When you are chomping down on your favorite snack, do you ever wonder how it came into existence? Well, most of us don’t, right? After all, it’s probably weird to think about the series of events that led to the creation of a particular food item. Who was that genius who thought of making a sandwich for the very first time? Or who brewed the first beer?
These are all interesting questions, and if you dig a little deeper, you would be surprised with the answers you get. Today, we will be exploring the fascinating and unusual origins of some popular food and drinks. Some of these food items have a bizarre history and some were discovered purely by accident. Read to find out more about the unexpected origins of some famous food products.
Tea is undoubtedly one of the most famous drinks in the world. It’s stimulating and calming effects make it an ideal drink to have in the morning or in the afternoon.
The history of tea is replete with several myths and legends. According to Chinese lore, the history of tea began in 2737 BC when Emperor Shen Nong, an eminent ruler and a scientist, discovered tea by accident while sitting under a tea tree. The story goes that the emperor was boiling water and a few leaves from the tree fell down into his pot. When Shen Nong took a sip of the drink, he enjoyed the taste immensely. Later on, the emperor began researching the plant further and discovered the many wonderful medicinal properties of tea that eventually made its way into Chinese medicine before evolving into a modern drink.
Whatever the legend might be, tracing tea’s original roots is extremely difficult. Although it’s generally believed that the tea plant originated somewhere in southwestern China, Tibet, and Northern India.
Many of us can’t begin our morning without a steaming cup of coffee. Much like tea, however, its origin story is quite fascinating. While no one knows exactly how or when coffee was discovered, there are many legends about its origins. The most popular and widely accepted one is about its discovery in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. The legend says that a goatherd called Kaldi was the first person to have found the unique properties of coffee beans.
According to the story, Kaidi noticed his goats being unusually energetic after they ate berries from a certain tree. In fact, the animals were so energized that they couldn’t sleep at night. Curious to find out more, the goatherd reported his findings to the monks of a local monastery. They went on to make a drink with the berries and realized that coffee helped them stay up to perform their prayers late at night. Soon, knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread and coffee became a popular drink throughout the world.
Popsicles, the refreshing frozen treats, were discovered unintentionally by an 11-year-old boy in California named Frank W. Epperson. The year was 1905 and Epperson, while making lemonade soda on his porch, left it out and went to sleep. However, when he woke up the next day, he was surprised to find the stick he was using to stir the mixture had frozen upright in the liquid. The young boy, thrilled with his accidental creation, named it “a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop.” He applied for a patent for his unique discovery in 1924 and changed its name to ‘Popsicle’.
4. Potato Chips
This tasty and salty snack was invented by American Chef George Crum by accident in 1853. Back then, French Fries had become quite famous in the masses and were in high demand at the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs in New York, where Crum worked. One day, an angry customer complained to the chef that his French fries were too thick.
To pacify the man, Crum sliced a batch of potatoes really thin, fried and salted them, and sent them out. This time, the customer was thrilled, and in no time, the word about the crunchy fried potatoes had spread throughout the city and then the entire country. Thus, potato chips were born and went on to become one of the most well-known snack items of all time.
5. The Sandwich
Who doesn’t enjoy a good sandwich every once in a while? Sandwiches are loved so much because they come in so many varieties. While it’s impossible to say who was the first person to cut their bread and put a piece of meat or cheese between two slices of bread, the credit for the sandwich’s initial popularity goes to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Yes, you read that name right. Montagu was a British aristocrat who lived in the 18th century and was heavily into gambling.
Interestingly, the earl didn’t like taking breaks while gambling, and during one intense gambling session, he ordered the cook to bring him some meat slices placed between two pieces of bread. He enjoyed this snack as the bread stopped his hands from getting greasy and he could continue playing the game without interruption. While many historians have questioned the legitimacy of this story, it is widely believed that Montagu’s refusal to get up for a meal resulted in the discovery of the sandwich.