Root Beer invented …

Sassfras root beverages were made by Native Americans for culinary and medicinal purposes before the arrival of Europeans in North America, but European culinary techniques have been applied to making traditional sassafras-based beverages similar to root beer since the 16th and 17th centuries.

The tradition of brewing root beer is thought to have evolved out of small beer traditions that produced fermented drinks with very low alcohol content that were thought to be healthier to drink than possibly tainted local sources of drinking water and enhanced by the medicinal and nutritional qualities of the ingredients used. Druggists began marketing root beer for its medicinal qualities.

Pharmacist Chares Hires was the first to successfully market a commercial brand of root beer. Hires developed his root tea made from sassafras in 1875, debuted a commercial version of root beer at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and began selling his extract. Hires was a teetotaler who wanted to call the beverage “root tea.” However, his desire to market the product to Pennsylvania coal miners caused him to call his product “root beer” instead. In 1886, Hires began to bottle a beverage made from his famous extract. By 1893, root beer was distributed widely across the U.S. Non-alcoholic versions of root beer became commercially successful, especially during Prohibition.

Not all traditional or commercial root beers were sassafras based. One of Hires’s early competitors was Barq’s, which began selling its sasparilla-based root beer in 1898 and was simply labeled as “Barq’s.” In 1919, Roy Allen opened his root beer stand in Lodi, California, which led to the development of A&W Root Beer. One of Allen’s innovations was that he served his homemade root beer in cold, frosty mugs. IBS Root Beer is another brand of commercially produced root beer that emerged during this time and is still well-known today.

Safrole, the aromatic oil found in sassafras roots and bark that gave traditional root beer its distinctive flavor, was banned by the FDA in 1960 for commercially mass-produced foods and drugs. Large doses of safrole produced liver damage in laboratory animals or various types of cancer. So while small does may have been used for medicinal purposes, apparently larger does are not good for you. (from Wikipedia)



Some more firsts ….

Regular airmail service was inaugurated between New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. this date in 1918.



Nylon stockings hit the market this date in 1940 for the first time.




And this is National Chocolate Chip Day.  The chocolate chip cookie was invented by the American chef Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She invented the recipe during the period when she owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts. In this era, the Toll House Inn was a popular restaurant that featured home cooking. And that’s why at one time, the cookies were known as Toll House Cookies.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday in May.

In 1907, Anna Reeves Jarvis launched Mother’s Day in memory of her mother as a tribute to all mothers, living and deceased. Several others before Anna Reeves Jarvis suggested an observance of Mother’s Day. But it was not until Jarvis enlisted the help of John Wanamaker, the Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, that the idea gained national appeal. Born in West Virginia, Jarvis grew up in the shadow of the Civil War among a family dedicated to service in the cause of Civil War veterans. In the early 1900’s, the Jarvis family moved north to Philadelphia, where her mother died in 1905. It was a loss from which she never recovered. Two years later, the still-mourning daughter announced to some friends her determination to campaign for a nation-wide observance of Mother’s Day. She chose the second Sunday in May and began wearing a carnation.

With the help of Wanamaker, churches in Grafton, West Virginia and Philadelphia held Mother’s Day celebrations in 1908. The service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton honored the memory Jarvis’s mother, and the country church still stands as a public shrine.

Jarvis hoped that sons and daughters would take time to write their mother a special note, pay an extra visit on Mother’s Day, and give her a wildflower to commemorate the event. The idea took hold. Mother’s Day received national recognition in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress to recognize Mother’s Day. The following year, he was authorized to proclaim Mother’s Day as an annual national observance. Mother’s Day is now recognized by nations on every continent. And its founder? Jarvis never married and thus never experienced the joy of motherhood, the institution in which she devoted a lifetime to see so honored.

But her concept of a special note to mothers has become an avalanche of more than 145 million greeting cards each year. From the remembrance of a wildflower has come the tradition of giving mothers a floral tribute on Mother’s Day. In fact, spending nearly eight billion dollars each year giving mother’s jewelry, fragrances, apparel and labor-saving appliances is now part of our culture.

Almost anyone can have a child, but it takes someone special to be a mother. What better tribute than that, for this one day at least, we pay homage to the person who dried our tears, fixed scraped knees and wounded egos, and times without number offering a consoling shoulder …mother.