We all know the story of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, and his propensity to eat with his hands while gambling. Grab a pile of meat, use some bread instead of a plate, and instantly a phenomenon is born. While he wasn't the first person in the world to the have the idea, the Earl and his parish became part of history, and the way we eat was changed forever. This story is well known, and the Earl even has a restaurant and island chain named after him. Coincidentally, the other historic impact John Montagu made was financing a British explorer you may have heard of whose last name was Cook.
All foods have origins, and some times, the creation of these culinary treats, whether through hard work or simple dumb luck can be as intriguing as the product itself. Let's look at the origins of 10 foods, drinks, and candies that you may find yourself enjoying on a regular basis.
Some of these foods were designed in a lab by diligent scientists, some were created by crafty entrepreneurs, and some were created by accident or necessity. What they have in common is they have satisfied more people young and old, and made more money for their creators then anyone could have predicted.
10 Onion Rings - A Happy Accident?
9 Pop Rocks - Instant Soda In A Bag
William A. Mitchell not only created Tang, but also the recipe that allows Jell-o to form from water almost instantly, whip cream, and powdered egg whites. One of his stranger contributions to our global food culture, though, is a candy loved by children everywhere: Pop Rocks. Pop Rocks was the product of a plan by Mitchell to instantly carbonate water. The idea was to dump the contents of the packet into a glass to create instant soda, without the need for a carbon dioxide air pump. Needless to say, this didn't work.
8 Nachos - It Doesn't Always Take A Chef
7 Blue Raspberry Frozen Treats - A Real Fruit?
Walking down the frozen foods aisle at the grocery store, one encounters a wide array of ice cream and frozen treats perfect for the summer months or, if one has children, all months. When browsing through the myriad options of Popsicles, frozen fruit bars, frozen ice pops, and etc., the flavors found over and over are usually cherry, grape, orange, banana, and blue raspberry. Bright and varied, these colors appeal to children and certain grown ups, but what in the world is a blue raspberry?
6 The Boysenberry - Creation Of A Theme Park
Speaking of berries that aren't real, here is a berry that wasn't real until, that is, it was found in the neglected fields of Rudolph Boysen. It is a bit of a mystery if Boysen cross-pollinated the berries himself or purchased them from another source, but their first appearance in the United States, recognized by the USDA at least, was on the abandoned farm of the California local.
5 Doritos - A Disneyland Original
4 Coca Cola - Civil War Era Pain Killer
Some of our favorite foods were conceived for medical purposes, rather than pleasuring our taste buds. One medicine that transcended to the masses was Coca Cola. The popular soft drink was created in Columbus, Ohio by local pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton. Pemberton had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil War, fighting alongside the Confederate Army. After being injured in battle, Pemberton became addicted to Morphine, so he decided to create a pain medication that would be less addictive and more effective than that drug. He created a non-alcoholic beverage he called French wine coca, which he believed successfully could replace morphine as well as cure other ailments.
3 Corn Flakes - They're Not Grrrrreat! (On Purpose)
The Kellogg's company produces so many varieties of cereal and snack products that its founder, Will Keith Kellogg, has made his last name synonymous with breakfast. However, it was Kellogg's brother, John Harvey Kellogg, who created one of the company's earliest money makers, the corn flake, and he didn't do it to make money. John Harvey Kellogg was an innovative medical doctor, who dedicated his life to curing people of what he felt were negative mental and physical ailments. John Harvey wanted to create a breakfast food so incredibly boring that it would not agitate or excite the patients he treated at his health sanitarium.
2 Tang - Not Just For Astronauts
Tang is included on this list because the common legend is the orange juice-like concentrate was created for NASA astronauts before becoming a simple beverage for us terrestrials. But really, Tang has very little to do with NASA. Tang was created by William A. Mitchell, a brilliant chemist employed by General Foods. Mitchell passed away in 2004, but during his life he created a number of memorable snacks many of us use in our kitchens. His mission was to create faster, easier cooking options for the general, working class public of the United States. Tang was Mitchell's attempt to create orange juice without needing oranges, which could be difficult to come by in the off season. The result was not a very big success for General Foods until it was selected by NASA to be one of many foods eaten in space.
1 Corn Dogs - Who Stuffed Them First?
Corn Dogs are a menu item synonymous with fairs and carnivals, and there probably aren't many fairs that sell less than three or four varieties. The corn dog had its origins in the early 1900s, when German immigrants in the United States realized there wasn't much of a market for the sausages they were trying to sell. Germans love sausage, but to move the product to other American citizens, the idea was developed to coat the sausage in a pancake or waffle-like dough, a form that was easier to sell and created more of a market. The real question is who first decided to put a stick in the thing and make the food mobile?
This question is almost impossible to narrow down, because two credible claims have been made for the distinction. At the Texas state fair, Carl and Neil Fletcher opened a food booth selling what they called Fletcher's Corny Dogs in 1942, The Fletcher's claim they first had the inspiration to "stick" the food, making it more feasible for people at the fair to move around while eating. The Corny Dogs were so popular, the Fletcher's booth still exists, selling corn dogs every year during the fair, using almost the same recipe as in '42. The company is now run by Carl and Neil's children. However, also in 1942, George and Versa Boyington, restaurant owners in Oregon, created a product called the Pronto Pup. Though the batter surrounding the dog was different from the Texas Corny Dog, the Boyington's food on a stick idea was wildly popular with the locals, and Pronto Pup markets itself as being the innovator of the stick. So who really made the corn dog walk? Maybe this is a case of a good idea whose time had come.
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