Categories
Drinks Packaged Food

Cult Favorite Tejava To Launch Two New Flavors

Tejava has gained a word of mouth following on the sole basis of its tea flavor alone. While known specifically for its iconic black tea, the company is releasing new teas that draw on intense aroma.

In the first of their Origins line, Tejava just announced the addition of two new flavors of unsweetened and ready-to-drink teas: Fujian Oolong Tea and Hojicha Green Tea.

Owned by parent company Crystal Geyser, the all-natural and unsweetened Tejava is brewed from hand-picked tea leaves found on the island of Java in Indonesia and are free of sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.

With, the addition of new flavors like Fujian Oolong and Hojicha Green Tea, Tejava expands itself to a wider audience helping the tea become more ubiquitous. The swanky glass bottles are also a pretty nice touch.

“Tea addicts, like me, love their black tea to the point it’s a cult following,” said Foodbeast’s resident youth Constantine Spyrou who happened to be a huge fan of the beverage. “Tejava has way more flavor than any other bottled tea you can find in stores and is at a super affordable price.”

Expect to find the two new flavors in late November at Tejava.com. Consumers will be able to find them in retail stores sometime shorty after.

Categories
Culture Features

Your Favorite Mexican Stew Has Cannibalistic Origins

When the holidays near, and Mexican families get ready to sit at the dinner table to slurp up their beloved pozole, there’s a good chance they have no idea about its documented dark past.

As a man who loves his pozole, and has eaten at least three bowls of it every Christmas Eve since he was 12, you can imagine my surprise in learning that the Mexican stew has a history of being made with human flesh.

The man-meat pozole tidbit was something that I stumbled upon while watching an episode of “Migrant Kitchen,” on KCET. This particular episode featured Mexican Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, whom I had recently interviewed, which led me to delving into more of her work.

In the episode, journalist Beto Lanz spoke about pozole pre-dating Hispanic cultures. Its original form used meat that were not only of rodents, which is cringeworthy in its own right. But even before that, there were rituals where the bodies of sacrificed men were used in the dish.

 

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Lanz went on to explain that when the Spaniards made their way to the Americas, they put an end to these types of sacrificial ceremonies.

My initial reaction while hearing all of this, was, ‘No waaaaaay!’ But then a few seconds later, I realized that it’s probably not something that’s too far-fetched.

I feel guilty being part of a Mexican-American generation that sometimes forgets to check in on the ol’ cultural roots, so the whole Aztec cannibalistic era was lost on me, as I’m sure it has been for many. So I dove into a little bit of food history to see what I’d find out about the classic native dish.

Obviously human sacrifice and cannibalism don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but there have been anthropological studies that linked Aztec sacrifices and the consumption of human meat.

A study at Michigan State University suggests that, “In addition to ‘merely’ sacrificing humans, it is generally accepted by anthropologists that the Aztecs also cannibalized these sacrificial offerings.”

So while the Aztecs didn’t just go around eating people left and right like in The Book of Eli, in certain situations, the consumption of human flesh did occur.

Those findings are pretty gruesome to think about, but can you really link that to our precious pozole? Here is why many believe you can.

 

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Additional academic findings bring us to Moctezuma. Yes, the dude from the Knott’s Berry Farm ride.

The Arizona Historical Society has documented that the ruler did have a bit of a taste for human flesh.

Writings from ethnologist Father Bernardino de Sahagun, show that Emperor Moctezuma had a grand feast that featured not just the familiar boiled corn, but human flesh, with the royal “having a whole thigh reserved for himself.”

The Aztec term for “pozol” meant “foamy,” which is why it is linked to the pozole we know today. As anyone who has cooked the dish, knows it gets frothy when the corn is being boiled.

While Sahagun never mentions pozole by name, he mentions that the Moctezuma’s feast consisted of tlacatlaolli, which isn’t exactly like the pozole we’re familiar with, but was a boiled corn dish that is linked to pozole origins.

So while it is not explicitly stated that “pozole” was a dish fit for cannibalistic appetites, there is some research that implies it.

Moctezuma fed human parts to his guests, who were probably thinking that dude was a psychopath, and forever sullied the precious origins of our beloved pozole.

While pozole literally translates to “hominy” and that corny portion of the ingredient list has stayed the same through time, it’s interesting to note that the meaty portions weren’t always the pig’s feet and pulled pork we’re used to.

Now, as you sit and eat your pozole, you can tell your grandma that pozole used to be made with human flesh, as she’ll promptly smack you for being gross at the dinner table.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

How All Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants Got Their Start

Whether it’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or Straight Outta Compton, everyone loves a good origin story. The origins of your favorite fast food restaurants involve a little less violence then those films, but it’s still interesting how and when they all got their start.

McDonald’s origins have been publicized a bit more with The Founder movie releasing in late 2016, and that’s a good start to this list, but we’ve got a lot more ground to cover from there.

Back before Subway ever met Jared Fogle, before Wendy’s was clowning people on Twitter, or before Starbucks was dishing out Unicorn Frappuccinos, they all started with an idea.

Here’s a quick look at how 10 of your favorite fast food restaurants got their start, with the help of CDA:

McDonald’s


Before Ray Kroc got his hands on McDonald’s, it was actually owned by a couple of brothers named Richard and Maurice McDonald. Duh. In 1940, they set up a drive-in barbecue spot called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q in San Bernardino, California before shortening it to just McDonald’s in 1948.

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Subway


In 1965, Subway was a small sandwich shop brought to life in Bridgeport, Connecticut by a college student who was just trying to pay for his education. Coming full circle, Fred DeLuca’s restaurant would later feed millions of broke college students with its $5 footlongs.

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KFC


Before KFC took over the fried chicken world, it was just a service station in North Corbin, Kentucky, where Harland Sanders sold fried chicken to drivers who stopped by. In 1930, Colonel Sanders put together the list of secret herbs and spices, scratching them on the back of his kitchen door, and he never looked back.

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Dunkin’ Donuts


Starting the whole coffee and donuts trend back in 1948, William Rosenberg found that to be a winning combo, as it sold food in factories and construction sites. Rosenberg decided to open a restaurant around that concept in 1950, as Dunkin’ Donuts was born thanks to the selective taste buds of factory workers.

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Wendy’s


Wendy’s has a pretty well-known origin, as most people know that Wendy was the name of Dave Thomas’s daughter, and the man had a love for fresh fast food. Before starting Wendy’s in 1969, Thomas actually worked with Colonel Sanders, helping get KFC going, which is probably where he got his franchising chops.

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Pizza Hut


Using McDonald’s and KFC as a business model, Dan and Frank Carney wanted to take over the pizza world. Starting in Wichita, Kansas, the two turned an old bar into a pizzeria, calling it, you guessed it, Pizza Hut.

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Burger King


The so-called king of burgers had very humble beginnings, as in 1953 Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns couldn’t hold down the fort of their beloved Insta-Burger King restaurant. In 1957, they sold it to David Edgerton and James McLamore, who renamed the restaurant just Burger King. The burger joint really took off in 1959 when they invented a gas grill called the “flame broiler,” and started killing it with their flame broiled Whoppers.

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Papa John’s

The very first time John Schnatter sold a pizza, it was from the back of his papa’s tavern in Jefferson, Indiana. The tavern was struggling a bit, to the point where Schnatter had to sell his car to keep the business afloat. Soon after, John bought some used pizza-making equipment and started selling pizza from the broom closet at his pop’s tavern, like some sketchy back-alley dealer.

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Five Guys


Sure enough, Five Guys was created by five guys in 1986. When Jerry and Janie Murrel told their five sons they either had to go to school, or start a business, the five dudes out of Arlington County, Virginia chose a business. With over 1,500 restaurants across the country, it’s safe to say the kids made a good decision.

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Starbucks


Starbucks is fairly new compared to a lot of the restaurants on this list. Being conceived in 1971, the Seattle-based company started off as a small coffee shop that prided itself on selling coffee with the “highest quality beans.” In 1982, CEO Howard Schultz jumped in, turning it into a coffee bar/cafe-style restaurant. Now it has taken over the world, and every corner in your city.

Categories
Fast Food Features Hit-Or-Miss

We’ve Been Lied To, French Fries Aren’t Even Really French

Okay, so the actual act of frying up a potato is hard to trace, as far as its origins go. Hell, even Thomas Jefferson had a fried potato recipe that dates back to 1784, but, we at least know when and how the name “French Fry” came to be.

According to National Geographic, many believe that the origin of fries can be traced back to Belgian roots, where villagers would fry potatoes during the cold winters.

During World War I, American soldiers discovered these fries, which were offered to them by the French-speaking Belgians, and informally started calling them “French” fries.

Kind of the same way that Christopher Columbus looked at Native Americans and said, “Fuck it, you guys are Indians,” U.S. soldiers got hold of Belgian fried potatoes and said, “Fuck it, they’re French Fries.”

The greasy food really gained popularity in the 1920s, and by the 1960s, we were okay with just calling them “fries.”

America giveth and America taketh away.  While U.S. troops literally gave fries the original “French” name, in the early 2000s, there was a push to change the dish’s name to “Freedom Fries.” Republican House representatives Bob Ney and Walter B. Jones tried to enforce the name change at school cafeterias across the country.

Yeah, that was obviously stupid, didn’t stick, and we still have French fries to this day.

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While the French did have fries of their own, we weren’t with them shootin’ in the gym. So even though French is in the name, they were technically Belgian Fries, as far as Americans are concerned.

Categories
Drinks

The Shocking Origins Behind Pink Lemonade

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On a scorching day, the sight of a bright-pink glass of lemonade can be a godsend for the thirsty. The combination of sweet and sour accents excites your tongue as the pink aesthetic attracts your eyes.

Pink lemonade has been everywhere in our lives, from fast food restaurants to bottles on grocery store shelves. We went nuts as a kid seeing a self-serve container of pink lemonade at our local In-N-Out. Even years later, it’s the only fast food spot we can find that serves the option readily.

Have you ever wondered, however, where the beverage came from and gives it its distinctive pink hue?

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There have been two major accounts of how the light-crimson beverage came to be, states the Huffington Post. Both origins, if you can believe it, left us a little less enchanted with the drink. At least, until the next 100-degree Californian day.

How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun,” a book by author Josh Chetwynd, claims that there are two alleged inventors of pink lemonade.

The first was a salesman named Pete Conklin, who sold concessions at Jerry Mabie show, which was the equivalent of Coachella for circuses, back in 1857. One day, he ran out of water to make lemonade with. Instead of closing up shop until he replenished his supplies, he went over to the dressing room of one of the circus’ bareback riders. The woman had just washed her pink tights in a water vat, leaving the liquid with a pink color.

Conklin took the vat of pink water, threw in some tantric acid and pieces of lemons and decided to rebrand the water as “fine strawberry lemonade,” doubling his business and creating a new drink as he did so.

Conklin’s story was also confirmed in Joe Nickell’s book “Secrets of the Sideshows.”

Pink-Lemonade-StockSnap

Pink Lemonade’s second origin, accounts Smithsonian Mag, churns our stomachs a little less.

A New York Times article from 1912 spotlights circus promoter and saloon keeper Henry E. Allott as the inventor of the beverage.

While Allot was mixing a batch of lemonade, he accidentally dropped some red cinnamon candies into the liquid. A unique rose tint resulted from the incident, creating a beverage that sold surprisingly well.

Because Allott said he created this as a teenager, it places his claim about 20 years after Conklin’s tale of used underwear.

Though there’s no way of telling which story, if either, is the definitive birth of the popular drink. We can assume, according to Chetwynd, that the drink was either created or at least popularized by the circus.

Today, in a time of fewer circus folk and more FDA regulations, pink lemonade is made a little differently. The beverage is colored with more natural ingredients like cranberry juice, raspberry juice, crushed strawberries, or red food dye.

Thankfully, no nasty underwear water.

A hundred years from now, while humanity sits on porches strewn across one of the TRAPPIST-1 planets, we’ll be sippin’ on lemonade squeezed fresh from genetically-modified pink lemons. Until then, we’re more than happy with our present addition of strawberries and food coloring in our pink lemonade.

Categories
Cravings Sweets

Dippin’ Dots Were Originally Meant To Be Cow Feed

I still remember the first time I tried Dippin’ Dots ice cream. I was a 9-year-old brat, at the mall with my parents, when I suddenly became intrigued by the colorful little cart by the food court. Despite the hefty price tag, my parents still bought me a cup ( I must have gotten a “A” on my last test or something). Little ice cream balls that melt in your mouth? If you tried them as a kid, like I did, you know exactly the euphoria that came with the first cold bite. Unforgettable.

While we see Dippin’ Dots all over the place, from sporting arenas to amusement parks, the origins of these frozen treats are pretty bizarre, as they were not even meant to be ice cream.

Dippin’ Dots were invented in 1988 by microbiologist Curt Jones, who was originally trying to figure out a way to feed cows more efficiently.

One of Jones’s experiments involved freezing cow feed at 350 degrees below zero, turning the cow food into little pellets.

Taking that same concept, Jones froze ice cream with liquid nitrogen, which turned them into the little Dippin’ Dot beads we’ve become familiar with. The dots freezing temperature is so cold, that grocery store freezers can’t even store them, that’s why we only see Dippin’ Dots at special locations.

After creating the dots, Jones found that natural heat within the mouth melted the ice cream pellets, making their consumption a little more pleasing.

The dots caught on. The feed? Not so much.

In a way, we can thank cows for Dippin’ Dots. Well, cows, and a scientist’s curious love for making ice cream.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

The Humble Beginnings Behind Your Favorite Foods [Infographic]

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You can thank the middle ages for your apple pie and a clever man named Eddy Lainesse for inventing melty poutine. The history behind popular foods provide another layer of depth to these dishes, giving you something to, ahem, chew on the next time you’re munching greasy pizza.

 

For those of you who ponder the origins of your average burger and for those of you who don’t, but love collecting random trivia in the case of an unexpected invite to Jeopardy… the infographic below breaks down where foods like ice cream, sushi, etc. came from, how they gained popularity and other tasty details.

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Picthx the culture-ist