Sushi, Salmon, & Slapshots
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Millions of people eat bananas every day. Bananas are a delicious and nutritious snack for any time of day and an excellent source of potassium. We all regularly enjoy bananas, but do you ever take a minute to appreciate the family that invented the bananas we know and love?
Although bananas grow all over the world in different varieties, the big yellow bananas that we regularly eat are from a species known as "cavendish bananas". Cavendish bananas were developed in England for the 6th Duke of Devonshire William Cavendish. The Cavendish family gardener, Joseph Paxton, experimented with the cultivation of bananas in order to create a banana that would suit his employers taste. Through cross breeding many types of bananas from all over the world, he developed a plump, sweet variety of banana that he named after the Cavendish family.
In the 1950’s a disease known as the “Panama Disease” destroyed the banana crop in central America and lead to a world wide shortage of bananas. Seeing opportunity in the banana market, the Cavendish family began to export their custom made bananas around the globe. Soon enough, the cavendish banana took over the banana market and became the most widely consumed banana in the world being enjoyed by potassium lovers all over the globe.
For his creation of the world’s favorite banana, the Cavendish family gardener received a knighthood from the Queen of England. Next time you struggle to open a banana or listen to that Gwen Stefanie song, take a minute to thank Sir Joseph Paxton for his incredible fruit creation.
If you have been spending the past week watching the Stanley Cup or NBA finals, you are either rooting for your team or at least rooting for a good game. Most people want to see close games with lots of action and a compelling story that keeps the viewer interested throughout. Sometimes the opposite happens and one team dominates through the whole game and makes the action uninteresting to watch. These games are referred to as "blowouts" and are generally uninteresting to watch and embarrassing for the losing team.
No sporting event has ever epitomized the blowout like the 2008 Olympic qualifying women’s hockey game between Bulgaria and Slovakia. If you don’t follow international women’s hockey (which you should) then you might not know that Slovakia is an elite country for women’s hockey while Bulgaria is not.
In a sport where the two teams usually combine for 4-6 goals in a game, Slovakia managed to destroy Bulgaria 82-0. 82 goals were scored in a regulation length game which is an average of 1 goal every 44 seconds. The Slovak team went on to make the Olympics and would lose to Canada by a score of 18-0. If Slovakia won 82-0 then lost 18-0, I would hate to see what Canada would have done to that poor Bulgarian team.
Surprisingly, this match isn’t even the biggest blowout in Women’s hockey history. In 1998, South Korea beat Thailand 92-0 but we have to assume that hockey had been newly introduced to Southeast Asia.
Food & Drink
Sushi rocks! For some, the concept of eating raw fish seems disgusting, but those that have tried it know it is a delicious meal, especially when paired with some spicy mayo and soy sauce.
Today, we can eat sushi with all sorts of sea creatures like eel, tuna, yellowfin, scallops, and the most popular, salmon. The prevalence of salmon sushi today may lead you to think that it has always been the go0to fish for sushi chefs but using salmon for sushi is actually a modern occurrence.
Japan (where sushi was invented) never used to import fish because they had rich fisheries just off the Japanese coast. Then, in the mid 1990’s, the fish stocks off of Japan were drastically depleted due to overfishing and changing environmental conditions. For the first time in their history, Japan began to search for fish to import into their country.
Capitalizing on Japan’s desperate need for fish, the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries, Thor Listau, flew to Japan to try and sell them one of Norway’s best fish, the salmon. Much to his surprise the Japanese did not want Norway's Salmon because the salmon was considered a dirty fish. The Japanese did not like to eat fish that came from rivers because they thought that the river water could be poputed which would make the fish taste bad or cause illness. It took Thor 15 years to convince Japanese sushi makers to try using salmon in their sushi. The adoption of salmon sushi in Japan started very slowly but, the Japanese finally developed a taste for it and began importing millions of tons of salmon every year.
Today, Norway is the leading exporter of salmon in the world and the majority of the salmon is shipped to Asian countries to be eaten raw or smoked in sushi. We should all take a minute to thank Thor Listau for opening the door that lead to spicy salmon rolls, philly rolls, and every other salmon sushi that we know and love today.
This Week in History
On this week in 1935, the sultan of swat, the colossus of crash, the GREAT BAMBINO retired from major league baseball after 22 seasons. Babe Ruth was one of baseball’s greatest players whose records have endured for nearly a century. His .690 slugging percentage is still the highest in major league history and his 60-homerun season is still one of the most impressive feats in sports history. After his retirement, Ruth spent years visiting hospitals and using his celebrity status to cheer up sick people until he finally succumbed to cancer himself in 1948. Babe Ruth is a sports icon and an American hero who reached the pinnacle of his sport and devoted his life to supporting his fans.
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