EVERY FRIDAY Modern Marvels

Witness the innovation, inventions, and incredible feats of mankind. See how these ideas went from dream to reality and transformed our lives.

FRIDAY ON STORY

December 9, 2022

All times Eastern
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8:00A

4:00P

12:00A

Modern Marvels

The Butcher

In a carnivorous world, a butcher is a necessary link in the food chain, carving a carcass of unsavory flesh into mouthwatering cuts. We trace the grisly trade's evolution--from yesteryear's butcher-on-every-corner to today's industrial butcher working on a "disassembly" line. We tour the infamous remains of the Chicago Stockyards, where Upton Sinclair, Clarence Birdseye, and refrigeration changed butchering forever; witness high-speed butchering; and travel to a non-stop sausage factory. And if you're still squeamish, a USDA inspector offers the lowdown on HACCP--the country's new system of checks and balances on everything from quality grading to E. coli, Salmonella, and Mad Cow Disease. Finally, we visit the last bastion of old-school butchering--the rural custom butcher, who slaughters, eviscerates, skins, and cuts to his customer's wishes.

9:00A

5:00P

1:00A

Modern Marvels

Fry It

Welcome to the world of sizzling hot oil. First, it's a trip to the fair to discover the secrets behind fried classics such as funnel cakes and churros. And how about some deep fried treats such as frogs legs, and Twinkies and Coke? At Mickey's Diner in St. Paul, Minnesota, get schooled in the tricks of the fried food trade from a master short order cook. See what goes into forging the classic cast iron frying pan, supplying deep fryers for American restaurants, and producing billions of pounds of cooking oil. At Kentucky's World Chicken Festival, witness the world's largest stainless steel frying pan fry up to six hundred chicken quarters at a time. Find out what makes international favorites like British fish and chips, Japanese tempura, and Chinese stir-fry so tasty. Cooking oil is now being deployed as a fuel. Marvel at how San Francisco fire trucks are fueling up on the city's used cooking oil.

10:00A

6:00P

2:00A

Modern Marvels

The Turkey

It's the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving dinner table--and one of the most famous birds in North America. From the moment a baby turkey pecks through its shell to the factory that transforms turkey waste into crude oil, see a world few have ever seen. Tour the Butterball factory in North Carolina, where millions of domesticated turkeys are processed, take a trip to a wild turkey hunt in the Montana wilderness, and stop at America's most famous turkey-themed restaurant, the Strongbow Inn, for a plate of turkey testicles and turkey eggs. From pets to presidential pardons, it's an up-close look at the feisty fowl that's the reluctant star of our holiday dinners.

11:00A

7:00P

3:00A

Modern Marvels

The Pig

It is said that the pig is as smart as a three-year-old human. the pancreas, heart valve and intestines of the pig have been transplanted into human bodies, yet the primary use of the pig is for food. Watch the pig transform into bacon, ham, ribs and sausage, using a high tech water knife, at Burger's Smokehouse in Missouri. Then Chef Chris Cosentino re-creates old world dishes from pig parts and culinary artisans attempt to duplicate long-vanished pork specialties like prosciutto and acorn-fed pigs.

12:00P

8:00P

4:00A

Modern Marvels

Hot & Spicy

Chili head alert! It's time to get hot and spicy. First we'll take you to the home of sizzling Tabasco sauce--McIlhenny Company of Louisiana, and to McCormick in Baltimore, Maryland--the leading spice manufacturer in the world. Then, head down south to see who likes it hot at the Southern Mississippi Chili Cook Off. At the Chile Pepper Institute, taste the rare "Bhut Jolokia," the hottest Chile pepper in the world, and learn about the chemical substance capsaicin, which gives the "Bhut" and other popular peppers their tongue-burning heat. At Sol Toro restaurant in Connecticut, owned by basketball great Michael Jordan, customers need to sign a waiver to dine on their sizzling dishes. Go to the manufacturers of horseradish, wasabi and mustard to find out how their roots and seeds deliver their own distinctive blazing burn. Using the same heat many savor, we'll demonstrate the powerful punch of pepper spray as a weapon.

1:00P

9:00P

5:00A

Modern Marvels

Sugar

The sugar industry came of age on the backs of those enslaved and toiling in Caribbean fields, and British desire to control production of sugar and its byproduct, rum. Sugar also played a surprisingly critical part in America's battle for independence. Tour a sugar plantation on Maui, Hawaii to get an inside look at how cane sugar is produced today and learn how the sugar stalks are put through an extensive process of extraction and purification--and how a ton of harvested cane results in 200 pounds of raw sugar. Learn the technology behind creating the sweetener in all of its permutations, including corn syrup, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and cube sugar, and how it's used in candies, soda, and sauces as well as more exotic uses such as in pipe tobacco and processed meat.

2:00P

10:00P

6:00A

Modern Marvels

The Potato

It is among the most versatile, nutritious, and varied foodstuffs in the world. the Potato is the ultimate comfort food. We'll travel from the Potato's mysterious origins in the South American Andes to the ethnic enclaves of New York's lower Eastside, for some tasty Potato Knishes. In Northern Maine we'll discover a farmer of exotic potatoes: blue, green, pink, and dark purple varieties. We'll reveal how large-scale potato producers in Idaho and Pennsylvania slice, dice, freeze, and dehydrate millions of pounds of spuds annually. We'll learn how to mass produce Tater tots and Kettle Potato Chips. Potato Vodka now scores near perfection in international tasting competitions--and we'll visit a Maine distillery at the top of their game. Finally, we'll pay tribute to the iconic Mr. Potato Head, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, then round out the show with an explosive visit to the makers of some of the world's most sophisticated Spud Guns.

3:00P

11:00P

7:00A

Modern Marvels

Coffee

Traces the origins of this tasty drink from Ethiopia over 1,000 years ago to the espresso-fueled explosion of specialty coffee stores like Starbucks today. Along the way, we'll see how American companies like Hills Brothers, Maxwell House, Folgers, and MJB grew to be giants. Discover how billions of coffee beans make their journey from coffee farms and plantations, and are processed in gigantic roasting and packaging plants before showing up in coffee cups all over the world. Details the invention and production of instant coffee, decaffeinated coffee, freeze-dried coffee, and the espresso machine. Also, we explain how coffee made shift work in factories possible, while coffeehouses provided a creative cauldron that brewed political and artistic progress in the 18th and 19th centuries. And, we also provide tips on how to make a better cup at home!