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Foodie Friday: Fact or Fiction

My General Manager once told me the story of the Caesar salad.  Back in the time of Caesar, salt was incredibly scarce.  Salty fish named anchovies were abundant though.  So to create the salty taste in the dressing they used the anchovies.  Even though we have plenty of salt today, we still use the anchovies to pay tribute to Caesar.

I told this story hundreds of times.  Guests loved hearing it.  It made something regal about the plain old Caesar salad.  The problem was that it was completely incorrect.  The Caesar salad was named after Caesar Cardini who invented it in his Mexican Restaurant in 1924. When I confronted my GM he laughed at the notion I ever believed the story in the first place.

I take great pride in my food knowledge and hate being caught citing inaccurate information.  That is why I am a very grateful to my friends at Snopes.com for hunting down the facts regarding popular food (and non-food) myths.  So in an effort to flush any inaccurate information and old wives tales from your food database, I propose a game of food fact or fiction.  I will give you 10 common food tales and you can keep track of whether they are fact or fiction according to the fine folks at Snopes.  Feel free to record your answers on a piece of paper.  Please, no cheating.

1)    A chef who was angry that a customer said his french fries were to thick, soggy, and not salty enough, out of spite sliced a potato super thin, burnt it, and salted the heck out of it leading to the creation of potato chips.

2)    King James I was so impressed with a loin cut of steak he dined on he raised his sword and knighted it.  All future cuts from the loin where jokingly called “sir loin” and the name stuck.

3)    German chocolate cake was brought to the US by early immigrants and served as the inspiration for the more popular Americanized version.

4)    Graham Crackers were created as a health food intended to serve to calm the libidos of those who ate it by helping them to avoid meat.

5)    Jell-O is created from the bones/hides/skins of cows/pigs.

6)    The gold flakes in Goldshlager actually put small incisions into your stomach allowing alcohol absorption to occur sooner.

7)    Eating celery burns more calories than it contains.

8)    Refried beans have been fried more than once.

9)    The color on a twist tie of a loaf of bread corresponds to the date it was baked.

10)  Apple seeds contain a compound similar to cyanide, a deadly poison.

One extra credit question selected for the sheer absurdity of the story.

A tanker carrying 30, 000 pounds of (not bananas) tapioca caught on fire.  The crew tried to put out the fire with water, but the heat and water caused the tapioca to expand and nearly sunk the boat before it was offloaded.

Ok, pencils down.  Please pass your papers to the left.  I will now proceed to waste a few inches of screen space to prevent anyone from cheating.  Sure I could just hit return a couple of times, but that would be no fun at all.  Instead I will post a couple youtube videos and let you choose the music you would like to grade your tests too.

This Sunday, I will be going to see my favorite band in concert.  Here for you grading and listening enjoyment is Michael Franti and Spearhead


On Wednesday, I will be going to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.   I think they will be blowing up any day now and am really looking forward to the show.


Not your style?  How about my favorite anonymous Russian crooner to provide a grading soundtrack?


Enough space killed.  Here are the answers.  Click on them to get the full story from snopes.com.

1)    True

2)    False

3)    False

4)    True

5)    True

6)    False

7)    True

8)    False

9)    True

10) True

The extra credit story was also true.  Did everyone pass?  What stumped you?  Have another food myth for me to give you a verdict on?  How about another snopes story you liked?  Post your score and any suggestions for next weeks Foodie Friday in the comments section below.

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About David Hayden

David Hayden is the creator of The Hospitality Formula Network, a series of websites dedicated to all aspects of the restaurant industry. He is also the author of the book Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips and Building Your Brand With Facebook.

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7 comments on “Foodie Friday: Fact or Fiction

  1. Brenda on said:

    Didn’t do as well as I expected, but I did get the bonus. 7 of 10 + 1 bonus right. This was fun. How about Cut Onions and Spoiled Mayonaise.

    • tipsfortips on said:

      Anything that grows on the ground should be washed before eating and peeled before slicing. A huge culprit here is cantaloupe because it is tough to rinse. Peel the cantaloupe whole, rinse, sanitize knife, then slice. Onion layers make this far easier, but always peel the first few layers before slicing through the middle. Mayo is Pasteurized so no worries there.

  2. yellowcat on said:

    I failed. I only knew #5, 7, 8 & 10. I always know my poisons. :-)

  3. Chris on said:

    Unbelievable! I got 100% and the bonus question. A lot of lucky guesses

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