Is it hot in here? Seems summer has arrived full-on and temps are up in many regions of the blogosphere. Which brings us to today’s post…
Fans of funny names in food, welcome to you! Today we break from the usual routine of introducing you to funnily-named food folk and instead visit a cast of characters who have brought us edibles that are especially popular when the mercury soars.
First up? The Popsicle. Legend has it that 11-year-old Frank Epperson left his fruit soda outside on his porch with a stir stick in it. Must have been mighty cold as his drink froze to the stick, giving him the world’s first Popsicle. Though it wasn’t until 1923, at age 29, that he applied for a patent for his Epsicle ice pop. His kids, clever ones for sure, renamed it the Popsicle.
If we’re enjoying Popsicles, we’re only a few degrees away from the slushie. For that we look to Omar Knedlik, circa 1950. When Knedlik’s soda fountain malfunctioned, he cleverly put his sodas in a freezer to stay cool. His customers loved the resulting slushy beverage, so Knedlik–a true entrepreneur–invented the slushie machine. Knedlik hired artist Ruth E. Taylor to create a name and logo for his invention and the ICEE was born.
Next? Summertime and Dairy Queen go hand-in-hand. Father John Fremont “Grandpa” McCullough and son, Bradley, opened an ice cream stand in 1938. Soon after, they asked funny-named friend and customer Sherb Noble to join the fun and they grew their business into the delicious and creamy corporation it is today. (No food snobbery here—I love a good DQ, corporate or no.)
From ice cream we turn to ice, essential for cocktails, lemonade, water, or slipping down an unsuspecting friend or family member’s shirt just to see him jump. Much of this ice comes from ice machines, but old-school ice was made in trays. And we have Guy Tinkham to thank for the first flexible all-metal stainless steel ice cube tray. This awesome 1933 invention flexed sideways to eject its cubes. While a product of brilliant engineering, this cool invention will be remembered here only for Guy’s great name as we move to the other end of the temperature spectrum: fire, essential for grilling.
Pennsylvania’s Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer patented a design for charcoal briquettes in 1897. Fast forward to the 1950s to find George Stephen working at Weber Bros. Metal Spinning Company. His 1952 invention, the Weber kettle grill, took the grilling world by storm.
Credit for the gas grill goes to William G. Wepfer of Little Rock, Arkansas. Searching for new ways to market natural gas to residential customers for Arkansas Louisiana Power Co, he and Melton Lancaster reconfigured a charcoal grill to use natural gas. The year was 1960 and another grilling revolution ensued.
Here’s hoping you enjoyed today’s frozen treats, grilled fare, and funny names. On behalf of food for fun and the BoFN crew, I wish you a fantastically cool August, no matter what the temperature reads.