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#15. Mistakes That Worked

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A book I bought for my grandkids, MIstakes that Worked, by Charlotte Foltz Jones, tells how some famous inventions came about because of accidents or mistakes.

TEA was discovered in 2737 B.C. by a great Chinese emperor named Shen Nung.
"One day, [he] was boiling water outside when leaves from a nearby bush fell into the open kettle. Before Shen Nung could retrieve the leaves, they began to brew. He smelled the sweet aroma of the mixture and once he tasted it, the world was given tea!"
"Thomas Sullivan invented tea bags, although he did not realize it at the time. Sullivan, an American coffee and tea merchant, often sent samples of his products to his customers, packed in cans. One day in 1904, Sullivan decided it would be simpler and less expensive to send the tea samples in small, hand-sewn silk bags." Customers soon "discovered that the small bags made tea brewing easier."

CHEESE was accidentally invented by an ancient Arabian traveling across the desert on a camel. He had brought some food along.
"He had poured some milk into a pouch made from a sheep's stomach. During his journey, he opened the pouch and discovered the milk had separated and formed thick masses, which we call curd, and a watery fluid, which we call whey."
"Two elements transformed the milk into cheese: first, the sun warmed the bag of milk during the journey. Second, the sheep-stomach had contained dried digestive juices, including 'rennet,' which is necessary to make cheese even today."
"For four thousand years people have continued making cheese." "Milk spoiled quickly, but by making cheese, people could preserve the milk's nutrition for long periods of time."

MAPLE SYRUP has a legend about its discovery. An Iroquois Chief "left camp one day in early March for a day of hunting. As he left, he pulled his tomahawk from the maple tree where he had hurled it the night before. During the day, sap dripped from the tree into a vessel standing close to the tree trunk."
When evening came, the chief's squaw noticed the 'tree-water' (which we call sap) in the vessel. She decided to use the tree-water to prepare supper and save herself a trip to the spring. As it cooked, the sap boiled down into a syrup, When [the chief] arrived home, he was delighted with the new maple flavor of his supper."

Those are only a sampling of the 'mistakes' and their stories. Other foods included are: Brown 'n Serve Rolls, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coca-Cola, Doughnut Holes, Fudge, Ice Cream Cone, Popsicles, Potato Chips, and Sandwiches.
The book also tells the story behind the discovery of some toys, glass, household items, and some clothing. The well-known story of penicillin is also included.
It's an interesting book.

The LESSON, of course, for my grandkids and for all who read the book is stated in the introduction. "The inventors mentioned in this book were not only smart, but also alert. It is easy to fail and then abandon the whole idea. It's more difficult to fail, but then recognize another use for the failure."

"The inventors and discoverers mentioned in this book should teach all of us the lesson stated best by Bertolt Brecht in 1930: 'Intelligence is not to make no mistakes. But quickly to see how to make them good.'"

All of us here on SP have many opportunities for invention and discovery as we work on changing to more healthful eating behaviors.

For example:

-- When we want to eliminate the carbs of bread, we create a 'sandwich' by wrapping the filling in a large green lettuce leaf instead.

-- We substitute yogurt for sour cream when we make dips -- or even on tacos.

-- We make our own popsicles by freezing fresh fruit juice, thus eliminating the unhealthful artificial coloring and preservatives in store - bought items.

-- We create delicious fruit and vegetable smoothies at home that are rich with the vitamins and nutrients from fresh ingredients, rather than drinking shakes or ice cream sodas.

I am sure that my SP friends have made many favorite 'discoveries' of their own.

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