Hey Cook Time Friends! I love to read (my mom says I eat books!) and you know I LOVE to read about food and food history. When I was in Washington, D.C. earlier this month as Birds Eye’s Ambassador at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summmit, I was given a great book to read. The name of the book is BIRDSEYE “THE ADVENTURES OF A CURIOUS MAN” BY MARK KURLANSKY. I loved it. The book is about the life of Clarence(Bob) Birdseye and his amazing inventions. Mr. Birdseye developed the freezing process that changed the way we preserved food and forever changed the way we eat.
Imagine life without a refrigerator or freezer full of food…….I can’t! Imagine not having corn or peas when you want them because they are out of season and you live in a part of the country that can’t grow the vegetables you want to eat! Imagine eating frozen vegetables that don’t taste so good…..Yuck!
Once Mr. Birdseye invented the fast freezing process that kept the greatness of the flavor and texture of the vegetable products tasting incredibly fresh-like, he still had a lot of work to do to convince the public to buy his products. In the 1930s, canned food was considered higher quality than frozen foods. In the late 1930s, the frozen food industry was growing and many new frozen food companies went into business, but the frozen foods were still considered inferior and low quality. Mr. Birdseye focused on the industries’ food standards. He had set high quality standards for his company and his products, but it was his competitors that were limiting the growth of the industry because of their lower standards and products. Birdseye worked with Congress in setting new rules for processing and packaging for his industry. In 1938, Congress made big changes to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
Another interesting thing that happened is World War II helped change the way Americans eat. During the war, countless women went to work for the first time and once the war was over, many women decided to continue to work. Because women were spending less time in the kitchen cooking, they were looking for ways to get family meals on the table much easier. The convenience of frozen foods became more popular and by the early 1940s, close to 40% of American housewives used frozen foods in their meal preparation.
Mr. Birdseye was definitely a foodie………he experimented with all kinds of foods as he developed his patents and inventions. I always think of the kitchen as a science lab. A place to experiment.
What’s cool is you get to eat the experiment! I think Mr. Birdseye and I would have had a lot of fun together in the kitchen. Ok…….being the foodie that I am………I’m hungry…….off to my freezer for some BirdsEye Steamfresh Veggies for a snack! Thank you, Mr. Birdseye, for the great tasting, beautiful and super convenient veggies!
Hugs and Veggies,