The impact of the spectacular St. Louis 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition still resounds lo these 108 years later. Among other splendors, the fair launched the careers of the hot dog (St. Louis World’s Fair Hot Dog recipe here), the waffle cone, peanut butter, iced tea, cotton candy and Dr. Pepper.
Sadly there are those who will dispute these culinary creds. I feel sorry for them, I really do. Fact: Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis received the first patent for a peanut butter machine in 1903. Need I say more?
We grew up in a 1906 house in the close-in suburb of Webster Groves. Many homes built at that time used wood salvaged from the fair. There’s as much reason to believe that our home had World’s Fair wood as there is not to. And that, my friends, gives me the authority to pronounce these beef and lamb tube-steaks a World’s Fair-worthy original recipe. (The decorative orange frills in the photo are incendiary Good and Evil Carrot Pickles.)
Besides, Spectacularly Delicious has already done recipes for the Perfect Hog Dog and Hog Dogs Super Olga. Take a look back at the reasons why home made hot dogs and sausages are superior; check out this video for a look at home sausage making in action. Buy KitchenAid’s food grinder and sausage-stuffer attachments for their stand mixer here.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let”s review some other landmark World’s Fairs just for fun.
The granddaddy of them all was England’s 1851 Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations.
— Best remembered for the nearly 23 acre, all glass Crystal Palace, site of the world’s first public toilets that flushed.
— Bold-faced names: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Charlotte Brontë, and Samuel Colt who exhibited a nifty little revolver which turned out to be quite popular indeed.
— Visitors: 6 million.
What’s not to like about the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair?
— Life-changing inventions introduced: color photography, air conditioning, fluorescent lamps and Smell-O-Vision.
— High/low food irony: birthplace of Wonder Bread and American haute cuisine. At the close of the fair the French Pavilion scooted across the East River and opened up as Manhattan’s legendary Le Pavilion, with chef Pierre Franey.
— Second in size only to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. (Ha!)
— Visitors: 60 million.
The absolute grooviest World’s Fair of all time: Expo ’67 in Montreal.
— Could the name be any hipper? And check out the logo, as seen on these mugs Mom and Dad brought back from the Expo.
— The Habitat apartments, the mini rail, the Buckminster Fuller Geodesic Dome and the Calder Sculpture.
— The Grateful Dead, Tiny Tim and Jefferson Airplane performed there. Ed Sullivan did a live broadcast with The Supremes and Petula Clark. Sure, Queen Elizabeth showed up, but that’s her job. Better still was the visit of the queen of the Jet Set, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Princess Grace, Jacqueline Kennedy with brother-in-law Bobby, Haile Selassie and Marlene Dietrich took in the sights and entertainments as well.
— 50 million visitors.
Back to 1904 in St. Louis:
— A virtual human zoo including the real, live Geronimo on display in a tee-pee; a tribe of nearly-naked indigenous Filipinos; babies in incubators.
— An elephant water slide; reenactments of the Boer War.
— Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, John Philip Sousa, T. S. Eliot.
— Scott Joplin popularized ragtime music there and Vincent Minnelli later immortalized it with “Meet Me in St. Louis” starring Judy Garland.
This concludes the comparative World’s Fair portion of the post.
Click here for the recipe for St. Louis World’s Fair Hot Dogs.
More than 50 countries presented their best faces to the world, and fair organizers helped less developed nations make their debut in the form of