March is National Nutrition Month and the week of March 14-20 is National Agriculture Week. Here is a look at some fun facts about the food we eat...and more.


* 1756 -- Mayonnaise was invented in France. Much later, in 1912, mayonnaise was first mass produced and called "Hellman's Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise."

* 1824 -- Henderson William Brand, chef to England's King George IV, created a special sauce for the king's table. So impressed was the king that he declared it "A1." In 1831, Brand left the palace and began manufacturing A1 Sauce and other products.

* 1856 -- Eagle Brand condensed milk was introduced as a method to fight food poisoning and other illnesses related to the lack of refrigeration and preservation techniques. The milk was a staple for Civil War soldiers.

* 1876 -- Hires Root Beer debuted at the 1976 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

* 1890 -- Libby introduced keys for opening canned meat, Lipton tea hit the market and Knox gelatin was introduced.

* 1891 -- While some sources say 1891, others declare that 1892 was the year that the National Biscuit Company began making Fig Newtons. Neither the taste, shape or size of the original fig jam-filed treat has been changed in over 100 years.

* 1897 -- Pearl B. Wait, from LeRoy, N.Y., developed a fruit-flavored version of Cooper's gelatin. It was given the name Jell-O by his wife and was available in strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon flavors.

* 1900 -- The world was introduced to Chiclets gum, cotton candy and the Hershey's Chocolate Bar.

* 1902 -- Corn Products Refining Company introduced Karo Light and Dark Corn Syrup. Prior to Karo, the American housewife carried her syrup jug to the grocer to be refilled from the store's barrels.

* 1912 -- The National Biscuit Company introduced "two beautifully embossed chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich cream filling." The Oreo Biscuit sold for 30 cents per pound.

* 1925 -- The Continental Baking Company bought Taggart, another baking company that had begun producing Wonder Bread. The colorfully wrapped loaves were America's first sliced, packaged bread.

* 1927 -- Edwin Perkins created a powered fruit drink called KOOL-ADE, later called Kool-Aid.

* 1930 -- Mabel White Holmes developed and introduced to the homemaker the first prepared baking mix product, "JIFFY' Baking Mix.

* 1946 -- Maxwell House instant coffee was introduced to the American public after it was used by the armed forces during World War II.

* 1954 -- Gerry Thomas is the man who invented both the product and name of the Swanson TV Dinner.The lure of time-saving modern appliances and the growing fascination with the television were a perfect match. The meals sold for 98 cents and included fried chicken or turkey served with potatoes and bright green peas served in a divided metal tray.

* 1971 -- Although the name Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) was first used as part of a name for a sugar wafer in 1901, it was not until this year that the corporation officially took on the name Nabisco.


1. Children can drink as much fruit juice as they want as it is healthy.

2. Honey can be used to help heal a wound.

3. On-third pound of broccoli contains more vitamin C than 204 apples.

4. For coffee to be labeled as decaffeinated, 60 percent of the caffeine must be removed.

5. The first fruit eaten on the moon was a banana.


1. This is a false statement. Many fruit juices contain similar amounts of sugar as soft drinks. In addition, the high acidity of fruit juice can lead to tooth decay.

2. This statement is true. Applied to a bandage (not directly on the wound), honey can keep the wound from drying out and forming scars.

3. This statement is amazingly true.

4. This is a false statement. For coffee to be considered as decaf, 97 percent of the caffeine must be removed.

5. This statement is false -- it was actually a peach.


* During the American Revolution troops got their rations doled out raw. Mainly consisting of flour, cornmeal or occasionally bread, bits of beef, pork or fish. The men cooked their own food and sweetened their dishes with maple sugar and molasses and flavored them with dried fruit such as apples or cranberries -- when available.

* Northern soldiers during the Civil War made many a joke about the staple of their diet known as "hardtack". This was a flour biscuit, dried to prevent spoilage, that was truly rock hard. The hardtack was also referred to as sheet iron crackers,and tooth dullers. A favorite recipe using hardtack was "skillygallee" -- fried pork and crumbled hardtack.

Confederate troops meanwhile were given bacon, cornmeal, tea, sugar or molasses and when available, vegetables. A quick dish soldiers prepared while on march was made of fried bacon, cornmeal and water -- it was called "Coosh".

* During World War I, there were field kitchens that prepared hot meals but it was extremely difficult to get the food to the front lines. Soldiers carried canned emergency rations that could only be opened with an officer's order. Other items found "in the trenches" were Libby's Corned Beef, Nabisco's hard bread and canned tomatoes.

* Troops in World War II were furnished a greater variety of rations than ever before. One example of this type of ration, meant to provide three meals, gives the following list of contents: compressed and premixed cereal, biscuits, candy-coated peanuts or raisins, soluble coffee, sugar, lemon- or orange-juice powder, hard candies, peanut butter, jam, cocoa beverage powder and caramels. Canned meats were varied and included meat and beans, meat and vegetable stew, meat and spaghetti, ham, egg,and potato, meat and noodles, pork and rice, frankfurter and beans, pork and beans, ham and lima beans and chicken and vegetables. Desserts were often chocolate, pecan roll, pound cake or fruit cake. An accessory packet included nine "good commercial-quality" cigarettes, water purification tablets, book matches, toilet paper, chewing gum (2 Chiclets), spoon, salt, pepper and a can opener.

A great invention -- Developed in just 30 days in the summer of 1942 by the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago, the P38 folding can opener is considered by many the Army's best invention. Designed to open ration cans, the contraption never broke, rusted, needed sharpening or polishing.