We've all been dubious about the origin of a dish even if it was for a split second. Usually, if this question comes up while eating with friends, we all give our two cents, try to pin the origin, succeed or fail, and move on.

On the other hand, this was not the situation during a family dinner back home. My multicultural family began intensely bickering over the origin of traditional Hispanic dishes, especially when we thought the dish belonged to our respective cultures. Which brought me to the question: what other foods do we mistakingly believe are from one culture?

So, I'm here to serve as the mediator and get to the end of these ongoing debates. 

1. Mac and Cheese

vegetable, cheese, corn, macaroni
Kirby Barth

The debate of mac and cheese's origin surrounds the thought that American colonialists started it vs the thought that it originated in Italy along with other pasta dishes.

The first mac and cheese recipe was found in a 13th-century Italian cookbook, Liber de Coquina. The most known story tells us that Thomas Jefferson, during his many trips to Italy, popularized this dish in America and the rest is history.

2. Croquettes

Miami natives, I know it's hard to believe that croquetas can be anything but Cuban. But facts are facts, croquettes are originally French.

The word croquette comes from the French word croquer which means "to crunch". Since its inception, several other countries from all over the world have made their own take of the croquette with different stuffings like mashed potatoes, ground beef, and fish. 

3. French Fries

spaghetti, parmesan, vegetable, cheese, basil, penne, sauce, macaroni, pasta
Chelsea Hawk

More like Belgium fries? Belgians claim that fries have been around their country since the early 1600s. The story says locals commonly ate fried fish throughout the year, but during winter when the river was frozen, they resulted to eating fried potatoes. It's rumored that it was invented by American soldiers in Belgium who called them "French fries" because the language in southern Belgium is French.

4. Hot Chocolate

chocolate, cappuccino, milk, tea, espresso, coffee
Emma Danbury

The traditional American beverage that originated in modern day Mexico. Indigenous tribes of the region utilized cacao for their religious rituals. They mixed it with water and other spices to create xocolātl which was supposed to give them powers and energy. Now, the traditional Mexican hot chocolate is a champurrado.

5. Danish Pastries

File:Danish pastry.JPG

Image from WikiCommons

Brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers while Danish bakers were on strike, the wienerbrød remained a popular pastry in Denmark. 

6. Fajitas


ginnerobot on Flickr

The Lone Star state is responsible for this Tex-Mex staple. Similarly, the chimichanga (essentially a deep-fried burrito) was also invented in America in an Illinois restaurant. After all, Americans do love fried food.

7. Canadian Bacon

File:Flickr bokchoi-snowpea 4266923676--Roast peameal bacon.jpg

Image from WikiCommons

Probably the most mind-boggling revelation. Canadian bacon got its name in the 1800s when the United Kingdom's pork shortage called for shipment of Canada's meat. The English prepared it in the manner that's the Canadian bacon we love today. Americans in the UK brought it back and called it Canadian bacon.

8. Apple Pie

apple, pie, apple pie
Jocelyn Hsu

The first dessert pie has dated back to a British cookbook with a recipe for pumpkin pie. The first recorded mention of an apple pie came from British poet, Robert Greene.

9. Croissants

butter, crescent roll, sweet, bread, puff, croissant, dough, pastry
Jedd Marrero

Croissants were created in Austria and go by kipferls. Austrian native and French queen Marie Antoinette reminisced these Austrian delicacies. Her bakers created them in crescent shapes and dubbed them croissants, French for crescent.

10. Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie - Job

flazingo_photos on Flickr

The tradition of stuffing cookies with paper fortunes has been around in Japan for decades. The fortune cookie we are used to today was an American creation by a Chinese immigrant. Despite popular belief, fortune cookies are actually not common in China.

Notable mentions include Italian spaghetti and meatballs, Mexican nachos, and Chinese egg rolls that were all created in America by immigrants from their respective countries. 

Belgian fry, Austrian pastry, English bacon; whatever you call it, you'll still catch me eating it.