Thomas Jefferson brought eggplant to the U.S., even though it was thought to cause bad breath
SUMMARY: Though the eggplant was commonly thought to cause a whole host of ailments, including bad breath, Jefferson wisely introduced it to the Americas anyway.
Posted: December 29, 2011
Did you know that eggplant was once thought to cause bad breath? Not only that, but the tasty food item - which is technically a fruit - was blamed for all sorts of nasty health conditions, at least until Thomas Jefferson brought it to this country.
That's right - the third President of the United States of America introduced the eggplant to the nation, according to Nanette Goings' history book Stirring Up a World of Fun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms the story.
At the time when Jefferson brought the eggplant back from Europe, the plant was believed to cause bad breath, leprosy, cancer or even insanity. Ever the experimenters, the sage of Monticello brought the tasty bulb back to his budding nation, where it was planted and bred for centuries.
The CDC notes that we Americans first started eating eggplant much later, in the 20th century. And, though it has never been connected with tumors or madness, eggplant can - like any other food - cause halitosis.
To get rid of bad breath caused by Jefferson's contribution to culinary science, simply gargle with a specialty breath freshening rinse or use an oral care probiotic kit.
Trivia about Thomas Jefferson:
- He kept a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese in the White House. Nicknamed the Cheshire Mammoth Cheese, the titanic dairy product was a gift from the town of Cheshire, Massachusetts in 1802. Talk about some bad breath!
- According to historian Joseph Ellis, Jefferson sang under his breath all the time.
- The third president spent roughly ten hours per day at his writing desk.
- In his eight years in office, Jefferson gave a grand total of two public speeches.