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I have promoted a falsehood

Kind of. Maxwell House coffee was named after the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville. The hotel was started just before the outbreak of the Civil War and was taken over and used, unfinished, as a barracks for the Union Army.

Finished, it was the biggest hotel in Nashville. Nathan Bedford Forrest was inducted into the KKK in Maxwell House, and the first national meeting was held there.

According to Wikipedia: “Its Christmas dinner featuring calf’s head, black bear, and opossum, and other unusual delicacies became famous.”

For the record, I have eaten black bear and it was gross. I have not eaten possum and I would nonetheless object on principle to calling possum a delicacy.

The hotel burned down Christmas 1961.

Maxwell House coffee was served there, but it was called that because the man who blended it, Joel Cheek, swore he’d name it after his first big sale and the hotel agreed. I doubt it tastes today very much like it tasted then.

The Cheeks were an interesting old Nashville family (I mean, as old as anything is in Nashville). Joel gave most of his money away and his cousins were the Cheeks who built Cheekwood, family mansion turned art museum.

Every year, Cheekwood hosts the Swan Ball, a giant showoffy charity fundraiser for Middle Tennessee’s rich bastards. There are some astonishingly rich bastards in Middle Tennessee, and it ain’t country music money. Old plantation money filtered down and the like. My folks went to the ball a couple of times, though sadly not quite of that ilk.

Anyway, back to the falsehood – but it wasn’t mine. Teddy Roosevelt did not declare Maxwell House coffee to be “good to the last drop” – but the company claimed he did for a long time. Which is why my sainted mother told me. They later confessed the trademark was invented by Clifford Spiller, the president of General Foods.

What Roosevelt actually said about the coffee was – and this is so much cooler than “good to the last drop” – “This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.” (Forgive me, Durnedyankee, I thought you were kidding).

p.s. I don’t think I can accept Robert Card as a Deadpool win. We’ll never know when he actually died.

November 2, 2023 — 6:53 pm
Comments: 1