Read the text below.
Clarence Birdseye loved fish, and that’s why we can buy frozen foods. At first glance, the two parts of that sentence may not seem connected, but they are.
In the early 20th century, Birdseye worked for the U.S. government as a naturalist in New Mexico and Arizona. But it was his time from 1912-15 in Labrador, now part of Canada, that would earn him a place in history.
Temperatures in Labrador can drop well below zero. Birdseye learned from the Inuit how to catch fish from deep below ice, and noticed that they froze hard almost instantly in the cold air. When they were thawed out and cooked, they tasted delicious.
What he saw is called flash freezing. When foods are frozen quickly, they taste better than normally frozen foods because the ice crystals that appear are smaller.
Birdseye spent years trying to flash-freeze foods at scale. He founded Birdseye Seafood Inc. in 1922 to freeze fish fillets at minus 43 degrees Celsius. The company is now Birds Eye Ltd., and his flash freezing was a breakthrough that shook the foods industry.
Over the years, everything improved. Liquid nitrogen could freeze foods more quickly, and down to minus 196 C. And all kinds of foods were frozen, not just fish.
By the 1960s, people could buy ready-made frozen meals. You heated them up in an oven — these days, a microwave — and ate them straight away. No muss, no mucking about in the kitchen.
So the next time you eat a frozen meal, say a thank you to Clarence Birdseye and his love of fish. (T)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.