It may be impossible to believe that some of the most iconic snacks were actually just kitchen flukes and accidents. But, these clumsy and creative chefs were more than able to turn their mistakes into masterpieces. Here’s a delicious history lesson that will change the way you see your favorite foods.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
One day in 1930, the Whitman Massachusetts Toll House Inn owner Ruth Wakefield ran out of baking chocolate for her locally famed deserts. Luckily for us, Ruth decided to get creative and tossed a bar of Nestle semisweet chocolate into her batter.
The resulting chocolate-chunk cookie received incredible popularity. Ruth sold her recipe to Nestle (hence “Nestle Toll House”) in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Sounds reasonable to me.
John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich in the 18th century, was immersed in a heated game of cards when lunch time happened to roll around. John, lost to the competitive, merciless animal within him didn’t want to be bothered with eating with a fork and knife so he requested that he be brought a piece of meat in between two pieces of bread.
His laziness, in fact, changed the fate of the world.
The Flakall Company of Wisconsin was known in the 1930’s for crushing grains for animal feed. Edward Wilson, an employee at the company, noted that they would use moistened corn kernels to keep the machine from getting too clogged up.
Due to the heat of the heat of the machine, the moistened corn meal would bake off into little puffy ribbons that hardened when the cool air hit them. Edward thought these puffed corn kernels looked like a great snack food, so he took them home with him and added some oil and seasonings, thus creating the cheese puff.
In 1943, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya was the maitre d’ at The Victory Club, a restaurant in Mexico. One day, Nacho was faced with the task of feeding 10 hungry military wives passing through his restaurant. He got creative and used a bed of tostadas with melted cheese and jalapeños, served to the ladies and deemed, “Nacho’s Especiale” or “Nacho’s Special”.
Ironically enough, the potato chip was invented by a chef named George Crum after a customer sent back an order of fried potatoes that was allegedly “not thin enough.” George became spiteful and cut the potatoes as thin as he could, resulting in the potato chip we know (and eat too many of in one sitting) today.
Back in 1905, 11 year old Frank Epperson left a soda out on the porch with a stick resting in it. Overnight, the soda had frozen with the stick standing upright. Years later, Frank applied for a patent for his invented treat, originally called the “Epsicle.”
Learn to make your own here.
Ice Cream Cones
It is not widely known that the invention of the ice cream cone was actually adorable. At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream salesman ran out of bowls. So, Ernest Hamwi, who was running a Syrian-inspired booth next to him, decided to roll up some of his pastries, called zalabia, to help out his neighbor.
The Slurpee draws its origins from a Dairy Queen in Kansas City the late 1950’s, owned by Omar Knedlik. When Omar’s soda fountain broke, he began to put soda bottles in the freezer until they were partially frozen. They quickly became very popular, as customers would specifically request the “pops that were in a bit longer”.
Way back in 5,000 B.C., people would transport animal milk by putting it in sacks made from animal stomachs. The acidity and bacteria from the stomachs would cause the milk to curdle, thus forming yogurt. Maybe try not to think about this too much while enjoying a yogurt parfait.
Still interested in how things are made? Check out these links: