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Below are some items that were gleaned from The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures, by Sam Stall, Lou Harry, and Julia Spalding.  For those that would like to see more from this enjoyable little book, it can be found in most of your favorite bookstores, both offline and online.

Budweiser

“Bud” is America’s best-selling beer.  Introduced in 1876, it is made from only five ingredients:  barley, malt, hops, yeast, water, and of all things, rice (which apparently helps improve the clarity of the finished product).

Coffee Mate

This used to be the generic white powder we sprinkled in Styrofoam cups of coffee in order to cut the metallic taste.  By the way, they aren’t kidding about this being a non-dairy creamer, the two top ingredients are sugar and vegetable oil.

Guinness Book of World Records

How appropriate that the book that has settled countless drunken bar bets was invented by a beer company.  It all began in 1951 when the managing director of the Guinness Brewery got into an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe.  It occurred to him that people might enjoy a book that compiled such useless drivel in one place, so a London fact-finding agency was commissioned to dig up the necessary data and the first Guinness record book was published in 1955.

Kool-Aid

The beverage that created a thousand red tongues (and makes an excellent hair dye as well) was invented by Nebraska tinkerer Edwin E. Perkins.  He ran a small manufacturing concern called Perkins Products Company, and one of its best selling products was a soft drink syrup called Fruit Smack.  In 1927 Perkins, who shipped by mail and hated paying the extra postage to cover the glass Fruit Smack bottle, figured out a way to dehydrate the syrup and package it into envelopes.  All that was left was to change the name to Kool-Ade (now Kool-Aid), and a century spanning tradition was born.

Nachos

It should come as no surprise that this ultimate quickie, no-brainer meal started as a quickie, no-brainer meal.  One day Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya was working as maitre d’ at a restaurant in the tiny Mexican border town of Piedras Negras when a large party of women arrived looking for lunch.  The cook was absent, so Anaya took matters into his own hands.  He headed for the kitchen, put some tostados on a plate, covered them with grated cheese, slipped them under a broiler for a couple of minutes and then added a jalapeno garnish.  Needless to say, there’s now a bronze plaque in Piedras Negras commemorating this accomplishment.

A-1 Steak Sauce

For more than 140 years, A-1 has been the douse of choice for disguising the taste of tough T-bone and funky filets.  Its marketing company, Kraft Foods, says the recipe goes back to Henderson William Brand, chef to King George IV during the 1820s.

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