History can be fun, seriously. Don't get me wrong, I'm like most college students—memorizing dates and thinking about the causes and effects of acts of Congress is enough to make your eyes roll back in your head.
But I'm always interested in the history that is 100% irrelevant. What was George Washington's dog's name? What was Hitler's favorite hobby? Stories like these really don't matter, but they can be pretty entertaining, not to mention delicious.
Potato chips are a pretty weird thing if you think about it. Why did humanity end up with paper thin, crunchy, salty slices of starch? The reality is, potato chips' history started out as a chef metaphorically flipping the bird to a customer who was being super rude.
Some dude at George Crum's restaurant in 1853 ordered french fries, and Crum made him some french fries. But this dude wanted thinner french fries, and he sent them back. George Crum wasn't super happy about it, and out of spite, revenge, and anger, cut up some paper thin slices of potato, fried them, and drowned them in salt, and the rude dude thought they were crazy good.
Fast forward 150 years later, and you have the ultimate American mistake turned junk food staple.
When I was in middle school, I ate soup out of a bread bowl for the first time. And I thought that I had the best idea since sliced bread, an edible freaking plate. I wouldn't have been surprised to get a Nobel Prize for that idea, I was pretty much a genius. But it turns out that people had edible plates before they even had plates.
During the Middle Ages, Europeans would use a big ol' piece of bread instead of a plate, and usually they would put butter and meat on that bread, and eat it open face.
But one time, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was playing cards with some of his buddies. Because he'd had a little bit too much to drink, he couldn't pick up his food without touching the cold cuts and getting his cards greasy, so slapped another slice of bread on top and picked it up with one hand.
I also assume, with no proof, that this is where the phrase "I'll have what he's having," originated, because all of his drunken gambling buddies started ordering for the same thing the Earl of Sandwich was munching on.
Pizza has been around for a seriously long time and the history started out being pretty boring. An Italian King putting crushed tomatoes on a piece of bread because he was rich and could afford tomatoes. *Yawn.*
And for a while, it was just the rich people that ate pizza because finding a tomato as a peasant in 3,000 B.C. was like me finding a diamond in a bag of Doritos—not exactly likely. But soon tomatoes were just another fruit that people didn't eat unless their mom made them.
But in around 500 B.C., Persian soldiers started making flatbreads. Most of the time, flatbreads are associated with hipsters and millennials, but they actually were first made by soldiers, as a way to stay alive. King Darius I of Persia gave his soldiers three things to eat; bread, cheese, and dates. Putting myself in their shoes, I can see how that got boring pretty quick.
So, the soldiers would leave their battle shields out in the sun until they started steaming, smash the bread until it was really thin, and cook it with cheese melting on top of it. A hipster favorite started as a meal made for the middle of a battlefield—who would've guessed?
Sometimes lazy people just get all of the good breaks in life. This is what happened with the history of the slurpee. Omar Knedlik owned a Dairy Queen in Coffeyville, Kansas where sadly one day, his soda fountain broke. And because restaurant patrons tend to be some of the most entitled, ignorant, and just rude people that you can encounter, Omar knew that his business couldn't get by without having soda for a week or two.
So, he threw all of his barrels of soda into the freezer to keep them from spoiling. His system worked surprisingly well until he told one of his teenage employees to go move one of the barrels from the freezer to the fridge to thaw, and in traditional teenage fashion, he just didn't.
When Omar went to fetch some soda, he ended up apologetically serving what we know and love as a Slurpee. He sold the idea to 7-Eleven and probably didn't need to work a day in his life. I guess next time your boss yells at you for being lazy, you can just tell them that you're trying to give them a breakthrough idea that will revolutionize the beverage market and let them retire comfortably. That'll work, right?
Graham Crackers are terrible. I'm sorry if that offends you, and if you're the heir to Honey Maid fortune, then go ahead and hate me. But they just aren't good crackers, or really good for anything. They taste like one-part sugar, two-parts dirt, and have the texture of slices of wet sand. And here's the insane thing—the history of Graham Crackers includes someone making them to be as boring as your grandma's music taste.
Reverend Sylvester Graham started freaking out about how Americans were too horny all the time. This was dyring the 1830s—the dude would literally have a stroke if he saw a Victoria's Secret ad today. Naturally, Rev. Graham thought that America was horny because their food was too exciting. Graham didn't like that Americans were using salt, pepper, and butter on their foods to try and make them taste good. God, forbid.
Graham wanted people to eat pretty much just coarse fiber, whole wheat and vegetables, because that would kill people's sex drive. Not many foods matched Graham's boner-killing diet, so some of his followers took to making their own gross, sandy crackers. The Graham Diet died pretty quick, because (rightfully so) people liked having sex and enjoying food. But for some reason, people today still like to eat Graham Crackers, even though they were actually invented to taste bad.
Now you can be that person who brings up the background of food when nobody asks and annoy the living hell out of your friends. Or you can keep your friends happy, and shut your mouth— the choice is yours at this point.