Did you know that shrimp cocktail became popular in the 1920′s as a safe way to enjoy a “cocktail” during Prohibition?
Or that the crescent-moon shape of a croissant has its origins in Turkish legends?
Or that ancient Egyptians considered humble lettuce a potent aphrodisiac?
You’ll find those fun factoids and many more intriguing stories about well-known, beloved ingredients and dishes in the new book, “What Caesar Did for My Salad: The Curious Stories Behind Our Favorite Foods” (Perigee) by Albert Jack, a writer and historian who splits his time between the United Kingdom and South Africa.
No doubt, this fascinating book will help you trounce your friends at any game of Trivial Pursuit or liven up any dinner party.
Contest: I’m happy to be giving away a free copy of the book, “What Caesar Did for My Salad” to two Food Gal readers. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 17. Winners will be announced on Sept. 19.
How to win?
Just tell me a fun, unexpected, memorable factoid or two about yourself. Best two answers win.
Here’s my own answer to that question:
“I can’t swim — but for years, I competed on a dragon boat team that raced in open waters. I never learned how to ride a bike outdoors with confidence — but I regularly enjoy taking spinning classes inside a gym. I’m Chinese-American — but bitter melon is one of the rare ingredients I just don’t care for.”