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Miscellany

Miscellany Food

Between 1959 and 1962 in China, Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward increased industrial growth at the expense of agricultural output. More than 45 million people perished from famine and disease, as well as from floods, droughts, and locusts.

Miscellany Food

Breaking the necks of pigeons in the Luxembourg Gardens while the gendarme went for a glass of wine was supposedly how Ernest Hemingway on occasion fed his family in Paris in the 1920s. He hid the bodies in his son Bumby’s stroller. Sometimes when he went without, the novelist studied the paintings by Paul Cézanne, which “looked more beautiful if you were belly empty, hollow hungry.”

Miscellany Food

About cilantro in a dish, Julia Child said, “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”

Miscellany Food

To celebrate King Henri III of France’s visit to Venice in 1574, a banquet table was prepared with some 1,286 items—from napkins and cutlery to figures of popes—all made from spun sugar.

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

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

The first Olympic champion on record, Coroebus, was a cook. He won the sprint in 776 BC.

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

“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

In the 1790s in the United States, the average American over the age of fifteen consumed almost six gallons of pure alcohol per annum. The modern figure is 2.8.

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.

Miscellany Food

Paul Newman’s character amazingly eats fifty hard-boiled eggs in one hour in Cool Hand Luke. 141 hard-boiled eggs eaten in eight minutes is the actual world record, held by Joey Chestnut.

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