Image Credit: Elizabeth R. Hibbs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Before the tinny melody of “Pop Goes The Weasel” brought swarms of sweaty kids to the streets for an ice cream cone, mobile ice cream vendors used more primitive—and less sanitary—means.
In the late 19th century, vendors sold dishes of ice cream from carts cooled with ice blocks, which meant customers would lick their dish clean and then return it to the seller to use for his next customer. Not exactly a model of hygiene.
Before widespread milk pasteurization, ice cream also came topped with the threat of bacteria that could cause scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and other extreme ailments.
The frozen treat became safer to order after studies of typhoid in New York implicated raw milk, causing most cities to require pasteurization, and inventions like the ice cream cone made that whole sharing dishes issue disappear.
Technological advances around the same time made refrigeration easier and scoopers traded in their carts for cars.
Ice cream trucks, which first appeared in the 1920s, have seen something of a resurgence in recent years as other food trucks have flourished and anything vintage has become hipster cool, but the once-ubiquitous carts tend to remain relegated to zoos, amusement parks, and other touristy areas.
The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence is a museum dedicated to baked beans, owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany. And yes, it is as eccentric as it sounds.
In order to understand the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, you first have to understand Captain Beany. The man formerly known as Barry Kirk once worked in the computer department of the British Petroleum chemical plant in the village of Baglan in Neath Port Talbot.
Then, in September 1986, one sublime event changed his life: Kirk sat naked in a bathtub full of baked beans for 100 hours, setting a new world record.
At the same time, his one true destiny was revealed: Captain Beany was born, an honest-to-goodness real-life superhero rising like a phoenix from the rich tomato sauce of a thousand baked beans. It was a beautiful moment.
In truth, it actually took a few years for Kirk to complete his baked bean-obsessed transformation. But in 1991, he legally changed his name by deed poll to Captain Beany.
Not stopping there, he started painting his face and (now completely bald) head orange, and began wearing a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.
Ever since, Captain Beany has been involved in a whole range of strange events, raising money for various charities.
In doing so, he’s raised more than £100,000 for charity.
In 2009, Captain Beany transformed his third-floor, two-bedroom council flat into the world’s only museum dedicated to baked beans: The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence. The tiny museum is packed with baked bean-related artifacts.
It’s bursting with baked bean tins from various brands around the world.
It’s a surreal experience, but one that most visitors thoroughly enjoy. Well done, Captain Beany.
Because the museum is located in a council flat, Captain Beany can’t charge an entrance fee. Donations are happily received, however, and are given to charity.
The first supper was held in memoriam at Burns Cottage by Burns’s friends, on 21 July 1801, the fifth anniversary of his death; it has been a regular occurrence ever since.
The first still extant Burns Club was founded in Greenock in 1801 by merchants who were born in Ayrshire, some of whom had known Burns.
They were held to celebrate the life and work of Legendary Scottish poet Robbie Burns
They held the first Burns supper on what they thought was his birthday, 29 January 1802, but in 1803, they discovered the Ayr parish records that noted his date of birth was actually 25 January 1759. Since then, suppers have been held on or about 25 January.