Food plays a huge role in our everyday lives. After all, without it, we’d barely be able to function. But it’s not only for survival reasons, we also eat for the pure pleasure of it. There’s a wide range of popular foods out there, some with unexpected and shocking origins that you would have never thought of. So why don’t you do the foodie in you a favor and take a look at the weird origin stories of these popular foods.
If it wasn’t for the Ancient Chinese, then we’d be missing out on the deliciousness that is bacon. See, in 1500 B.C., they were curing their pork bellies with salt and accidentally gave birth to something amazing. The Romans and Greeks learned of the technique during their conquests and wasted no time incorporating it into their culture. It originally went by many names, but the name bacon may have come from the French word “bako” and the Germanic word “bakkon,” which all refer to the back of a pig.
2. The Hot Dog
This popular American food is anything but American. The credit belongs to the Germans, where they were known as “daschund,” little dog sausages and frankfurters. So just how did any of these names become the hot dog? Rumor has it that a group of drunk college students were behind it. While munching on some frankfurters one day, a genius figured out its original German name. He (or she) then went around exclaiming that frankfurters were made from dog meat, leading to its current name. True or not, it definitely makes for a funny story.
3. The Hamburger
If you think that hamburgers were invented in Hamburg, Germany, then you’re partially right. They started out as Hamburg steaks that were basically spiced meat patties made from the Hamburg cow and various spices. However, the real hamburger didn’t show up until much later during the Industrial Revolution where factory workers were fed Hamburg steaks. One brilliant worker, whose name is unknown, started putting the meat between two pieces of bread to make it easier to eat while working. It’s because of him that we get to enjoy this awesome sandwich today.
4. French Fries
No one can blame you for thinking that French fries have some sort of connection to France. But they don’t. The only thing French about french fries is the language spoken in Belgium, where they were invented. One theory is that villagers near the Meuse River replaced their regular fried fish with fried potatoes when the river froze up during the winter. American soldiers caught on to the delicacy, giving it its current name because of the country’s official language. There are other theories, but this one seems to be the most plausible.
5. Mac and Cheese
Who doesn’t love a good ‘ole mac n’ cheese? The Italians were the originators of this dish, though it initially resembled lasagna rather than what we’re used to today. But the American version has a different origin story. According to some sources, mac and cheese started as a casserole dish known as “macaroni pudding” that was commonly served for supper in a New England church. Then Thomas Jefferson, an alleged foodie, had his wife make it for him. She initially used parmesan cheese but Jefferson later substituted it with cheddar cheese. And voila! The very first, real mac and cheese was born.
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