Archive for April 2014

The Secret Life of Choo-Choo Charlie

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So how does a humble 19th century candy become the nation’s oldest brand? The answer comes down to two American icons. One is Choo-Choo Charlie, the cartoon engineer whose train pulls dining cars, as he proclaims Good & Plenty “Really rings my bell” in television ads. The other is the real life engineer Casey Jones. Jonathan Luther “Casey” Jones (March 14, 1863 – April 30, 1900), born in a racially charged nation at the time of the Civil War, reveals the best of America. Jones and Sim Webb, his African American friend and railroad fireman, were operating a passenger train…

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Hot Chocolate and Marshmallow: Thousands of Years and Counting

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03/18/2014 Althaea Officinalis From: Wikipedia In chilly weather, when you find comfort in hot chocolate with an island of marshmallow floating on top, you’re really enjoying two foods that have boosted the body and spirit for thousands of years. The first-ever chocolate drink was made by the Olmecs of Mesoamerica 4,000 years ago – a gritty mixture of pulverized cacao beans with vanilla, chili pepper and other spices. Their decedents, the Maya and Aztecs, revered the cacao bean as a gift from the gods. So valuable was the cacao, the Aztecs used it as currency: drinking chocolate was akin to…

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