I was having my lunch at work the other day, eating a salad I made from the salad bar in the cafeteria. I noticed that I had included carrots, spinach and sliced beets in my salad, and that started a train of thought that led me to think about a certain episode of Gilligan's Island. If you've heard of the TV show but have never watched it, or if you haven't heard of it at all, I pity you. It's silly but fun.
Info on the show here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilligan%27s_Island
Anyway, in this episode, Gilligan pulls from the lagoon a crate that turns out to contain packets of a variety of vegetable seeds. The castaways are delighted; they can plant the seeds and therefore improve their humdrum deserted isle diet.
What they don't realize until later is that these are, um, dangerous experimental seeds that have been exposed to radiation. The seeds miraculously grow to maturity literally overnight, and the vegetables are HUGE. The castaways immediately sit down to devour everything. Then later odd things start to happen. First, Mary Ann is standing at the lagoon and sees a boat wayyyyy out on the horizon which nobody else can see, down to the smallest details of the boat. She tries to signal them, but it's too far out.
Then Mrs. Howell has extraordinary athletic ability and is seen racing all over the island, leading Mr. Howell to remark, "I may enter that woman in the Olympics." Then Gilligan has superhuman strength and can lift a lounge chair with the Skipper (he's huge) sitting on it.
Turns out (as explained by the Professor) that the radiation magnified the nutrients of the vegetables everyone ate. Mary Ann ate a lot of carrots, which are good for the eyes. Gilligan ate a lot of spinach, which has iron for strength. Mrs. Howell ate a lot of sugar beets, and the sugar gave her a lot of energy. And so on. Eventually the superhuman powers wore off since they were afraid to eat these vegetables, but the message to viewers (especially the kids watching) is clear: Vegetables, even in their non-radiated form, have nutrients and are Good For You. And those three veggies I just mentioned were in my salad!
There has been discussion, probably since the show first aired, about all those coconut cream pies and banana cream pies that Ginger and Mary Ann made. Without a steady supply of typical ingredients such as sugar, eggs and dairy, how on earth could they make those pies? Well, obviously they must have found substitutes on the island. It's interesting to speculate what they must have used, but at least the bananas would be a substitute for the eggs, acting as a binder, and coconut milk would be used instead of dairy milk. Not sure about the sugar, though, but perhaps they found sugar cane on the island.