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8 Foods That Don’t Come From Where You Think

The sandwich was not invented in England. The fourth Earl of Sandwich did not invent the sandwich. As the legend goes Edward Montagu, too absorbed in his gambling addiction, ordered a servant to place beef between two slices of bread so that he could continue with his cards. The combination of filling ‘sandwiched’ between bread was hence named after the Earl.

People have been putting things between bread since ‘things’ and ‘bread’ were a thing, what the Earl did was name the assemblage. The first sandwich on record is actually the product of a 1st century BC rabbi by the way.

This doesn’t stop us from associating the sandwich with the Earl and the place of origin as Britain and therein lies a problem. We look at a particular dish and either through the name or the design or even bad information make assumptions on where the food came from. It’s not a world ending problem but by not knowing the truth it keeps us from learning more about our shared history, we all gotta eat after all.

Sometimes the mistake is just plain ignorance, like when an American supermarket invented ‘puff dog’ by wrapping a sausage in puff pastry, this of course is a sausage roll. They invented nothing, just cause for embarrassment.

8. Sauerkraut Was Not Invented By The Germans

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Sauerkraut is really important. It may not seem that way but when you look at the impact it had on the age of exploration then it’s hard to ignore Sauerkraut’s standing in history. Despite its importance sauerkraut is really a marmite kind of food either you love it or hate it. But a defining trait of the pungent product is that is very much German… or is it? Sauerkraut has been a staple of the German diet since the 1600s, before Germany was even Germany.

Despite being so linked to Germany it was used as an idiom for German people, Sauerkraut is very much a product of the China who would ferment shredder cabbage in rice wine. It was eaten by labourers constructing the great wall of China and was brought to Europe by Genghis Khan sometime in the 13th century.

7. Crab Rangoon Was Invented In San Francisco

wiki

Crab Rangoon is a fried dumpling consisting of crab (obvs) mixed vegetables and cream cheese. It is commonly served in restaurants that feature South East Asian cuisine. According to a 2002 study over 80% of South East Asians are lactose intolerant. Something doesn’t add up here. This would be akin to Americans inventing something not deep fried or covered in sugar.

The truth is Crab Rangoon, which also goes by the unappetizing name of ‘crab pillows’ was invented in San Francisco in 1956 by restaurateur Victor Jules Bergeron Jr AKA Trader Vic. They’re sometimes made with puff pastry which is even less authentically Asian but Trader Vic insisted they were based on a Burmese dish, which is highly unlikely. Trader Vic also claims to be the inventor of the Mai Tai but that claim has been disputed by Vic’s long time arch rival Don the Beachcomber.

6. Caesar Salad Is Not From Italy

wikipedia

You probably haven’t even given a second thought as to where this fishy salad comes from. But if you were put into the baffling position of having a gun put to your head and forced to make a guess on the spot as to the origin of the Caesar Salad 9/10 people would say Italy. The 1/10 are those who refuse to talk and are summarily executed.

It makes sense to associate the Caesar with Italy as this is the home of the world’s second most famous Caesar, Julius. The Salad’s origins can indeed be found in the Latin world, just the Latin American world.

Caesar Cardini an Italian immigrant working in 1920’s Mexico is the man credited for inventing the dish, so yes it was an Italian just not in Italy. He was working in Tijuana at the time in his restaurant when the establishment experienced a busy weekend (This was July 4th right across the US border during prohibition so take a guess as to the reason for the influx) running short on supplies Caesar created the eponymous salad, it was a instant success.

The original salad’s components are more or less the same as today but Caesar’s daughter claims the original salad did NOT contain anchovies. So that’s another debate settled.

5. Vindaloo Is From Portugal?

wikipedia

Vindaloo! Vindaloo Vindaloo! Sorry. When discussing vindaloo it’s important to remember three things. One: You don’t need to break out in song every time it’s mentioned. Two: chilis are not indigenous to to India. Three: the Portuguese really got around.

Indian vindaloo is a variation on the Portuguese dish ‘carne de vinha d’alhos’. The original dish usually involves pork marinaded in wine vinegar, when Portuguese sailors came to Goa in the 15th century palm vinegar was substituted and local spices like cinnamon and cardamon were added.

The vindaloo you eat when you’re pretending to be hard is far different from the complex subtle vindaloo someone finds in India, English-Indian Vindaloo substitutes a lot of flavour for heat, it’s a variation you see it’s become short-hand for ‘hot curry’ like how ‘salted caramel’ is now just code for ‘expensive caramel’.

4. French Toast Is Not From France

wikipedia

French toast goes by many names eggy bread, wentelteefjes, gypsy toast, sweet toast but the contents are usually the same egg, milk, sometimes sugar, sometimes vanilla, cook. You may be forgiven for assuming the dish originates in France what with the French bit in the title but you would be making an ass of u and me.

The first mention of what would be known as toast by a thousand titles was first found in a 5th century Roman coookbook called Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome by Apicius, but obviously the title was in latin. The book in itself is fascinating not just for the earliest known recipe for french toast but it also gives helpful advice on the preparation of flamingo. Yum.

Once you have bread it’s not revolutionary to soak it in something and cooking it but this is certainly the earliest refernce to the dish so the Roman’s get the credit, but what else have they done for us?

3. French Fries Are From Belgium

wikipedia

Once again you can be forgiven for assuming the name has anything to do with the origin and you can probably blame US President Thomas “all men created equally but don’t tell the slaves” Jefferson for the confusion as he tried to popularise the dish in America after trying it in France and referring to it as “potatoes fried in the french style.” Giving something the French prefix doesn’t make it classy by the way.

French fries were invented in Belgium in the 1700s while the French were still convinced eating potatoes would give you leprosy. Villagers living in the Meuse Valley would eat the fried potatoes when fishing became to difficult, had they tried frying the fish and fries at the same time they really would have been on to something.

The potato is not from Europe though it was brought to the continent by the Spanish, and since the Spanish controlled Belgium at the time fries make an appearnce there may be a claim to call them Spanish fries. Or go with chips that makes it easier.

2. Ice Cream Is (Probably) From China

wikipedia

Ice cream is a tricky one. You can trace the origin of ice cream to several different places depending on your definition of what constitutes ice cream. Most experts agree though that the Chinese did more for the development of ice cream than any other people, other than whoever invented the modern freezer.

The earliest known recipe for anything resembling ice cream goes back to 200BC when the Chinese would mix milk and rice and packed it in snow…which is more like cold rice pudding. But during the Tang dynasty (618-907) a new variation was created using buffalo and goat milk, allowing it to ferment and mixing it with flour.

You could of course attribute the treat to Nero though, he’s alleged to have sent slaves into the mountains around Rome to gather ice, which would be mixed with fruit juices or honey to make a tasty frozen treat to keep him fresh between violin lessons. This is probably not true as there is very little evidence to support this claim and the violin wasn’t even invented yet.

1. Fortune Cookie Is Actually From Japan

wikipedia

The fortune cookie, the wisest of all desserts far more insightful than dumbass slanderous cake, the cake is a lie! The fortune cookie is a staple of Chinese food, light enough to still eat after a course of very heavy food but still heavy enough to hold down your bill. It’s very critical that the cookie comes with the bill. So it may come as a shock that the cookie is just about as Chinese as the Canadian men’s hockey team, in that it’s not very Chinese at all.

The modern fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco 1906 when a Japanese immigrant started a confectionary store called Benkyodo but the fortune cookie isn’t American either as it’s origins go even further back than the early 1900s. The earliest reference to the scholar of all deserts comes from Japan where the originals were savoury and much larger than what we’re used to. Larger is putting it lightly Tsujiura Senbeias their called in Japan are roughly the size of a baby’s head. Apart from the size and flavour they are the same product including a small paper of wisdom in the centre.

Why the fortune cookie became tied to Chinese cuisine is actually quite sad, in the 1940s when many Japanese-Americans were sent to interment camps it created a gap in the market and allowed Chinese-Americans to widely produce and sell the product.

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