You have to see these photos!

Some of the 100 best National Geographic photos for 2018:(top) The world’s largest colony of black-browed albatrosses is in the Falkland Islands. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN; (Row two left) Moon jellies, found all over the world. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID LIITTSCHWAGER; (Row two right) Puma courtship. PHOTOGRAPH BY INGO ARNDT; (Row three) A man floats on the north arm of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. In the hypersaline water, he found it hard to sit up and hit the bottom in water only a foot deep. PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLYN DRAKE; (Row four left) Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, dances in time to the Backstreet Boys’ tune “Everybody”. PHOTOGRAPH BY VINCENT J. MUSI; (Row four right) This young elephant, lovingly cared for at a retreat in Nairobi. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES; (Row five left) The Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti holds the record for the second longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a woman at 199 days. PHOTOGRAPH BY MARTIN SCHOELLER; (Row five right) A polar bear family at the Beaufort Sea. PHOTOGRAPH BY FLORIAN SCHULZ. See all 100 of these great photos HERE.

Chosen as the best. It’s an honor, fleeting at times, yet important.  At KHT, we’re always striving for “best” – best solution to you PIA (pain in the @%$) Jobs!, best response time, best delivery, best product performance – and on and on.  We, like most of you, pride ourselves on striving to be the best, then resetting the bar.

Every year National Geographic invites travelers from around the world to submit photographs from their adventures – and, wow they are amazing.  Each selected image has a backstory, on where it was taken and how it happened.  We thought we’d share some of our favorites, and also provide you the links to explore on your own.  Enjoy, and thanks to Nat Geo for these awesome “bests” – we salute you, the judges and all the winners.





Live in Infamy

(top left) The USS Arizona during the attack on Hawaii. (top right) A war bonds poster. The headline says “Tojo Wanna Cracker?” (row 2 left) The bombs on Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945) finally ended the war in the Pacific. (row 2 right) Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan (1941–44), at his war crimes trial in 1948, was hanged as a Class-A war criminal December 23, 1948. (the other three images) Three views of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii.

Today we are reminded of “a date which will live in infamy” – the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Let us take a moment to respect those brave individuals who serve(d), better understand the events leading up to the event and reflect on the ongoing role of the US as the world’s peacekeeper.  Special thanks to Wikipedia and Air and Space Museum for the insights.

  • The attack on Pearl Harbor, many believe, can be traced back to the 1850’s, when U.S. Naval Captain Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan and negotiated the opening of Japanese ports for trade. After more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation, Japan wanted to engage with the rest of the world and knew its fortunes lie outside its shores.
  • To compete globally, Japan needed resources—a theme that persistently and eventually pushes the narrative of Pearl Harbor to its climax. Iron and coal were key natural resources in the steam era at the end of the 19th century but were not available in any significance on the Japanese island. Japan needed to look elsewhere for oil and vital manufacturing resources.
  • Beginning around 1894, Japan engaged in war with China and in 1904 with Russia to secure more resources.  A 1905 win against the Russian Navy shocked the world and alerted the U.S. that they needed to be prepared for new relations with a more aggressive Japan.
  • As early as 1911, the U.S. Navy drafted plans for dealing with a possible war with Japan, known as War Plan Orange. The 1921 Washington Naval Treaty set out to prevent expensive naval building races between nations, but limited Japan to a much smaller navy than the U.S., a result that further soured the relationship between the two countries.
  • The relationship between the two countries was cordial enough that they remained trading partners. Tensions did not seriously grow until Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931. Over the next decade, Japan expanded into China, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Japan spent considerable effort trying to isolate China and endeavored to secure enough independent resources to attain victory on the mainland. The “Southern Operation” was designed to assist these efforts.
  • Starting in December 1937, events such as the Japanese attack on USS Panay, the Allison incident, and the Nanking Massacre swung Western public opinion sharply against Japan. Fearing Japanese expansion, the United States, United Kingdom, and France assisted China with loans for war supply contracts.  The goal was simple – keep Japan at bay.
  • In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina, attempting to stymie the flow of supplies reaching China. The United States halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline to Japan, which the latter perceived as an unfriendly act. The United States did not stop oil exports, however, partly because of the prevailing sentiment in Washington: given Japanese dependence on American oil, such an action was likely to be considered an extreme provocation.
  • In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Hawaii. He also ordered a military buildup in the Philippines, taking both actions in the hope of discouraging Japanese aggression in the Far East. Because the Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain any attack on the United Kingdom’s Southeast Asian colonies, including Singapore, would bring the U.S. into the war, a devastating preventive strike appeared to be the only way to prevent American naval interference.
  • In September 1940, Japan aligned with Germany and Italy. Japan hoped the war would result in a boon of new resources and saw the alignment as a way to push back against the U.S. embargos.  If America wanted to declare war on Japan, they would also have to declare war on Germany meaning a fight across two oceans.
  • An invasion of the Philippines was also considered necessary by Japanese war planners. The U.S. War Plan Orange had envisioned defending the Philippines with an elite force of 40,000 men; this option was never implemented due to opposition from Douglas MacArthur, who felt he would need a force ten times that size. By 1941, U.S. planners expected to abandon the Philippines at the outbreak of war.
  • The U.S. finally ceased oil exports to Japan in July 1941, following the seizure of French Indochina after the Fall of France, in part because of new American restrictions on domestic oil consumption. Because of this decision, Japan proceeded with plans to take the oil-rich Dutch East Indies. On August 17, Roosevelt warned Japan that America was prepared to take opposing steps if “neighboring countries” were attacked. The Japanese were faced with a dichotomy—either withdraw from China and lose face or seize new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich European colonies of Southeast Asia.
  • The U.S. believed that Japan would run out of necessary resources in six months and would have to agree to negotiations or cease military action. Japan did the same math and realized they needed to act. Japan began to plan the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • Many within the Japanese military were wary of the risks—Japanese carriers did not have the range to make it to Pearl Harbor and would need to refuel at sea, a maneuver that was unfamiliar to their navy. But to Japan, the potential reward outweighed the risks. They believed an attack on the U.S. would prevent America from entering the war for up to six months. In that time, Japan could shift the balance of power and take Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. Japan also hoped the attack would demoralize the United States into inaction.
  • The Japanese Marshal Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew that to be successful secrecy was key. Few within the military were aware of what was conspired. Japanese carriers would take an extremely northern path to avoid shipping routes, and while travelling they were under complete radio silence. Even ship-to-ship communication was done using flags or blinker lights.
  • The final orders to attack Pearl Harbor were delivered to the ships by hand before they sailed on November 26th.  Burke noted that, at the time, the U.S. had only broken Japan’s diplomatic codes, not their naval codes. But even if the U.S. could read Japanese naval codes, there was no radio traffic to intercept.
  • Japan set an internal deadline: If negotiations with the U.S. did not go as desired, Pearl Harbor would be attacked. They pushed the deadline to November 29th. Three days later, the Japanese high command sent the message, “Climb Mount Niitaka,” to tell the listening Japanese carrier force to proceed with the attack.  War declaration communications were drafted and sent to the U.S. leadership, but never arrived on time.
  • What unfolded in the days to come is the story we’re more familiar with—2,403 Americans were killed, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, and the heart of the Pacific Fleet was left sitting on the harbor’s bottom.
  • Said Pearl Harbor curator Lawrence Burke said, “We can see why Americans should have anticipated war with the Japanese.” But the specifics of the attack were a surprise. The U.S. knew something was afoot but anticipated being attacked in the Philippines not Pearl Harbor. The U.S. knew the risks that Japan faced with an attack on Pearl and believed it to be impossible. And the U.S. did not believe that Japan was capable of planning and executing such an attack.
  • To say that Pearl Harbor was a complete surprise, as most history books do, does not take into account the complex history and relationships between the U.S. and Japan leading up to the attack. The war with Japan was not a surprise, but the location and nature of the first strike was.

To learn more, visit, and God bless the brave souls who lost their lives defending our great nation.

On December 8, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Declaration of War Address to congress and later officially signs it.  WATCH HERE




A Shopping We Will Go

Christmas shopping is so much fun…totally worth being exhausted at the end. 

It’s that time of year – when we head out into cyberspace, or parking space, to find that “special” gift for each of our loved ones.  With only 25 shopping days left, now’s the time to get your lists completed, and hit the road.  Even though this can be the ultimate PIA (pain in the @%$) Job!, I’ve always enjoyed this tradition – I get together with Jackie and each of the girls, and we make a day of it – walking, talking, drifting from store to store in search of the “one” item that will delight Although I have to admit,  we usually end up at one of our favorite restaurants – a wonderful means to an end!  To get your juices flowing, here’s a whole bunch of random link ideas – some traditional, some new, some just “techy”, and some worldly – Enjoy, and thanks to Smart Gadgets, Uncommon Goods, House Beautiful, Target, Esquire and Elle Décor.

My Smart Gadgets

Uncommon Goods

House Beautiful Shopping

Target – Toys

Esquire – Gifts for Men

Elle Décor – worldly





Oh Grannie

M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m, pies!!!
Makin’ em & bakin’ em is a family affair. But I won’t lie, I’m especially 
partial to eaten‘ em!!!

While most of you are feeling the “stretch” of yesterday’s meals (I never just eat once) and are now digging into the fridge for those amazing leftovers, I on the other hand, am reaching for the thanksgiving unsung hero – extra pie.  Of course, I’ve already had my leftover turkey, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce – jellied not that lumpy stuff! and potatoes, and vegi’s, So it’s just right that I finish my re-tasting with a nice couple slices of pie.  A little Grannie apple, followed by a smidge of pumpkin, topped with whipped cream and ice cream and a cool glass of soy milk (you’re welcome Jackie!).  Not sure what it’s like at your house, but I just love it when Jackie and the girls crack open the recipe books, whip up the family favorite’s,  especially, Chocolate Pecan pie and treats us to good cookin’. Although I love to cook,  for some reason I tend to cause a ruckus in the kitchen during baking so I have been banished.  So, for my foodies out there, here’s a little “pie” trivia (thanks American Pie Council and Wikipedia).  Enjoy. And look for the links throughout for fun leftover meals.

  1. pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients.
  2. Pies are defined by their crusts. A filled pie (also single-crust or bottom-crust), has pastry lining the baking dish, and the filling is placed on top of the pastry but left open. A top-crust pie has the filling in the bottom of the dish and is covered with a pastry or other covering before baking. A two-crust pie has the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell.  Shortcrust pastry is a typical kind of pastry used for pie crusts, but many things can be used, including baking powder biscuitsmashed potatoes, and crumbs.
  3. Ancient Greeks are believed to have originated pie pastry. In the plays of Aristophanes (5th century BC), there are mentions of sweetmeats including small pastries filled with fruit. Nothing is known of the actual pastry used, but the Greeks certainly recognized the trade of pastry-cook as distinct from that of baker. A rich pastry, intended to be eaten, was used to make small pasties containing eggs or little birds which were among the minor items served at banquets.
  4. During the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age period, the use of stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, the domestication of plants and animals, the establishment of permanent villages, and the practice of crafts such as pottery and weaving became common. Early pies were in the form of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes called galettes consisting of a crust of ground oats, wheat, rye, or barley containing honey inside.
  5. Early pies made by the Roman most likely came from the Greeks.  These pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling.  The Romans must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.
  6. The 1st-century Roman cookbook Apicius makes various mentions of recipes which involve a pie case.  By 160 BC, Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato (234–149 BC), who wrote De Agri Cultura, notes the recipe for the most popular pie/cake called placenta. Also called libum by the Romans, it was more like a modern-day cheesecake on a pastry base, often used as an offering to the gods. With the development of the Roman Empire and its efficient road transport, pie cooking spread throughout Europe.
  7. Pies made centuries ago were predominately meat pies, and originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.
  8. Song birds at the time were a delicacy and protected by Royal Law. At the coronation of eight-year-old English King Henry VI (1422–1461) in 1429, “Partrich” and “Pecok enhakill” were served, alleged by some modern writers to consist of cooked peacock mounted in its skin on a peacock-filled pie. Cooked birds were frequently placed by European royal cooks on top of a large pie to identify its contents, leading to its later adaptation in pre-Victorian times as a porcelain ornament to release of steam and identify a good pie.
  9. Meat pies with fillings such as steak, cheese, steak and kidney, minced beef, or chicken and mushroom are popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as take-away snacks. They are also served with chips as an alternative to fish and chips at British chip shops.
  10. Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffin.
  11. The Pilgrim fathers and early settlers brought their pie recipes with them to America, adapting to the ingredients and techniques available to them in the New World. Their first pies were based on berries and fruits pointed out to them by the Native North Americans.  Pies allowed colonial cooks to stretch ingredients and also used round shallow pans to literally “cut corners” and to create a regional variation of shallow pie.
  12. Pies remained as a staple of traveling and working peoples in the colder northern European countries, with regional variations based on both the locally grown and available meats, as well as the locally farmed cereal crop. The Cornish pasty is an adaptation of the pie to a working man’s daily food needs.
  13. Pot pies with a flaky crust and bottom are also a popular American dish, typically with a filling of meat (particularly beef, chicken, or turkey), gravy, and mixed vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and peas). Frozen pot pies are often sold in individual serving size – (on a good day I can eat two or three).
  14. Fruit pies may be served with a scoop of ice cream, a style known in North America as pie à la mode. Many sweet pies are served this way. Apple pie is a traditional choice, though any pie with sweet fillings may be served à la mode. This combination, and possibly the name as well, is thought to have been popularized in the mid-1890s in the United States.  Apple pie can be made with a variety of apples: Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauty, Macintosh, Red Delicious and more.
  15. “Chess pie” was popular in the South—a silky pie with a rich filling of sugar, cream or buttermilk, egg, and sometimes bourbon. The Pennsylvania Dutch made molasses “shoofly” pies, as well as stew-like savory meat pies known as “bott boi,” or pot pie. Settlers in Florida, utilizing the plentiful local citrus, turned native limes into key lime pie. The state of New Hampshire became known for its fried hand pies, quaintly called “crab lanterns.” The Midwest, famous for its dairy farms, favored cheese and cream pies. French immigrants to New Orleans created the pecan pie after the Native Americans introduced them to pecans. Massachusetts invented the beloved Boston Cream Pie, a hybrid pie-cake.
  16. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was made with 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon and 2 pounds of pumpkin spice.
  17. Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today “the most traditional American dessert”. Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term “as American as apple pie.”




Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on the 19th of November, 1863.

Over 150 years ago, powerful words were delivered to the nation.  May we rejoice on Monday when we recognize the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

  • The Gettysburg Address, in which President Abraham Lincoln spoke of all men being created equal and “government of the people, by the people, for the people” was delivered on Nov 19th, 1863.  It took place at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the pivotal American Civil War battle there.
  • Following the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, the removal of the fallen Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves and their reburial in graves at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg began on October 17. In inviting President Lincoln to the ceremonies, David Wills, of the committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, wrote, “It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.”
  • On the train trip from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg on November 18, Lincoln was accompanied by three members of his Cabinet, William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair, several foreign officials, his secretary John Nicolay, and his assistant secretary, John Hay. During the trip Lincoln remarked to Hay that he felt weak; on the morning of November 19, Lincoln mentioned to Nicolay that he was dizzy. (Hay later noted that during the speech Lincoln’s face had “a ghastly color” and that he was “sad, mournful, almost haggard.”)
  • The short speech had more dynamic impact following, as it did, a two-hour oration (yawn!) by Edward Everett, one-time Secretary of State.
  • John Hay, a close friend of the President, recorded how Lincoln wrote and delivered the speech:

“Lincoln was very silent all the previous evening after dinner. No one else being present he walked to and fro’ in his room apparently thinking deeply. He went to bed early, and when he came down to breakfast, he looked unwell, and said he had slept little.  On the train to the cemetery, he was silent for a considerable while, and then he asked me for some writing paper. On his knee he then wrote out his speech in full, exactly as it has come down to us.  The impression left on me was that Lincoln was merely transcribing from memory the words he had composed during the night.”

“When we reached the battlefield, Lincoln was nervous and apparently not well. Everett spoke eloquently but very long. Then Lincoln rose, holding the papers he had written on the train.  He did not read, but spoke every word in a clear, ringing, resonant, vibrating voice. His speech occupied only a few minutes in delivery. It was listened to with breathless attention and when it came to an end there was at first no cheering, but an audible indrawing of deep breath as from an audience that had been profoundly moved.”

“In the silence of the next moment, Everett leapt to his feet again and said, as nearly as I can remember, this: ‘We have just listened to a speech that will live through the ages’.”

  • Despite the historical significance of Lincoln’s speech, modern scholars disagree as to its exact wording, and contemporary transcriptions published in newspaper accounts of the event and even handwritten copies by Lincoln himself differ in their wording, punctuation, and structure.  Of these versions, the Bliss version, written well after the speech as a favor for a friend, is viewed by many as the standard text.  Its text differs, however, from the written versions prepared by Lincoln before and after his speech. It is the only version to which Lincoln affixed his signature, and the last he is known to have written.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. 

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

  • After the speech, when Lincoln boarded the 6:30 pm train for Washington, D.C., he was feverish and weak, with a severe headache. A protracted illness followed, which included a vesicular rash; it was diagnosed as a mild case of smallpox. It thus seems highly likely that Lincoln was in the prodromal period of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg address.
  • In an oft-repeated legend, Lincoln is said to have turned to his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon and remarked that his speech, like a bad plow, “won’t scour”. According to Garry Wills, this statement has no basis in fact and largely originates from the unreliable recollections of Lamon.  In Garry Wills’s view, “[Lincoln] had done what he wanted to do [at Gettysburg]”.
  • In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” Lincoln replied that he was glad to know the speech was not a “total failure”.

Download the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting HERE.
Watch this short Ken Burns PBS piece on the Gettysburg Address HERE.



We Salute You

Please take a minute this weekend, in your own way, to salute the men and women, living and deceased, who have served our wonderful country with valor, honor and a relentless belief in the inherent freedoms our country stands for.






Soup’s On!

Soups!  Enjoyed at any age and are as much fun to make as they are to eat.

With the flip of the calendar, it’s Fall – in all its glory.  Around here, that means brilliant outdoor colors, breaking out the sweaters, an extra blanket for chilly nights, and my favorite … soup! This means all kinds of soups!  It’s the time of year when we spend less time grilling and more time hovered over a steamy hot bowl of soup (crackers and cheese and lots of black pepper of course). Jackie has so many incredible recipes. With the help of the internet, I found this link at Ready, Set, Eat – and just listen to some of these names: slow cooker butternut squash & sausage, white bean and kale minestrone, wagon wheel turkey vegetable, southwestern creamy chicken, ramen noodle (brings back memories of younger days! and mushroom … oh yea – Now to be perfectly honest,  I will / would not be allowed to partake in some of the above soups…unless someone wants a temporary house guest!   Be sure to pick a few and give them a try – or better yet, if you have a family favorite, email it to me at so I can enjoy as well.  Here’s a little soup trivia, some different soups from around the world and a yummy recipe.  Enjoy!!

  • Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC.  Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of clay vessels). Animal hides and watertight baskets of bark or reeds were used before this. To boil the water hot rocks were used. This method was also used to cook acorns and other plants.
  • The word soup comes from French soupe (“soup”, “broth”), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
  • The word restaurant (meaning “[something] restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
  • In the US, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Complete Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques. A 1772 cookbook, The Frugal Housewife, contained an entire chapter on the topic.
  • English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Boston called “The Restorator”, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
  • The first American cooking pamphlet dedicated to soup recipes was written in 1882 by Emma Ewing: Soups and Soup Making.
  • Portable soup was devised in the 18th century by boiling seasoned meat until a thick, resinous syrup was left that could be dried and stored for months at a time. Commercial soup became popular with the invention of canning in the 19th century, and today a great variety of canned and dried soups are on the market.
  • Doctor John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company, invented condensed soup in 1897.  Canned soup can be condensed, in which case it is prepared by adding water (or sometimes milk), or it can be “ready-to-eat”, meaning that no additional liquid is needed before eating. Condensing soup allows soup to be packaged into a smaller can and sold at a lower price than other canned soups.
  • Today, Campbell’s Tomato (introduced in 1897), Cream of Mushroom, and Chicken Noodle (introduced in 1934) are three of the most popular soups in America. Americans consume approximately 2.5 billion bowls of these three soups alone each year.
  • In French cuisine, soup is often served before other dishes in a meal. In 1970, Richard Olney gave the place of the entrée in a French full menu: “A dinner that begins with a soup and runs through a fish course, an entrée, a sorbet, a roast, salad, cheese and dessert, and that may be accompanied by from three to six wines, presents a special problem of orchestration”.
  • “From soup to nuts” means “from beginning to end”, referring to the traditional position of soup as the first course in a multi-course meal. “In the soup” refers to being in a bad situation.  “Tag soup” is poorly coded HTML.

Test your knowledge – here are some of my favorites and some that I will be trying in the future:

  1. Chè– a Vietnamese cold dessert soup containing sugar and coconut milk, with many different varieties of other ingredients including taro, cassava, adzuki bean, mung bean, jackfruit, and durian
  2. Ginataan– a Filipino soup made from coconut milk, milk, fruits and tapioca pearls, served hot or cold
  3. Shiruko– a Japanese azuki bean soup
  4. Sawine– a soup made with milk, spices, parched vermicelli, almonds and dried fruits, served during the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Fitr in Trinidad and Tobago
  5. Salmorejo– a thick variant of gazpacho originating from Andalusia
  6. Asopao– a rice soup very popular in Puerto Rico. When prepared with chicken, it is referred to as asopao de pollo
  7. Bánh canh– a Vietnamese udon noodle soup, popular variants include bánh canh cua (crab udon soup), bánh canh chả cá (fish cake udon soup)
  8. Bouillabaisse– a fish soup from Marseille, is also made in other Mediterranean regions; in Catalonia it is called bullebesa
  9. Cazuela– a Chilean soup of medium thick flavored stock obtained from cooking several kinds of meats and vegetables mixed together
  10. Clam chowder– is found in two major types, New England clam chowder, made with potatoes and cream, and Manhattan clam chowder, made with a tomato base
  11. Egg drop– a savory Chinese soup, is made by adding already-beaten eggs into boiling water or broth
  12. Egusi– a traditional soup from Nigeria, is made with vegetables, meat, fish, and balls of ground melon seed. It is often eaten with fufu
  13. Gumbo– a traditional Creole soup from the Southern United States. It is thickened with okra pods, roux and sometimes filé powder
  14. Kuy teav(Vi: hủ tiếu) – a Cambodian/Southern Vietnamese pork rice noodle soup, often in combination with shrimp, squid and other seafood, topped with fresh herbs and bean sprouts
  15. Kyselo– a traditional Bohemian (Krkonoše region) sour soup made from sourdough, mushrooms, cumin, potatoes and scrambled eggs
  16. Lagman– a tradition in Uzbekistan, is made with pasta, vegetables, ground lamb and numerous spices
  17. Mulligatawny– is an Anglo-Indian curried soup
  18. Nässelsoppa(nettle soup) – is made with stinging nettles, and traditionally eaten with hard boiled egg halves, is considered a spring delicacy in Sweden
  19. Nkatenkwan – a heavily spiced soup from Ghana based on groundnut with meat, most often chicken and vegetables added
  20. “Peasants’ soup”– a catch-all term for soup made by combining a diverse—and often eclectic—assortment of ingredients. Variations on peasants’ soup are popular in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Africa
  21. Scotch broth– is made from mutton or lamb, barley and root vegetables
  22. Snert(erwtensoep) – a thick pea soup, is eaten in the Netherlands as a winter dish, and is traditionally served with sliced sausage. (“Jackie – more snert please”)
  23. Soupe aux Pois Jaunes– a traditional Canadian pea soup that is made with yellow peas and often incorporates ham
  24. Svartsoppa– is a traditional Swedish soup, whose main ingredient is goose and, sometimes, pig’s blood, and is made in Skåne, the southernmost region of Sweden. The other ingredients typically include vinegar, port wine or cognac and spices such as cloves, ginger and allspice. The soup is served warm with boiled pieces of apple and plums, goose liver sausage and the boiled innards of the goose. (“Jackie – I’m good…no more goose innards…”)
  25. Tarhana– is from Persian cuisine and is made with fermented grains and yogurt
  26. Mirepoix– consists of carrot, onion and celery and is often used for soup stocks and soups

Savory Black Bean Pumpkin (A MUST TRY!)

  • 3 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1 15oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Fresh cilantro and plain Greek yogurt for garnish
  • Saltines or favorite soup crackers

Drain 2 cans of black beans and pour into food processor along with tomatoes. Puree. Set aside.
Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir onions until softened.  Stir in bean puree, remaining can of beans, chicken broth, pumpkin puree, allspice, chili powder and cumin.  Mix until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes.  Serve hot, sprinkle with cilantro garnish, dollop of yogurt and crackers.




What’s Your Favorite Treat?

Halloween, what a fun time of year. Especially if, like me, you love candy. And nothing says Halloween quite like candy corn. You can eat it, of course but you can also wear them. You can get that hoodie at the top HERE. Or those socks HERE (gotta get me a pair of those).  And a plush candy corn to hug (or let your dog play with) HERE. Check out your favorites. And if you have a few minutes check out these oddly wonderful candy commercials: Sour Patch Kids HERE and HERE. Skittles HERE. And Jolly Ranchers HERE.

It’s that time of year when we venture off to the store to pick our favorite Halloween candy.  Some of us go for a specific item/brand, while others default to the “mixed grab bag” approach.  What seems like a simple task, becomes a PIA (Pain in the @%$) Job! to solve.  I can remember as a kid, with my brothers and sisters, running from house to house, trying to see who got the most goodies. Part of our tradition was to walk very, very, very fast to each home, wait for the stragglers to catch up then yell “TRICK OR TREAT” as loud as we could. Our neighbors came to expect and look forward to our arrival!  We’d come home and sort out our bounty into piles – my favorite was of course (Snickers, followed by Reeses Peanut Butter Cups).  If my siblings were game, we’d horse trade, so I got more of the things I loved.  Mom and Dad made us, or at least tried to keep it fair. I happen to be good at trading!  Jackie and I of course carried on the tradition of yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” with our girls.  I was always amazed that the girls would have to stop back home to empty their pillow cases before continuing on!  We would then just sit back and watch them sort and trade, unfortunately I often was given the leftovers – Taffy (Not my favorite!)

A very good friend of mine sent me this cool map link, showing the candy sales by state – the map for Ohio says M&M’s but newer data says it might be Blow Pops.  Of course, I’m hit with questions … what flavor gum inside, how big, peanut or regular, big or little, ugh.  For all of my goblins out there, I hit the internet, and captured some fun tips about Halloween candy – thx History Channel, People, and CandyStore.comand all the candy sites for the info.  Enjoy, and don’t open those bags until it’s time!!

  • For most American kids, it wouldn’t be Halloween without trick-or-treating for candy; however, that wasn’t always the case. When the custom of trick-or-treating started in the 1930s and early 1940s, children were given everything from homemade cookies and pieces of cake to fruit, nuts, coins and toys.
  • The earliest known reference to “trick or treats”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this, “Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.”
  • The first Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar was produced in 1900 and Hershey’s Kisses made their debut in 1907. Company founder Milton Hershey was a pioneer in the mass-production of milk chocolate and turned what previously had been a luxury item for the well-to-do into something affordable for average Americans. In the early 1900s, he also built an entire town, Hershey, Pennsylvania, around his chocolate factory.
  • In the 1950s, candy manufacturers began to get in on the act and promote their products for Halloween, and as trick-or-treating became more popular, candy was increasingly regarded as an affordable, convenient offering.
  • The Kit Kat bar was first sold in England in 1935 as a Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp and in 1937 was rechristened the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. The name is said to be derived from a London literary and political group, the Kit-Cat (or Kit Kat) club, established in the late 17th century. The group’s moniker is thought to be an abbreviation of the name of the man who owned the shop where the group originally gathered. Since 1988, the brand has been owned by Nestle, maker of another perennial trick-or-treat favorite, the Nestle Crunch bar, which debuted in the late 1930s.
  • In 1917, Harry Burnett Reese moved to Hershey, where he was employed as a dairyman for the chocolate company and later worked at its factory. Inspired by Milton Hershey’s success, Reese, who eventually had 16 children, began making candies in his basement. In the mid-1920s, he built a factory of his own and produced an assortment of candies, including peanut butter cups, which he invented in 1928 and made with Hershey’s chocolate. During World War II, a shortage of ingredients led Reese to pull the plug on his other candies and focus on his most popular product, peanut butter cups. In 1963, Hershey acquired the H.B Reese Candy Company.
  • Today, America spends about $2.7 billion dollars on candy.  When it comes to Halloween candy, a number of the most popular brands are enduring classics. Here is a link to a fun interactive map with detailed listings by state.
  • In 1923, a struggling, Minnesota-born candy maker, Frank Mars, launched the Milky Way bar, which became a best-seller. In 1930, he introduced the Snickers bar, reportedly named for his favorite horse, followed in 1932 by the 3 Musketeers bar. Frank’s son Forrest eventually joined the company, only to leave after a falling out with his father. Forrest Mars relocated to England, where he created the Mars bar in the early 1930s. In 1941, he launched M&Ms. Mars anticipated that World War II would produce a cocoa shortage, so he partnered with Bruce Murrie, son of a Hershey executive, in order to have access to a sufficient supply of ingredients; the candy’s name stands for Mars and Murrie.
  • No Halloween would be complete without candy corn, which was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia. Other companies went on to produce their own versions of the tricolor treat, none longer than the Goelitz Confectionery Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Co.), which has been doing so since 1898.

Here is a “top selling” candy list by State and links to their history:

  1. Candy Corn:  Alabama, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina
  2. Twix:  Alaska
  3. Snickers:  Arizona, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Virginia
  4. Jolly Ranchers:  Arkansas
  5. M&Ms: California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia
  6. Milky Way:  Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Vermont
  7. Almond Joy:  Connecticut
  8. Life Savers:  Delaware
  9. Skittles:  Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey
  10. Swedish Fish:  Georgia
  11. Sour Patch Kids:  Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts
  12. Hot Tamales:  Indiana, North Dakota
  13. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:  Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Wyoming
  14. Tootsie Pops:  Kentucky, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington
  15. Lemonheads:  Louisiana
  16. 3 Musketeers:  Mississippi
  17. Double Bubble Gum:  Montana
  18. Hershey Kisses:  Nevada
  19. Blow Pops:  Ohio, West Virginia
  20. Starburst:  South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin
  21. Jolly Ranchers:  Utah




A Foraging We Will Go

Fungi. Beautiful fungi. Search them out in the woods or in the grocery store and make some incredible dishes. A few starter recipes below.


The other day I was out for one of my morning runs and was taken by the soft breath of Fall – quiet, dew covered grounds, leaves slowly changing, animals foraging for food and the colors of summer hanging on.  As I passed a favorite turn, a deer ran by and then stopped in the woods.  I stopped as well, and we had a stare off (remember those in grade school – I did my best, but the deer won!).  All around the deer I noticed a huge patch of brightly colored mushrooms glistening on the forest floor.  Of course, when I got back to the office, I just had to google fall mushrooms, and wow, a great article came up from Mother Earth News.  Here are segments I thought you’d enjoy.  My suggestion – lace up your boots and take a hike this weekend and take pictures of any of these amazing mushrooms you may find. I also included some fun recipes – can’t wait to try them.  Thx Mother Earth News for the info.

Autumn is a time of change in the woodlands when the vivid green hues of summer fade into the auburn shades of fall as plant life in the great outdoors prepares for a long winter’s sleep.

During this period of transition, many who enjoy harvesting Mother Nature’s abundant vintages miss one of nature’s finest bounties — the fall mushrooms.  Understanding the dos and don’ts of fall mushroom foraging is key to enjoying the rewards of harvesting the mushrooms.

The first and foremost rule when mushroom foraging is to get to know just a few species — and get to know them well. To achieve this, purchase a field guide to North American mushrooms. Most bookstores stock one or can quickly order it. Though local libraries typically stock several, buying your own copy is a wise investment. Pocket-size editions with color photos are easily carried and help assure positive identification. A quality guide should contain the following species subheadings: description, edibility, season, habitat, range and look-alikes.

Fall mushrooms have many different flavors and textures. The majority of edible varieties have nicknames that mimic their characteristics, much like the spring morel, which is dubbed the “sponge” mushroom. Its colors can blend with the drab shades of dead bark or stand out like the colors of Christmas. Harvesting mushrooms for the dinner table while hiking the woodlands enhances the appreciation of forest ecology. See how many you can find:

Pear-Shaped and Giant Puffball (Puffball Family)
Puffball mushrooms are among the most recognizable of fall fungi. They are round in appearance and range in size from the pear-shaped puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme), of approximately one inch, to the giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea), which may reach diameters larger than a basketball. Most are rated “choice” for eating. The few that are not won’t affect your health and can easily be distinguished by their rank odor. The fruiting body of a puffball grows directly from its root system. If you find one with a stalk or stem, discard it; it’s not a puffball and may very well be an unsuitable look-alike, again characterized by a rank odor.
Members of the puffball family grow from July through November in most North American softwood and hardwood forests. Their outer coloration is typically white to olive brown, and should always be white inside for use at the dinner table. As puffballs age, their centers turn yellowish-brown and eventually dry, producing spores (microscopic seeds). A single giant puffball produces up to 7 trillion spores. To understand how the puffball got its name, step on the dried shell after a puffball is spent, and watch it “puff” smoke — in the form of millions of dried spores.  Pear-shaped puffballs grow in scattered-to-dense clusters on decaying logs and debris. The giants grow in open timber, pastured ground and even some urban areas. During prime conditions, giant puffballs decorate the forest like a woodland volleyball court.

RECIPE: To prepare a giant puffball, cut or peel the outer shell. For a pear-shaped puffball, just wash the outer core. Do not wash or soak the meat unless insects have laid first claim. The sweet smell and savory flavor of the puffball makes an excellent addition to a saute of onions, bell peppers and other favorite garden vegetables. The most popular method of preparation, however, is frying. Fry the pear-shaped puffball whole, but slice its big brother thin like a fish fillet. Coat with a chicken or fish batter before frying. Use your fresh puffballs promptly, though, as they can’t be feasibly canned, frozen or dried for long-term storage.

Hen of the Woods (Polypore Family)
Catch a glimpse of this fungi in the fall and you may easily mistake it for a hen pheasant or prairie chicken pruning its plumage.  The hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa) has a grayish brown cap growing from a white stalk, which branches from a compound base.  This handsome mushroom appears in wet Septembers through mild, moist Novembers. It can be found from Canada to Louisiana, throughout the Midwest and in coastal woodlands. Hunt for the hen near deciduous trees and stumps. They’re also known to grow around some coniferous trees. Hens often appear in the same location year after year. They blend well with fallen leaves, but their size gives them away. A single mushroom of this variety can reach 20 inches in diameter and weigh 100 pounds. Hunt them with a big bag, or take along a friend with a strong back.

RECIPE: The firm texture of the hen lends itself to a variety of cooking techniques. Slice it thin and roast it, cut into steaks or coat in a batter and fry. You can’t ruin it. Diced bits used in stir-fry recipes give chicken and bean sprouts a taste that captures the attention of even picky eaters. Unlike puffballs, minimal flavor is lost by canning or freezing.

Chicken Mushroom (Polypore Family)
In autumn, chicken mushrooms (Laetiporus sulphureus) decorate the stumps, trunks and logs of deciduous and coniferous trees in blazing orange-red or orange-yellow colors. Pay careful attention here, as the chicken mushroom bears a close resemblance to many nonedible types.
Be careful not to succumb to the addictive smell. It’s tempting to eat them raw — but don’t. Uncooked, this variety causes indigestion. Among veteran hunters, the chicken is one of the most prized mushrooms. The reasons are simple: It’s anything but plentiful, and when fried, a tasty chicken dinner is the finder’s reward. Mushroom hunters can search for these great-eating members of the polypore family from May through November. Although scarce, their range extends from Canada to Florida and into some coastal regions. If the humidity is right and daytime temperatures are moderate, the chicken may be nestled somewhere in your favorite fall haunt.

Fried-Chicken Mushroom (Tricholoma Family) 
While similar in name to the chicken mushroom, the fried-chicken mushroom (Lyophyllum decastes) is very different. Its cap is gray- to yellow-brown with white gills and a stalk. Growths are typically found in dense clusters on the ground near decaying deciduous trees or in grassy areas throughout most of North America. Their numbers dominate June through October — and even later if the weather is mild. Edibility is rated “good, with caution.” The “with caution” part is meant to give respect to the poisonous sulfur tuft, a close look-alike. Novice hunters can’t tell these two apart until they smell the tuft’s flat odor or partake of its bitter tang. Digesting the tuft invokes mild to severe gastric distress, and in rare cases has caused death. The odds of death from mushroom poisoning are about as likely as being hit by lightning — but odds mean little if you’re the unlucky soul.

RECIPE: Quite a few people are quick to disagree with the fried chicken’s “good” rating. This author concurs that its flavor might better be described as “delicious.” After a thorough washing, tear these mushrooms along the gill lines into bite-size strips. Fry them like chicken or saute them for a spaghetti dish. They are also wonderful in casseroles.

Oyster Mushroom (Tricholoma Family) 
Don’t head for the woods just yet, seafood mavens. “Oyster” (Pleurotus ostreatus) refers to the mushroom’s shape, not taste. The cap of the Oyster can be white, gray or brown. The gills are whitish or yellow-tinged and are usually attached to the wood of deciduous trees. Occasionally the oyster grows from a stublike stalk. It is widely dispersed throughout North America. Dry river and creek bottoms with willow or other softwood trees are prime places to search for the oyster fungi.  This mushroom is prolific in the fall, but under favorable conditions can appear year-round. The hearty oysters that grow in mild winter weather and freeze before aging can even be chopped free from dead wood and thawed.

RECIPE: The oyster’s pleasant smell distinguishes it from nonedible look-alikes that either lack odor or smell like tree bark. Check aging oysters for white grubs; then wash and tear into smaller strips. Roll the damp pieces in a dry mixture of pancake batter and seasoning salt and fry in peanut oil.

Honey Mushroom (Tricholoma Family) 
The honey mushroom (Armillariella mellea), also nicknamed “button mushroom,” has a one- to four-inch yellow-brown cap and stalk with a whitish ring directly under the cap. It’s similar in shape and taste to many commercially raised mushrooms.  Like the spring morel, it’s hunted by many who believe dangerous look-alikes don’t exist. Unfortunately, the honey mushroom has more fearsome twins than Minnesota has — the Omphalotus olearius, Gymnopilus spectabilis and Galerina autmnalis are just a few. All have either a rank odor, nonwhite gill colors or other recognizable features pinpointed in field guides.  Honey mushrooms appear in hardwood forests August through November: Logged-out timbers are the best places to find these delectable fungi by the bushel basket.

RECIPE: Honey mushrooms are exceptional when prepared using morel recipes. Their distinctive taste comes through best when deep-fried in egg-and-cracker batter or sauteed in butter.

Safety First
Follow this list of precautions and your mushrooming days will be memorable events:

  • If on-the-spot identification of a harvested mushroom is not possible, separate it from the rest of your find. After the hunt, enlist the services of a resident expert or field guide to verify the edibility of the suspect fungi.
  • Do not consume wild mushrooms raw. They are indigestible when uncooked.
  • Soak and rinse your mushrooms thoroughly to remove any residue that may have drifted from agricultural spraying.
  • It’s always best to have a veteran mushroomer inspect the find of a novice hunter before allowing preparation.
  • If health problems follow the consumption of mushrooms, contact a doctor immediately. Don’t wait until complications set in.
  • When hunting alone, tell someone when you’re going out and when you plan to return.
  • Those susceptible to poison ivy, oak, or sumac should pay special attention to its presence and, if applicable, use preventive medication. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat to prevent scratched legs and discourage ticks.
  • Don’t push your luck by walking through heavily wooded terrain after dark.

Preserving Your Bounty

Fortunate hunters who find more mushrooms than can be eaten fresh or given away have three options for preserving the excess. Each has pros and cons. You be the judge.

  • To freeze mushrooms, cut them into bite-size chunks and soak in water for a minimum of one hour. This will remove any insects from the meat. Rinse thoroughly and place the mushrooms in a Ziplock freezer bag, seal tightly and freeze. Though this is the most common practice for long-term storage, it causes appreciable loss of flavor and texture.
  •  Drying mushrooms (which is not possible with all varieties) first entails cutting them into large chunks and thoroughly rinsing them. Then sew the pieces together with string and allow to dry in an attic or other warm, dry area. Soaking the dried pieces in water will bring them back to a state of use. The texture is not as rigid as when fresh, but most of the flavor is restored.
  • The least used is canning mushrooms, The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests this method in their Home and Gardening Bulletin. To can mushrooms: Trim stems and the discolored parts of the mushrooms. Soak mushrooms in cold water for 10 minutes to remove adhering soil. Wash in clean water. Leave small mushrooms whole; cut larger ones in halves or quarters. Steam four minutes or beat gently for 15 minutes in a covered saucepan without added liquid.  Pack hot mushrooms in glass jars, to within a half inch of the top. Add ¼ teaspoon salt to half-pints; ½ teaspoon to pints. For better color, add crystalline ascorbic acid: 1/16 teaspoon to half-pints; 1/8 teaspoon to pints. Add boiling-hot cooking liquid or boiling water to cover mushrooms, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the jar. Adjust jar lids. Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (240°F) for 30 minutes.  Before use, check the seals to ensure a vacuum — and protection from bacterial growth. Canning makes a midwinter meal of mushrooms worth the added effort.




Searching for Answers

It used to be that finding answers meant going to the library. No more, my friend! Even a seven year old at can find the answers to anything.  A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. For better or worse, we can all find answers to our questions in an instant. (bottom two rows)  There are the kids, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at their garage office in Palo Alto where they moved the company from their Stanford dorm room. The boys today. Google headquarters sign in Mountain View, CA.


Over the weekend I was on the laptop, digging around for some information to help me on a project. It’s was so easy to type in my questions, or just words to “search”, and BOOM, tons of options appear instantly on the screen.  It got me to thinking about search and the history of Google, and I found out that Google is celebrating twenty years in existence (how can that be??).  Google of course was an outcome of great research and experimentation by scientists and programmers who came before them.  For fun, “google” the term “inventor of search” and the world’s most popular search engine will, unexpectedly, fail you. Nowhere among the algorithmically organized results will you find the names of the two men who, in the fall of 1963, sent the first known long-distance computer query (six years before Arpanet) and long before the launch of the world-changing Google.  Here’s some fun facts, surprising trivia and a bit of history.  Thanks Smithsonian, Wikipedia and Google for your amazing products.  Enjoy!


Here’s a fun site Goggle has set up where you can venture back in time and see the most popular search topics by year (and more).

  1. The story starts when Doug Engelbart began the Augmented Human Intellect Program at Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, California. In June 1962 Charlie Bourne, who had been a student of Engelbart’s at the University of California Berkeley in 1957, joined the AHI team. In 1963 Bourne started work on a project funded by US Air Force Electronic Systems Division to investigate remote online computer access to databases. The total funding was $39,000, which was quite a sizeable project in 1963.
  2. Charles Bourne (a research engineer) and Leonard Chaitlin (a computer programmer) built the first online search engine, then referred to as automated information retrieval. At the time, retrieval was physical, capturing data stored on punch cards.  Bourne’s vision was a user could search for any word in the files, much the same way Google works today, using a Q-32 computer developed by Systems Development Corporation. The Q-32 was one of the first computers to support online remote access and computer-to-computer communication.
  3. The database consisted of seven memos typed onto punched paper tapes and then converted to magnetic tape.  Chaitlin drove to Santa Monica, some 350 miles away, and input the files onto a massive military computer.  From a bulky computer terminal with a screen just 32 characters wide, they sent a “search” query (the precise question is lost to history).  The data lurched over a telephone line and after some time, the answer popped up, proving that online search was possible.
  4. Despite the success, the project was shut down.  The inventors later said, “We just didn’t know what it would become. You really couldn’t imagine, at that time, doing a lot of things with a computer.”
  5. Google, worth hundreds of billions, took two men with a big dream to turn a small idea into a reality and has made a significant contribution to how the world uses the internet. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were both PhD candidates when they met in 1996 at Stanford and came up with the concept for a search engine that they named BackRub.  One year later, in 1997, they renamed it and officially registered as a domain name. A man named Milton Sirotta was responsible for coming up with the term from which Google was derived (googol – refers to the number 1 with 100 zeros following it).
  6. The main aim of both men was to organize all of the information that could possibly be gathered around the world and present it in the form of an index.  When the team received its first $100,000 check, Page and Brin moved the operation to a garage in Palo Alto.
  7. Over the years millions of webmasters have tried their best to obtain a high PageRank, which is one of many indicators of the ‘authority’ and ‘link weight’ of any given website, however the term itself was only patented in September 2001 by the Google team. PageRank was an integral part of the core algorithm upon which the Google search engine operated, enabling it to ‘rank’ sites according to authority. It was in the same year that Larry Page, the namesake of PageRank, stepped down as CEO and Eric Schmidt took his place.
  8. The web-based email service that is now commonplace to Gmail fans was launched in 2004 and it quickly began to outrank the services being offered by companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo. The storage capabilities were set at 1 GB – a storage capacity that was unheard of at the time. 2004 was also the year that Google Earth was launched which allowed the earth to be mapped to the desktop using satellite imagery.
  9. In 2005, Google joined up with NASA to produce Google Moon and Google Mars in which two applications allowed individuals to navigate both entities from the comfort of their own computers. The project was brought to fruition after a 1 million sq ft development center was built within the Ames Research Centre.
  10. In 2006, Google Video was introduced to the public, and users were able to search for videos, rather than be restricted to content, through the search engine. This is the same year that the company acquired YouTube, which has in a very real sense become a massively popular ‘alternative’ search engine in its own right. In addition, the very popular Google Docs service was launched.
  11. Today, Google is estimated to have around well over 50% of the market share for search engines with Yahoo! as its closest rival. The search engine gets more than 1 billion search requests each day, and with the incorporation of Google Ads, every click makes the company money. The business is now a household name, and there is no telling where or how they plan on expanding in the future; after all, for Google, the sky is no longer the limit.




Before Google, came a host of web crawling “engines” – see how many you remember.

WebCrawler (1994). Of all still-surviving search engines, WebCrawler is the oldest. Today, it aggregates results from Google and Yahoo.
Lycos (1994). Born out of Carnegie Mellon University and still alive today. Also owns several other nostalgic Internet brands, including Angelfire, Tripod, and Gamesville.
AltaVista (1995). This was one of the most popular search engines in the 1990s, but was acquired by Yahoo in 2003 and subsequently shut down in 2013.
Excite (1995). One of the most recognizable brands back in the 1990s, but has since fallen out of the spotlight.
Yahoo (1995). Definitely one of the strongest pre-Google brands to still exist today. In fact, according to Alexa, Yahoo was the 4th most globally-visited website in June 2015. Impressive!
Dogpile (1996). It has a terrible brand name, but maybe that’s what made it memorable. Today, Dogpile aggregates results from Google, Yahoo, and the Russian search engine, Yandex (which is also older than Google!).
Ask Jeeves (1996). This engine was unique due to its question-and-answer format, plus it had a memorable mascot in Jeeves the Butler. Sadly, Jeeves was eventually phased out and the site rebranded to (Not to be confused with AskBoth.)



Pre-web search engine           
The Archie search engine, created by Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan and J. Peter Deutsch, computer science students at McGill University in Montreal, goes live. The program downloads the directory listings of all the files located on public anonymous FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites, creates a searchable database of a lot of file names.

Pre-web search engine         

The rise of Gopher (created in 1991 by Mark McCahill at the University of Minnesota) leads to two new search programs, Veronica and Jughead. Like Archie, they search the file names and titles stored in Gopher index systems. Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives) provides a keyword search of most Gopher menu titles in the entire Gopher listings. Jughead (Jonzy’s Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display) is a tool for obtaining menu information from specific Gopher servers.

Virtual library of the web     
Tim Berners-Lee sets up the Virtual Library (VLib), a loose confederation of topical experts maintaining relevant topical link lists.

First web robot                       
Matthew Gray produces the first known web robot, the Perl-based World Wide Web Wanderer, and uses it to generate an index of the web called the Wandex.  However, the World Wide Web Wanderer is intended only to measure the size of the web rather than to facilitate search.

First web search engine          
W3Catalog, written by Oscar Nierstrasz at the University of Geneva, is released to the world. It is the world’s first web search engine. It does not rely on a crawler and indexer but rather on already existing high-quality lists of websites. One of its main drawbacks is that the bot accesses each page hundreds of times each day, causing performance degradation.

Second web search engine     
Aliweb, a web search engine created by Martijn Koster, is announced. It does not use a web robot, but instead depends on being notified by website administrators of the existence at each site of an index file in a particular format. The absence of a bot means that less bandwidth is used; however, most website administrators are not aware of the need to submit their data.

First crawler and indexer 
JumpStation, created by Jonathon Fletcher, is released. It is the first WWW resource-discovery tool to combine the three essential features of a web search engine (crawling, indexing, and searching).

New web search engine 
Infoseek is launched.

New web search engine
The World-Wide Web Worm is released. It is claimed to have been created in September 1993, at which time there did not exist any crawler-based search engine, but it is not the earliest at the time of its actual release. It supports Perl-based regular expressions.

New web search engine         
The WebCrawler search engine, created by Brian Pinkerton at the University of Washington, is released. Unlike its predecessors, it allows users to search for any word in any webpage, which has become the standard for all major search engines since.

New web directory                 
Yahoo! launches its web directory.  Yahoo! would not build its own web search engine until 2002, relying until then on outsourcing the search function to other companies.

New web search engine         
Lycos, a web search engine, is released. It began as a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University’s main Pittsburgh campus.

New web directory                
LookSmart is released. It competes with Yahoo! as a web directory, and the competition makes both directories more inclusive.

Natural language queries       
Altavista is launched. This is a first among web search engines in many ways: it has unlimited bandwidth, allows natural language queries, has search tips, and allows people to add or delete their domains in 24 hours.

New web search engine      
Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin working on BackRub, the predecessor to Google Search. The crawler begins activity in March.

New web search engine         
Inktomi releases its HotBot search engine.

New web search engine         
Gary Culliss and Steven Yang begin work at MIT on the popularity engine, a version of the Direct Hit Technologies search engine that ranks results across users according to the selections made during previous searches.

Natural language search         
Ask Jeeves, a natural language web search engine, that aims to rank links by popularity, is released. It would later become

New web search                     
The domain is registered. Soon, Google Search is available to the public from this domain (around 1998).

New search(non-English)        
Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich launch their Russian web search engine and publicly present it at the Softool exhibition in Moscow. The initial development is by Comptek; Yandex would become a separate company in 2000.

New web directory                 
Gnuhoo, a web directory project by Rich Skrenta and Bob Truel, both employees of Sun Microsystems, launches.  It would later be renamed the Open Directory Project.

New web search portal          
MSN launches a search portal called MSN Search, using search results from Inktomi. After many changes to the backend search engine, MSN would start developing in-house search technology in 2005, and later change its name to Bing in June 2009.

New web search engine         
Direct Hit Technologies releases their popularity search engine in partnership with HotBot, providing more relevant results based on prior user search activity.

New web search engine         
AlltheWeb, based on the Ph.D. thesis of Tor Egge at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, titled FTP Search, launches. The engine is launched by Egge’s company Fast Search & Transfer, established on July 16, 1997.

New web search portal          
Baidu, a Chinese company that would grow to provide many search-related services, launches.

Web search consolidation      
Yahoo! buys Inktomi (2002) and then Overture Services Inc. (2003) which has already bought AlltheWeb and Altavista. Starting 2003, Yahoo! starts using its own Yahoo Slurp web crawler to power Yahoo! Search. Yahoo! Search combines the technologies of all Yahoo!’s acquisitions (until 2002, Yahoo! had been using Google to power its search).

Backend providers                  
Microsoft starts using its own indexer and crawler for MSN Search rather than using blended results from LookSmart and Inktomi.

New User experience            
Google Suggest is introduced as a Google Labs feature.

Webmaster tools                    
To combat link spam, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft collectively introduce the nofollow attribute.

New web search engine         
Overture Services Inc. owner Bill Gross launches the Snap search engine, with many features such as display of search volumes and other information, as well as sophisticated auto-completion and related terms display. It is unable to get traction and soon goes out of business.

New human-curated search   
Wikia launches Wikia Search, a search engine based on human curation, but then shuts it down.

New web search engine         
Cuil, a web search engine created by ex-Googlers that uses picture thumbnails to display search results, launches.  It would later shut down on September 17, 2010.

Search consolidation              
Microsoft and Yahoo! announce that they have made a ten-year deal in which the Yahoo! search engine would be replaced by Bing. Yahoo! will get to keep 88% of the revenue from all search ad sales on its site for the first five years of the deal, and have the right to sell adverts on some Microsoft sites. Yahoo! Search will still maintain its own user interface, but will eventually feature “Powered by Bing™” branding.  All Yahoo! Search global customers and partners are expected to be transitioned by early 2012.

Search algorithm update        
Named Caffeine, this update is announced on August 10, 2009. It promises faster crawling, expansion of the index, and a near-real-time integration of indexing and ranking. The rollout is made live on June 8, 2010.

New User experience            
Google launches Google Instant, described as a search-before-you-type feature: as users are typing, Google predicts the user’s whole search query (using the same technology as in Google Suggest, later called the autocomplete feature) and instantaneously shows results for the top prediction.  Google claims that this is estimated to save 2–5 seconds per search query.  SEO commentators initially believe that this will have a major effect on search engine optimization, but soon revise downward their estimate of the impact.

New web search engine         
Blekko, a search engine that uses slashtags to allow people to search in more targeted categories, launches.

Webmaster tools                    
Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft announce, a joint initiative that supports a richer range of tags that websites can use to convey better information.

Search algorithm update        
Google launches Google Panda, a major update affecting 12% of search queries. The update continues with the earlier work of cracking down on spam, content farms, scrapers, and websites with a high ad-to-content ratio. The rollout is gradual over several months, and Panda will see many further updates.

Search algorithm update        
Google launches Search Plus Your World, a deep integration of one’s social data into search.  SEO commentators are critical of how the search results favor Google+ and push it to users, compared to more widely used social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Search algorithm update        
Google launches its “Webspam update” which would soon become known as Google Penguin.

Sidebar User experience         
Microsoft announces a redesign of its Bing search engine that includes “Sidebar”, a social feature that searches users’ social networks for information relevant to the search query.

Search algorithm update        
Google starts rolling out Knowledge Graph, used by Google internally to store semantic relationships between objects. Google now begins displaying supplemental information about objects related to search queries on the side.

Search algorithm update        
Google releases Google Hummingbird, a core algorithm update that may enable more semantic search and more effective use of the Knowledge Graph in the future.