Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) was one of history’s great intellects. In his treatise Novum Organum he laid out the principles of inductive logic and in so doing laid the groundwork for what has become known as the Scientific Method. His writings on the law were reportedly one of the inspirations behind the Napoleonic Code.
Thomas Jefferson, writing to John Trumbull, estimated his value thusly:
I have duly received your favor of the 5th. inst. with respect to the busts & pictures I will put off till my return from America all of them except Bacon, Locke and Newton, whose pictures I will trouble you to have copied for me: and as I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundations of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical & Moral sciences, I would wish to form them into a knot on the same canvas, that they may not be confounded at all with the herd of other great men. to do this I suppose we need only desire the copyist to draw the three busts in three ovals all contained in a larger oval in some such form as this
Bacon at top: Locke next then Newton
What many fail to recognize, however, was that pneumonia may have stolen him from the Earth shortly before he made his mark in yet another aspect of human life: the supermarket. “May”, because the veracity of this anecdote is challenged by some modern scientists, although it is noteworthy that it has been reported as fact for centuries and was reported as such in the years following his passing.
Whereas Clarence Birdseye is, as the developer of flash freezing, generally accepted to be the most prominent figure in the development of frozen foods, Sir Francis Bacon attempted to step into that role in early 1626. Bacon and a friend were having a discussion about food preservation while on a carriage ride during an abnormally cold day. Bacon was struck with the notion of using ice, and instructed the driver to go to a nearby farm. Bacon bought a chicken, had it plucked and gutted, and then proceeded to personally stuff the chicken with snow before packing the entire carcass in ice.
The hands-on touch was a poor choice. The exposure to extreme cold and damp at age 65 left him vulnerable to the illness which quickly took his life.
So, Francis Bacon, inventor of Frozen Food.
There’s even more to this story… and that will be brought forth in tomorrow’s Owl, so if you’re familiar with the bizarre twist, please hold off until tomorrow night, when you can bask in everyone else’s incredulity and share some laughs with them.
Question of the Night: What foodstuff is most likely to be found in your freezer?