Socio-economic events associated with development of the food chain
Page last modified 21/1/2021
4/9/1939, Weekly menu suggested for ‘evacuated’children in Britain, removed from cities due to War risk.
1941, UK Food rationing ‘Peeks’ image.
See also Farming for agricultural technology and farming
See also Prices and other Economic Events for agricultural wages and trades unions
See also Great Britain pre 1901 for agricultural unrest e.g. Swing Revolt 1830
See also Canal-Sea for declining shipping rates of food etc.
See also Education-University for founding dates of agricultural colleges.
“If you want to defeat a country easily—feed it your food.” Ivan the Terrible. "Food is a tool. It is a weapon in the U.S. negotiating kit" Earl Butz, US President Nixon's agricultural secretary “The golden arches are the most recognized symbol in the world. The restaurant provides food for people in 119 countries, especially the USA. There are even 179 restaurants in India where most people don't eat either beef or pork.” Business Insider, 17 December 2010.
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they have no food, they call me a Communist” Archbishop Helder Camara, Brazil.
Food rationing & war
Famine, War, Poverty, Disease and Rationing – see Appendix 0.0
Food crime, adulteration, pollution – see Appendix 0.1
Obesity and Dieting – see Appendix 0.2
Supermarkets – see Appendix 0.3
Restaurants – see Appendix 0.4
Kitchen and cooking technology – see Appendix 0.5
Food Fashion, Dining Manners and Etiquette – see Appendix 0.6
Alcoholic drinks – see Appendix 1
Baked Beans – see Appendix 2
Bananas – see Appendix 3
Biscuits – see Appendix 3a
Bread, buns, cereals – see Appendix 4
Butter and Margarine – See Appendix 5
Chicken, Eggs – See Appendix 6
Chocolate – see Appendix 7
Desserts and Ice Cream – see Appendix 8
Fish – see Appendix 9
Frozen Foods (savoury) – see Appendix 10
Fruit and Vegetables, Vegetarianism – see Appendix 11
Meat – see Appendix 12
Milk, cheese, dairy – see Appendix 13
Potatoes and Crisps – see Appendix 14
Soft Drinks – see Appendix 15
Spices, Salt and Herbs – see Appendix 16
Spreads and condiments – see Appendix 17
Tinned / Canned food – see Appendix 19
1984, Quorn, a mushroom-protein derived meat substitute, first appeared..
1/4/1957, The BBC ran an April fools spoof documentary about spaghetti being harvested from trees in Switzerland.
10/7/1954, US President Eisenhower signed Public Law 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, better known as PL-480. This facilitated the export of grain to US-aligned governments that were facing threats from Leftist agencies, either internal rebels or intimidation from a Soviet-aligned State next door. PL-480 could be used to keep recalcitrant allies, those possibly sliding towards Communism, in line. For example in 1965 US President Johnson shifted the renewal of PL-480 food aid to India from an annual to a monthly basis, threatening India with withdrawal of food aid as India’s President Shastri expressed disapproval of US bombing in Vietnam. However if Shastri abandoned Nehru’s ideas of land distribution to Indian peasants then India would receive US agricultural technology, enhancing food yields.
16/10/1945, The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was established. Its aim was to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living.
21/1/1937, Marcel Boulestin appeared on TV on Cook’s Night Out, demonstrating how to cook an omelette; he thereby became the first TV chef.
11/4/1929, Popeye the cartoon character first appeared in a comic strip in a New York newspaper.
18/10/1911, Wrigleys launched their Spearmint Gum in the UK. They set up a factory in Wembley in 1927, moving to Plymouth in 1970.
29/12/1908, Dr Magnus Pyke, nutritional scientist, was born.
29/8/1897. A New York chef, to appeal to Chinese and American tastes, devised Chop Suey, meaning ‘various things’, the most famous Chinese dish.
1889, Italian baker Raphael Esposito made the first pizza margherita in the Italian colours red white and green. He used red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese and green basil. This was in honour of a visit to Naples by King Umberto and Queen Margherita.
1863, In the UK, the first National Food Survey was conducted. 370 familes of the ‘labouring classes’ were questioned on their daily diet.
15/5/1862, The US Department of Agriculture was created.
30/9/1861, William Wrigley junior, who popularised chewing gum, was born this day.
23/9/1848. Chewing gum was commercially produced for the first time. It was called ‘State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum’.
11/3/1845, Self-raising flour was patented by Henry Jones of Bristol.
14/3/1836. Isabella Mary Mayson, who became Mrs Beeton of cookery book fame, was born in Heidelberg.
2/2/1826, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronomist, died (born 1/4/1755).
1805, The first allotments in Britain were created, at Brompton, Yorkshire; rented out to households drawn into cities by the Industrial Revolution.
1/4/1755, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French gastronomist, was born (died 2/2/1826).
1707, The upmarket food store Fortnum and Mason’s was founded in Picadilly, London.
1706, The food, condiments, company Crosse and Blackwell was founded, to supply produce to the English colonies.
1686, ‘Cordon Bleu’ cookery originated in the Institut de Saint-Louis, founded by Madame Maintenon for 250 daughters of impoverished nobility, especially titled army officers. The school became famous for its cookery lessons, and the girls who graduated from there wore blue ribbons (cordon bleu) as part of the graduation uniform.
1250, Ravioli, in the form of cheese sauce contained in parcels of pasta, was now being consumed in Rome.
1249, A Mediaeval northern European town of 3,000 people consumed 1,500 tons of grain annually, which would require 10,000 acres (40 square kilometres) of agricultural land.
Palm Sunday, 1098. The first Cistercian Abbey was founded, in a desolate swamp 14 miles from Dijon. The Cistercian order monks ‘subject themselves to severe discipline, eating no meat or fat, wearing no comfortable clothing such as breeches or coats. They observed strict silence as they work, and abhored sloth. They did not use slave labour and they did much of their own farming and were skilled at building and civil engineering.
300, The average citizen of Rome breakfasted on bean stew and then unleavened bread, toasted on cinders, with milk or honey. At midday, lunch consisted of fruit, a sweet confection, fruit, cheese and watered wine (the prandium). The evening meal, or convivium, might include meat, fish, cereals, porridge, and onions fried in oil and seasoned with chickpeas and vinegar.
500 BCE Wet rice cultivation began in Japan,
800 BCE, Rice was now a major part of the Chinese diet (see 2300 BCE).
Appendix 0.0 - War, Famine, Poverty, Disease and Rationing
Historical, food shortages have occurred in all or parts of, inter alia:- Argentina, China, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, The Netherlands, Russia (USSR), South Sudan, Spain, Uganda, UK, USA, Zimbabwe,
20/2/2017, The UN declared a famine in South Sudan; the first famine it had declared for six years.
2016, The number of undernourished people rose for the first time since 2003, when the figure stood at 947 million (14/7% of global population). In 2015 the figure was 777 million (10.6%), rising to 815 million (11.0%) in 2016. Armed conficts were blamed for the rise. Climate disasters also cause conflict through creating food shortages.
16/10/2000. Food riots hit Harare, capital of Zimbabwe.
22/3/1991. Millions of people were threatened by starvation and civil war in Ethiopia.
14/12/1990. The EC agreed to send food aid to the USSR, whose food distribution system had collapsed.
15/10/1990. Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However in November and December bread rationing had to be introduced in some Russian cities, including Leningrad. Despite a record harvest, distribution systems had broken down. Grain rotted in Russian warehouses whilst the international community, led by Germany, sent emergency food aid.
27/5/1990, The Kremlin announced economic reforms that would phase out subsidies on many staple foods, causing meat, sugar and bread prices to double or treble. The reforms would not take effect without Parliamentary approval, and a shopping frenzy ensued, emptying shop shelves.
30/5/1989. Food riots in Argentina threatened the economic reforms of the new President, Carlos Menem.
25/5/1986. Bob Geldof’s Race Against Time had 30 million people worldwide running for Sport Aid to raise money for the starving in Africa.
31/5/1985. 500,000 tons of food had been delivered to alleviate a severe famine in Ethiopia, as millions starved.
4/11/1984, British Air Force began food airlift to famine-struck province of Tigre, Ethiopia.
6/3/1966, Food riots in West Bengal, India, spreading to Kolkata and Delhi.
1964, In the USA the Food Stamp Act expanded food aid for the poor.
4/6/1963, At the World Food Congress, John F Kennedy said “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation”.
3/7/1954. Food rationing ended in Britain; all goods were now off rations. Smithfield Market, London, opened at midnight instead of 6am to cope with the demand for beef.
5/2/1953, The UK Food Minister, Gwilym Lloyd-George, declared an end to the rationing of sweets and chocolate. Domestic purchases of sugar, however, stayed on-rations until September 1953. Toffee apples were in greatest demand, followed by nougat and liquorice strips. Sweets had been briefly de-rationed in 1949 but demand had outstripped supply, prompting re-rationing after 2 months.
5/10/1952, In the UK, tea came off-ration. However meat, bacon, sugar, butter, margarine, cooking fats, eggs, cheese, were still rationed. All food rationing ended on 3/7/1954.
27/1/1951 In Britain, meat rations were reduced to their lowest level yet, the equivalent of 4 ounces of rump steak a week.
11/1950, Over five years after World War Two ended, the Women’s Land Army in Britain was finally disbanded.
10/11/1947, Strachey admitted to the House of Commons that because of food shortages and rationing, the average daily Calorie intake per head was down to 2,700, as opposed to a British Medical Association recommendation of 3,386 made in July 1933.
30/6/1947. In the UK, food rations were cut further in the midst of an economic crisis.
9/4/1947, The first food packages from the USA for Britain arrived at Liverpool. They were sent by the charity organisation CARE (Co-operative for Remittance to Europe) and intended for unemployed widows who had children to look after.
22/1/1947. The meat ration in Britain was reduced, again, to 1 shilling (5p) worth weekly.
31/12/1946, In Britain, people were eating horsemeat as the food, fuel and transport crisis continued.
7/2/1946. In response to world food shortages, UK food rations were reduced.
1944, Food distribution was ‘zoned’ in Britain to save on transport costs, so that Mars Bars were now only available in the south of the country.
17/9/1944. The British airborne invasion of Arnhem and Nijmegen, Holland, began as part of Operation Market Garden, to secure a bridge over the Rhine. However a hard winter for Holland began as German forces in the north of the country resisted Allied attacks under Field Marshal Model. Food became scarce and could only be bought by barter on the black market. Money had no value and the rations system collapsed.
6/1943, In Britain, 65,000 members of the Women’s Land Army were now producing 70% of the nation’s food.
1/4/1943. The rationing of meats, fats, and cheese began in the USA.
1942, The Oxford Marmalade factory near Oxford, UK, was requisitioned by the Government, so that no more of this food was made until after World War Two.
26/7/1942, In Britain, sweets were rationed.
1/7/1942. The charity, Oxford Famine Relief (Oxfam) was formed, see 1/7/1948.
11/3/1940, In the UK, meat rationing began.
8/1/1940. Sugar, butter, ham and bacon were rationed in Britain. The UK had not seen food rationing since 1918.
23/11/1939, The deadline for British households to register for their ration books for bacon, butter and sugar rations. Delays were caused at shops because many customers had failed to write their name and address in the ration book.
9/9/1939 In response to the War, Britain re-established a Ministry of Food.
6/1939, In Britain, as hostilities loomed in Europe, the Women’s Land Army was reconstituted.
1921, The British Medical Association estimated that a family of five needed to spend 22s 6 ½ d on food to eat healthily; however Unemployment Benefit was just 29s 3d a week, and the poorest slum accommodation still cost 6s a week to rent.
12/3/1921. Lenin announced that state planning of the economy will end and free enterprise would be permitted. This was a move forced by the Russian famine in 1921. The famine was caused by a drought in 1920 which wiped out the crops but revolution and civil war exacerbated the situation. The USA responded to Lenin’s appeal and sent 800,000 tons of food.
21/12/1920, Widespread famine in China 7/11/1920 to 21/12/1920.
11/1919, A year after World War One ended, the Women’s Land Army was disbanded.
25/2/1918. Rationing of meat, butter, and margarine began in London and the Home Counties.
23/1/1918, The UK Government ordered restaurants to have two ‘meatless’ days a week.
1/1/1918, Sugar rationing began in Britain.
31/12/1917, During the year 1917 German submarines sank 6,500,000 tons of Allied shipping whilst only 2,700,000 tons was built. In April 1917 Britain had only two months’ worth of food stocks. However with US destroyer patrols searching for German submarines, escorted transatlantic convoys and the mining of the seas between Scotland and Norway, Allied losses were dramatically reduced and after April 1918 never exceeded 200,000 tons a month.
2/1917, In Britain the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was set up, to boost domestic food production whilst the men were away fighting in the trenches. The UK Government promoted a ‘voluntary rationing’ scheme. By 1918 the WLA had 20,000 volunteers, doing dairy work, ploughing, and tree felling.
2/1917, The ‘Turnip Winter’ in central Europe; food shortages caused many deaths.
29/9/1916, The British Government asked people to observe a ‘meatless day’ to prevent food price rises.
8/2/1916. Food shortages caused riots in Berlin. Food rationing began in Germany on 20/3/1916. The British blockade deprived Germany of food imports.
10/4/1909. British forces landed at Tabriz, Iran, as famine caused fears of unrest.
23/5/1908, Famine in Uganda killed 4,000.
3/4/1907. Russia reported that 20 million people were starving in the worst famine on record.
1/1/1907. In China, 4 million people were starving due to heavy rains and crop failure.
2/9/1905. Russia suffered its worst famine since 1891. Several million people died.
1885, Numbers of bison on the US were down to 2,000, from 15 million in 1860. Many were killed to provide meat for the railway construction gangs. More sinisterly, the bison were killed to remove the Amerindian basis of livelihood; they depended on the bison for food, clothing, shelter and fuel. Amerindian nations were forced onto reservations and expected to grow crops. However they were accustomed to hunting and saw farming as a lowly occupation; many nations all but died out.
28/1/1847. Severe depression, unemployment, and food shortages provoked rioting amongst agricultural workers in central France. See 27/2/1848.
1836, Ireland hit by the potato famine.
8/1/1800, The first soup kitchens for the poor opened in London, UK.
23/5/1795, In Paris troops suppressed a riot caused by food shortages.
1/4/1795, Martial law was declared in Paris as food shortages sparked riots.
1316. England faced famine after torrential rain ruined the harvest. A wet Autumn 1314 was followed by a wet Summer in 1315. Only the West Country escaped disaster. On the estates of Bolton Priory in the North, wheat yields were one fifth of normal. Another wet Summer followed in 1316. There was also a shortage of salt, causing disease in farm animals, as the salt pans failed to evaporate. On the Clipston Estate in Nottinghamshire, half the sheep died. Taxes were also heavy, to finance military campaigns against the Scots, alms were cut. In Berwick the starving infantry garrison mutinied, and in Sandwich a wheat ship was attacked by a mob.
15/11/1315. A small army of Swiss foot soldiers routed a Hapsburg army sent to bring the valleys of central Switzerland under Hapsburg rule at the Battle of Morgarten. The Hapsburgs had for long had manorial rights in these valleys but not political control. The Swiss had begun to assert their political independence, fortifying the entrances of the valleys. This conflict was precipitated by a dispute over grazing rights; the men of Schwyz attacked an abbey and took some of the monks hostage.
929, A second great famine struck Spain; an earlier one had occurred in 919.
19/10/439. The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, took Carthage. Gaiseric brought 80,000 people with him across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain in 429, including 15,000 soldiers; he then marched east along the North African coast, looting the cites there. With the loss of its African territories Rome lost the fertile wheat lands on which the Empire depended for its bread. Local Roman administrators remained and Roman law was maintained, to the benefit of the Vandals, who lived in unaccustomed luxury in the Roman villas. The Vandals were Arians and persecuted the Catholic Christians. Gaiseric began to build a fleet of fast ships to dominate the western Mediterranean.
123 BCE, As the cost of living soared in Rome, Gaius Gracchus began selling subsidised grain, for bread, from the State granaries.
300 BCE, The poor of Athens subsisted mainly on beans, greens, beechnuts, turnips, wild pears, dried figs, barley, and grasshoppers. Welfare assistance was sporadic and nugatory.
Appendix 0.1 - Food crime,madulteration, pollution
28/8/1988, The longest trial in Spanish history came to an end after 15 months. Alleged sales of toxic olive oil had killed 600 and injured thousands more.
28/8/1975, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on the use of polyvinyl chloride plastic for packaging of certain foods, because of its potential for causing cancer. At the time, PVC was the second most-used plastic in American food packaging. Although PVC film wrapping of meat and fruits was still permitted, the use of hard PVC plastic on lunch meat packages, and for bottles of liquids, was to be prohibited.
857, The first recorded outbreak of ergotism; a disease causded by eating fungally-contaminated rye. Thousands were killed, in the Rhine Valley.
Appendix 0.2 - Obesity and Dieting
3/6/2016, In the UK, four of the seven board members of the National Obesity Forum resigned in protest over a report that people should eat more fat, less sugar, to lose weight.
10/9/1983, The heaviest man in the US, Jon Browner Minnoch, died weighing 362 kg. When admitted to hospital in March 1978, he weighed 635 kg, or 102 stone.
1963, Weight Watchers was founded in New York.
Appendix 0.3 - Supermarkets; see also Supermarket History
28/4/2018, The second and third largest UK supermarkets, Asda and Sainsbury, announced a merger. Wal-Mart, who had owned Asda, was disposing of it. If cleared by the Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission, this would create a supermarket with a larger share than Tesco, see supermarket share.
22/9/2014, Tesco shared fell sharply as the food retailer admitted overstating its profits by some £250 million. The issue was with clawed-back payments from Tesco’s suppliers, in return for better shelf positioning and other ‘perks’; future such payments had been included in earlier-period profit statements.
13/1/2013, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland announced the discovery of horsemeat in four Tesco beef products.
31/12/1997, The US retail chain Wal-Mart announced its intention to expand into Europe, by acquiring the German retailer Werkauf with its 21 supermarkets.
29/8/1994. In Britain, large shops were allowed to open legally for the first time on a Sunday.
8/12/1993. The House of Commons voted to allow large British shops to open for six hours on Sundays. High Street shops now prepared for a price war with the supermarkets.
17/5/1988. Sainsbury announced sales of over £5 billion in the UK in 1987, selling 10.7% of all UK groceries.
1980, Marks and Spencer started selling sandwiches. Some doubted whether consumers would pay for a product they could easily make at home. They quickly sold out.
26/6/1974, The first use of barcodes in a supermarket. A pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit was scanned at a March’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
8/12/1964, Simon Marks, successful retailer in conjunction with Thomas Spencer, knighted in 1944, and made a peer in 1961, died in London at his head office.
16/7/1964, In the UK, the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance on most goods facilitated the subsequent growth of the supermarkets.
25/3/1963, The Co-op on Frodingham Road, Scunthorpe, converted from counter service to self service. Now 24 of the 35 Co-ops in the area were self service, and just three remained offering counter service in Scunthorpe itself.
1962, The first Wal-Mart was opened, by Sam Walton, in Rogers, Arkansas.
31/7/1950. Britain’s first self-service store, Sainsbury in Croydon, opened.
12/1/1948. The Co-op opened the first supermarket in Britain, at Manor Park.
4/6/1937. The first supermarket trolleys were wheeled out at a Humpty Dumpty Supermarket in Oklahoma, USA. The manager, Sylvan Goldman, had noticed that business was slack because women would come in and shop until their baskets were full, then stop purchasing. He had the idea of a basket on wheels to enable shoppers to carry more, so he attached wheels to a metal chair and fitted two baskets one above the other. He then employed people to wheel it round and round the shop full of groceries, until shoppers got the idea.
6/9/1916, US retailer Clarence Saunders opened the first Piggly Wiggly supermarket, in Memphis, Tennessee.
10/5/1850, Sir Thomas Lipton, British grocer and philanthropist, was born in Glasgow.
1707. Fortnum and Mason, renowned for its range of exotic foods, was founded by William Fortnum (footman to Queen Anne) and Hugh Mason, a local shopkeeper.
Appendix 0.4 - Restaurants
13/9/2000, The French court handed down the verdict in the Jose Bove McDonalds trial. Mr Bove got three months.
12/8/1999, Local sheep farmers in Millau, Southern France, led by Mr. Jose Bove, attacked and demolished a partly-built McDonalds restaurant. This was in response to US restrictions on the import of Roquefort cheese, which was itself in retaliation for European restrictions on imports of hormone-fed beef, which affected US farmers. Roquefort production employed some 1,300 people in the Millau area and annual sales to the US were 440 tonnes. The US imposed a 100% import duty on Roquefort, sending its price in Washington DC up from US$ 30 to US$ 60 per kilo, and US sales of this cheese dwindled to zero.
19/6/1997, The fast food chain McDonalds won a partial victory in its McLibel case against two environmental campaigners. The judge decided it was true that McDonalds targeted its advertising at children, who then pestered their parents to visit McDonalds.
31/1/1990, The first McDonalds in Russia opened in Pushkin Square, Moscow.
1986, The Pret a Manger chain was founded in London.
14/1/1984, Ray Kroc, US business entrepreneur who developed the McDonalds fast food chain, died aged 81.
16/12/1980, Harland ‘Colonel’ Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain, died aged 90.
1975, The first McDonalds Drive Thru’ opened.
1/10/1974. The first McDonalds opened in London, heralding the UK’s fast-food revolution.
1969, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant in Ohio, USA.
1962, The first Taco Bell restaurant was opened in Downey, California, by Glenn Bell. He had previously operated the Taco Tias and El Taco chains.
1960, The Domino pizza chain originated when Thomas and James Monaghan bought Dominick’s pizza shop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. They renamed it Domino’s in 1965.
7/1/1959, Jean-Michel Lorain, French chef, was born.
1958, The first Pizza Hut restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas, USA.
9/4/1955, Ray Krok bought the McDonalds burger restaurant franchise from its owners, Richard and Mac McDonald. Kroc was impressed with the McDonald sbbusiness model, but saw ways to cut costs further. The menu was streamlined, machinery used more intensively, and the burgers made more cheaply. The first of the modern McDonalds restaurants was in Des Plaines, Chicago – or – 15/4/1955, San Bernardino, California. In 1961 Kroc bought the ownership of the chain from the McDonalds brithers for US$2.7 million. By 1963 McDonalds sales of hamburgers amounted to over 1 billion. Kroc died in 1984 worth over US$ 500 million.
1954, In Britain J Lyons opened the first Wimpy burger restaurant. The name Wimpy was taken from ther burger-eating character in Popeye.
25/10/1933, Lyons opened its Corner House fast food restaurant in London. It could seat 2,000 people.
20/12/1928. Harry Ramsden started his first fish and chip restaurant in a hut near Bradford, West Yorkshire, which soon became the most famous in the world.
1919, The first Indian-cuisine restaurant in London opened.
5/10/1902, Ray Kroc, businessman who developed the McDonalds chain, was born (died 1984)
4/9/1885. The world’s first cafeteria opened, in New York.
1765, The first ‘restaurant’ opened in the Champ d’Oiseaux, Paris, France. Its sign said Venite ad me, omnes qui stomach laboratis, et ego restaurabo vos (come to me all those whose stomachs grumble, and I will restore you). Restaurant owners are therefore restaurateurs (restorers), not restauranteurs.
100 AD, The poor in Roman cities would not have their own kitchens at home. For hot food they visited a thermopolium, lof hot food store; not so different to the takeaways much used in less affluent urban aread today.
Appendix 0.5 - Kitchen and cooking technology
1971, 69% of UK households possessed a fridge, up from 8% in 1956. This meant chilled or frozen supermarket food became practicable.
1959, The Kew Gardens Hotel, London, became the first British hotel or restaurant to install a microwave oven.
1956, Tefal produced the frst non-stick pans. Teflon had been discovered back in 1938 to have a very low coefficient of friction and to be resistant to corrosion or heat. In 1954 Marc Gregoire of France thought of using the substance for cooking pans, and set up the Tefal Company in 1955.
1947, The first commercial microwave ovens were sold (see 8/10/1945). They were 1.7 metres tall and weighed 350 kilograms. They cost US$ 5,000.
2/6/1947, Tupperware sealable plastic containers were patented by Earl Elias Tupper in Massachusetts.
8/10/1945, Percy Spencer, a radar expert, patented the first microwave oven. His employer gave him a bonus of 2 US$. US engineers working on the magnetron, a crucial component of radar systems in World War Two, had noticed how food items in the lab would warm up when near this apparatus; in fact engineers used to test if the magnetron was working by putting their finger near it to see if it warmed up.
1927, The wall mounted can opened was invented by the Central States Manufacturing Company, St Louis, USA.
1929, The first Aga cookers arrived in the UK. They originated from a laboratory accident which blinded the Swedish engineer and Nobel Prize winner, Gustav Dalen in 1924, who was thereafter confined to his house. He invented a cooker with insulated cast iron firebox, connected to opens and hotplates. These were then produced commercially by the Swedish company, Svenska Aktiebolaget Gasacumulator, hence the acronym Aga,
6/1926, The first toaster with a thermostat and timer was produced. Earlier toasters did not eject the bread automatically and had to be watched or the toast was burnt. The innovation of sliced bread, with its standard-sized slice, helped make toasters more popular.
1925, US refrigerator sales were 75,000 this year, compared to 10,000 in 1920,
1913, The first domestic refridgerator went on sale in the USA. It was called the Domiere, for Domestic Electric Refridgerator.
1913, The Brillo pad was patented and first sold. It was produced in response to complaints about how difficult it was to clean the aluminium pans which were becoming popular at that time.
1893, The first toaster was made by Crompton and Co, in Britain. It only toasted onse side at a time.
1893, The first electric cooker was presented in Chicago.
1891, The first domestic electric oven was produced by the Carpenter Electric Heating Manufacturing Company, Minnesota, USA.
1890, The first aluminium saucepan was produced at Cleveland, USA, by Henry W Avery.
1889, The first electric oven was installed at tte Hotel Bernina, Switzerland, utilising the hotel’s private hydroelectric supply.
1870, In the USA, William Lyman invented the rotary can opener.
1866, In the USA, J Osterhoudt invented a tin can that could be opened by a key fixed to the top.
1855, Robert Yeates, England, invented the can opener. Food had been canned since 1804 when Frenchman Nicolas Appert invented the canning process, but cans had been opened with a hammer and chisel.
1851, The first gas cooker was shown at the Great Exhibition.
1834, The first prototype refridgerator was invented, designed by Jacob Perkins.
1812, Gas was tested for cooking, but thought to be impractical.
1802, A prototype gas cooker was built and used by the German-born Frederic Albert Winsor, who later brought gas street lighting to London. Gas cookers became widespread in British homes in the 1850s as gas was piped in for lighting.
1687, The Reverend John Clayton experimented with gas cooking at a natural gas spring near Wigan, Lancashire, which when lit produced a flame strong enough to boil eggs; he added that 30 years earlier there had been sufficient heat produced to boil a piece of beef.
1682, French physicist Denis Papin invented the pressure cooker, with a safety valve; he called it the ‘digester’.
25,000 BCE, Humans were digging small pits lined with embers or pebbles heated in fires to cook food. The food may have been covered in leaves or seaweed to prevent scorching.
Appendix 0.6 - Food Fashion, Dining Manners and Etiquette
4/9/1988. Nutritionists blamed junk food for Britain’s increased youth violence.
19/9/1949, ‘Twiggy’, British model, actress, and singer, was born in Neasden, London, as Lesley Hornby.
1941, Click here for Peek Frean’s Mrs Peek’s Puddings advert ca. 1941. Note the social context of this advert.
1608, Earliest recorded use of the fork, in Italy, by Thomas Coryate. (Or, 1518, banquet in Venice). Before this time, people cut meat with a knife then ate with their fingers. However in northern Europe most people continued to carve meat with a knife but eat with their fingers (or use a piece of bread and a spoon) until after 1700.
1290, Advice on Italian table manners included washing one’s hands before a meal (when forks were not in use and people might carve meat with a knife but then eat with their fingers). Even more important was not to scratch one’s bare skin and then carry on eating (withone’s bare hands). Lice and fleas were very prevalent; it was good manners, if scratching an itch was unavoidable, to take a portion of one’s clothes and scratch with that. Also very frowned upon was the habit of scratching out one’s ears and then continuing eating.
185 BCE, With the Roman conquest of Syria, luxurious eastern eating habits began to permeate Roman culture. Meals became more elaborate and expensive, and cooks became elevated from lowly slaves to professionals.
Appendix 1 - Alcoholic Drinks, See also Morals
16/3/1971, In Britain the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was set up.
31/7/1970, The British Royal Navy ended its long tradition of a daily rum ration for the sailors. After the British capture of Jamaica in 1655, rum had replaced beer because it remained sweeter for longer in hot climates. From the late 1700s it was mixed with lemon juice, to ward off scurvy. Later, lime juice (which contained less vitamin C) was substituted for the lemon, earning the British sailors the nickname ‘limeys’.
24/1/1935. Beer was first sold in cans, in Richmond, Virginia, by the Krueger Brewing Company.
30/4/1925. The Distillers Whisky Group was formed.
1/12/1900, In Lancashire, 14 died and 2,000 fell ill after drinking beer containing arsenic.
1840, James Pimm, of Pimms Oyster Bar in London, developed a new beverage called Pimms No.1, made from gin, liquers, herbs and spices. OIt was sold in bottles from 1859.
1824, George Smith opened Glenlivet in Scotland, the first licensed whisky distillery.
9/12/1814, Death of Joseph Bramah, English inventor of the beer pump.
1805, In Switzerland, the Pernod family set up a business making absinthe, a strong green liqueur. It was originally made with oil of wormwood, which can damage the nervous system. It was banned in Switzerland in 1907, in the USA in 1912, and in France in 1918. It is now made using substitutes for the oil of wormwood.
1795, The first reference to Australian wine. A letter from the acting Governor of Australia to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, referred to ‘Old Chiffer’. The wine was produced by Philip Schaffer, the first German to emigrate to Australia.
14/6/1789. A clergyman first produced whisky distilled from maize. The Reverend Elijah Craig called the liquor Bourbon because he lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
9/5/1785. Joseph Bramah patented the beer pump handle.
1784, Bushmills Irish whisky distillery opened in Ireland.
1780, Jameson Whisky was first produced, in Ireland.
1777, Bass Ale was first produced at Burton on Trent, England, by William Bass, aged 57.
1769, Gordons Gin was first produced by Alexander Gordon in Finsbury, London.
13/4/1748, Joseph Bramah, inventor, was born.
1742, Whitbread Brewery was established by Samuel Whitbread (1720-96). He undercut his rivals with a cheap beer, porter’s ale (favoured by market porters).
1735, Annual gin production in England reached 5.4 million gallons, nearly one gallon for every man, woman and child. Drunkeness was widespread, as typified by Hogarth’s illustrations.
1720, Portuguese wine merchants began fortifying wine with brandy, creating the first port. See 1300.
1714, French distiller Jean Martell began distilling cognac from the local wine in the Cognac region.
28/6/1682. Dom Perignon, a blind Benedictine cellarman at Hautevilliers Abbey, invented Champagne. In 1844 some 7 million bottles of champagne were produced. In 1987 this had risen to 217 million bottles, The UK was the largest consumer, importing in 1987 some 15 million bottles.
1643, Wurtzberger Beer was first brewed at Wurtzburg Castle, Bavaria.
1592, The start of the Heineken Brewery, as a Dutch brewery called De Hooiberg (The Haystack). This brewery was bought in 1864 by Gerard Adrian Heineken.
1525, Hops were introduced to England, from Artois, Belgium.
Ca.1510. The Abbey of Fecamp, established around 665, had a monk, Dom Bernardo Vincelli, who dabbled in chemistry. He experimented with the production of medicinal beverages and invented the Benedictine liqueur. In the Revolution of 1793 the Abbey was swept away and the monks dispersed.
1/6/1495, Friar John Cor recorded the first known batch of Scotch whisky.
1383, Start of the Lowenbrau Brewery, Bavaria.
1300, The first brandy was distilled at the 92-year-old Montpellier Medical School by medical professor Arnauld Villeneuve, then aged 65. See 1720.
1154, The English wine industry began to decline as cheaper French wines were introduced by Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of the new King Henry II of England. In turn the availability of Baltic grain via the Hanseatic League had reduced the revenue from grain production in France, allowing vine growing to expand.
3750 BCE, Beer was being produced in Mesopotamia.
5,000 BCE, Wine was being fermented artificially.
Appendix 2 – Baked Beans
1928, Heinz baked beans were manufactured in Britain for the first time.
1905, Heinz baked beans went on sale in Britain.
1895, The first baked beans with tomato sauce were produced by the W J Heinz Company, Pittsburgh, USA.
1875, The first canned baked beans were produced by Burnham and Morrill Company, Portland, Maine, USA.
11/10/1844. The baked beans magnate H J Heinz was born of German parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Appendix 3 - Bananas
8/3/1946, In Covent Garden, London, bananas went on sale for the first time since the War.
30/12/1945, The SS Tilapia docked in Bristol with the first cargo of bananas to enter the UK since the War, since 11/1940, when the UK Government banned all fruit imports except oranges.
1944, The Chiquita banana company was established.
1866, Bananas were introduced to the USA. Only from the 1880s, with the advent of refrigerated ships, did mass imports of these tropical fruits become feasible.
10/4/1633. Bananas were displayed for the first time in a London shop window.
1482, The Portuguese, sailing along the west coast of Africa, became the first Europeans to discover bananas.
Appendix 3a - Biscuits
1933, Ritz Crackers went on sale in the US.
6/3/1912, The National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) introduced the Oreo cookie.
1815, The UKs first biscuit factory opened, in Carlisle. By 1990 the UK was Europe’s largest produced and consumer of factory-made biscuits.
Appendix 4 - Bread, buns, cereals
1962, The Chorleywood Baking Process was invented by the bread industry’s research organisation. As a chemical-mechanical baking procedure, it enabled the bread to be baked faster, with weaker flour, so saving time and money. The quick baking process meant less water was lost, so the loaf was heavier; a typical white standard loaf in the 1970s was 40% water by weight and 75% air by volume.
25/7/1948. Bread rationing ended in Britain.
21/7/1946. Bread rationing began in Britain because of a world shortage of wheat, caused by a poor harvest and shortages of transport and fertilisers.
30/5/1946. In the UK, the Labour Minister of Food, John Strachey, announced that bread would be rationed. The greatest allowance would go to manual workers in heavy industry.
6/4/1942, According to an order made by the UK Government on 6/3/1942, it was now illegal to bake white bread in the UK.
1930, Wrapped pre-sliced bread first went on sale in Britain.
26/11/1928, Otto Rohwedder patented a bread slicing machine, He first began work on this concept in 1912; bakers responded that sliced bread would quickly go stale, and slices could be stolen. Therefore a wrapping was necessary. Rohwedder suffered various setbacks including serious illness and a fire in 1917 that destroyed his work. He only secured financial backing for his work in 1922.
7/7/1928, Sliced bread was first produced.
1926, The pop-up toaster was introduced in the USA.
2/5/1917, King George V called for national restraint in bread consumption.
2/2/1917, In the UK, bread rationing began.
13/9/1915. The process for making cornflakes was patented by Frank Martin. The previous combination of corn, oats, and grain proved indigestible for the public.
19/2/1906. The American, William Kellogg, formed the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company of Michigan to market to the public the breakfast cereal he had invented as a health food for mental patients 30 years earlier with his brother John Kellogg. John, a Seventh Day Adventist, had claimed the new food would curb the sex drive but the latest adverts failed to mention that.
1891, Britain’s frst white bread was produced at the Clarence Flour Mill, erected this year in Hull. The mill became part of Rank Hovis McDougall in 1962.
27/3/1889, John Bright, reformer who worked with Richard Cobden for the repeal of the Corn Laws, died.
9/7/1872. John Blondel patented the first doughnut cutter in America. A sea captain, he is said to have invented the hole so he could slip the doughnut over the handle of the ship’s wheel and enjoy his snack whilst steering.
7/4/1860, Birth of William Kellogg, inventor of breakfast cereal, originally used in the treatment of mental patients.
19/2/1855. Bread riots broke out in Liverpool.
1762, John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, created the first ‘sandwich’ by placing a slice of meat between two slices of bread, to alow him to eat whilst continuing to gamble,
1686, The croissant was invented about this time, either in Vienna or Budapest; one story has the night bakers in Budapest hearing the Ottoman Turks tunnelling into the city; they raised the alarm and saved the city, Afterwards they baked the crescent-shaped rolls as a copy of the symbol on the vanquished Ottoman flag.
1266, English bakers were ordered to mark their loaves of bread, so a faulty loaf could be attributed to its manufacturer. These were amongst the earliest trademarks.
123 BCE, Rome began to intervene in the grain market so as to distribute grain to peasant households at below market rate or even for free.
170 BCE, The first commercial cooks appeared in Rome, as retail bakers. However most Roman households continued to grind their own corn and make their own bread.
350 BCE, First references to wheat cultivation in Greece, for making bread. Wheat had originated in Egypt.
1680 BCE, Production of leavened (raised) bread began in Egypt.
12,000 BCE, Possible date for the earliest bread; discovered at an archeological site in Jordan. Bread from 7,000 BCE has also been found in Turkey. This predates agriculture and the grains must have been gathered from wild grasses and ground into flour. That would have been a major undertaking, and it is possible that this bread was only made for special ceremonial occasions. Possibly, the desire for bread gave rise to agriculture, not vice versa.
Appendix 5 - Butter and Margarine
1964, Flora Margarine was launched by Unilever, and first advertised on TV in 1965. It was marketed as a healthy alternative to butter, especially for men, being ‘high in polyunsaturates’.
1928, The first commercially-viable, stable, peanut butter went on sale.
1902, The US Federal Government raised the tax on magarine fivefold, from 2c to 10c per lb; this resulted in consumption falling by 50% by 1904.
1886, US Congress passed the Margarine Act; this imposed a 2 cents per lb tax on margarine and required
manufacturers and sellers of margarine to obtain a licence. Individual US States had been restricting margarine sales since 1877, by, for example, prohibiting the addition of yellow colouring. This stopped the margarine being passed off as butter and it was intended that the greyish undyed colour would be off-putting to consumers. The motivation for these laws was the protection of the US dairy cow industry.
1872, The world’s first magarine factory was built, in Germany.
15/7/1869. Hippolyte Mege Mouries of Paris patented margarine in France.
22/9/1699, Citizens of Rotterdam went on strike over the high price of butter.
406, Butter was introduced into the Roman Empire by invading Vandals, Aland and Sciri; it replaced olive oil.
Appendix 6 – Chicken, Eggs
2005, The average weight of a broiler chicken at age 56 days was now 4.2 kg. This compares with 1.8 kg for the same chicken in 1978, and 0.9 kg for a 56-day-old chicken in 1957.
29/10/1980, In the UK, poultry breeders launched a new kind of bird called a ‘churkey’. It was a small turkey that tasted like a chicken.
31/12/1968, The ‘lion’ ceased to be stamped on British eggs. The practice began on 30/6/1957.
1957, In Britain the ‘Go to work on an egg’ campaign was launched, featuring TV commercials by comedian Tony Hancock.
30/6/1957, The ‘lion’ was stamped on British eggs from this day. The practice ended on 31/12/1968.
1948, The US Department of Agriculture orgainised the Chicken For Tomorrow competition. The aim was to produce a chicken whose meat could compete, dollars for ounces, with pork or beef. Previously., chickens had been kept mainly for their eggs; people considered chicken meat neither tasty nor cheap. The winner was the Cornish-New Hampshire cross breed, whose breast meat was thicker. It ate rapidly and could be slaughtered after 6 weeks not 12. The annual number of chickens slaughtered in Britain rose from 1 million in 1950 to 150 million in 1965, and to over 1 billion in 2016. Chicken was a meat acceptable to most major religions, and in 2016 the amount of chicken meat processed rose to 119 million tonnes, overtaking pork for the first time ever.
9/4/1626 The statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon died near Highgate, London, (as Lord Verulam) of bronchitis. This was brought on by a cold caught whilst stuffing a fowl with snow to observe the effects of cold in preserving meat.
1524, Turkeys (originally from South America) eaten in England for the first time.
1345, London’s poulterers (chicken sellers), based in Leadenhall Market, successfully campaigned for an edict against selling chickens elsewhere in London. Hen-wifes had previously been bringing in chickens and selling them door to door, saving householders the trouble of going to Leadenhall Market to buy poultry.
Appendix 7 - Chocolate
17/3/2010, Kraft Foods said it was "truly sorry" over its closure of Cadbury's Somerdale Factory. Senior Kraft executive Marc Firestone made the public apology to MPs at a parliamentary select committee hearing
19/1/2010, Cadbury approved a revised offer from Kraft, valuing the confectionery business at $19.5 billion (£11.5 billion).
3/5/2002. Research showed Britons increasingly spending on comfort items such as chocolate, desserts, and wine, to relieve stress. Spending on these items was running at £2 million an hour.
26/4/1988. The Swiss food giant Nestle bid £2.1 billion for the York confectioners, Rowntree. On 23/6/1988 Rowntree accepted a £2.55 billion bid from Nestle. Nestle already owned 12% of Rowntree, and Suchard owned 29.9% of Rowntree. Both Swiss companies wanted Rowntree, maker of brands like Kit Kat, Quality Street, and Smarties, as a bridgehead into the European Community.
24/4/1949. Sweets and chocolates came off rations in Britain, but rations were soon re-imposed, see 2/5/1952. All food rationing ended on 3/7/1954.
1938, Cadbury’s Roses went on sale in the UK – but was soon withdrawn again as World War Two broke out.
1937, Rolo, Aero and Smarties went on sale in the UK.
1936, Quality Street and Maltesers went on sale in the UK.
1935, The first Kit Kat bar was produced in the UK; it was initially called Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp.
1/8/1932. The first Mars Bar, made in Slough, went on sale, at 2d. Made by Mr Forrest E Mars, son of a US confectioner, the bar was innovative, because until then all chocolate bars had been just solid blocks of chocolate.
1930, In the USA, Snickers Bars (Mars Bars in the UK) were introduced. Cadbiry’s Whole Nut bars appeared in Britain.
24/2/1925, Joseph Rowntree, chocolate manufacturer in York, died in that city.
1923, The Milky Way chocolate bar was introduced in the USA. Sales went from US$78,200 in the first year of sales to US$ 792,000 in the second year. It was sold in the UK from 1935.
24/10/1922, George Cadbury, English chocolate manufacturer and social reformer, died in Birmingham aged 83.
1908, The first Toblerone Bar was produced.
1905, The first bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate was produced.
1905, Milton Hershey, a Mennonite from Penssylvania, established a chocolate-manufacturing town, called Hershey. Chocolate was manufactured on the mass-production model of Henry Ford.
1900, The first Hershey chocolate bar was produced.
1876, British confectionery company Fry’s launched chocolate Easter Eggs.
13/9/1857, Birth of William Snaveley Hershey, US chocolate manufacturer who built the world’s largest chocolate factory. He also established the Hershey Foundation, to promote education.
19/9/1839. George Cadbury was born in Birmingham. He expanded his father’s chocolate business and established a model village for his workers at Bourneville, Birmingham. The Cadbury chocolate manufacturing family owed a debt to the collector Sir Hans Sloane, who died on 11/1/1753.
24/5/1836, Joseph Rowntree, British cocoa manufacturer and philanthropist, was born in York
1826, Philippe Suchard set up a chocolate factory near Neuchatel, Switzerland.
1787, Joseph Fry, a Quaker, started a chocolate manufacturing business in Bristol.
11/1/1753. Death at age 93 of the collector Sir Hans Sloane. Born in County Down, Ireland in 1660, Sloane studied in London and France before finally settling in London as a physician. He was famous for his collection of plants, antiquities, cons, and some 50,000 books and 3,650 manuscripts that were to form the nucleus of the British Museum collection after his death. In Jamaica in 1685-6 he had collected a herbarium of 800 species. The Birmingham chocolate manufacturers, the Cadbury family, owe Sloane a debt for while in Jamaica he came across a cocoa drink favoured by the locals which Sloane found nauseous. However if mixed with milk it became more palatable. He brought this back to England where it was used by the Cadbury family.
1659, The Spanish Infanta Maria Theresa introduced cocoa to Paris.
16/6/1657, The first mention of chocolate in the British media, in the Public Advertiser. The foodstuff was then used either as a drink or as a paste for brewing a tasty but rather greasy beverage, as the ground beans were rich in cocoa butter. At that time it was being sold by a Frenchman in Bishopsgate, London. The first factory to produce chocolate bars opened at Vevey, Switzerland, in 1819; the bars were used as emergency rations. In 1842 John Cadbury introduced ‘French Eating Chocolate’, the first chocolate bar for pleasurable eating. Cadbury also introduced the first chocolate boxes to Britain, in 1866. Their first assortment included almond, lemon, orange and raspberry flavoured centres. Also in 1866 Cadbury introduced the first modern cocoa powder, with all the greasy butter removed, for an improved chocolate drink.
1520, Chocolate first brought to Europe, to Spain, from Mexico.
Appendix 8 – Desserts and Ice Cream
1960, Hagen Daz ice cream went on sale in New York, USA.
23/2/1931, Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian opera singer after whom peach melba is named, died.
29/1/1924. The ice cream cone making machine was patented by Carl Taylor.
1923, Frank Epperson, USA, patented the first iced lollipop, which he called the Epsicle. He later changed the name to Popsicle. He is said to have got the idea when he left a glass of lemonade with a spoon in it on a windowsill overnight and it froze. When he tried to remove the spoon, he found himself with the world’s first ice lolly.
1922, Thomas Wall, sausage and pie manufacturer, produced the first factory-made ice cream in Britain.
1921, Christian K Nelson, USA, sold the first choc ice, which he marketed as ‘Eskimo Pie’.
23/7/1904. The first ice cream cone was commercially sold, by Charles Menches in Missouri.
13/12/1903. Ice cream cones were patented by Italo Marcione of New York.
1896,The first ice cream cone was made by Italian-American Italo Marconi.
15/6/1851, The first factory-produced ice cream was made in the USA by John Fussell. He wanted to avoid wastage of cream so he froze it; his new food became very popular, and his factory ice cream cost less than a third of the same amount of hand made ice cream.
1726, Rum baba was invented; a sponge cake soaked in rum from the French West Indies.
50, The Roman Emperor Nero reportedly sent slaves out to collect snow, which was then flavoured with honey, nuts and fruit; an early version of sorbet.
Appendix 9 - Fish
5/2/2004, 20 Chinese cockle pickers drowned in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire.
1955, Frozen fish fingers first appeared in British shops. See 8/10/1973.
1924, In the USA, Clarence Birdseye founded the General Seafoods Company, to prepare and sell frozen fish.
10/5/1883, In London, the Lord Mayor opened the Central Fish Market, Farringdon Street.
1877, Fleetwood Docks (Lancashire) opened in 1877, with capital provided by the railways. The fish trade was significant from here, and the railways were credited with reducing the price of fish in Manchester by almost 90%.
1870, Fish and chip shops became popular in Britain as refrigerated trawlers were developed that fished the North Sea and more distant areas north towards Iceland. The fish was covered in batter to disguise any discolouration, and sprinkled with vinegar to cover any spoilage in flavour.
110 BCE, Near Naples, oyster cultivation began; the first efforts by humans to farm marine life.
25,000 BCE, The estimated date of the earliest baited fish hooks. Discovered in the Dordogne, France,these hooks were made of thorn or bone, and designed so when a fish took the bait the fisherman could pull the line taut, catching the hook in the fish’s jaw.
Appendix 10 - Frozen Foods (savoury)
8/10/1973. The first TV commercial in Britain for frozen fish fingers was broadcast.
7/10/1956. Death of US frozen foods pioneer, Clarence Birdseye.
10/5/1937, Britain’s first frozen food, asparagus, went on sale. It was produced by Smedleys of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
6/3/1930. The first frozen food, peas, went on sale, at grocery stores in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was produced by Clarence Birdseye. Birdseye got the idea when surveying wildlife in Labrador in 1912, and noticing how local people preserved fish by packing them in snow. It took till 1930 to develop a commercially viable method of bulk freezing and to get financial backing. Sales were slow at first, because the products were not readily visible, being kept in with the ice cream, and because their price was relatively high. However the availability of vegetables out of season and of seafood made frozen foods popular. Birdseye sold his company within months for US4 22million. By 1933 there were 516 frozen food outlets across the USA.. In Britain frozen foods were pioneered by S W Smedley of Wisbech, who began freezing fruit and vegetables in 1936.
18/6/1927, Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956) took out a patent for ‘flash-freezing’ of fish. Whilst cold storage of food was known beforehand, if it was only frozen slowly some spoilage of taste and appearance still occurred. Birdseye noticed that fish caught in winter and left exposed to freezing winds retained their taste as the froze quickly, His machine flash froze food under high pressure.
1925, Clarence Birsdeye extended his frozen food process from fish to pre-cooked foods.
1896, New Zealand lamb could be reared, killed, transported to the UK in frozen cargo ships, and sold to UK retailers for 2 ½ d per lb.
9/12/1886, Clarence Birdseye, US inventor of a process for deep-freezing foodstuffs, was born in New York City.
15/2/1882. The first shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand for Britain aboard SS Dunedin.
2/2/1880, The first shipment of frozen meat from Sydney, Australia, arrived in Britain aboard the SS Strathaven.
Appendix 11 – Fruit and Vegetables, Vegetarianism
1899, The United Fruit Company was founded.
1847, The Vegan Society held its first annual general meeting in Manchester, UK.
1847, A Vegetarian Society was established in London.
3/7/1806. Michael Keen, of Isleworth, exhibited the first edible cultivated strawberry.
1721, Broccoli, then known as ‘Italian asparagus’, was introduced to England, some 70 years after it became popular in France.
1683, A Christian reformer, Thomas Tryon, first advocated vegetarianism, on the grounds of the cruelty of slaughtering farm animals.
1596, Tomatoes introduced to England.
1514, Fresh green peas became popular in England.
1514, Pineapples first arrived in Europe.
1492, Christopher Columbus discovered foods unknown in Europe, including capsicums (peppers), maize, pineapples, plantains, sweet potatoes and turtle meat.
1301, Chinese recipes included wheat gluten as an ingredient in mock-meat dishes that in fact were meat-free.
1200, New foods brought back to Europe from the East by the Crusaders included damson trees, rice, sugar and lemons, as well as cotton.
827, Spinach was introduced into Sicily by the Saracens, who originally found the plant growing in Persia. They also introduced the lemon to Sicily and Spain.
70 BCE, Cherries from the newly conquered lands of Armenia wer introduced to Rome by Lucullus. By 65 BCE Rome was consuming raspberries from Mount Ida (near Troy), quinces from Sidon and plums from Damascus.
140 BCE, Rome began to establish links with China, as China sent its emissary Chang Ch’ien into Sogdiana and Bactria. Peach and apricot trees from China had now reached Roma, also Chinese silk; meanwhile China began importing grapes, walnuts and dates from the west.
Appendix 12 - Meat
1940, US annual consumption of meat per capita stood at 142 lbs. In 1970 it was 184 lbs.
5/7/1937, Hormel Foods Corporation began selling the canned meat product Spam.
1906, In the USA, a Presidential Commission reported on the insanitary conditions prevailing in the Chicago meat trade, first exposed in Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel, The Jungle. Congress later passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drugs Act, establishing the Food and Drugs Administration.
1890, The railways had effectively increased the food supply of major cities such as London, by facilitating the transport of cattle without the loss of weight that would have incurred by walking. Easily-spoilable foodstuffs such as milk could also now be brought in from a much greater distance.
24/11/1868, London’s Smithfield Market was opened by the Lord Mayor.
1858, Meat carcasses slaughtered at Aberdeen were now being shipped to London’s Smithfield Market, 515 miles away; the meat arrived within 24 hours of slaughter, and was far juicier and fattier than if it had been driven alive as in pre-railway days. See 1732.
1831, Edward Alcock, of Melton Mowbray, England, began selling the now-famous pork pies.
1762, The French (re)invented pate de foie gras. This dish had been known to the ancient Egyptians.
30/5/1539, Hernando de Soto landed in Florida, with 600 soldiers, in search of gold. He also introduced pigs into North America.
1481, Frankfurt, Germany, passed an edict against the pig-sties that had proliferated in front of houses, cluttering the streets. Wandering urban pigs, however, performed a useful urban service, clearing refuse and providing meat, and the edict appears to have been widely ignored.
732, Pope Gregory II ordered Christians in Germany to desist from eating horse flesh. This would mark them out as different from the pagan tribes, who ate horsemeat as part of their pagan rites.
Appendix 13 - Milk, cheese, dairy
20/2/1968, In Britain, the provision of free school milk at secondary schools ceased.
1952, The Tetrapak first appeared as a commercial container for milk. It was easy to store, transport and open, and kept the liquid inside hygienically sealed. By the 1990s other loquid foodstuffs from soup to wine were sold in Tetrapaks.
28/3/1946, The British Government announced plans for free school dinners and free milk at school.
1924, The average American consumed, over the year, 17.8 lbs of butter, 6.8 lbs of ice cream, 4.5 lbs of cheese and 350 lbs of milk.
10/12/1923, The Kraft Company started as National Dairy Products Corporation (National Dairy), formed on December 10, 1923, by Thomas H. McInnerney.
1910, Londoners now consumed some 180 pints of milk a year, compared to 48 pints in 1850. In 1850 Londoners generally obtained their milk from some 20,000 cows tethered in the back yard or even kept in a cellar. Milk brought in by rail was initially regarded with suspicion because it would be shaken up, copmpared to the fresh undisturbed milk obtainable locally. However after an outbreak of cattle disease in London, and by 1870 half of London’s milk was being brought in by rail, from as far as pastures in Derbyshire 130 miles away. By 1910 96% of London’s milk came in by rail, from as far as 300 miles away.
25/11/1884, John Mayenberg of St Louis, Missouri, patented evaporated milk.
22/1/1878. Milk was delivered in glass bottles for the first time.
1877, In Denmark, Gustav de Laval invented a mechanical cream separator, greatly reducing production costs.
18/8/1856. Condensed milk was patented.
1844, Milk reached Manchester (UK) by rail for the first time. Growing urban populations, distant from the countryside, could now receive fresh milk and other produce that was both fresh and cheap. Fresh vegetables, meat and fish supplies were niw improved in cities.
1791, Camembert cheese was (re)invented by Marie Fontaine Harel, a farmer’s wife, in Vimoutiers, Orme Department. Mr. Ridel pioneered the characteristic light wooden round boxes in which the cheese could be safely shipped to distant markets.
1722, Gruyere cheese was introduced in France.
1654, Bechamel cream sauce was named after French financier Louis de Bechamel, Marquis de Nointel, who served King Louis XIV of France in the honorary post of Lord Stewart of the Royal Household.
16/9/1542, The French King, Francois I, was prescribed a new food by his Ottoman Turkish doctor. This food was yoghurt.
4/6/1070. Roquefort cheese was created in a cave near Roquefort, France.
7,700 BCE, Sheep milk first consumed as food, in the Middle East. By 7,200 BCE sheep were domesticated in Greece.
8,500 BCE, Goat milk first consumed as a food, in the Middle East.
Appendix 14 - Potatoes and Crisps
17/9/1941. The UK government ordered potatoes to be sold at 1p so more people would eat them.
21/3/1934, The slimming craze was blamed for a fall in UK potato sales.
1913, The potato crisp was launched in Britain, by Carter’s Crisps.
1853, Crisps were invented by an American-Indian chef in a hotel in New York State, when his customers complained that his potato chips were cut too thickly. So he cut the potatoes wafer-thin. Crisps reached the UK in 1913.
1817, The first known recipe for potato crisps was published in The Cook’s Oracle.
17/9/1879, The International Potato Exhibition opened at Crystal Palace; thousands flocked to see it.
1688, Potatoes had become a staple food of Irish farm labourers (see Ireland for famine)
1621, Potatoes first planted in Germany.
28/7/1586. Potatoes arrived in Britain, brought from Colombia by Sir Thomas Harriott. They were to be used to feed livestock.
1540, The first potato from South America was brought to Pope Paul III. It was then taken to France to be used as an ornamental plant.
3,500 BCE, Potatoes first cultivated in South America.
Appendix 15 – Soft Drinks
2017, The UK Government introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks. By 2019 this had led to a 28.8% fall in the sugar content of these drinks. However overall UK sugar consumotion rose by 2.6% as new processed products appeared and people bought more of them.
1987, The Red Bull energy drink was created by the Austrian company Red Bull GmbH. 5,387 million cans of Red Bull were sold worldwide in 2013, giving it the highest market share of any energy drink.
23/4/1985, New Coke was introduced by the Coca Cola company, and production of the original Coke was halted. A few months later in July 1985 the company had to admit the new product was a flop and reverted to the original soft drink.
1962, Ring pull cans first appeared in the shops. This meant cans could be opened without a tin opener, meaning soft drinks and beer could be more easily consumed away from the home.
28/2/1950. France passed a Bill limiting the sale of Coca Cola.
1936, The orange-flavoured soft drink Orangina orginiated when a Spanish pharmacist, Dr Trigo, introduced an orange flavour drink called Naranjina at the Marseilles Fair. Leon Beton, a Frenchman living in Algeria, was so impressed that he bought the rights to the drink and renamed it Orangina.
1/7/1916. Coca Cola introduced its distinctively-shaped bottle.
1908, Production of Horlicks began at Slough, UK.
1904, Thermos flasks became commercially available for keeping drinks warm. The Scottish scientist James Dewar had produced the frst vacuum flask in 1892, for scientific experiments. Reinhold Burger, a German student of Dewar, had the idea of marketing these flasks for domestic use.
31/8/1900. Coca Cola went on sale in Britain, 14 years after it went on sale in the USA.
12/3/1894, Coca Cola was sold in bottles for the first time. The Coca Cola trade mark dates from 1887.
10/8/1889. The screw bottle top was patented by Dan Ryelands of Barnsley.
1/5/1889. Asa Briggs Candler of Atlanta bought the exclusive rights to a drink called Coca Cola.
1886, The first drinking straws were manufactured by Marvin Chester Stone in the USA.
29/3/1886. Coca-cola, invented by Dr John S Pemberton of Atlanta, Georgia, was launched as an ‘esteemed brain tonic and intellectual beverage’. Claimed to cure almost anything from hysteria to the common cold, the beverage faced competition from drinks such as Imperial Inca Cola.
1741, English doctor William Brownrigg created the first artificially-carbonated mineral water at Whitehaven, Cumbria.
Appendix 16 Spices, Salt Sauces and Herbs
12/3/1930, Ghandi began a 300-mile march to the sea to protest at the British salt tax in India.
24/3/1923. The salt tax in India was restored.
14/5/1919. Death of the American food manufacturer Henry John Heinz. Heinz founded his company in Pittsburgh in 1869 as a partnership to market and prepare horseradish. This company collapsed in the business panic of 1875 but Heinz reorganised it in 1876 and it re-emerged as a major food company by 1900. By 1905 the Heinz company was the USA’s largest manufacturer of pickles, vinegar, and ketchup, and employed thousands. The company was headed by members of the Heinz family until 1969.
1908, Monosodium glutamate was first used to enhance savoury tastes in Japan.
1900, The Dutch nutmeg monopoly was broken, by pigeons. In the late 1800s, nutmeg trees grew only on the Dutch-colonised islands of Ambon and Banda, because Dutch traders had destroyed hutmeg trees elsewhere. This enabled the Dutch to charge high prices for nutmeg. However by 1900 island-hopping pigeons had eaten the nutmeg tree seeds and dropped them on other islands not under Dutch control.
1894, Garton’s HP sauce was launched in Britain by the Midland Vinegar Company. It was later renamed as HP Sauce.
1837, Britsh chemists John Lee and William Perrins created Worcester Sauce.
1756, The Duc de Richelieu invented mayonnaise.
1621, It was reckoned in England that 3,000 tons of spices could be purchased in India for £91,041 but this shipload could be sold in Aleppo for £789,168. By the time the spices had been sold on via Venetian merchants the price had risen still further. Shipping had now improved to the point where a vessel could tackle the open seas to reach the Spice Islands, and a three-masted design meant oars were unnecessary.
1599, England faced a rise in pepper prices from three shillings a pound to eight shillings (see 1594, also restricted trade since Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453). This inspired 80 London merchants to estanlish the East India Company, which ultimately led to the creation of the British Empire.
1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and English traders; at this time Portugal was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly from India, and the creation of the Dutch East India Company followed.
20/5/1498. Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut, southern India, after discovering a route via the tip of southern Africa. , proving the feasibility of a sea route from Portugal to India and the Spice Islands. This meant Europe could buy spices independent from Venetian and Muslim middlemen.
1400, In England, the use of spices and sauces became widespread, in an effort to counter the monotony of a diet of dried and salted foods.
1250, The Crusaders had now brought back to Europe a range of spices including cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, cubebs, ginger, mace and nutmeg. Only the wealthy could afford these, and they were often used medicinally rather than to season food.
1100, The first Crusaders brought back spices from southern Asia, and the knowledge of how to use them in cooking.
400, A recipe for mustard appeared in De re coquinaria, an anonymously compiled Roman cookbook.
24 BCE, Concerned about the high price of spices in Rome, Emperor Augustaus made preparations for invading and incorporating into the Roman Empire the lands of southern Arabia where these spices originated. However due to poor roads and fatigue the proposed invasion failed.
430 BCE, Black pepper, originally from India, was common in Greece. However it was used medicinally rather than to season food.
Appendix 17 - Spreads and Condiments
1910, Bisto, a gravy base, went on sale as a powder,
1902, Marmite was first produced at Burton on Trent, made from brewer’s yeast.
1873, The Chivers family began a jam factory near Cambridge.
28/8/1837, Pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins began to manufacture Worcestershire Sauce. It was possibly an attempt to recreate an Indian sauce enjoyed by a retired Governor of Bengal.
1797, James Kieller began to manufacture the first orange marmalade, in Dundee, Scotland.
1722, Dry Durham Mustard first appeared. It was produced in Durham, England. Until now, mustard seeds were brought to the table and diners crushed them with their knife handles on the side of the plate, but Mrs Clements pioneered the idea of grinding the mustard seeds like wheat.
Appendix 19 - Tinned / Canned food
6/1/1901, Philip Amour, one of the first American meat packers to use refrigerated transport and to make canned meat products, died.
1871, Imports of Australian canned meat into the UK had risen from 16,000 lbs to 22 million lbs. This was partly down to an epidemic of cattle disease in the UK, 1863-67; it was more down to the perfection of canning techniques. Early canning techniques involved heating the can to ‘drive off the air’, with a small hole for air expulsion that was then sealed with solder. However it was not the air expulsion that killed the bacteria but the heating; early large cans were heated insufficiently for this, and their contents putrefied. Once the heating was perfected, it was much easier to transport canned meat by ship than livestock, which could become injured in a storm, diseased, and required food and water.
1870, In the US, 30 million cans of food were being produced a year, up from 5 million in 1860.
1862, British food manufacturer Cross and Blackwell launched tinned soups.