Barbecue. It's as American as mom, apple pie and the 4th of July. Whether it's beef or pork, it's arguably our tastiest way to cook. In this smoke-filled half-hour, we explore the history of Texas, Memphis and Kansas City style barbecue, as well as the ever-popular barbecue cooking festivals.
From the ancient Mayans and Aztecs to the chocolatiers of Beverly Hills, chocolate has been one of our favorite foods. In this episode, we trace its growth from a ceremonial drink to a billion dollar industry. We also explore its scandalous links to romance and surprising role in the heyday of Hollywood.
The hamburger is the quintessential American food. From its roots in Europe to its phenomenal growth in the U.S., we explore the colorful history of one of our favorite foods. It's no wonder Americans consume 40 billion a year - more than hot dogs, pizza and chocolate combined.
A couple of bread, something in between, and you have yourself a sandwich. Named for the Earl of Sandwich, who is said to have "invented" it while playing cards, they now come in dozens of varieties. From the cheese steak to the French Dip to the Reuben to the most popular of them all - the ham sandwich - we take a flavorful look at America's #1 lunch food.
When you think of the movies you think of popcorn. But its history can be traced back hundreds of thousands of years to prehistoric cave dwellers. Popcorn was present in 1620 at the first Thanksgiving, served as the basis for the very first breakfast cereal and boomed as a cheap affordable snack during The Great Depression.
Who doesn't like ice cream? It's everyone's feel-good food. But few people realize that our passion for ice cream began centuries ago, long before the invention of freezers and refrigerators. Here, we present the "cold facts" about this delectable dessert: From its colorful beginnings when ice was something only nature could make, to the birth of the ice cream cone at the 1904 World's Fair.
If you order a bowl of "red" in Texas, don't expect beans. If you order a bowl of chili in Cincinnati, you might get a "three-way". Translation: chili, spaghetti and cheese. In this spicy half-hour, we explore chili's colorful history from its origins, most likely in South Texas, to the festive modern-day chili cook offs.
They came to America as olykoeks or "oily cakes" and have taken the country - and our stomachs - by storm. They're donuts, fried pieces of dough that have delighted folks for centuries. We look at the origin of the donut in Holland, the historical roots of the donut hole and why everyone from policemen to U.S. Presidents have fallen for this delectable treat.
It began as a health tonic and boomed into the most popular consumer beverage on the planet. It's cola. We explore the cultural environment in which Coca-Cola was created, including its original "recipe" said to have contained cocaine. We also follow Coke's growth from soda fountain thirst quencher to international superstar and the ongoing "cola wars" with Pepsi.
Cookies - the ultimate comfort food. America's favorites are chocolate chip, but hundreds of varieties are baked daily in kitchens everywhere. We trace the history of these tasty treats that remind us of "home". From the Ancient Romans who baked hard biscuits called "bis coctum" - to the 7th Century Persians who improved the flavor using eggs, butter, cream and honey - to the birth of the first cookie factories.
Sweet as pie". This enchanting food is so admired, it has become the measure of all that is delectable. In the Middle Ages, most pies were filled with meat, though you might find one with "4 and 20 blackbirds". The American Colonists were more partial to pumpkin or apple pie while today, the sky is the limit.
Every year, Americans consume three million tons of pasta - everything from penne to spaghetti to lasagna. All told, there are more than 600 forms served around the planet. Its roots take us back thousands of years to the Ancient Romans and Chinese who both filled up on it. During the Middle Ages, pasta was a status symbol.
Candy bars. They appeal to our "sweet tooth" and give us instant energy. This sugary industry began in Mom and Pop kitchens over a century ago - and now accounts for more than two billion dollars in sales on Halloween alone!
We find them in coffee shops, corner delis and supermarket shelves. But muffins have been with us for centuries. They first appeared as tea cakes in the 1700's, and grew in popularity over the next century as muffin men began traversing streets at teatime, ringing their bells and selling their wares.