Food History

The War between Margarine and Butter

Butter-SpreadMost houses today have a tub of margarine in the fridge, but what is margarine, where does it come from and how is it different to butter?

Butter is created from cream which rises to the top of milk when it sits for a period of time, this is usually gathered from cows. Through the process of churning the cream, a chemical reaction takes place which makes the cream begin to solidify and turn into butter. This process has been around for over 4000 years.

Margarine came along around 150 years ago, Napoleon III wanted a cheap butter substitute to supply to his troops and to provide to the poorer population in France. Hippolyte Mége Mouriès patented a lower priced form of butter in 1869, it was made primarily from from beef tallow (fat from cows). He named the new substance margarine from the Greek margarite meaning “pearl like” after its white, pearlescent look.

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Food

Digestive Biscuits Don’t Actually Aid Digestion

Digestive Sodium Bicarbonate or Baking Soda was used in the past (and still is today) as an antacid, used to settle stomach problems such as indigestion and heartburn. When the Digestive Biscuit was first invented in 1892 by a gentleman named Alexander Grant who worked for a company called McVitie and Price, they contained a large quantity of baking soda, as such they were believed to also aid in digestion and were dubbed Digestive Biscuits.

However, in order for baking soda to work as a digestive aid it was consumed after being dissolved in water. When the biscuits are baked it alters their chemical structure, they lose the carbon dioxide that provides the qualities that neutralise stomach acid and removes any antacid or digestive aiding properties that the baking soda added to the biscuit.

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Food Misc Musings

Peanuts Don’t Actually Contain Nuts

mixed-nuts-600x450A nut is classed as  a simple dry fruit with one seed (very occasionally two) and a hard shell which grow on trees. Examples of true nuts are chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns. However, peanuts, are not classed as nuts, they are actually a type of pea that grows underground.

Along with beans, peas and lentils, peanuts are classed as a legume. Legumes are a type of edible seed that grow inside small pods. The peanut plant flowers above ground but the peanut seeds (the bits we eat) mature underground and grow in  small pods.

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