There’s a fantastic show on the History Channel that I just discovered during the hiatus season of good TV like 24, LOST and American Idol.

America Eats. Here’s a clip from their press release:

Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt took over 500 gallons of beer on an African safari? Ever wonder who first came up with the idea for pizza… how the hot dog found its bun… or how the brand name of a soft drink became the second most recognized word on the planet? The new series AMERICAN EATS is the quirky, nostalgic — and often surprising — look back at the history, mystery and technology behind our favorite foods. AMERICAN EATS makes its world premiere on The History Channel on Thursday, June 29 at 10pm ET/PT.

Each light-hearted weekly episode tells the story of the brilliant ideas, offbeat inventions, and daring innovators who transformed the way we eat while helping to define American culture. Along the way, viewers will discover why it took much more than a tasty recipe for pizza to go from Italy to pizza-parlor delivery trucks everywhere. We learn how a backyard concoction went from pharmacy soda fountains to become a staple of American life … and how a chef’s hurt feelings led to the ever-popular potato chip! AMERICAN EATS is a celebration of the foods we love and the remarkable stories behind them. Experts featured on AMERICAN EATS include authors, food innovators, pop culture experts, magazine writers, industry historians and university professors.

Basically it is a history of food, an examination of the socital evolution changing the way and what we eat, and also a description of the origin of food and how it was named. SO fun.

Here’s an example of my learnings after just 2 episodes:

  • The hamburger was created when a meatball was flattened in anger.
  • Hamburger had a very bad reputation when it started.
  • Until WWII, White Castle only hired male workers.
  • Chicken used to be for just the wealthy.
  • Submarine sandwiches were named because they were often served to the ship yard workers.
  • The Rueben was named after a man, the original sandwich had 1/2 lb of meat.
  • Fortune cookiees were first introduced in Los Angeles.
  • At one point, pizza didn’t have tomato sauce.
  • Waffle cones were invented on accident.
  • Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame used to work at KFC.
  • Colonel Sanders was half lucky and half genius. And maybe a little crazy thrown in there.

Here’s an article on the show as well. You MUST watch it.