Food Non-Fiction

Food Non-Fiction


Food Non-Fiction tells the incredible true stories behind food. Every week, we pick a food topic and delve deep into its history and fascinating facts. We look forward to taking you on this wild food journey, through history, and around the world.


#57 What Came First - the Cadbury or the Egg  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we talk about the beginning of Cadbury. We go right back to a time before Cadbury even existed.

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

happily ever after strings perfect for movie score by nbeats26
oboe 65 70 bpm by soleilxlune
Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems

For more information on the topic, we recommend this book:

"Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers" by Deborah Cadbury

#56 Waffle Frolic  

This Food Non-Fiction episode is about waffles! We talk about the beginning of waffles and the rise of waffles.

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Guitars Unlimited - Reaching Home 1 by MINOR2GO

Guitars Unlimited - Reaching Home 2 by MINOR2GO

happily ever after strings perfect for movie score by nbeats26

#55 The Sriracha Story  

This is the story of the extremely popular and iconic Huy Fong Foods hot sauce - Sriracha. The company, Huy Fong Foods, is an American success story. The founder, David Tran, left Vietnam in 1979 and ended up in the U.S., along with many of his fellow refugees. He had been part of the Chinese minority in Vietnam, and because of his Chinese heritage, he had been pressured to leave after the Vietnam War. 

David Tran missed the taste of the hot sauces from Vietnam, and also needed to make money, so he started the company, Huy Fong Foods, in 1980 in California. The company was named after the freighter that he took to leave Vietnam. It was named "Huey Fong". Huy Fong Foods has never spent money on advertising, but it continues to grow year after year. They make Sriracha from fresh red Jalapeno peppers, which comes from Underwood Ranches - their sole supplier. The peppers are delivered within hours of harvesting.

It's believed that the original Sriracha sauce was created by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak from a coastal town in Thailand called Si Racha. The original sauce is still being produced, and it is called "Sriraja Panich". It is sweeter and runnier than the Huy Fong Foods brand Sriracha that we know so well.

Thank You to Our Interviewees:

Griffin Hammond

Ernesto Hernandez-Lopez

Craig Underwood

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

relaxed chillout strings by rasputin1963

within reach piano by designedimpression

DNB EXPLOSION Piano by frogdude34

BONUS Ep - Interview with Kyleena  

Hey Food Buffs - This one is a bonus episode. Fakhri has a pizza place she loves - it's called Secret Stash - and she collected an interview with the owner, Kyleena Falzone.

Thank You To Our Interviewee:

Kyleena Falzone of Secret Stash

#54 Vending Machines - Past to Present  

This episode is about vending machines. The first reference to a vending machine is from the 1st century AD in Egypt. The reference is in a book called “Pneumatika”, written by Hero of Alexandria. In it, there is a detailed description and a picture of a device, which dispensed water when you put in a five-drachma coin.

This was invented for dispensing equal amounts of sacrificial water at Egyptian temples. This was a source of money for the Egyptian temples, and it also made sure everyone got the same amount of holy water.

Here is how it worked: Imagine a teeter totter. When a coin was dropped into the holy water dispenser, it fell on one end of the teeter totter, causing the other end to lift up, also opening a little exit which let the holy water out. As the teeter totter moved down on the side with the coin, the coin eventually fell off. Once the coin fell, the teeter totter reset and the water exit closed.

Unfortunately, one of these devices has never been found, so we don’t know if this was just a design concept or if it was actually used. In fact, we’re not even sure who invented it.

It’s possible that the author of the book, Hero of Alexandria, invented it. It’s also possible that one of his predecessors, Ctesibius, invented it.

After that, it wasn’t until the 1600s that more vending machines were introduced to the world. Around 1615, you could get tobacco from coin operated devices in English taverns and inns.

Here’s how the tobacco device worked: When you put your coin in, it pressed a trigger that popped open the lid.

These were very crude vending machines. After each use, you had to manually close it again. And you also had to watch to make sure people didn’t take everything in the box, because when the lid was open, you could just take all the tobacco.

The next version of vending machines also appeared in England. Richard Carlile was a publisher and a bookseller who believed in freedom of the press. He had been arrested for selling political texts, so in 1822 he created a book vending machine, hoping to avoid more legal charges that way - because it would be the machine selling the books, not him. Anyhow, the courts did not agree with that logic, and he was still held responsible for selling the books.

Moving on to 1857, we get the first patent for a fully automatic vending machine. It was called “A Self Acting Machine for the Delivery of Postage and Receipt Stamps”. That didn’t take off either.

Finally, in England, 1883, we get a more successful vending machine. That year, Percival Everitt got his patent for a vending machine which dispensed postcards. With that vending machine, people could finally buy postcards when shops were closed.

In 1888, the Adams Gum Company installed vending machines on the platforms of rail stations in New York. These vending machines were designed to sell Tutti-Frutti gum, and inspired the creation of more vending machines that sold small snacks like candy and peanuts.

Gum was a great product to sell because it was cheap, it lasted a long time, and they came with no health concerns. Gum can also take a good amount of abuse. You can drop it without it breaking it, and it doesn’t melt when it gets hot out - the way chocolate bars do - so quality control was not an issue.

In 1911, many of the big players in the vending machine business started to merge together to become the Autosales Gum and Chocolate Company. This company combined the major players in the chewing gum business, together holding 250 names and brands, and the major players in the vending machine making business, together controlling many patents and wide distribution.

The idea behind the Autosales Gum and Chocolate Company was that their vending machines would sell small versions of the goods they wanted people to buy over the counter. The vending machines were a way to market the goods.

But vending machines still had a long way to go before becoming the $43 billion industry it is today. The vending machine industry has been plagued with bad behaviour since the start.

People abuse the machines. People hit vending machines when they don’t get their purchased item, they plug the coin slots with random objects for fun, drunk people pour beer into the coin slot, and people also use other objects to mimic coins - these mimics are called “slugs”.

Slugs were a really big problem, especially in the early 1900s when vending machines were not great at identifying fake coins. In the 1940s vending machines improved their system for checking for slugs. Coins went through multiple tests before they were accepted by the machines. First, the vending machines would test the size of the coin. Then they tested for iron and steel with a magnet - if the coin was magnetic, it would be returned. Then the coin was tested for the proper weight. Then the coin was tested with metallurgy to check for the right

#53 How Jell-O Became Popular  

This episode tells the story of Jell-O from when it was first introduced in 1897. Because gelatin desserts like Jell-O used to be a food that only wealthy families could afford to eat, (it took a long time to prepare) people were unfamiliar with the product and it was hard to sell. It took some great marketing to get this product off the ground.

Special Thanks to Interviewee:

Lynne Belluscio and the Jell-O Gallery Museum

Thanks to Looperman Artists for the Music:

relaxed chillout strings by rasputin1963

happily ever after strings perfect for movie score by nbeats26

#52 The Price of Vanilla  

This Food Non-Fiction podcast episode is about vanilla! We explain the causes behind the rise and fall of the price of vanilla. It is a product that has very erratic cycles of prices skyrocketing then crashing, skyrocketing then crashing. The supply never seems to match the demands. We discuss a possible solution to this - fair trade.

Special Thanks to Our Interviewees:

Felix Buccellato of Custom Essence

Richard J. Brownell

We highly recommend this book about vanilla:

"Vanilla Orchids: Natural History and Cultivation" by Ken Cameron

Thank You to Truekey for the Music, as well as Looperman Artists:

Memories Acoustic 1 by BradoSanz

chillwave bass and synth by Djpuzzle 

Going Up by LarsM

#51 The Original Chocolate Chip Recipe  

This episode is about the creation of the original chocolate chip cookie recipe by Ruth Wakefield in 1938. Ruth, along with her husband, was the owner of the famous Toll House Inn.

As promised in the episode, here are 2 links to the original chocolate chip cookie recipe:

Easier to read!

With pictures!

Thank you to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems
Whats Goin Down by rasputin1963

#50 Hershey, Pennsylvania  

We talk to the Hershey community archivist, Pam Whitenack and her colleagues about what it is really like to live in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey is a model community that was built by Milton Hershey - the founder of The Hershey Company. It was built as a place for The Hershey Company employees to live. Unlike other factory towns, it was built with care and love, with great transportation, entertainment, and aesthetics.

Special Thanks to Our Interviewees:

Pam Whitenack and Anthony Haubert of the Hershey Community Archives

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Poppy Acoustic by BradoSanz
Poppy Acoustic 2 by BradoSanz
Poppy Acoustic 3 by BradoSanz
Poppy Acoustic 4 by BradoSanz
Bright Absurdity Hip-hop Piano by JulietStarling
1950s Rock-N-Roll Piano Riff by rasputin1963
Going Up by LarsM
Nights Strings HD by jawadalblooshi
FX - 34 - 80 Bpm by SoleilxLune

#49 Temple Grandin and The Slaughterhouse Revolution  

This is a very special Food Non-Fiction podcast episode. We had the immense pleasure of interviewing one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the Heroes category of 2010. Her name is Temple Grandin. She is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. In North America, over half the cattle are handled in the humane systems designed by Dr. Grandin.

Thank You to Our Esteemed Guests:

Temple Grandin

Christopher Monger

Mark Deesing

Special Thanks to:

David Porter and Rachel Winks of for all your help.

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Memories Acoustic 1 by BradoSanz 

Ambellient by Danke

Primitive Piano by Danke 

Nasty Patterns 4 by flsouto

Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems

Whats Goin Down by rasputin1963

Concert Cello - Heaven by kickklee

Piano Quality Cajsa by MINOR2GO

SynCato by DesignedImpression

Credit to Rosalie Winard for the photos of Temple Grandin

#48 The Poison Squad  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we tell the incredible true story of The Poison Squad.

Thanks to Looperman Artists for the Music:

SynCato by DesignedImpression
1950s Rock N Roll Piano Riff by rasputin1963
Food non-fiction 1 & 2
Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems

Special thanks to the musician, truekey, for writing music for Food Non-Fiction:
Twitter: @truekeymusic

#47 The Life of Heinz  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we tell the incredible true story of Henry John Heinz - the founder of the H.J. Heinz Company and the maker of everybody's favorite ketchup.

Special Thanks to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Liar Piano - 1 of 5 Sounds by RicoBeatz
Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems
Bright Absurdity - Hip-hop Piano by JulietStarling
Liar Guitar FLEX - 4 of 5 Sounds by RicoBeatz
Piano Quality - Love Confession 2 by MINOR2GO
Piano Quality - Love Confession 1 by MINOR2GO

If you'd like to know more about this topic, we strongly recommend the book "H.J. Heinz: A Biography" by Quentin R. Skrabec - we relied heavily on this source for this episode.

#46 Ketchup Before Tomatoes  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we tell the incredible true story of ketchup.

Thank you to this Looperman Artist for the Music:

1950s Rock N Roll Piano Riff by rasputin1963

Special thanks to the musician, truekey, for writing music for Food Non-Fiction:


Twitter: @truekeymusic

#45 Tupperware Parties  

In this Food Non-Fiction episode, we tell the incredible true story of the Tupperware Party. Every few seconds, someone somewhere in the world is hosting a Tupperware Party. In a world where everything is sold online, Tupperware sells their product through Tupperware Parties. If you haven't attended a Tupperware party, it's unlikely that you own actual Tupperware brand Tupperware. That's right - Tupperware is a brand. It's one of those brands, like Frisbee and Kleenex, with a name that has become synonymous with the product.

If Tupperware Parties didn't exist, it's possible that tupperware would not exist. And without tupperware, we might still be covering our dishes in shower caps. When tupperware first hit the market, it was a huge dud. Even with tons of marketing, the inventor, Earl Tupper, could not increase sales. However, while no one was buying tupperware from stores, people were buying tupperware from independent sales people hosting parties, utilizing the "party plan" sales method. This is because back when people were not familiar with tupperware, it had to be demonstrated for people to recognize what a great product it was.

Brownie Wise was a superstar at selling tupperware through Tupperware Parties. Earl Tupper hired her to create a sales force and she created a huge and loyal network of salespeople. 

Special Thanks To Our Interviewee:

Caroline Schoofs

Thank You To Looperman Artists for the Music:

Funky Guitar by Neems 1 by Neems

Bright Absurdity - Hip-hop Piano by JulietStarling

#44 California Roll Creators  

This Food Non-Fiction podcast episode investigates the question - who created the California Roll?

Thank You to Our Interviewees:

Hidekazu Tojo

Trevor Corson

David Kamp

Thank You to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Drum Loop Republic by attackyak

Japanese Vibes Rhodes Only by raphael29

edm pluck for intro by capostipite

Dusted Jazz Loop by LeuNatic

Poppy Acoustic 2 by BradoSanz

Poppy Acoustic 3 by BradoSanz

#43 Packing Food For A Hobbit  

In this Food Non-Fiction episode, we go nerdy and cover a paper titled "Simply Walking into Mordor: How Much Lembas Would the Fellowship Have Needed?" by Skye Rosetti and Krisho Manaharan.

The paper calculates how many pieces of lembas (elvish waybread) the Fellowship of the Ring would have had to pack for the journey from Rivendell to Mordor.

Special Thanks to Looperman Artists for the Music:

Concert Cello - Heaven by kickklee
Amazing Strings by BakoBone

#42 Noodles For The Hungry  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we tell the rollercoaster story of the birth of instant noodles. On March 5, 1910, Momofuku Ando was born in Taiwan and raised by his grandparents. This was during the 50 years of Japanese rule that started after Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

He was a natural entrepreneur and started a clothing business when he was only 22. With his success, he moved to Japan the next year and expanded his clothing company while still attending university.

But during WWII, he lost everything when Osaka was firebombed by American forces. It was a tragedy that informed his world-view. He saw the hungry all around him. In a 1988 interview, he said, “the world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat. Everything starts with food.”

With his strong respect for food, he made his first attempt at entering the food industry by producing salt and nutritional products but it was too competitive. Instead, he worked as chair of a credit union until it went bankrupt in 1957.

He was 47 that year, and had once again lost his livelihood. But Ando was not one to give up. He saw every failure as muscle added to his body. He thought once more about food and remembered a day when he had seen people waiting in a long line for a bowl of noodles.

He thought that it would be wonderful if the hungry could have a bowl of warm noodles whenever they needed it. So, he began searching for a way to make instant noodles.

To prepare, he built a shed in his backyard that was to be his makeshift lab for creating instant noodles. He bought a used noodle making machine, a chinese wok, some flour and cooking oil.

He set his criteria right from the start. His noodles had to be tasty, nonperishable and ready in less than 3 minutes. He knew he had to figure out two things to create instant noodles - first, he had to find a way to remove all moisture from the noodles, in order to make them nonperishable. Second, he had to find a way to revive the noodles by putting the moisture back in.

He worked for a year in his backyard shed until he finally got the creative insight that he needed. This happened while he watched his wife making vegetable tempura.
Ando once said that, “Perspiration might lead to inspiration, but only if you set clear goals”. He set clear goals, he worked hard, and he got the inspiration he needed.

When Ando watched that tempura batter enter the frying oil, he recognized two important things. One was that the oil pushed the water out of the batter. Two was that water exiting the batter created little pores in the it. So dipping noodles in hot oil would remove all the water from the noodles, making the noodles nonperishable AND create pores in the noodles, so that water could re-enter the them and moisten them up again. The year was 1958 and Ando had created the world's first instant noodles.

Unfortunately, when Ando approached wholesalers, they told him it was too expensive for consumers, because at the time, it cost 6 times as much as a serving of fresh noodles. So, undaunted, he took matters into his own hands and organized tastings around the city

The tastings were successful and within a year, he had a factory and was producing 100,000 packs of instant noodles a day.

Right from the very first packs of instant noodles, Ando had planned to go international. He knew he was going to sell his product in the west. That’s why the very first flavor of instant noodles was flavored like Chicken Noodle Soup.

Not soy sauce flavored, but chicken noodle soup flavored, because Ando knew that people in the west might find soy sauce flavoring too foreign.

He famously said “Let them eat it with forks!" showing that he wanted to spread his product to the west and was going to accommodate western norms.

In 1966, Ando traveled to Los Angeles to promote his product. According to an article by Karen Leibowitz, he saw the supermarket executives he was meeting with reuse their styrofoam coffee cups to hold instant noodles.

At this point, he already knew that making portable bowls was the next step to improving the convenience of instant noodles, and now he knew that the bowls should actually be shaped like cups!

Cups would be the trendy new way to eat noodles. Bowls were outdated. Cups you could carry around with one hand without soup spilling!

Ando chose young adults as his target market. In order to reach his target market, he again used tasting events. This time he set up tasting events in Ginza, the fashion district in Japan. It was a successful tactic and cup noodles took off.

Ando’s cup noodles were brilliantly designed. Because manufacturing equipment at the time lacked the finesse to evenly wedge the noodles into the cups, he had the machines put the cups over the noodles instead.

We should also note that the noodles went in the mid portion of the

#41 How An Accountant Created Bubble Gum  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we tell you how the accountant, Walter Diemer, ended up creating the world's first commercially available bubble gum. Walter worked for the Frank H. Fleer Corporation founded by Frank H. Fleer who had invented the world's first (not commercially available) bubble gum. After Frank died, his son in law, Gilbert Mustin, eventually took over the company. There are few sources on how Walter became involved with making bubble gum, but according to a book titled, "It Happened In Philadelphia", Mustin had set up a lab for working on a gum base. This lab happened to be near Walter's office. Walter helped watch over a gum concoction one day and became fascinated with the idea of making a successful bubble gum. He played around with recipes and eventually created Dubble Bubble.

Thank you to Looperman artists for the music:

edm pluck for intro by capostipite
Drum Loop Republic by attackyak
Japanese Vibes Rhodes Only by raphael29

Thank you to Bob Conway for the interview




#40 The Surprising Inventor of the Spork  

In this Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we talk about the spork. 

Thank you to the Looperman artist BradoSanz for the music!

We used these wonderful songs:

Poppy Acoustic 1

Poppy Acoustic 2

Poppy Acoustic 3

Poppy Acoustic 4

#39 How to Spot A Food Trend  

This is the first Food Non-Fiction episode of 2016, so we are going to talk about food trends. This episode will cover how to spot food trends, how to track food trends and what food trends we can expect in 2016.

Using the New York Times' Chronicle tool, writer Neil Irwin came up with the Fried Calamari Index to track food trends by looking at the frequency at which the NYT mentioned various foods.

Culinary trendologist, Christine Couvelier, forecasts food trends by going to food shows around the world, talking to chefs, visiting grocery stores/gourmet retail stores, and looking at food magazines.

Christine says that food trends start at industry food shows around the world where food companies show their new food ideas. Some ideas are adopted in restaurant menus and the successful flavours then become available in specialty stores and magazines. From there, certain foods make it to grocery stores, thus becoming widespread and easily available to the average consumer. This is the path that balsamic vinegar has taken and this item is now commonplace in kitchens.

In 2016, we can expect to see the flavour combination of sweet and heat. We can also expect new flavours of hummus, as well as vegetable yogurts. Continuing on from 2015, vegetables will be more and more central to dishes. Rather than simply being the healthy option or a garnish, vegetables will be used in enticing new ways - grilled, charred, roasted and smoked.

2016 has been deemed the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, so we'll be encouraged to use pulses like chick peas, beans and lentils. 

Thank you to our fascinating interviewees:

Christine Couvelier of the Culinary Concierge

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois of the University of Guelph

Special thanks to the musician, truekey, for writing music for Food Non-Fiction:


Twitter: @truekeymusic 


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