I wrote a while back about Milton Bradley, and here’s another neat Civil War connection to modern day mundanity: If Edmund McIlhenny hadn’t been bankrupted by the war, there would be no Tabasco sauce.
The South’s economic collapse after its defeat ruined McIlhenny, who now lived with his in-laws in their plantation home on Avery Island, Louisiana. It was there that McIlhenny tended the family garden, where, according to tradition, he grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tabasco peppers.
Between 1866 and 1868, McIlhenny — probably inspired by an earlier sauce introduced by New Orleans-area entrepreneur Maunsel White — experimented with making a sauce from the peppers in the Avery family garden. In 1868 he grew his first commercial pepper crop, and the next year sold the first bottles of his new product, which he called Tabasco brand pepper sauce.