Monday, June 23, 2008

Useless historical fact of the day.

You can learn a whole lot of useless stuff by hitting the "Random article" button on Wikipedia.
By the start of the 20th century, eight out of ten Americans could not buy yellow margarine, and those that could had to pay a hefty tax on it. Bootleg colored margarine became common

Bootleg. Margarine. I guess it's not silly when you realize I'll be bootlegging lightbulbs in the not-distant future...

And look at all the people trying to regulate people's consumption of margarine and shortening in the 21st century.
Post-war, the margarine lobby gained power and, little by little, the main margarine restrictions were lifted, the last state to do so being Wisconsin in 1967.

The ISU library has six boxes of material--records, newspaper clippings, etc--about the 1943 "Oleomargarine Controversy" in which a professor resigned after dairy farmers tried to get the U to rescind a pamphlet recommending margarine be used in wartime. I miss academic libraries; if I didn't have to earn a living I'd hang out in academic libraries all day and eventually write books.

1 comment:

Steve Burri said...

I remember those days well. You could buy the lard-colored margarine and mix in a packet of yellow or you could go to Illinois and smuggle it back into Wisconsin.