CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

On This Day in 1963, Julia Child Debuted The French Chef

Original image
Getty Images

Julia Child started her public TV show The French Chef on February 11, 1963. In her first black-and-white episode, she made Boeuf Bourguignon, spending a half hour in the kitchen, recording the show live. Child's show came to define the TV cooking show genre, though many of us have never actually seen her original series. (Though you may have seen her kitchen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History!)

Here's Child's first episode, part of a massive playlist of her early work:

One nerdy note about this first episode is that it was recorded on kinescope. This process meant that live TV cameras were pointed at Child, switched live (cutting in to closeups of her hands and such), all while a film camera was pointed at a TV monitor in order to record the program. That film was later used for broadcast. In the very first episode, the lighting is a bit dim, sometimes making it hard to see details. As those early episodes proceed, you can watch the production crew adding lighting, overhead cameras, and eventually recording the show to tape.

For more on Child, enjoy: 15 Delicious Facts About Julia Child; What Julia Child’s Thanksgiving Was Like; and Julia Child's Recipe for Shark Repellent.

Original image
LaCroix
arrow
Food
The Secret Ingredient That Makes LaCroix Water So Irresistible
Original image
LaCroix

The distinctive Technicolor cans of LaCroix sparkling water are an increasingly popular sight in stores and on kitchen tables around the country. (If you're old enough to remember the Snapple phenomenon of the 1990s, this is like that—just bubbly.) But as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, few of the beverage's loyal fans have any idea what it is they're drinking.

LaCroix comes in a variety of flavors, from tangerine to coconut. The can label, however, is cryptic, listing "natural flavors" as part of the ingredients. Their website discloses only that "natural essence oils" are involved, which sounds like LaCroix should be applied to your hair and then rinsed off.

A look at the nutritional information for LaCroix water
LaCroix

As it turns out, that's not too far off. According to The Wall Street Journal, these "essences" are naturally produced chemicals that are manufactured by heating up fruit or vegetable remnants until they make a vapor, then condensing them into a clear concentrate. They're used in a variety of consumer products, from shampoos to ice pops.

LaCroix was unwilling to confirm the Journal's claim, protecting their manufacturing process in a manner similar to Coca-Cola's famously secretive treatment of their recipe. They do state that no sugars are added, but that may not be enough to protect your teeth: Carbonated water and citric acids can combine to create a lower pH, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Like most everything that tastes good, these flavored waters are best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Food
In 1938, The New York Times Thought Cheeseburgers Were a Weird New Fad
Original image
iStock

People love to make fun of The New York Times's trend section: Their umpteen pieces on the Millennial craze have been called "hate-reads," and their dissection of cultural norms such as oversharing, defriending people in real life, and chopped salad at lunch as "trends" can be hilarious and infuriatingly obvious.

But while their pieces aren't always exactly timely, they will certainly make for interesting reads in a few decades—just like this throwback piece on a California fad called "cheeseburgers" from 1938.

When "cheeseburger" was first mentioned in the October 1938 article, it was in a long list about the "whimsy" of California eateries. Then, nine years later in May 1947, the Times revisited the fad, writing, "At first, the combination of beef with cheese and tomatoes, which sometimes are used, may seem bizarre." Fortunately, their intrepid reporter could see the bigger picture. "If you reflect a bit, you’ll understand the combination is sound gastronomically."

Now, 70 years later, you can not only ask for gourmet cheeses like brie, goat, or gorgonzola on your burger—or spend upwards of $300 on one—there are multiple burger chains where you can order stacks on stacks on stacks of cheeseburger patties. That weird little West Coast fad has become a multibillion dollar industry, and cheeseburgers are practically our national food (arguably in hot contention with apple pie). Congratulations, America! We did it!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios