Did you know many of the foods we eat today came about by accident? Below is a list of some of those accidental foods.
Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Toll House Inn’s Ruth Wakefield in 1930, when one day she discovered she had run out of baking chocolate. She smashed up a bar of semisweet chocolate and added it to her batter. What resulted was a cookie filled with chunks of chocolate. Soon her Massachusetts inn was known for its chocolate chip cookies.
The sandwich was invented by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich in the 1700s when he couldn’t leave a particularly intense gambling game. He requested that meat be brought to him between two pieces of bread so he wouldn’t have to eat anything with a fork. Montagu’s refusal to get up for a meal resulted in one of the greatest culinary advances in history.
Nashville hot chicken was invented by Thornton Prince’s spurned lover in the 1930s. Nashville’s spicy take on fried chicken is served throughout the city today, but its origins are at the famous Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. The recipe is traced back to current owner Andre Jeffries’s great-uncle Thornton Prince, an infamous womanizer. When she thought he was cheating, one of his jealous lover’s fed him extra-spicy chicken out of vengeance. It turned out, he liked it so much that he began cooking it at his restaurant.
Tofu was invented by the Chinese in Ancient China. Boiled, ground soybeans were accidentally mixed with impure sea salt containing calcium and magnesium salts, causing the soybeans to gel.
Worchestershire sauce was invented by Lord Marcus Sandy in 1838, when he returned to England craving his favorite Indian sauce. He commissioned drugstore owners John Lea and William Perrins to recreate it based purely on his descriptions. The stench of the product they created proved to be far too offensive to sell in their store, so they stashed it in their basement for two years. This aging period improved the flavors vastly and the sauce became a hit with customers.
Coca Cola was invented by John Pemberton in 1886, when Pemberton was a wounded veteran who had become addicted to morphine. He sought to create a replacement to stave off his addiction. Through some experimenting in his pharmacy, he created a tonic, the original Coca Cola formula, that contained small amounts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut. In 1887, another Atlanta pharmacist, Asa Candler, bought the formula for Coca Cola from Pemberton for $2,300. By the late 1890s, Coca Cola was one of America’s most popular fountain drinks, largely due to Candler’s aggressive marketing of the product as a soft drink.
Beer was invented by the Mesopotamians about 10,000 years ago. The Mesopotamians began storing grains for bread. Their storage spaces occasionally became damp which caused the grains to ferment. This fermentation process resulted in the earliest beer.
Brandy was invented by Dutch vintners in the 17th century. Winemakers would boil their wine in order to reduce its volume for transport, then cut it with water on the other end. They didn’t realize that by transporting this concentrated mixture in wooden casks, the fortified wine would be transformed into something very different.
Potato chips were invented by Chef George Crum in 1853. A customer at Saratoga Springs’ Moon Lake House sent batch after batch of fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were not thin enough. Chef Crum was tired of the complaints, so he sliced the last batch of potatoes as thinly as he could, fried and salted them, and sent them out. The customer loved them and soon the word of these crunchy fried potatoes spread across the region.
Cheese puffs were invented by the Flakall Company of Beloit, Wisconsin in the 1930s. The Flakall Company invented a machine that crushed grains for animal feed without hulls and grain dust. Edward Wilson noticed that workers poured moistened corn kernels into the machine to reduce clogging. The machine got so hot that the moist cornmeal came out in puffy ribbons, hardening as they hit the air and fell to the ground. Wilson took the ribbons home, added oil and seasoning, and made the first cheese puffs.
Nachos were invented by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943, when Anaya was a maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico. One day, a group of ten military wives crossed the border from Fort Duncan Army base. Unable to track down the chef and faced with ten hungry women, Anaya improvised by covering a plate of tostadas with grated cheese, passed it through a salamander which is a broiling unit that heats food from above. He topped the whole thing off with jalapeños. One of the women called the dish “Nacho’s especiale” meaning “Nacho’s special” which was later shortened to just “nachos.” Anaya finally opened his own Nacho’s Restaurant.
Kellogg’s cereal was invented by Will Kellogg early in the 1900s. While working in a sanitarium in Michigan, Will attempted to make granola as a “healthy treat” for his patients. Instead of making granola, Will and his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, accidentally flaked wheat berry. Will kept experimenting until he flaked corn, and created the delicious recipe for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Breakfast hasn’t been the same since.
Ice cream cones were invented by Ernest Hamwi in 1904. At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, an ice-cream vendor had run out of dishes. Hamwi, a neighboring concessionaire, rolled the waffle-like pastries he was selling into a cone so his neighbor’s ice cream could be held inside. The cone became an instant hit with customers.
Soft ice cream began by accident. Over Memorial Day weekend of 1934, Tom Carvel, the founder of the Carvel brand and franchise, suffered a flat tire in his ice cream truck in Hartsdale, New York. He pulled into a parking lot and began selling his melting ice cream to vacationers driving by. Within two days he had sold his entire supply of ice cream and concluded that both a fixed location and soft frozen desserts were potentially good business ideas. In 1936, Carvel opened his first store on the original broken down truck site and developed a secret soft serve ice cream formula as well as patented super low temperature ice cream machines. This accident led to the success of sales of Carvel’s soft ice cream.