It’s an undeniable fact that eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In fact, eating is such a regular indulgence for most of us (three times a day, would you believe?!), that we generally tend not to question the food we shove down our throats.
Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to learn something that will put us off our food, or perhaps we’re just too damn hungry to care. However, if you’d put down the hamburger for two seconds, you could probably learn a thing or two about the food you eat on a daily basis. So if you want to discover some incredible food facts, look no further than this list.
1. Parmesan and many other hard cheeses aren’t vegetarian, since they contain animal rennet, which is derived from the stomach of calves. Nice.
2. A peach was the first ever fruit to have been eaten on the moon. As you’d expect, it was tinned.
3. In the 1800s, tomato ketchup was sold as a treatment for diarrhoea, jaundice and indigestion.
4. Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint gum are over a century old.
5. Castoreum, a type of vanilla flavouring, is taken from the anal glands of beavers. Serves me right for being so unadventurous.
6. Shellac, the thing you get glued onto your fingers when you go for a manicure, is also used to make jelly beans shiny. It’s made from the secretions of the Kerria lacca insect.
7. Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan, which is linked to the production of serotonin, the happy chemical, in our brains. In fact, the popular yellow fruit has actually been touted as a potential cure for depression.
8. If you drop a pearl in vinegar, it’ll melt. In fact, Cleopatra was rumoured to have drunk one of her pearl earrings after dissolving it in vinegar.
9. If it’s not prepared properly, eating puffer fish can kill you. It contains a toxin 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide.
10. Honey is one of the only foods in existence with an eternal shelf life. In fact, perfectly edible pots of honey have even been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.
So there you have it – the world of food is far more interesting than you’d ever believe. So next time your server asks you if you’d like a sprinkling of parmesan, perhaps you’ll spare a thought for the poor baby calf who so kindly donated its stomach to fill yours.