: Use smaller mushrooms and make these paninis as appetizers with little toothpicks through them.