Who was the first First Lady to be called “First Lady”? What were they called before that?

From Martha Washington through Julia Grant, presidential wives did not have a title. Martha was called “Lady Washington”; later wives were often called “Mrs. Presidentress.” In 1876, journalist Mary Clemmer Ames referred to Lucy Ware Webb Hayes, as “the First Lady of the Land” in her column “Woman’s Letter from Washington.” Lucy Hayes turned out to be a popular First Lady, so the term stuck.

Source: Do Geese Get Goose Bumps? by The Bathroom Reader’s Institute

Why do we eat popcorn in movie theaters?

Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes fame) once proclaimed, “It’s not entertainment if you can’t sit in the dark and eat.” Americans really seem to enjoy combining those two activities: concession sales account for about 85 percent of a movie theater’s profit, and popcorn accounts for most of that.

It’s an odd custom when you think about it: while trying to pay attention to what’s happening on the screen, movie patrons absentmindedly reach into a bag of $6 popcorn (actual value: a few cents) and then snarf down handful after handful. It’s greasy, loud, and not very healthy—especially when you add all that butter. So whose bright ideas was it to make popcorn the cornerstone snack at every movie theater from London to Honolulu?

Back in the early days of cinema, eating anything in a theater was frowned upon. The Great Depression changed that. With little money available for more expensive entertainment, Americans flocked to movie theaters (now offering movies with talking!). At the same time, popcorn was becoming a popular—and cheap—snack.

Eager to cash in on both fads at the same time, enterprising vendors started setting up carts with popping machines outside if cinemas. At first, theater owners wouldn’t allow patrons to bring the loud, messy snack inside…until they saw there was money to be made. Then the vendors were invited inside, and the rest is snack history.

Source: “Do Geese Get Goose Bumps?” By The Bathroom Readers’ Institute

Famous Everyday Inventions From Minnesotans

You might be surprised at how many everyday things were invented by Minnesotans.

Pop up toaster

The Pop-up Toaster

In the early 1900s, the electric toaster was not much more than a wire cage next to a heating filament. The user had to flip the bread and remove it when it was done, which led to a lot of burned toast. In 1919, a stillwater, Minnesota, factory worker named Charles Strite figured out how to have the toast pop up automatically. The Toastmaster, which incorporated his designs, was first sold to the public in 1926. Continue reading Famous Everyday Inventions From Minnesotans

Where did the custom of kissing under the mistletoe originate?

Mistletoe has long been associated with peace. However, no one completely agrees on the origin of kissing under the mistletoe.

Ancient Romans believed that mistletoe had the magic power of peace. If opposing soldiers met under a mistletoe-covered tree, they would temporarily put down their weapons and declare peace for the day. In later times, in both England and Scandinavia, it was customary to hang mistletoe over doorways. Anyone who passed under supposedly came in peace and was greeted in a friendly manner, perhaps with a kiss. This probably accounts the the current custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Continue reading Where did the custom of kissing under the mistletoe originate?

Minnesota In Famous Television Shows That We Love

Minnesotans have lent their state and cultural personality to a number of popular television shows. Here are some of our favorites.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970-1977, CBS

For many Americans, Mary Tyler Moore put Minneapolis on the map. the show’s premise was that after a failed engagement, perky Mary Richards moved to the “big city” to make a life for herself on her own, a shocking concept in the 1970s. Continue reading Minnesota In Famous Television Shows That We Love

Halloween – Origin & Historical Facts

Celebrated with: Costumes, pumpkins, candy, trick-or-treating, haunted houses.

Second to Christmas in spending in the USA.

Nowadays it’s a night for costume parties with ghoulish theme, bobbing for apples, and children going door to door asking for candy, but Halloween has been celebrated in some form for more than 2,000 years.  Continue reading Halloween – Origin & Historical Facts

Minnesota’s Grape Expectations – Wine History

Minnesota vintners’ passion for wine and the efforts of local scientists have created a wine industry in a state more often associated with ice fishing, snowmobiles, and beer.wine grapes of minnesota

In some ways, Southern Minnesota is well suited to producing wine grapes. After all, the famous French vineyards in Bordeaux grow at a latitude of 45 degrees north, the same as Minneapolis. There’s a catch, of course: Bordeaux doesn’t have Minnesota’s short growing season and those killer winters where temperatures drop to -30 degrees.
This fact didn’t stop Minnesota wine lovers who tried to grow wine-producing grapes despite the climate. One of the first was August Schell, who founded the Schell Brewery in 1860. Schell planted vineyards on his estate to make wine for his family, and he did cultivate a small crop, but it was a challenging process. Continue reading Minnesota’s Grape Expectations – Wine History