Nov 242011

Canned Cranberries!

Of the many things people eat on Thanksgiving, the one that brings out the strongest feelings is the canned cranberries.  Either you hate them or you love them.  It actually took years for me to work up the nerve to try them.  My family always just scooped the jelled cranberries out of the can and plopped them in a dish.  They  still had the shape of the can, and because of the non-organic shape I didn’t recognize it as a food product!

When I was in college, my friend invited us to an early Thanksgiving party.  Every person brought a different exotic non-traditional dish and the host made a normal turkey.  For some reason none of the food turned out but the turkey.  Probably because we were young and not very good cooks!  After searching the pantry, we were able to find some canned corn, instant potatoes and a can of cranberries.

After we prepared the extra food, everyone sat down and heaped their plates full of turkey, corn and potatoes, but the dish of cranberries was untouched. By the time that the potatoes and corn were gone I was still hungry, so I decided to give the berries a chance.  I scooped some up onto my plate and poked at it as it jiggled.  Then I took a taste and though about it for a minute.  It was actually pretty good!  Since then, I always take big helping of the cranberries.

One of the main things that helps us enjoy the canned cranberries is the electric can opener.  Canned foods have been around since at least the late 18th century, but the first devices specifically made to open the cans didn’t come around till the middle of the 19th century.   Gradually the manual wheel opener was developed and then was patented in the 1870s.  In the 1930s, there were some attempts at making an electric can opener, but the idea didn’t catch on util 1956 when Walter Hess Bodle invented one that also had an attached electric knife sharpener.

So, this thanksgiving when you are opening the cranberries, corn and green beans with your electric can opener, thank Walter Hess Bodle!


Happy Thanksgiving and try the cranberries!

Nov 232011

Voyager I

NASA launched the space probe Voyager I 2 days before my 4th birthday on Sept 5, 1977.  I can’t remember it very well,  because my house was adjusting to the birth of my new baby brother.  Later, I learned about the launches of Voyager I and II in grade school and was intrigued by the pictures it took of Jupiter and Saturn as it flew by!

Voyager I's Gold Plated Disk

It is also amazing that the probe will keep going on until it is stopped by something and it won’t even get within 1 light year of a star for 40,000 years.  In case someone or something finds the probe, a gold plated disk, containing information about Earth and humanity, has been included!  A twin probe, Voyager II was launched a few weeks earlier and is also traveling away from Earth.

Voyager I

Manufacturer: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) United States

Launch Date: September 5, 1977

Dimensions: Small Car

Weight: 1,592 lb

Speed: 3.5 x the distance between the Earth and the Sun each year also known as Astronomical Units(AU)

Distance from Earth: 1.78×1010 km or 119 AU as of October 2011,