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Miscellany

Miscellany Food

“I am the emperor, and I want dumplings,” said Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. His only lucid remark, the historian A. J. P. Taylor thought.

Miscellany Food

Vomitorium, noun: A large passageway in an ancient amphitheater out of which crowds emptied. In Antic Hay, published in 1924, Aldous Huxley became the first recorded author in English to state erroneously that it was a domestic room in which overfed Romans vomited after feasts.

Miscellany Food

Thirty to sixty million—the estimate of buffalo in the United States in the early 1800s. 1,200—the estimate some ninety years later.

Miscellany Food

About his habit of masturbating in public, Diogenes the Cynic said, “I only wish I could be rid of hunger by rubbing my belly.”

Miscellany Food

Tomato, potato, corn, beans, zucchini, squash, avocado, bell pepper, chili, and pineapple are among the foods that Christopher Columbus brought back to the Old World. Onion, garlic, wheat, barley, olives, and lettuce are among the foods he introduced to the New. 

Miscellany Food

The G8 met in Hokkaido, Japan, in July 2008 to address the global food crisis. Over an eighteen-course meal—including truffles, caviar, conger eel, Kyoto beef, and champagne—prepared by sixty chefs, the world leaders came to a consensus: “We are deeply concerned that the steep rise in global food prices coupled with availability problems in a number of developing countries is threatening global food security.”

Miscellany Food

Charles Lindbergh bought five sandwiches for his flight across the Atlantic in 1927, saying, “If I get to Paris, I won’t need any more, and if I don’t get to Paris, I won’t need any more either.” It took him thirty-three and a half hours. Amelia Earhart in 1932 flew across the Atlantic in fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes, during which she drank chicken soup from a thermos, and a can of tomato juice—opened with an ice pick. 

Miscellany Food

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s digestive “milk cure” involved drinking a half pint of milk every half hour for twelve hours, supplemented by bran and paraffin four times a day, fruit twice a day, and two enemas a day.

Miscellany Food

Scurvy, or lack of vitamin C, killed the Danish-born explorer Vitus Bering in 1741. His men survived by clubbing seals—after smashing the cranium, brains spilling out and teeth in shards, “the beast still attacks the men with his flippers,” one sailor recalled.

Miscellany Food

At thirty-one ounces, the Trenta, a new drink size introduced by Starbucks in 2011, holds the same volume as the average capacity of the human stomach. 

Miscellany Food

“As if I swallowed a baby,” said William Makepeace Thackeray about eating his first oyster.

Miscellany Food

Cornbread, hot biscuits, wheat bread, and fried chicken were among the foods that Mark Twain said couldn’t be cooked north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Miscellany Food

“If you’re just going to sit there and stare at me, I’m going to bed,” Elvis Presley said, breaking an awkward silence when the Beatles visited him on August 27, 1965. As midnight snacks for his guests, he requested broiled chicken-livers wrapped in bacon and sweet-and-sour meatballs.

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