Behind the Victory Flagpole – Food for thought


Since the beginning of time there has been a huge revolution in the area of foods, from the time of Adam and Eve in their ‘apple orchard’ until now. We heard about cave men and how they ate raw meat until they discovered fire and invented the barbecue. The Pilgrims fared much better with lots of wild fowl, deer, turkey, rabbits and sea food. Add veggies like turnips, carrots and corn and you have a smorgasbord.

The pioneers had a harder time of it. Almost all families had their own gardens but the pigeons and prairie chickens liked the food as well. With effort, they managed to raise potatoes, beets, beans, onions, cabbage, rutabagas and turnips. Also available were wild grapes and various berries and nuts. The first pioneer settler on the west side of the Mississippi River to undertake raising corn was John H. Stevens. It was 1850, and it took several years of shooting blackbirds before the first crop materialized. It was accomplished by having the youth of the day stationed around the fields at intervals doing target practice.

There was definitely a need for stores where people could buy things! Some of the first trading posts were at military forts, like Fort Snelling. They sold produce brought in by the settlers and goods brought in for trade by native Indians. One early pioneer in St. Anthony was Franklin Steele, who built a large house and let his friend, Roswell Russell, use one room for a store. Russell, in 1838, built his own house and used it as a store. These were the first two stores in St. Anthony.

1892–Two of the first grocery stores in Camden were owned by Blomquists, (not related). Frank Blomquist bought a half-interest in a grocery establishment with Fred W. Meinke at 4165 Washington Ave. Charlie Blomquist had a store on 4601 Lyndale Ave. and later moved to 4211 Washington Ave. In 1895, grocery deliveries were made by horse drawn carts which were kept behind Charlie Blomquist’s store.

1925–Phone orders are taken from grocery stores. Time now flies with new innovations. 1930–America’s first supermarket opens in Queens, N.Y.

1933–Onion rings introduced.

1934–An inexpensive refrigerator case for keeping frozen foods viable manufactured by American Radiator.

1937 –Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City invents the shopping cart.

1937–Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is introduced; nine million boxes were sold the first year at 19 cents apiece. Today, more than a million boxes are sold daily.

1939– The first pre-cooked frozen meals are introduced by Bird’s Eye. 1946–ASP introduces in-store bakeries.

1950–King Soopers begins offering S&H Green Stamps–they peaked in 1962. 1954–C.A. Swanson & Sons introduces frozen TV dinners.

1958–Kroger introduces a service deli, bakery and barbecue shop at a supermarket in Detroit. 1958–The aluminum can debut.

1962– The first Wal-Mart opens in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

1966– The first truth-in-packaging law is passed. 1973–Nutrition labeling is standardized by the FDA.

1974–The first product electronically scanned is a pack of Wrigley’s gum in Troy, Ohio.

1976–Price Club opens in San Diego.

1982–Diet Coke hits the market.

1991–U.S. sales of salsa surpass those of ketchup by $40 million.

1995–Kroger Co. is the first to take grocery orders for home delivery via the Internet–an idea that fizzles by decade’s end.

1997 The number of different items sold in supermarket produce departments rises from 173 to 335 over the past previous 10 years.

2000–Sales from prepared food from meat and poultry to salads to prepackaged pizzas and all kinds of frozen dinners soar, as 44 percent of weekday meals are prepared in under 30 minutes.

We have come a long way! Who knows what comes next in the food department? But one thing for sure is that Thanksgiving will be here soon and it is time to start figuring out what we are going to feed all those relatives!