“What Caesar Did For My Salad” and Food Gal Giveaway

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 newΒ  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.”

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  • Interesting factoid about myself. How fun! I’m the kind of girl who should never be let near a hotel that leaves chocolates on the pillow. Despite being a self-proclaimed chocoholic I ALWAYS forget to take them off the pillow. I have TWICE woken up to find that the chocolate had melted all over me and the sheets looking as if something unspeakable had happened.

  • Interesting factoid: I am born and raised in Alaska, where camping is a way of life, and I loathe actually camping out. This may stem from the fact that as a 7 year old, I was the youngest in history (as of 1974) to hike the entire Chilkoot Trail with a backpack and toting my own gear. However, my parents did not ensure that my parka zipped before heading out. It didn’t. And in mid-June, amid a terrible blizzard on the summit, I suffered hypothermia and had to be escorted down the other side (still carrying my backpack) by a ranger. Good times. Happy camping, everyone!

  • I don’t have the slightest bit of sweet tooth at all but I LOVE to bake just about anything sweet from cookies to muffins to cakes, you name it! I’ll also never make a meal for myself or treat myself to a meal out cuz I just don’t really care about my food. However, I LOVE to cook for other people and nothing makes me happier than to feed someone a great meal!

  • Cute fact about the shrimp cocktail. I, too, can’t navigate the waters with grace and skill. πŸ˜‰

  • Carolyn,
    I got a kick out of your factoids! I cannot think of anything great to share about myself at the moment, but I do have to check out that book. I totally dig the funny food facts. One of my favorites is that Caesar salads come from Tijuana, right?
    Take care,

  • I was born and raised here in the Nashville Tn. area and have never been a big country music fan.People are always surprised at this. I guess that they just expect that if you live here that you are automatically a country music fan!

  • Hahah…I can have any bitter melon you have and did not want! and I dare myself (a bike newbie) to ride on gravel path recently and only blame my poor riding skills when I broke my arm! ;(

  • I guess you wouldn’t be going on a bitter melon diet anytime soon, then! πŸ˜‰

    My first job was a server at Cold Stone’s Creamery. It really wasn’t for the money, but for the free ice-cream and the toppings bar. I treated the toppings bar as my free snack bar. Unfortunately, a customer caught me sneaking some M&Ms into my mouth and complained about me. Thankfully, I wasn’t fired or anything, just reprimanded. Seriously embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as the manager and another server groping each other in the walk-in fridge.

  • What an interesting book! I can’t enter the comp, but I’ll definitely be on the look out for it πŸ™‚

  • What a cute and fun book. I knew about the croissant but not about the lettuce. Hmmm I do love lettuce…what does that say about me? πŸ˜›

  • Oh my goodness. I don’t want to sound like a “copy cat” but I can totally use all your factoids as my own! Except that I don’t compete on a dragon boat but I go white water rafting (class 4) every summer until I have my kids.

    Okay, here’s mine…I can walk into Disneyland and California Adventure for free almost any day (nope, I don’t have an annual pass, in case you wonder). But I only go there on my kids’ birthdays. Guess I really don’t like that place that much! πŸ˜›

  • I am the third generation involved in my familys orchard business. One of our staple crops for many years had been apricots(we only have a few acres today, mainly replaced by cherries), so you would think that it would be one of my favorite fruits, especialy since i consider myself very fortunate to be able to walk through an orchard, choose a random tree, and have my pick of any apricot I desire. Hardly! I can not stand the taste or texture of fresh apricots, but somehow, I can tolerate dried apricots.

  • Contest is now closed. Come back Monday to see who won and for the start of a brand new contest you won’t want to miss.

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