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Great names but little fact

We've all heard about if you ask a Frenchman about "French Toast" or a Brit about "English Muffins" you get a blank stare. Seems, based on a recent thread elsewhere, there are probably a number of dishes that have either no basis in history, or that folks don't know the real history about. We have all heard how pommes frites or at least souffle potatoes came about from the chef to a French king, but iIsuspect many others have "iffy" routes and explanations.

A few that come to mind:

General Tso's Chicken
Beef Wellington
Anadama Bread
Apple Brown Betty
Waldorf Salad (that one might be true..but I bet others made something like it)
"Anything" Florentine (did they not grow spinach anywhere else?)

I wonder how some of these names got started, and how many other "bogus" ones have made it into culinary history?

So, chowies, you have 2 assignments:

1. Another "named dishes" that might not have any relevancy to history or might even have a good story, but little fact
2. Delineating the history to said "named dishes", ....fantasy is as good as fact. Actually documented named dishes get extra credit!

Time's up! Let's see how our contestants did!

(and to all of you........Happy Holidays! I mean this in fun and the spirit of the holidays)

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  1. I thought that English muffins were English, and that Brits don't call them English muffins because they simply call them muffins.

    15 Replies
    1. re: babette feasts

      Nope! And the Thomas of Liverpool thing is all made up. They have scones.....wonderful scones, but no English Muffins over there. Muffins are like ours.. I lived in the UK from 1989 -1994. Never once saw an English Muffin, even though I lived 20+ miles south of Liverpool.

      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

        English muffins are crumpets. Crumpets come in several varieties, but there are ones that are very similar to what we call English muffins.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crumpet

        Similarly, French Toast is Pain Perdue, which I've had in Paris and Karslruhe.

        1. re: applehome

          Oh, foo. I was brought up in a very English home. A crumpet is an unbaked pastry with a smooth bottom and many holes on top. It is never split before toasting. After toasting - no one ever eats an untoasted crumpet - one applies butter and perhaps jam or marmalade to the top side, and enjoys.

          I have eaten English muffins. I have enjoyed English muffins. But I say to you, English muffin, "You, sir, are no crumpet".

          1. re: KevinB

            That's exactly how I eat my English muffins - toast, butter, jam... Just cause some American invented a way to make it crispy by baking it and then get 2-for-1 by splitting it, doesn't mean they're not related. I've had crumpets in my trips to the UK - I'd say they are related, and that the link is quite obvious. Now - if you can get an American to modify that hockey puck called blood sausage or those salty kippered herrings, we could all sit down to a proper breakfast!

            1. re: KevinB

              Agreed. I ate English muffins for breakfast all the time when I lived in London and they were called muffins. They were the kind you cut in half and put into the toaster. My flatmate sometimes got crumpets, and they were not the same thing at all.

              1. re: queencru

                ^ This.

                Muffins are cupcakes in America, right? We kind of call them muffins too now, but crumpet =/= muffin. Look up English muffin in Wikipedia, and that's what we call muffins.

                1. re: Soop

                  I thought American cupcakes = English fairy cakes??

                  1. re: Angela Roberta

                    Fairy Cakes and Petits Fours are similar, but Fairy Cakes are round like miniature American cupcakes:

                    http://cakebitten.com/petitfourgaller...

                    Thank you John Inman!!

              2. re: KevinB

                English muffin is what holds together an egg mcmuffin (in Canada anyway). An English Muffin is definitely not a crumpet - are they related? sure but like granny smith and gala apples are related.

                1. re: KevinB

                  No one ever eats an untoasted English muffin, either. English muffins and crumpets are not the same, but they are quite similar. Obviously, the crumpet inspired the creationof the English muffin.

                2. re: applehome

                  french toast is called "pain doré" here in French Canada. Some restaurants use the term "pain perdu" when it is served for dessert, not for breakfast.

                3. re: FriedClamFanatic

                  Here (in England) until recently a muffin was always a white crusty yet soft and strangely flat bread roll, with (I believe) cornmeal on the crust. It was always served toasted and hot, with butter. It is nothing like a crumpet.
                  It also in no way resembles an American muffin, which is more like a cupcake. US muffins have now invaded the UK, and no doubt British kids today will never have had an 'English muffin' and will assume all muffins are loaded with blueberries or chocolate and come in a paper case.

                  1. re: Peg

                    Peg -- Here in the States an "English muffin" is nothing at all like the cupcake-y "muffin." Flat bread, smooth bottom and holes on top is a good description, not sweet, either -- oh and is a yeast bread.

                    Did somebody already post the wikipedia site?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_...
                    It cites Elizabeth David....

                    (and they do look like crumpets to me, although probably not as good)

                    1. re: Peg

                      Sorry, just read pegs post after my post. Needless to say, I agree.

                    2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                      i lived in the UK from 1998-2006 and at at that time (in the south, mind you--it could be a north/south difference) 'muffins' were English muffins and 'american muffins' were the things that could be mistaken for cupcakes. 'fairy cakes' had a particular recipe, involving no blueberries or chocolate chips. Crumpets were the same things americans called crumpets.

                  2. A few nights ago, a friend, at dinner, was telling me how Caesar salad was created. His version was that there were some Hollywood actors on location in a small town in Mexico. One night, after a long shoot, they went to the only cafe in town. The owner had nothing to feed them except some Romaine lettuce, a few eggs, some anchovies, etc, so he invents this salad. The actors were so taken with it that they named it after the owner. They then went back to Hollywood and told everyone about him and the salad became famous. I asked my friend if he really believed this story and he said he most certainly did. I think it's a food fairytale myself.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: susabella

                      And I've heard it was at Caesar's Palace in NV. Wonder which is right?

                      1. re: susabella

                        Seems your friend's on to something, if you trust Ruth Reichl (I get the story mixed up with the invention of the margarita, also in Baja California in glamorous golden Hollywood years; Cobb Salad also has a good Hollywood story). I'd actually bookmarked this a while back:

                        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                        "Weekend Edition Saturday, March 11, 2006 • Tijuana chef Caesar Cardini first whipped up the now-ubiquitous dish in the 1920s. Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet magazine, tells Susan Stamberg the story and explains what really makes it a true Caesar salad."

                        1. re: susabella

                          that sounds an awful lot like the story behind nachos...

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacho

                          1. re: mark

                            Mark -- Good one! I'm pretty sure I heard that on a Bourdain No Reservations on Mexico, too -- he maybe went to the original place?

                            Really interesting bunch of stories related to "borderlands" studies (popular academic field, that is), somebody should write a book....

                            1. re: mark

                              Agggh! I was gonna say that one :)

                              1. re: Soop

                                It's probably the story of a lot of things. It's exactly the same way Buffalo wings were invented.

                                DT

                                1. re: Davwud

                                  and how were buffalo wings invented, then?

                                  1. re: mselectra

                                    Like the nacho and Cesar salad stories. Late night group comes in, not much left, they want food. So the person in the kitchen whips something up.

                                    Necessity being the mother of invention and all

                                    DT

                                    1. re: Davwud

                                      oh-- but ask the busboy, or the servers-- and the story will go: the cook whips this easy, gooey, comfort-food stuff up for "staff meal" or after bar-close staff-only snacks all the time-- cheap and fast to put together, often from leftovers. the late party came in right as we were going to close the doors, but the cook was already making everybody's favorite treat, so we offered the special dish, named off the cuff, after the cook or the server, or the server's mom, or whatever, to the late party-- & it was such a hit we ended up adding it to the regular menu. LOL

                                      hmm maybe my curried eggs and rice will be famous someday :)

                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          oh! and that reminds me that this is supposed to be the same type of story with fettucine alfredo-- legend has it that alfredo was supposed to make this easy but comforting pasta dish for his pregnant wife, who found that she couldn't handle the spicier regular restaurant offerings. . .

                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                            I read that too SK. It calmed her queasy stomach during her pregnancy.

                                  2. re: Davwud

                                    Well, yes, of course Buffalo is also a borderland. Though what, west of the border? The Niagara River runs more or less south to north.

                              2. re: susabella

                                I heard it was at the original Cesears Palace in Tijuana, before gambling was outlawed in Mexico, and Las Vegas became a casino Mecca.

                              3. Waldorf salad was created by the chef of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

                                1. Regarding General Tso's Chicken:
                                  When we were cooking from the Fuchsia Dunlop book, "Land of Plenty" for COTM in March of this year I came across this explanation of the dish by herself, Fuchsia:

                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/mag...

                                  I'll quote here a particular paragraph that I think explains the mystery. I hope it's allowed.

                                  "General Tso’s chicken is named for Tso Tsung-t’ang (now usually transliterated as Zuo Zongtang), a formidable 19th-century general who is said to have enjoyed eating it. The Hunanese have a strong military tradition, and Tso is one of their best-known historical figures. But although many Chinese dishes are named after famous personages, there is no record of any dish named after Tso."

                                  There is more to this at the link that I provided....and she does give the history of the dish.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    The article is almost spot-on my post. Folks over there never heard of it, but they have heard of him.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      I thought of that same article when read OP, I have it saved too because I loved it. The connection with Kissinger and all that is so interesting. Seems like I heard a few interviews with Jennifer 8 Lee when she was on book tour where she also discussed Gen Tso's chicken -- and sure enough just found this one:

                                      http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/03/in...

                                      1. re: mselectra

                                        It's a classic.....the guy himself never heard of it, probably never ate it, and neither did anyone else in China: Ever. But someone in America must ahve thought it sounded good, and so named it. The Thomas Liverpool English Muffins in Cantonese!

                                    2. Apple Brown Betty is an old American dessert dating back to Colonial times. A ‘betty’ is a baked pudding, made with layers of sweetened and spiced fruit and buttered bread crumbs. It is usually served with a lemon sauce, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Home made of course.

                                      http://whatscookingamerica.net/Histor...

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Yes................but why Betty? Not Abigail or Mehitabel or Julia or even Britany? The link doesn't get to that level........but on the other hand, i don't need to follow deeper into Grunts!<G>

                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                          Britany, forsooth? Were there any Britanys at that time? I doubt it. And let us not forget the Fool, the Flummery, the Hasty Pudding, Swamp Yankee Applesauce Cafe and the Syllabub.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            And you're on a roll! Why, why and why did they get those names?

                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                              I'm thinking the names came from the people who initially made the dish or are some sort of descriptive of the procedure. Just my opinion. Catch you later.....

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                or is Betty somehow related to the UK slang term 'butty' for sandwich?

                                                no linguist here.

                                                1. re: hill food

                                                  Note sure why I'm obsessing about this... but I did a quick OED search for "brown betty" -- hoping it's within rules to quote these short excerpts here -- these are from the entry for "brown", under the section on combinations (includes, eg "brown shirt"....) Then, I believe the examples of it used in sentences would be the earliest they could find, which takes it only back to the mid-19th century.

                                                  I also looked up "betty" -- which is both a noun and a verb and seems to be have been used sometimes for making fun of men for being too womanly (as in calling a man a "betty" who did domestic work) and also was once considered a fashionable pet name for a lady, but then became more rustic -- and that's when it became a way to make fun of men, too, as in teasing someone for "bettying around" in unimportant matters.

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    And here are the brief excerpts from the OED, hoping it's legal to quote them:

                                                    "Brown Betty chiefly U.S., a baked pudding containing apples and breadcrumbs"

                                                    "1864 Yale Lit. Mag. XXIX. 187 (Th.), [In training,] tea, coffee, pies, and ‘*brown Betty’ must next be sacrificed. 1911 S. E. WHITE Bobby Orde (1916) x. 126 It was the season of..apple-tapioca and Brown Betty. 1948 ‘J. TEY’ Franchise Aff. xv. 164 Brown-betty with thick cream."

                                                    ETA: Gio, sorry, I just saw that the website you posted also cites that Yale Literary Magazine as the first published reference to it. Cool.

                                                    1. re: mselectra

                                                      No apologies necessary Ms E. The web abounds with this kind of trivia. I love it!

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        That's for sure -- and I appreciate when they're well-cited....

                                        2. http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodbread...
                                          This gives an account of Anna, a sea captain's wife who baked a bread of molasses and cornmeal which was greatly appreciated by all her husband's crew because it was so delicious.: Her grave stone reads..."Anna wes a lovely bride, but Anna, Damn'er, up and died. "

                                          1. The sandwich, of course. That's like saying the Pilgrims invented the turkey.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mpalmer6c

                                              Turkey: well I don't think the Hessians or Huguenot did.

                                              1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                The sandwich IS named after the Earl of Sandwich, although he did not invent it. He was so fond of it as it allowed him to play cards while eating, that he became famous for it.

                                                Similarly, Beef Wellington is named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, either by himself, or by an English chef who served him. It is an older French dish (boeuf en croute), which the Duke liked very much.

                                                I don't know if there's any "false claim" or "little fact" behind these kinds of namings - these people didn't necessarily claim to have invented them, and they were in fact real, historical people who apparently truly enjoyed the dish. Let them go down in history peacefully, I say.

                                                1. re: applehome

                                                  The common myth is that the earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich when he cleverly thought to put a piece of meat between two slices of bread. Stems from the time when only the English (and western Europe) could be given credit for anything.

                                              2. OK, I'll bite:

                                                The fantastic Quebec treat known as "poutine", which is freshly made french fried potatoes, covered with cheese curds, and then doused with brown gravy, supposedly got its name when a travelling salesman in rural Quebec, in a hurry, asked the owner to throw the gravy over his fries after he (the salesman) had put the curds on. "Ca va faire une maudite poutine!", the owner is alleged to have replied. ("That's going to make a damn mess!").

                                                Poutine is now enjoyed, and enriching heart surgeons, throughout Canada and the US Northeast.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KevinB

                                                  Sort of like the alternative to cream chipped beef on toast! <G>

                                                2. there is Peach Melba and Melba toast. Are they named after Dame Nelly Melba? Who knows.
                                                  is Pavlova named after Anna Pavlova?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                    Peach Melba and Melba Toast were named after Dame Nellie Melba, the great Australian soprano. In the late 18oo's she stayed at the Savoy Hotel in London. César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier were the managers of the hotel. During an illness the singer asked for some very dry toast and thus Melba Toast was born. It is said that Escoffier himself created the Peach Melba in her honor.

                                                    As for the Pavolova there is some controversy as both New Zealand and Australian hotel chefs clam ownership. It is generally believed that the meringue represents Pavlova's tutu, the green kiwis represent the green decoration of her costume which were green cabbage roses.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Regarding Melba...I was told that Peach Melba was first invented for the diva by Escoffier, then, as she started getting fat in later years, Melba Toast was invented.

                                                  2. Exactly, smartie. Who gets the credit for them? And where are those thousand islands that warranted having a salad dressing named after them?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                      The Thousand Islands are in Eastern Ontario and New York state. There are some stories that relate the dressing to this area through George Boldt, one time owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He owned a few of those 1000 islands as well (the story of Boldt Castle on Heart Island is a very sad love story).

                                                      Of course, whether the dressing/geographic link is true or not???

                                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                                        It is. George Bolt had a guest up to his 1,000 Islands home and had his executive chef devise a salad for said guest. The dressing would become known as 1,000 Islands Dressing.

                                                        DT

                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                          And I"ll bet the guest wasn't even Russian or close to it!..LOL

                                                    2. Here are a couple for you:
                                                      A Shirley Temple and Chicken Tetrazzini......

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        a shirley temple, when made for a young gentleman, is a roy rogers :)

                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                          Almost. Shirley Temples are made with Sprite or ginger ale, Roy Rogers is made with Coke. To throw an extra one on there, grenadine with club soda and lemonade is a Queen Charlie. I'd love to know where THAT one came from.

                                                      2. And there seems to be some dispute over the origin of the Caesar Salad:

                                                        http://www.kitchenproject.com/history...

                                                        And i had heard it was invented in Las Vegas!

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                          I had always heard/read that it was invented in Mexico - maybe even Tijuana?

                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                            But even with the various stories, the connection with Baja and that particular family seems to stand, it's just debate about the details (the Chicago etc. stories don't seem to hold much water).

                                                            MMRuth -- I cited an interview with Ruth Reichl above with the Tijuana story :)

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                No worries! I'm a little too into this thread....

                                                          2. There also seems to be a contoversy over the origin of the Caesar Salad:

                                                            http://www.kitchenproject.com/history...

                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_S...

                                                            And I had heard it was invented in Las Vegas!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                              No self-respecting Frenchman would eat or even recognize that orange-y "French" salad dressing. In France the normal salad dressing is a vinagrette.

                                                            2. Cobb Salad was created by a manager of the Brown Derby in LA, Bob Cobb.

                                                              http://whatscookingamerica.net/Salad/...

                                                              The Reuben sandwich has a lot of different claims as to who it is named after:

                                                              http://whatscookingamerica.net/Histor...

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                The Reuben was another one I was gonna say.

                                                                Ok, what do I have left? Hope I'm not missing the point, but:
                                                                Oysters Rockefeller, named after rockefeller. I think I remember them being created especially for him, and I've also heard that though he liked him, they're considered an awful combination.
                                                                Beef Wellington, I'm pretty sur the Duke of Wellington LOVED that, and it was named after him.
                                                                The Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich at a card game (or more likely a servant invented it for him)
                                                                Errmm... That's it for now...

                                                                1. re: Soop

                                                                  Actually from what I understand, Oyster Rockefeller have little, or nothing to do with the Rockefellers directly (although undoubtedly Rocekfeer have eaten it from time to time). from the section on its history in the book Bigger Secrets (it's in there because of how carefully Antoine's (the orginal resturaunt) keeps the ingredients in the sauce secret). The chef simply wanted to pick a name to emphasize how rich the dish was and thereby draw some interest (at the time, dishes invovling cooked oyerst were not popular in fine cusine; oysters were for easting raw, on the half shell.) Incidentally while in france the same chef (probably Antoine himself, but I dont have the book in from of me) prepared a dishe invoving very rare beef. Whne the diner asked what the dish was called (since he had enyoyed it a lot) Antione promptly, in tribute to its bloody appearance, cristen it Boef al al Robespierre (after the infamous character of the French Revoution)
                                                                  Here are a few more
                                                                  Tournedos Rossini are actually named after Rossine (the opera composer) he was said to have ordered the dish (after complaing that a resuturants beef offerings were boring) only to be told that such a dish was not elegant to be presented in such a resturaunt. He is then said to have said "well, then let it be made where no one can see it." Hence the Tournedos part (from a term meaning "to turn the back.) and the tradtion that it is never to be prepared where the patrons can see it.

                                                                2. re: danhole

                                                                  The Cobb salad was certainly named after Tex Cobb. But certainly he was not the first to put a variety of ingredients in a salad. The story goes he would go around to the cold locjers after the workday and put in whatever was available, rather than following a recipe.

                                                                  1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                    Do you have a source? I thought the invention of the cobb salad at the Brown Derby was pretty solid (and has already been mentioned by somebody in this thread): http://www.kitchenproject.com/history...

                                                                    There's an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" all about somebody named Cobb falsely claiming his grandfather invented it which drives Larry David to distraction, I thought it was pretty hilarious.

                                                                3. Oh yeah:

                                                                  Margarita Pizza and coronation chicken have similar backgrounds; both were invented as a food that the nation could eat to celebrate something with Queens

                                                                  "The Margherita is attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito. Esposito worked at the pizzeria "Pietro... e basta così" (literally "Peter... and that's enough") which was established in 1780 and is still operating under the name "Pizzeria Brandi". In 1889, he baked three different pizzas for the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy. The Queen's favorite was a pizza evoking the colors of the Italian flag – green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes).[8] This combination was named Pizza Margherita in her honor."
                                                                  From Wikipedia

                                                                  "Florist Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume are credited with the invention of coronation chicken.[2][3] Preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become known as coronation chicken.[4]

                                                                  Coronation chicken was likely inspired by jubilee chicken, a dish prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935, which mixed chicken with mayonnaise and curry. Additionally, for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, another celebratory dish was devised, also called "jubilee chicken".[2]"

                                                                  Also from Wikipedia

                                                                  1. Although I worked on rice for years and although "Fujisaka" is a relatively uncommon Japanese surname, the rice variety, Fujisaka 5, has nothing to do with me. It was bred at the Fujisaka cold tolerance testing station in northern Japan. If any of you were wondering.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                      Darn, Sam...........and here i thought you were independently wealthy, living off the dividends, travelling around the world at liesure and sampling all those great foods!<G>

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        Of course we were wondering, Sam. We hang on your every word.

                                                                      2. Canadian Bacon.

                                                                        I'm a Canadian and let me tell you, we don't eat it. What we eat is a pickled/brined pork loin that is then rolled in corn meal. It's called peameal bacon. It's definitely different than Canadian Bacon.

                                                                        DT

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          Good point! And the stuff we call bacon down here in the States is called, "streaky bacon" in the UK. The stuff they call bacon is a different cut all together (and much better IMHO). Much leaner

                                                                        2. What about Cajun Fried Turkey? Is that really a cajun originated dish or just a marketing ploy to sell the Cachere's injector seasoning?

                                                                          1. I know that Chicken Tetrazzini was named for Luisa Tetrazzini (an italian opera singer). The chef at the Palace hotel in San Fran. made it up for her so she could keep weight ON. Why? If you are fat it keeps the wrinkles at bay! I love that.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                              The impression I got from reading James Beard's preface to the dish was that Tetrazzini simply had an enormous appetite, and needed nobody's help to keep her weight on! And I gotta say, that dish will do it for you...

                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                Tomato Tomahto. The funny part was the wrinkle cure.

                                                                              2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                Bwahahaha, and I thought I made that up about being heaviers means less facial wrinkles! I've been saying that for years!

                                                                              3. Boston Butt: In Boston during/before revolutionary times lesser prized pork pieces were packed into barrels called "butts". You know who does not call pork shoulder "Boston Butt"?

                                                                                Yep. Bostonians.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                  The butt isn't the shoulder. It's the blade - the piece that the shoulder connects to. I've certainly seen pieces labeled butt here, 30 miles from Boston. Go to Butcher Boy in Andover - they'll know exactly what a butt is. It may be the Boston part of the moniker that doesn't apply here, but butt is butt.

                                                                                2. Salisbury Steak was not invented in England, but by American James Salisbury:
                                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Sa...
                                                                                  (Oddly enough, we ordered a burger in Salisbury, England, and it actually did taste like Salisbury Steak, much to our dismay)

                                                                                  1. My parent recently were traveling in the Thousand Islands region of Canada (sorry i don't know exactly where), and I made jokes about the dressing. It turns out the the dressing was, in fact, first prepared there. Apparently someone from New York had a place up there and his chef made the dressing there. The boss like it so much that he had the chef make it in NYC and the rest is history.

                                                                                    1. One of my favorite origin tales is one of the few popular foods native to Arizona, namely the chimichanga. The people at the regional chain Macayo's claim their founder invented it by putting some burritos in the deep fryer and serving them up. The much better tale comes from Tucson's El Charro restaurant. In 1922, the owner, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a burrito in the deep fryer. She was about to exclaim "¡Ay, chingada!" (a Spanish F-bomb) but caught herself and exclaimed "chimichanga" (loose English translation: "Doohickey") instead. They tried it, liked it, and your cardiologist's boat payment was born.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                                                                        Here's a story I heard:
                                                                                        If you go to an "upscale" Chinese resturaunt, you may bump into a soup whose name is translated as "West Lake Soup" (Its basically an egg drop soub with minced beef and cilantro (as well as sometimes mushrooms and tofu cubes) added) From what I understand the soup takes its name from the West Lake region in China which was a favorite vacation/resort spot in China. The soup howder does not orginate from the West lake region; it is Cantonese in orgin (the West Lake region itslef is in Zhejiang not Guandong) as one might suspect by how similar it is to egg drop (also Cantonese in orgin) According to what I have read the was named "West Lake" by returning Cantonese tourists becuse they felt is was as simple and beautiful as the lake they had just come back from visitng. There are also such things as "West Lake Fish" and "West Lake Duck" but I do not know whethere they are also of Canonese orgin.

                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                          Although not in Zhejiang, there is a famous restaurant in Changsha called the West Lake Restaurant, that is the largest restaurant in the world. Is it possible that these dishes are from there? There was a BBC documentary on it that was shown in the US not long ago.

                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                            I'm not saying its impossible, but the Cantonese have called the soup "west lake soup" for centuries, the resturaunt would have to be extremely old. The fish and duck could be from there, though.

                                                                                      2. German chocolate cake. Has nothing to with Germany. Name is based on the use of German brand baking chocolate, invented by a fellow named Samuel German. May have been a recipe that was concocted by the company to promote the chocolate. The chocolate is different because it already had the sugar added, ie it was sweeter than other brands.

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                                                                                        1. re: johnb

                                                                                          Years ago, I phoned a friend in Germany and asked him where in Germany the coconut trees grew. He asked what the hell I was talking about and I told him German Chocolate Cake had coconut frosting, which is what made it German Chocolate Cake. He had no idea what I was talking about. I offered to ship him a German Chocolate Cake that he could serve as imported, local cake. I later found out the truth about the recipe, as you mentioned.

                                                                                        2. In your view, what would it take to make Apple Brown Betty non-bogus? Would one have to produce a brown apple aunt?

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                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                            Actually now that it think of that, EVERY confection labelled as being, or containing "marshmallow" is bogus. as to my knowledge true marshmallows, that is versions actually containing tincture of Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis) have probably not been made or sold for well over a century, likely longer. Indeed should anyone want to sell an "original formula" marshmallow, I very much doubt the USDA would allow it (as I understand it Marsh Mallow extract is good for curing sore throats, so an "orginal" marshmallow would likey be classifed as some sort of cough drop or herbal supplment and as such not something kids should be encouraged to eat in the en masse method of a candy)

                                                                                          2. Spanish peanuts are primarily grown in Texas and Oklahoma.

                                                                                            1. How about all the ham and bacon sandwiches on the menu at "Kosher STYLE delis?"

                                                                                              1. Au gratin dishes in the US being synonymous with "baked with cheese"; a gratin dish is simply a casserole which can be baked at high temperatures with fillings which may or may not include cheese.

                                                                                                1. Australian for beer = Fosters

                                                                                                  Nope - they've never heard of it as I found on a trip there a few years ago. However, the mostly male group that I asked were quite amused, entertained and *flattered* by the portrayed image.

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                                                                                                  1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                    What I heard was that Foster's is Australian for Coor's
                                                                                                    :)

                                                                                                  2. We hosted an exchange student from Denmark who was astounded by people constantly asking her about or offering her a danish! She said they call the similar pastry a viennese pastry in Denmark. Anyone know how the US came to call the danish a danish?

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                                                                                                      1. re: ideabaker

                                                                                                        So, a pretty classic story - when it came to America it changed from 'vienna bread' to 'Danish pastry'! Thanks for the link ideabaker.

                                                                                                    1. Stilton Cheese (the blue vein variety which was so hard to find- I tried- due to a recall from one area during the Christmas season) of all types doesn't come from Stilton, England, and in fact legally cannot be made there... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stilton_... . Of course I don't care what it's called or where it comes from it just tastes great, and, the story fit the thread :-).

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                                                                                                      1. re: ideabaker

                                                                                                        And Cheddar doesnt really come from Cheddar

                                                                                                          1. re: Soop

                                                                                                            No, Cheddar (the village) is in a region (Somersetshire) where a lot of cheddar (the cheese)( was (and still is) made but Cheddar itself has no cheese industry, and hasn't for ages. Cheddar and Cheddaring (the cheesemaking method by which Cheddar is made which invove slicing and stacking the curds repeatedly) probably got associated with Cheddar due to large number of tourists who ate it while in Cheddar (usally to see the Cheddar Gorge). and upon going home spoke of the "Cheese they had in Cheddar" the rest, as they say is history

                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                              just checked, Wikipedia; "The name 'Cheddar cheese' has become widely used internationally, and does not currently have a protected designation of origin (PDO). However, the European Union recognises West Country Farmhouse Cheddar as a PDO.[16] To meet this standard the cheese must be made in the traditional manner using local ingredients in one of the four designated counties of South West England: Somerset, Devon, Dorset, or Cornwall."

                                                                                                              but according to Cheddar Valley's official website, there is a visitor center where you can see the cheese making process: http://www.cheddarsomerset.co.uk/

                                                                                                      2. And since I live on the East coast and had a wonderful sandwich today, I hope that San Francisco Sourdough bread was either flown in, or at least the starter was!