Thursday Answers…Slightly Delayed

I apologize for the delay…  I’ve been hard at work on both real, Day Job things and on Houstonist things.  One of those things is scheduled to post today at 4pm on Houstonist, so keep an eye out for it!  I worked my little tail off writing it, editing it, taking pictures for it and formatting it, and am just super excited to finally get it out there!

Anyway, onto our Thursday answers!  This week’s winner will be announced after the jump:

  1. The cocoa press was the development that led to the possibility and mass production of chocolate in the candy bar form that we all know and love today.  The Dutch chocolatier Conrad van Houten developed the modern cocoa press in an effor to find a way to make his chocolate less oily, so that the beverages would be lighter and easier to drink.  He ended up creating a screw press in 1828 that separated the cocoa butter from the bean itself and creating cocoa powder, both of which we use today!
  2. True, and it created quite a falling out between the two researchers who shared the lab.  Constantin Falberg, a student, was working in the lab of chemist Ira Remsen at Johns Hopkins; the two of them were studying organic chemicals.  One day, Falberg was eating a piece of bread and noticed that it was overpoweringly sweet.  Tracing the sweetness back to the chemicals from the lab, he realized that they’d inadvertently created an artificial sweetner.  Falbert patented the sweetner (which he called saccharin) without the knowledge of his professor, Remsen, which created a lifelong rivalry and rift between them.
  3. Samp and hominy, at various points, been used to refer to grits.  Samp is actually dried corn kernels, which have been broken down but not to a fine meal.  Hominy is actually dried corn which has been soaked in lye to remove the hulls and soften the corn until it’s palatable.  And grits are the greatest food mankind has ever known.
  4. Believe it or not, there was a citywide epidemic of rickets among the children of Dublin when the city was restricted to eating whole-grain bread.  Why?  The whole-grain bread contained such low amounts of calcium and such high amounts of bran (which further blocks calcium absorption by the body), that the children developed rickets as a result of exaggerated calcium deficiency.  Just goes to show that too much of anything — even a good thing — can be a bad thing.
  5. Both wheat and barley were domesticated before any other cereal grain, including rice and corn (4500 B.C.), millet and sorghum (4000 B.C.) and oats (circa 100 A.D.).  Although wheat and barley were both of great importance to ancient civilizations, only wheat has retained that popularity.  In the west, barley is used primarily as animal feed and for producing beer.  It’s a shame, because there’s nothing like a big bowl of hot barley with stewed tomatoes, onions and garlic.  Ask my mother sometime; she’ll make you a bowl.
  6. BONUS:  Wheat and barley were both originally cultivated around 7000 B.C.  Around the same time, humans were also finally figuring out that they could domesticate animals, including goats, pigs and camels.

So, who won?  Find out after the jump…

The hands-down winner this week, once again, was Pooh!, with newcomer anankae in a very honorable second place.  Pooh! got every single question right including the bonus!  Good job, Pooh!  Plus, she created a very fun photo montage at my urging (although that didn’t factor into the judging).

Thanks to everyone for playing and hope to see you back here next week.  Until then, have a safe and wonderful weekend!

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