Cheese is not only one of the tastiest foods invented by man, but it was also one of the greatest weapons of war in the ancient world.
That tasty morsel of history comes courtesy of food writer Troy Johnson, host of "Crave," a new show debuting Aug. 29 on the Food Network that explains the sometimes bizarre origins of popular foods.
"The Romans invented the cheese wheel and used to roll them along with everything else when they were doing battle," Johnson told HuffPost Weird News. "They think this is why the Romans were able to kick everyone's asses in Europe. Since cheese doesn't spoil very easily, they always had a hunk of protein-and-fat-jammed energy source tucked up their man-skirts. Other armies' food would spoil, leaving them weak and hungry. The cheese-eating Romans kicked their ass."
Some information Johnson learned while filming the nine-episode series wasn't as appetizing.
"The bacteria used to make limburger cheese, brevibacterium, is the same bacteria on human skin that causes body odor," he said.
On the other hand, Johnson said that doing the show gave him even more respect for bacon -- not that he needed any more.
"During World War II, people could turn in their bacon grease in exchange for food coupons," he said. "The government would take the bacon grease and turn it into explosives. That's because bacon contains glycerol, which becomes nitroglycerine and TNT. So Bacon defeated the Nazis."
However, Johnson joked that it took none other than the King himself to make people aware of how incredible bacon is.
"Really, the watershed moment for bacon came when Elvis Presley flew some friends from Memphis to Colorado for a 'Fools' Gold sandwich, where a pound of bacon and peanut butter are stuffed into a hollowed-out loaf of bread," Johnson said.
Although Johnson's research required him to spend hours in libraries digging up bits of trivia, he also put himself in some very risky situations, such as the time he worked with a Chicago chef cutting up ghost chilis, considered the most potent kind of pepper.
"Seriously, they are," he emphasized. "Some of the chefs I spoke with on the road told me that for a few months last year, they couldn't find them on the open market because the government had bought them all up to use for weapons.
"Anyway, I was cutting some up while wearing two sets of gloves -- yes, two -- and those gloves disintegrate after a week, and the guy told me to be very careful about touching any part of my body because I would feel it for days, weeks and months afterwards."
Johnson also put himself to the test by eating four raw chilis at a hospital so doctors could monitor how much his heart rate increased as well as his skin resiliency.
"That was intense," he said. "No wonder ancient people in South America used to burn chiles over a fire and make their kids inhale the smoke when they were bad."
But while Johnson learned a lot when he was making the show, some moments were just memorable because they were bizarre.
"We were in Texas doing an episode on barbeque and I met this guy who makes bizarre smokers," he said. "This guy made one out of an old torpedo, but the one I liked was made from an old baby carriage. It was great. There was all this smoke coming from the carriage and he'd get all these weird looks from moms who wondered why a carriage was on fire."
But the biggest lesson that Johnson learned may be that the Japanese have no equal when it comes to weird ice cream flavors.
"I had no idea," he said. "They have fish ice cream and horse flesh-flavored ice cream -- basically Secretariat on a cone. They are also more utilitarian. I mean, they have Viagra ice cream."