Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fun! Food! Facts! Food's Original Mr. Freeze

Naturalist and fur trader Clarence Birdseye noticed that foods frozen by the Inuit (aka "Eskimos") during the intensely bitter cold of Canada’s winter tasted better when thawed than those foods frozen during the milder spring and fall temperatures. It all had to do with the fact that quicker freezing created smaller ice crystals, which did less cell damage to foods. In 1925 Brooklynite Birdseye developed his “Quick Freeze Machine”, a method of flash freezing foods. In 1934 he entered into a joint venture to manufacture freezer cases for grocery stores, since he realized that they were essential to the success of his frozen food product line. National distribution of frozen foods didn’t begin until 1944, when Birdseye began leasing freezer railroad cars to the railroad lines to transport his frozen foods. His innovations helped lead to the birth of the General Foods Co. Incidentally, the family name Birdseye reportedly came from an ancestor who saved the life of an English Queen by shooting an attacking hawk squarely through its eye. (For what it's worth, I don’t think a human could be killed by a hawk, even a large and really pissed-off hawk, but why screw around with great family stories…not to mention the fact that variations of the Birdseye family name date back to the year 1086.)
Mick Vann ©

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