One afternoon, while we were watching old episodes of Murdoch Mysteries, The Ten-Year-Old had her mind blown by a stray comment from Constable George Crabtree. “Did you know that a cow invented the doughnut?” Crabtree asks Detective Murdoch at one point in the investigation. Curiosity trumps TV, even in the summer, so The Ten-Year-Old immediately stopped the action. “Mommyo, is that true? Did a cow really invent the doughnut?”
How did grapefruit get their name? Why do cats have three eyelids? And why are they called wisdom teeth anyway? Today I answer multiple questions briefly in the hopes of clearing the decks a bit before summer.
Last week, Daddyo introduced The Ten-Year-Old to the faux nutritional miracle that is cotton candy. He got her to try it by casting it as a scientific experiment: “Cotton Candy: Clothing fiber or food?”
The Six-Year-Old, flush with victory after trouncing Mommyo in a game of checkers: “This Checkers game is fun. But Checkers with Cookies would be even better.” My snickerdoodles…
In a normal year, hosting Thanksgiving takes about three weeks. This year, for various reasons, I just wasn’t feeling up to it. So about a month ago, I announced to all concerned that I wouldn’t be cooking a turkey with all the trimmings this year. Oh my goodness, you’d have thought I’d canceled Christmas.
This week I learned that miners during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-99 (aka the Yukon Gold Rush) valued potatoes so highly for their scurvy-fighting powers that they paid for them in gold. Naturally that little tidbit made me wonder if that was how the Yukon Gold potato got its name. Eh, not exactly. At least, not directly.
As we learned last week, miners during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896-1899 valued the scurvy-fighting power of the humble potato so highly they were willing to pay $25 per bushel for them. When I told my husband about it, he calmly pointed out that the cure for scurvy would have been known for almost a century by that time. “Wouldn’t the folks in the California Gold Rush of 1848-55 also have known to eat potatoes to prevent it?”
I am the sort of mother who adores stocking my child’s mind with interesting tidbits about the world around her. Every once in a while, it seems important to make certain that those interesting tidbits are actually accurate. Currently I’m obsessed with figuring out why the price of the humble potato soared during the Klondike Gold Rush.
About two years ago, I slipped a note into The Nine-Year-Old’s lunch box. It was one of those preprinted affairs with a sweet little message on the front and a bit of trivia on the back that read: “Did you know? Potatoes were once so valued for their Vitamin C content that miners traded them for gold.” I know the exact wording because it seemed so plausible and unlikely that I took a picture of the card so I could look it up one day. Two years later, today’s the day. Were potatoes ever so valuable that miners paid for them in gold?
Mommyo, anxiously: “Oh dear, I think these green beans may be just a tad overdone. What do you think, The (then) Eight-Year-Old?” The (then) Eight-Year-Old, using…