Food Origins

Urban legends about the origins of various foods and food names.

We consume an amazingly wide variety of foods, and many of those foods (or their names) have colorful origins. Here we present a sampling of amusing tales about the births of some popular consumables.

Green bullet Potato chips resulted from a cook's moment of pique.*

White bullet Chop Suey is an American dish.

Red bullet The term hot dog was coined in the early 1900s by a cartoonist who couldn't spell "dachshund."*

Red bullet A choice cut of beef taken from the upper hindquarter (i.e., the loin) of a cow is called sirloin because an English king was once so delighted with his meal that he knighted the meat, dubbing it "Sir Loin."*

Red bullet Pumpernickel bread is so named because a Frenchman derisively declared it was fit only for his horse, Nicol. ("C'est du pain pour Nicol.")*

Red bullet German chocolate cake comes from Germany.*

Green bullet Graham crackers were named for a man who believed that unhealthy diets led to sexual excess.

Red bullet Caesar salad was invented by, or named for, Julius Caesar.

Green bullet Gatorade was invented by researchers at the University of Florida and named in honor of the Florida Gators, the school's football team.

Green bullet The "Luther Burger," a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun, is a real food named after R&B singer Luther Vandross.

Red bullet Fortune cookies come from China.

Red bullet The French dip sandwich was invented to placate a restaurant patron who complained about stale bread.

Green bullet Melba toast and peach melba were named for an opera singer.

Red bullet Italian wedding soup gained its name from being traditionally served at weddings.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.


David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.


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