Wonder Wednesdays: Oleomargarine Becomes Tickled Pink

Last time, we learned what oleomargarine is and how it’s made, and who made it. Today, we’ll explore the journey of acceptance in America. Because apparently, the American dairy farmers didn’t like having competition; they wanted to keep their monopoly. They wanted to stick it to the oleomargarine makers and went down a slippery slope to do it. (Sorry – you know that butter and margarine puns are going to happen. 😄)

In the 1870’s, oleomargarine came to the United States. A decade later, the dairy industry succeeded in helping make the Margarine Act, forcing margarine makers to get permits and such to make it and taxed it by two cents a pound, and later, ten cents a pound. (And if you were wondering, here is what it would be like if you account for inflation: $0.10 in 1880 → $2.34 in 2018)

Six states decided to simply ban margarine altogether. Not surprisingly, one of them was Wisconson, the dairy state, where senator Joseph Quarles argued that butter should come from the life-giving milk, not the fat of the dead cow.

Some sources mentioned having political cartoons for this agenda, so I did a bit of research and found one:

To be fair, I didn’t really need much convincing – learning how it’s made (it is usually made out of hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of beef fat nowadays but still) is enough to make me choose butter. Surely arsenic didn’t go in it, that’s poison. Hopefully, it was lying about that. Although food coloring can come from disgusting sources. Anyway…

What followed is that dairy farmers wanted to stick it to the margarine producers and accused margarine makers of trying to mislead people by selling it as butter. Margarine is white after it is first made, and then dyed to look more like butter. So legislation was passed that margarine had to tint their product to a color other than yellow.  (Even though corn-fed cows produced white butter which was then dyed yellow. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black, except, the butter was calling the margarine yellow… 😆)

Several states even forced margarine makers to dye it a certain color – pink. These laws were later overturned. (Wisconsin was the last to do so in 1967.)

Thanks to the Great Depression and the butter shortage of World War Two, margarine slipped ahead of butter in popularity, and was no longer colored pink, but was tickled pink. However, around 2004, butter started to become more popular than margarine again, so I’m sure it’s now feeling blue.

And what’s fun is, Parkay actually made pink margarine as recently as 2002 – and blue margarine too!

How weird is that? And this concludes this edition of Wonder Wednesday. 🙂

Wonder Wednesdays – Who invented margarine and how is it made?

Who invented margarine (also called Oleomargarine) and how is it made?

(Grab some popcorn and the drink of your choice – this is going to be a longish article.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Answer: Firstly, I want to touch on how butter came along because I want to compare that to margarine. Milk was carried in skin bags on long trips, and the motion of the animal it was attached to – some say horses, others say camels – as it walked sloshed the milk almost as if it were being churned and at the end of the trip, they opened the skin bags and found butter. Or at least, that’s the myth… but the main point is, it comes from milk.

Whatever the case, one source says that butter has been around for around 4,000 years! Just think – that’s when Abraham was supposed to have lived. Did he eat butter on his bread while in the land of Ur? I guess only he and God know that for sure now. 😉

The word “butter” comes from a combination of Greek words. Bous (meaning cow) and turos (meaning cheese). I wonder then, what they called actual cheese they made from cow’s milk? However, that’s for another post another day, I suppose. 😉

So now we look at butter’s competition, which didn’t come along until 1869. (Butter had no rival for over 3,800 years! What a monopoly!) That’s the year when a French chemist named Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès (yes, I copied the name from the source link above – I didn’t want to butcher his name XD) created a cheaper spread made from beef tallow. Which is another way of saying beef fat. Ew. 😝 Anyway.

Mr. Hippolyte called his beef fat spread “oleomargarine,” which comes from the Latin word “oleum” (meaning beef fat) and the Greek margarite (meaning pearl). I find it odd that he combined two languages to name his beef fat spread. And how strange is “Beef Fat Pearl?” Ew. Anyway.

Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a prize for a patented cheap spread that would benefit the lower class, and while he was at it, feed it to the military. I’m sure they really appreciated that. (Note the sarcasm there.) No wonder Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo if he was feeding his army that stuff…

(Oh, that was in 1815 and not the same Napoleon? Then nevermind.) I digress… getting back on topic…

Mr. Hippolyte sold his patent to a Dutch company specializing in making butter – and now oleomargarine.

Sadly, Mr. Hippolyte died in 1880 as poor as the people he was aiming to sell his beef fat pearl spread to. Indeed, it must have been hard for him, because he lived long enough to see that the oleomargarine was gaining international fame, and he wasn’t getting paid anything.

The beef fat spread found its way to America in the 1870’s, to the dismay of American dairy farmers. And this is when the butter wars began…

Tune in next week for part two of the history of oleomargarine!

Also, out of curiosity, how many of you guys call it Oleo? In my research, I came across several people calling it that. I’ve always heard “margarine.” My dad said that his grandma called it Oleo. This was a new word for me. 😅

Wonder Wednesdays – Bursting Bubbles

Why are bubbles round?

Image Credit: Pixabay

Answer: A sphere has the smallest amount of surface area of all the shapes. The surface tension makes the thin film of soap water that is the bubble try to get as small as it can be. Therefore – if I understand this correctly – if you see free falling water drops such as rain, the water drops are round as well. (The oblong shape is caused by the decent to the Earth – if it wasn’t for that, it would be round.) But because a person exhaled and trapped air inside the enclosed sphere of soapy water, the bubble can’t become a drop because the air inside pushes against the film of soap and water.

The pushing of the air and the pulling of the soapy water are equal and opposite reactions, so you end up with…

A bubble.

When blowing a bubble, the film gets thinner and thinner as it tries to wrap around the air being forced inside, and if one keeps going, one will find the point when the amount of soap required to wrap around the air pocket has run out and then…

Pop goes the bubble.

Wonder Wednesdays – What is astigmatism?

What is astigmatism?

If you read yesterday’s life update post, you probably saw this topic coming… 😆

Answer: Astigmatism is an eye defect in which the cornea, the clear round part of the eye that covers the pupil and iris, is not shaped correctly.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Or you could simply say that a normal eye cornea is shaped like a round ball while an eye with astigmatism is more like a football. This causes light that enters to be bent which means that the light rays don’t reach the back of the eye as they should, causing images to blur or distort. Sorta like this:

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Some websites defined it as a “refractive error.” For me personally, without my glasses, LED clocks are one of the hardest to read because the light from one number blurs into the next. (And until I got my glasses, I thought this was a normal thing and wondered how people could easily read those things. XD) Turns out, this usually causes light to not focus correctly, and in my case, bright lights became painful.

So, how does one get it? Most people are born with it. But luckily, glasses or contacts usually fixes it. 😀

Wonder Wednesdays – Flammable Water

Why doesn’t water burn?

Image credit: Pixabay

Think about it for a moment. Hydrogen is flammable. Oxygen is flammable. Water is H2O. Why when you put them together can you put out a fire with it? Shouldn’t it burn?

Answer: I must admit, I don’t understand the formula – chemistry isn’t my strong suit. If you want to read the formula, then you can find that here, which is where I found the answer to my question. If you’re like me and can’t quite wrap your head around the formulas, then here is the short and sweet answer: Water is the product of a chemical reaction, and thus, has lost all its react-y superpowers because it has already reacted to become what it is. Therefore, we can put out fires with a hydrogen-oxygen mix. Pretty cool, huh? 🙂

**This was posted earlier, but for some reason, it posted back in time to June 7th. I’m not sure why all my posts keep getting backdated like this, but it is starting to drive me nuts. 😆 Anyway, this is the first installment of Wonder Wednesdays, and I just added a “Wonder Wednesdays” category link in the header menu for easier navigation. 😀

I wonder. Do you ever wonder?

Raindrops on grass

I Wonder

I wonder…
Why bubbles are round
Like clear floating soccer balls.
Why do they burst?
Why do they form at all?
I watch it as it floats away…

Don’t you lose your sense of wonder
Never stop asking why
Let your imagination wander
Let your imagination fly

I wonder…
What is fire?
It has no substance
As it grows taller
And joyfully dances
Until it turns its energy source
To ashes.

Don’t you lose your sense of wonder
Never stop asking why
Let your imagination wander
Let your imagination fly

Why can’t we breathe oxygen in water?
Why is each of the prints on our thumbs
Do you wonder why we wonder?
Where does our curiosity come from?

Don’t you lose your sense of wonder
Never stop asking why
Let your imagination wander
Let your imagination fly

Do you ever wonder why things are the way that they are? Sometimes I get too curious. And that is what inspired this idea – a new series in which I find answers to questions that most people probably never thought to ask. 🙂 Sometimes they explore how God’s wonderful world works, and sometimes curiosity tries to kill the cat lady on other man-made things or word origins. And as an added bonus – I get to practice my essay writing skills. 🙂 Stay tuned for Wonder Wednesdays – it may not be every Wednesday, but hopefully at least every other Wednesday! ❤

(If you are seeing this twice, I apologize – somehow when I posted it, WordPress posted it in the past, on June 7th. XD I have no idea how that happened – I didn’t schedule it, I clicked “publish” – but it has happened before and it looks like I need to keep a better eye on it so I don’t have to move the posting date back to present day.  😅)