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Urban Food Legends – Fact or Fiction?

January 11, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Minneapolis/St. Paul 0 Comments

Urban Food Legends – Fact or Fiction?

So we have probably all heard them at one point or another, seemingly outrageous food and beverage claims that have happened to a friend…or maybe a friend of a friend…or someone who knows someone it happened to. While many of them are intriguing claims involving bad luck or odd consequences, some are simply urban legends while others may have some truth behind them.

While learning about these may not be part of a typical culinary arts education, everyone is a bit intrigued by claims of the supernatural or strange aren’t we? As the New Year begins, we hope for great luck through the coming months – so can eating certain things increase your chances? Here are some of the most common and fascinating urban legends involving food.

1. Urban Food Legends

Here are just a few claims you may have heard throughout the years. Ever wonder how much truth was in them? We have it all figured out.

Claim: Pop Rocks and soda can explode in your stomach

T or f? Do you remember little “Mikey” of “Mikey likes it,” Life cereal commercials? There was a rumor going around that the little boy ate six packs of Pop Rocks and drank a six pack of soda which resulted in his untimely death. So can such a thing really happen? Nope. While the story circulated and still many believe that the combination is a lethal one, little Mikey is all grown up and very alive still. Since Pop Rocks were pulled off the market temporarily, this further fueled rumors that the claims were true. In reality, the combination could result in some discomfort but there is no real danger involved.

Claim: Jell-O is made of animal hide and hoof pieces

T or F? This one is actually true. While many may not like the idea, this gelatin snake is completely edible and safe…it just contains some rather thought provoking ingredients. Gelatin is the key ingredient for Jell-O, which often comes from rendering plants. These places process the leftover byproducts from animals, commonly including things like bones and hide. In fact, Jell-O is classified as neither an animal nor a vegetable product by the FDA but many vegetarians and vegans avoid it altogether. Bottom line: Jell-O is harmless, however the rumor is true. Ingesting it won’t hurt you, but many may be slightly turned off from the idea because of the stigma attached with eating these types of products.

2. Food Superstitions

While these are harder to prove as “true or false,” those who are superstitious or enjoy following tradition, may do these things religiously each year. Give them a try and see if you have a change of luck in 2011.

Eating Black-Eyed Peas and Pigs on New Year’s Eve

If you are from the American South, you may have been hearing this tale for awhile. A staple of the New Year’s Eve feast in the southern states often includes eating black-eyed peas which are meant to symbolize coins, a symbol of good luck. Pigs are also thought to be a good luck symbol as well and typically a pork product will also be served.

Pass the Pickled Herring

A tradition still observed by those of Polish or German decent in America, is eating herring on New Year’s Eve to ensure good luck throughout the year. Normally this fish is served pickled and must be eaten right at the stroke of midnight. 

Are you fascinated by anything food related from folklore to finding new recipes? A culinary arts education is one way to feed that curiosity. If you are looking for colleges in Minnesota, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts offers a one-of-a-kind program to help change your luck for 2011, or you can always try one of these superstitions…though somehow a culinary arts education seems like it might get you a bit further!

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Minneapolis-St-Paul for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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