Monthly Archives: November 2016
iPhoneOgraphy – 30 Nov 2016 (Day 335/366)
A toothpick is a small stick of wood, plastic, bamboo, metal, bone or other substance used to remove detritus from the teeth, usually after a meal. A toothpick usually has one or two sharp ends to insert between teeth. They can come in both wood and plastic, and can also be used for picking up small appetizers (like cheese cubes or olives) or as a cocktail stick.
American wooden toothpicks are cut from birchwood or made from plastic. Logs are first spiral cut into thin sheets, which are then cut, chopped, milled and bleached (to lighten) into the individual toothpicks. Maine used to be the leading producer of toothpicks for the United States. The last wood toothpick plant in Maine closed in 2003. Plastic toothpicks, also called dental pics are still made in America in Georgia, by Armond’s Manufacturing. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a dental pic in lieu of a wooden toothpick to clean your teeth, as they clean more effectively and you do not risk injuring your gums.
The toothpick is known to predate the arrival of early modern humans. It is the oldest instrument for dental cleaning. The skulls of Neanderthals, as well as Homo sapiens, have shown clear signs of having teeth that were picked with a tool.
In 1986, researchers in Florida discovered the 7500-year-old remains of ancient Native Americans and discovered small grooves between many of the molar teeth. One of the researchers, David Dickel of Florida State University, said “The enamel on teeth is quite tough, so they must have used the probes quite rigorously to make the grooves.”
Toothpicks are well known in all cultures. Before the toothbrush was invented, teeth were cleaned with hard and soft dental woods. Toothpicks made of bronze have been found as burial objects in prehistoric graves in Northern Italy and in the East Alps. The use of toothpicks was also well known in Mesopotamia.
There are delicate, artistic examples made of silver in antiquity, as well as from mastic wood with the Romans.
In the 17th century, toothpicks were luxury objects similar to jewelry items. They were formed from precious metal and set with expensive stones. Frequently they were artistically stylized and enameled.
The first toothpick-manufacturing machine was developed in 1869, by Marc Signorello. Another was patented in 1872, by Silas Noble and J. P. Cooley.
Nowadays other means of dental hygiene are preferred such as dental floss and toothbrushes.
Toothpicks are also used for festive occasions, and are commonly used to spear appetizers. Often, these toothpicks are decorated with plastic frills or small paper umbrellas or flags.
In September 2012 a world record was set in Ireland for the most toothpicks in a beard. 3,107 toothpicks were placed in Ed Cahill’s beard in just under three hours.
iPhoneOgraphy – 29 Nov 2016 (Day 334/366)
Christmas Lights (also known informally as fairy lights) are lights used for decoration in preparation for Christmas and for display throughout Christmastide. The custom goes back to the use of candles to decorate the Christmas tree in Christian homes in early modern Germany. Christmas trees displayed publicly and illuminated with electric lights became popular in the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights as along streets and on buildings Christmas decorations detached from the Christmas tree itself. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with such Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960s. By the late 20th century, the custom had also been adopted in non-western countries / regions, notably in Japan and Hong Kong.
In many countries, such as Sweden, people start to set up their Christmas lights, as well as other Christmas decorations, on the first day of Advent. In the Western Christian world, the two traditional days when Christmas lights are removed are Twelfth Night and Candlemas, the latter of which ends the Christmas-Epiphany season in some denominations. Leaving the decorations up beyond Candlemas is historically considered to be inauspicious.
Christmas light sculptures, also called motifs, are used as Christmas decorations and for other holidays. Originally, these were large wire frame metal work pieces made for public displays, such as for a municipal government to place on utility poles, and shopping centers to place on lampposts. Since the 1990s, these are also made in small plastic home versions that can be hung in a window, or on a door or wall. Framed motifs can be lit using mini lights or ropelight, and larger scale motifs and sculptures may use C7 bulbs.
Light sculptures can be either flat (most common) or three-dimensional. Flat sculptures are the motifs, and are often on metal frames, but garland can also be attached to outdoor motifs. Indoor motifs often have a multicolored plastic backing sheet, sometimes holographic. 3D sculptures include deer or reindeer (even moose) in various positions, and with or without antlers, often with a motor to move the head up and down or side to side as if grazing. These and other 3D displays may be bare-frame, or be covered with garland, looped and woven transparent plastic cord or acrylic, or natural or gold tone-painted vines. Snowflakes are a popular design for municipal displays, so as not to be misconstrued as a government endorsement of religion, or so they can be left up all winter.
Some places make huge displays of these during December, such as Calloway Gardens, Life University, and Lake Lanier Islands in the U.S. state of Georgia. In East Tennessee, the cities of Chattanooga, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg have light sculptures up all winter. Gatlinburg also has custom ones for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, while Pigeon Forge puts flowers on its tall lampposts for spring, and for winter has a steamboat and the famous picture of U.S. Marines Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, in addition to the city’s historic Old Mill.
Some sculptures have micro controllers that sequence circuits of lights, so that the object appears to be in motion. This is used for things such as snowflakes falling, Santa Claus waving, a peace dove flapping its wings, or train wheels rolling.
iPhoneOgraphy – 28 Nov 2016 (Day 333/366)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a fictional male reindeer, created by Robert Lewis May, usually depicted as a young calf who barely has antlers, with a glowing red nose, popularly known as “Santa’s Ninth Reindeer.” When depicted, he is the lead reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team’s path through inclement winter weather.
Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward.
The story is owned by The Rudolph Company, LP and has been adapted in numerous forms including a popular song, the iconic television special and sequels, and a feature film and sequel. Character Arts, LLC manages the licensing for the Rudolph Company, LP. In many countries, Rudolph has become a figure of Christmas folklore. 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of the character and the 50th anniversary of the television special. A series of postage stamps featuring Rudolph was issued by the United States Postal Service on November 6, 2014.
Robert L. May created Rudolph in 1939, as an assignment for Chicago-based Montgomery Ward. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money. Rudolph was supposed to be a moose but that was changed because a reindeer seemed friendly. May considered naming the reindeer “Rollo” or “Reginald” before deciding upon using the name “Rudolph”. In its first year of publication, Montgomery Ward had distributed 2.5 million copies of Rudolph’s story. The story is written as a poem in anapestic tetrameter, the same meter as “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”). Publication and reprint rights for the book Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are controlled by Pearson Plc.
Of note is the change in the cultural significance of a red nose. In popular culture, a bright red nose was then closely associated with chronic alcoholism and drunkards, and so the story idea was initially rejected. May asked his illustrator friend at Wards, Denver Gillen, to draw “cute reindeer”, using zoo deer as models. The alert, bouncy character Gillen developed convinced management to support the idea.
Maxton Books published the first mass-market edition of Rudolph and a sequel, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again, in 1954. In 1991, Applewood Books published Rudolph’s Second Christmas, an unpublished sequel that Robert May wrote in 1947. In 2003, Penguin Books issued a reprint version of the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with new artwork by Lisa Papp. Penguin also reprinted May’s sequels, Rudolph Shines Again and Rudolph’s Second Christmas (now retitled Rudolph to the Rescue).
The story chronicles the experiences of Rudolph, a youthful reindeer buck (male) who possesses an unusual luminous red nose. Mocked and excluded by his peers because of this trait, Rudolph manages to prove himself one Christmas Eve after Santa Claus catches sight of Rudolph’s nose and asks Rudolph to lead his sleigh for the evening. Rudolph agrees, and is finally treated better by his fellow reindeer for his heroism.
iPhoneOgraphy – 27 Nov 2016 (Day 332/366)
Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernö Rubik. Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp in 1980 via businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder Tom Kremer, and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide making it the world’s top-selling puzzle game. It is widely considered to be the world’s best-selling toy.
In a classic Rubik’s Cube, each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers, each of one of six solid colours: white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow. In currently sold models, white is opposite yellow, blue is opposite green, and orange is opposite red, and the red, white and blue are arranged in that order in a clockwise arrangement. On early cubes, the position of the colours varied from cube to cube. An internal pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be returned to have only one colour. Similar puzzles have now been produced with various numbers of sides, dimensions, and stickers, not all of them by Rubik.
Although the Rubik’s Cube reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1980s, it is still widely known and used. Many speed cubers continue to practice it and other twisty puzzles and compete for the fastest times in various categories. Since 2003, The World Cube Association, the Rubik’s Cube’s international governing body, has organised competitions worldwide and kept the official world records.
The Cube was unveiled by Ideal Toys at the International Toy Fair of London in January 1980. Initially sales were modest, but Ideal began a television advertising campaign in the middle of the year which it supplemented with newspaper adverts. At the end of 1980 Rubik’s Cube won a German Game of the Year special award, and won similar awards for best toy in the UK, France, and the USA. By 1981 Rubik’s Cube had become a craze, and it is estimated that in the period from 1980 to 1983 around 200 million Rubik’s Cubes were sold worldwide. In March 1981 the first speed cubing championship organised by the Guinness Book of World Records was held in Munich, and a Rubik’s Cube was depicted on the front cover of Scientific American that same month. In June 1981 The Washington Post reported that the Rubik’s Cube is “a puzzle that’s moving like fast food right now … this year’s Hoola Hoop or Bongo Board”, and by September 1981 New Scientist noted that the cube had “captivated the attention of children of ages from 7 to 70 all over the world this summer.”
As most people could only solve one or two sides, numerous books were published including David Singmaster’s Notes on Rubik’s “Magic Cube” (1980) and Patrick Bossert’s You Can Do the Cube (1981). At one stage in 1981 three of the top ten best selling books in the USA were books on solving the Rubik’s Cube, and the best-selling book of 1981 was James G. Nourse’s The Simple Solution to Rubik’s Cube which sold over 6 million copies. In 1981 the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited a Rubik’s Cube, and at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee a six-foot Cube was put on display. ABC Television even developed a cartoon show called Rubik, the Amazing Cube. In June 1982 the First Rubik’s Cube World Championship took place in Budapest, and would become the only competition recognized as official until the championship was revived in 2003.
In October 1982 The New York Times reported that sales had fallen and that “the craze has died”, and by 1983 it was clear that sales had plummeted. However, in some Communist countries, such as China and Russia, the craze had started later and demand was still high because of a shortage of Cubes.
Rubik’s Cubes continued to be marketed and sold throughout the 1980s and 90s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that interest in the Cube began increasing again. In the USA sales doubled between 2001 and 2003, and The Boston Globe remarked that it was “becoming cool to own a Cube again”. The 2003 World Rubik’s Games Championship was the first speedcubing tournament since 1982. It was held in Toronto and was attended by 83 participants. The tournament lead to the formation of the World Cube Association in 2004. Annual sales of Rubik branded cubes were said to have reached 15 million worldwide in 2008. Part of the new appeal was ascribed to the advent of internet video sites which allowed fans to share their solving strategies. Following the expiration of Rubik’s patent in 2000, other brands of cubes appeared, especially from Chinese companies. Many of these Chinese branded cubes have been engineered for speed and are favoured by speed cubers.
iPhoneOgraphy – 26 Nov 2016 (Day 331/366)
Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that as late as the 17th century, the word “apple” was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit other than berries, but including nuts. This term may even have extended to plant galls, as they were thought to be of plant origin (see oak Apple). For instance, when tomatoes were introduced into Europe, they were called “love apples”. In one Old English work, cucumbers are called eorþæppla (lit. “earth-apples’), just as in French, Dutch, Hebrew, Persian and Swiss German as well as several other German dialects, the words for potatoes mean “earth-apples” in English. In some languages, oranges are called “golden apples” or “Chinese apples”. Datura is called ‘thorn-apple”.
Ethnobotanical and ethnomycological scholars such as R. Gordon Wasson, Carl Ruck and Clark Heinrich write that the mythological apple is a symbolic substitution for the entheogenic Amanita muscaria (or fly agaric) mushroom. Its association with knowledge is an allusion to the revelatory states described by some shamans and users of psychedelic mushrooms. At times artists would co-opt the apple, as well as other religious symbology, whether for ironic effect or as a stock element of symbolic vocabulary. Thus, secular art as well made use of the apple as symbol of love and sexuality. It is often an attribute associated with Venus who is shown holding it.
Though the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis is not identified, popular Christian tradition holds that Adam and Eve ate an apple from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. This may have been the result of Renaissance painter adding elements of Greek mythology into biblical scenes. The unnamed fruit of Eden thus became an apple under the influence of the story of the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides. As a result, the apple became a symbol for knowledge, immortality, temptation, the fall of man and sin.
The Ancient Greek word “μήλον” (mēlon), now a loanword in English as melon or water melon did not mean, in Homer’s time, apple, the pomaceous fruit, but sheep or goat. In Latin, the words for ‘apple’ (“mālum”) and for ‘evil’ (“mãlum”) are nearly identical. This may also have influenced the apple’s becoming interpreted as the biblical ‘forbidden fruit’ in the commonly used Latin translation called “Vulgate”. The larynx in the human throat has been called Adam’s apple because of the folk tale that the bulge was caused by the forbidden fruit sticking in the throat of Adam. The apple as symbol of sexual seduction has sometimes been used to imply sexuality between men, possibly in an ironic vein.
The notion of the apple as a symbol of sin is reflected in artistic renderings of the fall from Eden. When held in Adam’s hand, the apple symbolises sin. But, when Christ is portrayed holding an apple, he represents the Second Adam who brings life. This difference reflects the evolution of the symbol in Christianity. In the Old Testament, the apple was significant of the fall of man; in the New Testament, it is an emblem of the redemption from that fall. The apple is represented in pictures of the Madonna and Infant Jesus as another sign of that redemption.
In some versions (such as Young’s Literal Translation) of the Bible, the Hebrew word for mandrakes dudaim (Genesis 30:14) is translated as “love apples” (not to be confused with the New World tomatoes). There are several instances in the Old Testament where the apple is used in a more favourable light. The phrase ‘the apple of your eye’ comes from verses in Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 17:8 Proverbs 7:2, and Zechariah 2:8, implying an object or person who is greatly valued. In Proverbs 25:11, the verse states, “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”. In the love songs of the Somg of Solomon, the apple is used in a sensual context. In these latter instances, the apple is used as a symbol for beauty. The apple appears again in Joel 1:12 in a verse with a sense of profound loss when the apple tree withers. During the Jewish New Year – [Rosh Hashanah] – it is customary to eat apples dipped in honey to evoke a “sweet new year”.
It is a long-standing tradition in many tribal communities that the first born child of any couple shall be presented with an apple randomly picked from a tree by their paternal grandparents on the day of their birth. If the chosen apple is sliced open and revealed to have a worm inside, it is a bad omen and on their 21st birthday, the child must perform a dance to the fruit gods to spare the lives of their own offspring.
The Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labours, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center.
Atalanta, also of Greek mythology, raced all her suitors in an attempt to avoid marriage. She outran all but Hippomenes (a.k.a. Melanion, a name possibly derived from melon the Greek word for both “apple” and fruit in general), who defeated her by cunning, not speed. Hippomenes knew that he could not win in a fair race, so he used three golden apples (gifts of Aphrodite, the goddess of love) to distract Atalanta. It took all three apples and all of his speed, but Hippomenes was finally successful, winning the race and Atalanta’s hand.
The Greek goddess of discord, Eris, became disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. In retaliation, she tossed a golden apple inscribed Kallisti (‘For the most beautiful one’), into the wedding party. Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris of Troy was appointed to select the recipient. After being bribed by both Hera and Athena, Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, thus indirectly causing the Trojan War.
In Norse mythology, the goddess Iðunn was the appointed keeper of golden apples that kept the Æsir young (or immortal) forever. Iðunn was abducted by Þjazi the giant, who used Loki to lure Iðunn and her apples out of Ásgarðr. The Æsir began to age without Iðunn’s apples, so they coerced Loki into rescuing her. After borrowing Freyja’s falcon skin, Loki liberated Iðunn from Þjazi by transforming her into a nut for the flight back. Þjazi gave chase in the form of an eagle, whereupon reaching Ásgarðr he was set aflame by a bonfire lit by the Æsir. With the return of Iðunn’s apples, the Æsir regained their lost youth. Apple trees were the symbol of rebirth and beauty; the apple tree was sacred in Norse mythology.
Allantide (Cornish: Kalan Gwav, meaning first day of winter) is a Cornish festival that was traditionally celebrated on the night of 31 October, as well as the following day time. One of the most important parts of this festival was the giving of Allan apples, large glossy red apples that were highly polished, to family and friends as tokens of good luck. Allan apple markets used to be held throughout West Cornwall in the run up to the feast. and in the town of St Just it surpassed Christmas as a time for giving gifts until the late 20th century. A game was also recorded in which two pieces of wood were nailed together in the shape of a cross. It was then suspended, with 4 lit candles on each arm and Allan apples suspended underneath. The aim being to catch the apples with your mouth without getting molten wax on your face. For unmarried recipients the apples would be placed under their pillows in the hope that they would bring dreams of their future wife or husband.
iPhoneOgraphy – 25 Nov 2016 (Day 330/366)
A scooter or motor scooter is a motorcycle with step-through frame and a platform for the rider’s feet. Elements of scooter design have been present in some of the earliest motorcycles, and motorcycles identifiable as scooters have been made from 1914 or earlier. Scooter development continued in Europe and the United States between the World Wars.
The global popularity of scooters dates from the post-World War II introductions of the Vespa and the Lambretta. These scooters were intended to provide low-power personal transportation (engines from 50 to 250 cc or 3.1 to 15.3 cu in). The original layout is still widely used in this application. Maxi-scooters, with engines from 250 to 850 cc (15 to 52 cu in) have been developed for Western markets.
Scooters are popular for personal transport, partly due to being cheap to buy, easy to operate and convenient to park and store. Licensing requirements for scooters are easier and cheaper than for cars in most parts of the world, and insurance is usually cheaper.
A motor scooter is a motorcycle similar to a kick scooter with a seat, a floorboard, and small or low wheels. The United States Department of Transportation defines a scooter as a motorcycle that has a platform for the operator’s feet or has integrated footrests, and has a step-through architecture.
The classic scooter design features a step-through frame and a flat floorboard for the rider’s feet. This design is possible because most scooter engines and drive systems are attached to the rear axle or under the seat. Unlike a conventional motorcycle, in which the engine is mounted on the frame, most modern scooters allow the engine to swing with the rear wheel, while most vintage scooters and some newer retro models have an axle-mounted engine. Modern scooters starting from late-1980s generally use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while older ones use a manual transmission with the gearshift and clutch control built into the left handlebar.
Scooters usually feature bodywork, including a front leg shield and body that conceals all or most of the mechanicals. There is often some integral storage space, either under the seat, built into the front leg shield, or both. Scooters have varying engine displacements and configurations ranging from 50 cc single-cylinder to 850 cc twin-cylinder models.
Traditionally, scooter wheels are smaller than conventional motorcycle wheels and are made of pressed steel or cast aluminum alloy, bolt on easily, and often are interchangeable between front and rear. Some scooters carry a spare wheel. Many recent scooters use conventional front forks with the front axle fastened at both ends.
iPhoneOgraphy – 24 Nov 2016 (Day 329/366)
A soft drink is a drink that typically contains carbonated water, a sweetener, and a natural or artificial flavoring. The sweetener may be sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, sugar substitutes (in the case of diet drinks), or some combination of these. Soft drinks may also contain caffeine, colorings, preservatives, and other ingredients.
Soft drinks are called “soft” in contrast to “hard drinks” (alcoholic beverages). Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic. Fruit punch, tea, and other such non-alcoholic beverages are technically soft drinks by this definition but are not generally referred to as such.
Soft drinks may be served chilled, over ice cubes or at room temperature. In rare cases, some soft drinks, such as Dr Pepper, can be served warm. Soft drinks are available in many formats, including cans, glass bottles, and plastic bottles (the latter in a variety of sizes ranging from small bottles to large 2-liter containers). Soft drinks are also widely available at fast food restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, casual dining restaurants, and bars from soda fountain machines. Soda fountain drinks are typically served in paper or plastic disposable cups in the first three venues. In casual dining restaurants and bars, soft drinks are often served in glasses. Soft drinks may be drunk with straws or sipped directly from the cups.
Soft drinks are mixed with other ingredients in several contexts. In Western countries, in bars and other places where alcohol is served (e.g., airplanes, restaurants and nightclubs) many mixed drinks are made by blending a soft drink with hard liquor and serving the drink over ice. One well-known example is the rum and coke, which may also contain lime juice. Some homemade fruit punch recipes, which may or may not contain alcohol, contain a mixture of various fruit juices and soda pop (e.g., ginger ale). At ice cream parlors and 1950s-themed diners, ice cream floats are often sold. Two popular ice cream floats are the coke float and the root beer float, which consist of a scoop of ice cream placed in a tall glass of the respectively named soft drinks.
The origins of soft drinks lie in the development of fruit-flavored drinks. In Tudor England ‘water imperial’ was widely drunk; it was a sweetened drink with lemon flavor and containing cream of tartar. ‘Manays Cryste’ was a sweetened cordial flavored with rosewater, violets or cinnamon.
Another early type of soft drink was lemonade, made of water and lemon juice sweetened with honey, but without carbonated water. The Compagnie des Limonadiers of Paris was granted a monopoly for the sale of lemonade soft drinks in 1676. Vendors carried tanks of lemonade on their backs and dispensed cups of the soft drink to Parisians.
In the late 18th century, scientists made important progress in replicating naturally carbonated mineral waters. In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England. His invention of carbonated water (also known as soda water) is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.
Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to his friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid as it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an agitated bowl of water.
Another Englishman, John Mervin Nooth, improved Priestley’s design and sold his apparatus for commercial use in pharmacies. Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman invented a generating apparatus that made carbonated water from chalk by the use of sulfuric acid. Bergman’s apparatus allowed imitation mineral water to be produced in large amounts. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius started to add flavors (spices, juices, and wine) to carbonated water in the late eighteenth century.
Thomas Henry, an apothecary from Manchester, was the first to sell artificial mineral water to the general public for medicinal purposes, beginning in the 1770s. His recipe for ‘Bewley’s Mephitic Julep’ consisted of 3 drachms of fossil alkali to a quart of water, and the manufacture had to ‘throw in streams of fixed air until all the alkaline taste is destroyed’.
Johann Jacob Schweppes developed a similar process to manufacture carbonated mineral water at the same time. He founded the Schweppes Company in Geneva in 1783 to sell carbonated water, and relocated his business to London in 1792. His drink soon gained in popularity; among his new found patrons was Erasmus Darwin. In 1843, Schweppes commercialised Malvern Water at the Holywell Spring in the Malvern Hills, and was appointed the official supplier to the Royal Family.
It was not long before flavoring was combined with carbonated water. The earliest reference to carbonated ginger beer is in a Practical Treatise on Brewing. published in 1809. The drinking of either natural or artificial mineral water was considered at the time to be a healthy practice, and was promoted by advocates of temperance. Pharmacists selling mineral waters began to add herbs and chemicals to unflavored mineral water. They used birch bark (see birch beer), dandelion, sarsaparilla, fruit extracts, and other substances. Flavorings were also added to improve the taste.
Soft drinks soon outgrew their origins in the medical world and became a widely consumed beverage, available cheaply for the masses. By the 1840s there were more than fifty soft drinks manufacturers – an increase from just ten in the previous decade. For the Great Exhibition of 1851, Schweppes was designated the official drink supplier and sold over a million bottles of lemonade, ginger beer, Seltzer water and soda-water. There was a Schweppes soda water fountain, situated directly at the entrance to the Exhibition.
Mixer drinks became popular in the second half of the century. Tonic water was originally quinine added to water as a prophylactic against malaria and was consumed by British officials stationed in the tropical areas of South Asia and Africa. As the quinine powder was so bitter people began mixing the powder with soda and sugar, and a basic tonic water was created. The first commercial tonic water was produced in 1858. The mixed drink gin and tonic also originated in British colonial India, when the British population would mix their medicinal quinine tonic with gin.
A persistent problem in the soft drinks industry was the lack of an effective sealing of the bottles. Carbonated drink bottles are under great pressure from the gas, so inventors tried to find the best way to prevent the carbon dioxide or bubbles from escaping. The bottles could also explode if the pressure was too great. Hiram Codd devised a patented bottling machine while working at a small mineral water works in the Caledonian Road, Islington, in London in 1870. His Codd-neck bottle was designed to enclose a marble and a rubber washer in the neck. The bottles were filled upside down, and pressure of the gas in the bottle forced the marble against the washer, sealing in the carbonation. The bottle was pinched into a special shape to provide a chamber into which the marble was pushed to open the bottle. This prevented the marble from blocking the neck as the drink was poured.
By mid-1873 he had granted 20 licences and received a further 50 applications. This was boosted further by a Trade Show held in London in the same year. By 1874 the licence was free to bottle manufacturers as long as they purchased the marbles, sealing rings and used his groove tool, and the mineral water firms they traded with had already bought a licence to use his bottle.
In 1892, the “Crown Cork Bottle Seal” was patented by William Painter, a Baltimore, Maryland machine shop operator. It was the first bottle top to successfully keep the bubbles in the bottle. In 1899, the first patent was issued for a glass-blowing machine for the automatic production of glass bottles. Earlier glass bottles had all been hand-blown. Four years later, the new bottle-blowing machine was in operation. It was first operated by the inventor, Michael Owens, an employee of Libby Glass Company. Within a few years, glass bottle production increased from 1,400 bottles a day to about 58,000 bottles a day.
In America, soda fountains were initially more popular, and many Americans would frequent the soda fountain daily. Beginning in 1806, Yale University chemistry professor Benjamin Silliman sold soda waters in New Haven, Connecticut. He used a Nooth apparatus to produce his waters. Businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City also began selling soda water in the early 19th century. In the 1830s, John Matthews of New York City and John Lippincott of Philadelphia began manufacturing soda fountains. Both men were successful and built large factories for fabricating fountains. Due to problems in the U.S. glass industry, bottled drinks remained a small portion of the market throughout much of the 19th century. (However, they were known in England. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published in 1848, the caddish Huntingdon, recovering from months of debauchery, wakes at noon and gulps a bottle of soda-water).
In the early 20th century, sales of bottled soda increased exponentially, and in the second half of the 20th century, canned soft drinks became an important share of the market.
During the 1920s, “Home-Paks” were invented. “Home-Paks” are the familiar six-pack cartons made from cardboard. Vending machines also began to appear in the 1920s. Since then, soft drink vending machines have become increasingly popular. Both hot and cold drinks are sold in these self-service machines throughout the world.
iPhoneOgraphy – 23 Nov 2016 (Day 328/366)
A marshmallow is a sugar-based confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, water and gelatin whipped to a spongy consistency, molded into small cylindrical pieces, and coated with corn starch. Some marshmallow recipes call for eggs. This confection is the modern version of a medicinal confection made from Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow plant.
Marshmallow probably first came into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which was used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well. The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat. The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or “guimauve” for short), included an egg white meringue and was often flavored with rose water.
The use of marshmallow to make sweets dates back to ancient Egypt, where the recipe called for extracting sap from the plant and mixing it with nuts and honey. Another pre-modern recipe uses the pith of the marshmallow plant, rather than the sap. The stem was peeled back to reveal the soft and spongy pith, which was boiled in sugar syrup and dried to produce a soft, chewy confection.
Confectioners in early 19th century France pioneered the innovation of whipping up the marshmallow sap and sweetening it, to make a confection similar to modern marshmallow. The confection was made locally, however, by the owners of small sweet shops. They would extract the sap from the mallow plant’s root, and whip it themselves. The candy was very popular, but its manufacture was labour-intensive. In the late 19th century, French manufacturers thought of using egg whites or gelatin, combined with modified corn starch, to create the chewy base. This avoided the labour-intensive extraction process, but it did require industrial methods to combine the gelatin and corn starch in the right way.
Another milestone in the development of the modern marshmallow was the extrusion process by the Greek American confectioner Alex Doumakes in 1954. Marshmallow mixture is pumped through extrusion heads with numerous ports aligned next to each other which form long continuous “ropes” of marshmallow. This invention allowed marshmallows to be manufactured in a fully automated way and gives us the familiar cylindrical shape of today’s marshmallow. In today’s modern marshmallow processing plants, the following process may be used to make marshmallows in large quantities. In large industrial kettles, water, sugar, and corn syrup are heated to a precise temperature and cooked for a precise time. This mixture is then pumped to another kettle to cool. Rehydrated gelatin is added and blended in once the mixture has cooled enough to not denature the gelatin. To give the marshmallow its fluffiness, it is pumped through a blender while air is pumped into it. At this point, it still needs to be cooled down further, so it will hold its shape when extruded, it is pumped through a heat exchanger prior to being pumped through the extrusion heads and onto a wide conveyor belt. The conveyor belt is coated in corn starch and more corn starch is dusted onto the top of the marshmallow extrusion as it passes down the conveyor. A large knife the width of the conveyor is located at the end of this conveyor table that will then chop the extrusion into the size marshmallow desired. The pieces will then be tumbled in corn starch in a large drum in order for the marshmallow to form its familiar skin and allow pieces that didn’t get cut all the way to break apart.
Marshmallows, like most sweets, are sweetened with sucrose. They are currently prepared by the aeration of mixtures of sucrose and proteins to a final density of about 0.5 g/ml. The molecular structure of marshmallows is very basic. It is a sugar solution blended with stabilizing structure agents such as gelatin, xanthan gum, or egg whites. The aforementioned structural components is what prevent the air from escaping and collapsing the marshmallows during aeration.
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Squash soup is a soup prepared using squash as a primary ingredient. Squash used to prepare the soup include acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkin.
Squash soup is a soup in African cuisine. It is a part of the cuisine of Northern Africa, and the cuisines of Mozambique and Namibia, both of which are located in Southern Africa. Squash soup is also served in other countries and is a part of other cuisines. Soup Joumou is traditionally consumed in Haiti on New Year’s Day (January 1), as a historical tribute to Haitian independence in 1804.
Squash that has initially been separately roasted can be used in the soup’s preparation. The roasting of squash can serve to concentrate the gourd’s flavor. Squash soup can be prepared with chunks or pieces of squash and also with puréed squash. Pre-cooked, frozen squash can also be used, as can commercially prepared packets of pre-cooked frozen squash purée. Butternut squash soup may have a sweet flavor, due to the sugars present in the squash. Additional basic ingredients in squash soup’s preparation can include broth, onion, cream, spices such as sage and thyme, salt and pepper. Pumpkin soup can be served hot or cold, and is a popular Thanksgiving dish in the United States.
Pumpkin “pies” made by early American colonists were more likely to be a savory soup made and served in a pumpkin than a sweet custard in a crust.
Pumpkin soup was a staple for the prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prison camps during the Vietnam War.
iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Nov 2016 (Day 326/366)
Gelato (Italian plural: gelati) is the Italian word for ice cream, commonly used in English for ice cream made in an Italian style. Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat, but higher in sugar, than other styles of ice cream. Gelato typically contains less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.
In Italy, by law, gelato must have at least 3.5% butterfat. In the United States, there is no legal standard of definition for gelato, as there is for ice cream, which must contain at least 10% butterfat.
The history of gelato is rife with myths and very little evidence to substantiate them. Some say it dates back to frozen desserts in Sicily, Ancient Rome and Egypt made from snow and ice brought down from mountaintops and preserved below ground. Later, in 1686 the Sicilian fisherman Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli perfected the first ice cream machine. However, the popularity of gelato among larger shares of the population only increased in the 1920s–1930s in the northern Italian city of Varese, where the first gelato cart was developed. Italy is the only country where the market share of artisanal gelato versus mass-produced gelato is over 55%. Today, more than 5,000 modern Italian ice cream parlors employ over 15,000 people, mostly Italians.