Sneaking in spinach to be healthy (ugh) & the invention & rise of the frozen food industry
The post was originally called: Sneaking in spinach (veggies) into your food to be healthy (ugh) and history of the invention and rise of the frozen food industry, but there was a character limit. :)
Perhaps in the future, you may see fresh veggies in some of my posts or recipes, but not really my thing. :)
Like I mentioned in a previous post, I sneak in frozen spinach into my meals to be healthy (ugh). :)
Some people don't like the texture of frozen veggies because it is mushy or whatever, but that actually works to your advantage when you are trying to sneak it into other foods.
The major thing to remember is that when you reheat or cook frozen spinach (veggies) is that it will be watery or have a lot of moisture.
Depending on what you are making, before you incorporate it into your meals, you may have to dry it off. However, if you are adding spinach to soup or something like that, you can just add it and you don't need to dry it off.
For recipes like French bread pizza where I don't want the pizza to be mushy (from the wet spinach), I use a few paper towels to completely dry off the spinach before I add it.
Frozen veggies and the frozen food industry as we know it today have a very fascinating history. I learned about it when I watched this History Channel mini-series called "The Food That Built America," which was really interesting and really good. You should check it out!
Birds Eye, still a major brand of frozen food, is actually the last name (Birdseye) of Clarence Birdseye, the inventor of the modern technology to freeze foods. This is a shortened, maybe sort of fictionalized version of the story. Clarence Birdseye, an American government naturalist and fur trader was in Labrador Canada in the 1910s. He saw that the people there often froze food in the winter because it was hard to get fresh food.
Anyways, this piqued his interest about how to freeze food fast to keep it fresh. In the documentary, Birdseye has a Eureka! moment while in Canada and seeing a fish he caught flop around before it is being frozen. Haha.
Birdseye went back to the U.S., began to experiment and invented a quick-freezing food technique in the 1920s. This technology was quite a breakthrough as it would make fresh food available year-round and make it more widely available and cheaper.
End of story, right? He did build a moderately successful company primarily in the northeast U.S.
But that's not the end of the story. Refrigerators had been invented by the 1920s, but only the wealthy had them and there weren't that many frozen food cases in grocery stores either.
So Birdseye had cheap frozen fresh food which could revolutionize the entire food industry and help solve food problems for all socioeconomic classes, but nowhere to put it.
This is where Marjorie Post comes in.
Marjorie Post became a millionaire when she inherited Postum Cereal Company (which she turned into General Foods, the food conglomerate, as we know it today) in 1914 after her father C.W. Post died. [Side note: Her father essentially built Postum Cereal Company after stealing the Corn Flakes recipe from the Kelloggs. He also had a lot of health maladies, anxiety and nervous breakdowns.]
Instead of just being an heiress, she took over Postum Cereal Company, which was a big deal for a woman, especially back then. Marjorie Post saw that Postum Cereal Company could be much more than just cereal and she had the vision and business savvy to execute it. She started snapping up food brands, driving through mergers and acquisitions building the conglomerate it is today -- in the face of opposition who doubted her.
How Marjorie Post found out about Birdseye was serendipitous. She was on vacation on her private yacht and they served goose, which she really liked. She found out that it had been frozen via Birdseye's quick frozen food technique. She instantly knew that this would revolutionize the food industry and sought Birdseye out.
Post went to Birdseye's factory and it was a quick handshake deal after Post told Birdseye that his problem wasn't the technology, it was the distribution and operations and that is what Post knew about. The rest is history.
A revolutionary technology without distribution/operations is like: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, did it really fall?
Fun tidbit to think about when you are in the frozen food aisle in the grocery store. It all started with a flopping fish in Canada and a frozen goose on a private yacht. :)