Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Trivia

Spice up that holiday table conversation this Thanksgiving with some tasty, truthful tidbits.

There really is a scientific reason for feeling drowsy after a turkey dinner. Turkey contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid with a proven sleep-inducing effect. In addition, carbohydrates (such as those in stuffing, biscuits and pumpkin pie) reduce your body’s natural defense against L-tryptophan, giving it an open road directly to your brain, where it convinces you it’s time for a nap.

How does the pop-up timer know when your turkey is ready to eat? The red plastic insert of the timer is embedded at the bottom in a solid glob of metal (similar to solder). As the turkey heats up, so does that metal. When the turkey reaches the prescribed temperature (185 degrees), the metal becomes completely liquid, and allows the spring-loaded red insert to shoot upwards.

Ruth Siems, who worked as an economist with General Foods, was the brainchild behind Stove Top Stuffing Mix. Although one of the selling points of Stove Top was to make stuffing a year-round side dish option, Kraft Foods (which now owns the brand) reports sales of around 60 million boxes every Thanksgiving season.