Tuesday, February 3


Well, today I discovered that Hans Beck, the German creator of those little Playmobil figures died. It’s almost like hearing that Charles Schulz finally passed away, the creator of Snoopy. You'd think they could just keep on creating forever (and, in the case of Playmobil, I imagine they will). And, it started me thinking of how many things we grew up with, which, in America, everyone simply believes is American. Like Prince spaghetti, Pinocchio (although Gepetto kind of gives him away) or even Speed Racer. In our limited world view, there are many people out there who probably don’t realize a lot of the things that have achieved nearly cult status are, in fact, imports [although today one could argue that it's all coming from China anyway].

And so it is as well with the Legos. Who knew they came from Denmark (well, except all you out there who’ve been to Legoland). Awesome. Pretty soon we’ll learn that Barbie actually came from the Bahamas. Although I think she might just be a Swede or Norwegian who hales from South Dakota.

There’s actually a fabulous book on Amazon for kids which shows all the things we have in America that came from Italy, including the pretzel [I actually know this story which is on my Audio Tour of the Vatican Museums…a baker made them in honor of the Polish General who fought off the Muslims at Rome’s Ponte Milvio…they were called after his stirrups or something like that…]

But, there’s a Dutch import I truly wish had never left its borders: TV’s Big Brother. Boy, was I ever relieved to learn it wasn’t yet another trash American export come our way…! But then again, although it’s from the same country that gave us the Red Light District, they also came up with those rich Coffee Houses and so…we won’t hold it against them.

5 comments:

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
Remember the Prince Spaghetti Day (Wednesdays) TV commercials with mamma leading out the window shouting An-tony, An--tony...!

Davide

Anonymous said...

having grown up in the states, i always thought tic-tacs were american. go figure that "The 1½ Calorie Breath Mint" is an italian invention.

Francesca Maggi said...

Not only do I have one nephew who looks EXACTLY like little Antony...my sister named her child after him (I swear)...Meanwhile, I knew about Tic-Tacs as my family is from Sulmona area where they were invented...but, you'll never ever find the witty commercials here to promote 'em

'Put a tictac in your mouth and get a BANG outta life, it's a clean, fresh, explosion of mint..."

Anonymous said...

hmm, that's interesting about pretzels. it hasnt even been a year that i have been able to find them (at todis, the discount supermarket chain)

so, where can i find a warm soft pretzel in the eternal city?

c.

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
Check out the history of the Pretzel---it seems it's more German than anything. I don't think the Italians can claim this one.

Davide



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretzel