Food Fun / More Food Fun / Food Facts

Events In Food History

Page 4


Ben & Jerry showed that a down-home brand based on peace, community, and lots of flavors with fun names could score big with gourmets.

Photo courtesy of


Ice cream

The debut of carpaccio, the Yukon Gold potato, and Ben & Jerry’s.


  • 1950. The first credit card, the Diners Club was created by Frank McNamara after he realized he had forgotten his wallet after dining at a restaurant.
  • 1950. There were 407 breweries in operation in the U.S.
  • 1950. Pillsbury launches its annual “Bake-Off” to promote flour.
  • 1950. The Open Kettle, a coffee and donut shop in Quincy Mass. is renamed Dunkin’ Donuts. The first franchise is sold in 1955.
  • 1950. Minute Rice is introduced.
  • 1950. The first commercially packaged sliced process cheese is introduced by Kraft: Deluxe Process Cheese.
  • 1950. Pillsbury and General Mills introduce prepared cake mixes.
  • 1950. Sugar pops are introduced.
  • 1950. Rudolph Boysen, died. He developed the boysenberry, a raspberry-blackberry hybrid in 1923.
  • 1951. The first Jack-in-the-Box opens in San Diego.
  • 1951. The first S&H Green Stamps given out at Denver store chain King Sooper.
  • 1951. Gerber Products starts using MSG (monosodium glutamate) in its baby foods to make them taste better.
  • 1951. Tupperware introduced.
  • 1951. Swanson introduces beef, chicken, turkey pot pies.
  • 1951. In a survey conducted of the U.S. armed services, banana cream pie was the favorite dessert.
  • 1952. The first sugar free no calorie soft drinks are introduced.
  • 1952. Lipton’s dry Onion Soup Mix is introduced.
  • 1952. Sugar Frosted Flakes, 29 percent sugar, are introduced by Kellogg.
  • 1952. Clarence Birdseye introduces the first frozen peas.
  • 1952. Mrs. Paul’s introduces frozen fish sticks.
  • 1952. Howard Johnson’s becomes the world’s largest food chain when it opens its 351st restaurant.
  • 1952. Pream, a powdered nondairy coffee lightener is introduced.
  • 1953. Dow Chemical creates Saran Wrap.
  • 1953. The French Sardine Co. (since 1917) becomes Star-Kist Foods. Charlie the Tuna comes on board in 1961.
  • 1953. Kraft Cheez Whiz is introduced as a shortcut for homemakers making Welsh rarebit.
  • 1953. White Rose Redi-Tea is the world’s first instant iced tea.


  • 1953. Irish Coffee is supposedly created by a bartender Joe Sheridan at Shannon Airport.
  • 1953. Sugar Smacks are introduced—they contained 56% sugar.
  • 1954. Kraft introduced Cracker Barrel brand natural cheese.
  • 1954. Butterball self-basting turkeys are introduced.
  • 1954. M&Ms Peanut Chocolate Candies were introduced, along with the famous slogan, ”The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
  • 1954. “Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit” by Adele Davis is published, one of the earliest health food books.
  • 1954. Trix cereal is introduced by General Mills. It is more than 46% sugar.
Photo courtesy of

  • 1954. Schlitz, “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous!” introduced the 16-ounce beer can.
  • 1954. Burger King was founded by James McLamore and David Edgerton.
  • 1955. Campbell’s developed the Green Bean Casserole Bake recipe.
  • 1955. Instant Oatmeal is invented by the Quaker Oats Company.
  • 1955. Frozen, fully stuffed turkeys, ready to cook, were introduced.
  • 1955. Kellogg introduced Special K breakfast cereal, with only 4.5% sugar.
  • 1956. Eighty percent of U.S. households have a refrigerator, but only eight percent of British households do.
  • 1956. Budweiser Brewery introduces Busch beer.
  • 1956. Four U.S. chefs win the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany; Paul Laesecke, Otto Spielbachler, Paul Leuppe, and Paul Debes.
  • 1956. The largest clam ever recorded was found in Okinawa in 1956, it weighed 750 pounds.
  • 1956. First reference in print to the drink Bloody Mary appeared in “Punch.”
  • 1957. “Better Homes & Gardens” prints its first microwave-cooking article.
  • 1957. Margarine sales exceed butter sales for the first time.
  • 1957. General Foods Corp. introduces TANG breakfast beverage crystals.
  • 1957. Dairy Queen Hamburgers and Hot Dogs are first added to the Dairy Queen menu at some outlets in Georgia.
  • 1958. Rice-A-Roni goes on sale. Produced by Vince DeDomenico from an Armenian family recipe.
  • 1958. Cocoa Puffs is introduced by General Mills; it contains 43% sugar.
  • 1958. Cocoa Krispies is introduced by Kellogg’s; it is 45.9% sugar.
  • 1958. There are 4,063 drive-in movie screens nationwide.
  • 1958. Jolly Green Giant was born. He appears on TV, but he looks like a monster and scares kids. So they lighten him up a bit, added “Ho, ho, ho” and and a catchy jingle.
  • 1958. Sweet n’ Low was introduced as an artificial sweetener (granulated saccharin, dextrose, cream of tartar and calcium silicate). It received U.S. trademark patent no. 1,000,000.
  • 1958. Frank Carney, 18 years old, reads about the pizza fad with college students. He borrows $600 from his mother and opens the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas.
  • 1958. McDonald's sold its 100 millionth hamburger.
  • 1959. Bic Pens are introduced in the U.S. Europe has had them since 1952.
  • 1959. Oklahoma repeals its 51 year old Prohibition law, leaving Mississippi the only “dry” state in America.
  • 1959. The heavy, fudge-like Chocolate Velvet Cake was created by pastry chef Albert Kumin of the Four Seasons restaurant.
  • 1959. There are 32,000 supermarkets in the U.S. and they account for 69 percent of all food store sales.
  • 1959. The aluminum beer can is introduced by Coors of Golden, Colorado.
  • 1959. The one billionth can of Spam is sold.
  • 1959. McDonald’s opens its 100th restaurant in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
  • 1960. Dr. Asselbergs developed the process for making instant mashed potato flakes, the basic process that is still used today.
  • 1961. “Boiling Bags” were introduced: frozen plastic packages of food that could be dropped in boiling water to heat for serving.
  • 1961. Teflon-coated frying pans were introduced.
  • 1961 A technique for tenderizing beef was patented. It involved injecting papain, an enzyme made from papaya, directly into the bloodstream of living animals.
  • 1961. Omar Knedlik of Coffeyville, Kansas invented the first frozen carbonated drink machine.
  • 1961. Carpaccio was invented in 1961 at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. It was named for the Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio who was noted for his use of red in his paintings. Thin sliced raw beef served with a cold vinaigrette made with olive oil, or just olive oil and lemon juice (and sometimes Parmesan cheese). Generally served on a bed of greens such as watercresss, endive, arugula and/or radicchio. Originally the beef was seared quickly, and the seared portion then trimmed off before slicing.
  • 1962. The pull tab for beverage cans is introduced.
  • 1962. Powdered butter was developed in Australia.


Photo courtesy of

  • 1963 Fruit Loops breakfast cereal is introduced.
  • 1963. Irradiation was used for the first time to sterilize dried fruits and vegetables.
  • 1963. The one billionth McDonald's hamburger was served by Ray Kroc on the Art Linkletter Show.
  • 1964. The first 12-ounce aluminum can was introduced by Royal Crown Cola. It wasn’t until 3 years later that Coke started using the aluminum can.
  • 1965. Cool Whip, a whipped cream substitute, was introduced by General Foods. 1967 Gatorade, the original sports drink, is developed by the University of Florida for their football team.
  • 1967. Plastic milk bottles are introduced.
  • 1967. Wisconsin was the last state to allow coloring to be added to margarine.
  • 1968. The Big Mac was introduced at McDonalds for 49 cents.
  • 1969. Pringles potato chips were introduced, made from dehydrated, mashed potatoes.
  • 1970. Hamburger Helper was introduced
  • Robot Coupe 1971. The Quarter Pounder was introduced at McDonald's for 53 cents.
  • 1971. The home food processor, Le Magi-Mix, was introduced in Paris by Pierre Verdon, also the inventor of the restaurant version, Robot-Coupe.
  • 1972. Andy MacElhone creates the Blue Lagoon cocktail. He is the son of Harry of Harry’s Bar in Paris.
  • 1972. Hyman Golden and Leonard Marsh introduce Snapple Fruit Juices in New York.
  • 1973. American Carl Sontheimer refined the French made Robot-Coupe and came up with the Cuisinart.
  • 1973. Nathaniel Weyth received patent for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles. This was the first safe plastic strong enough to hold carbonated beverages without bursting.
  • 1974. The stay-on tab for beverage cans was invented.
  • 1974. Pop Rocks were unveiled by General Foods. Ever since 1956, when company research chemist William Mitchell found a way to put carbon dioxide into a solid, General Foods searched for a way to market the invention. The popping, crackling candy turns out to be worth the wait; in only five years the company will have sold 500 million packets of Pop Rocks.
  • 1976. There are no red M&Ms from 1976 to 1987 due to avoidance of Red Dye #5.
  • 1978. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Crepes opens.
  • 1979. Paul Prudhomme opened K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.
  • 1981. Lean Cuisine frozen dinners were introduced.
  • 1981. The artificial sweetener aspartame was approved by the FDA.
  • 1981. The Yukon Gold potato was introduced.
  • 1981. Jell-O Gelatin Pops were introduced
  • 1981. Radicchio (a red variety of chicory) was first grown commercially in this country in 1981 in California.
  • 1982. Newman's Own Food is founded by Paul Newman and he devotes the profits to charity.
  • 1982. Wolfgang Puck opens Spago.
  • 1984. Sugar-Free Jell-O is introduced.
  • 1984. McDonald's served its 50 billionth hamburger.
  • 1985. Coca Cola introduces its new formula “New Coke”; no one wants it.


  • 1986. Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn in introduced by General Mills.
  • 1987. Red M&Ms return. There had been none since 1976.
  • 1987. Snapple Iced Tea drinks are introduced.
  • 1987. North Carolina adopted milk as the official state beverage.
  • 1990. Cook’s Magazine folds.
  • 1990. Eating Well magazine begins publication.
Photo courtesy of

  • 1991. Salsa sales overtakes ketchup sales for the first time ($sales)
  • 1992. Electric bread machines are introduced.
  • 1992. President George W. Bush becomes ill on a trip to Japan and vomits on Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi (January 8).
  • 1993. SnackWell’s reduced-fat cookies are introduced.
  • 1993. The Food Network premiers on television.
  • 1995. Betty Crocker gets her own website.
  • 1995. Blue M&Ms are introduced.
  • 1996. Olestra fat substitute is approved.
  • 2001. Germany announced plans to destroy 400,000 cattle due to the mad cow crises. The European Union estimates that up to 2 million cattle will be destroyed in E.U. countries by the end of June (January 31).
  • 2002. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's Hamburger chain, died (January 8).
  • 2002. U.S. President George W. Bush fainted after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game on TV in the White House (January 13).

The Nibble E-Zine

  • 2003. THE NIBBLE launches its e-mailed newsletter.
  • 2005. THE NIBBLE launchs full monthly online magazinein February.
Click here  to return to the first page of this article.

Click here to go to the main Food Fun section page.


© Copyright James T. Ehler 2004-2008. All rights reserved. Additional material

© Copyright 2005- 2021 Lifestyle Direct Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

© Copyright 2005-2021 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.