We all love a good sandwich, full of great ingredients that marry well between two perfectly toasted slices of bread. But have you ever stopped to think about the word ‘sandwich’? Learn that and more fun food facts below!
The sandwich was born in London during the very late hours one day in 1762 when an English nobleman, John Montagu (1718-1792), the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was too busy playing cards to stop for a meal. Legend has it that he ordered the waiter to bring him roast beef between two slices of bread and that’s how the sandwich came about. He apparently had the meat put on slices of bread so he wouldn’t get his fingers greasy while he was playing cards.
Researcher Adriana Orr traced the origin of the dish nacho to its creator Ignacio Anaya, the chef at the old ‘Victory Club’ in a small Mexican town across the border from Texas. He was the person, who assembled the first nachos for a bunch of Texan ladies on a shopping trip in the 1940’s. Nacho is a diminutive form of Ignacio – the inventor of the dish!
Peach Melba was created by the famed French chef Auguste Escoffier for his friend Australian opera singer named Nellie Melba. The singer often ate at his restaurants while performing in Covent Garden during the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. Nellie sent Escoffier tickets for her performance in a Wagner opera, which featured a beautiful boat in the shape of a swan. The next evening the chef presented Nellie with a dessert of fresh peaches served over vanilla ice cream in a silver dish perched atop a swan carved from ice. It was originally called ‘peach with a swan’ but after he opened the Ritz Carlton in London, he changed it slightly by adding a topping of sweetened raspberry pure, and he renamed the dish ‘Peach Melba’.
Although the classic cheesecake is named after New York, it was actually the Ancient Greeks, who first created the cheesecake on the Greek island of Samos. The writer Athenaeus was credited for writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe in 230 A.D even though the Greeks had been serving cheesecake for over 2,000 years. They pounded cheese until it becomes pasty, added honey and wheat flour and then baked the cake. They cooled the cake before serving it. When the Romans invaded Greece, the cheesecake recipe was one of the spoils of war, though it was modified and added crushed cheese and eggs.
Fish and Chips:
Although we all know it as a humble British classic, fish and chips claim their origins in Portugal, France and Belgium in the 17th century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that both Lancashire and London were the first to present the two as a combination. Mr. Lees sold fish and chips from a wooden hut in the market, which he turned into a permanent shop with a sign that said: “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world!”
Just like chop Suey, the fortune cookie, although served at the end of a Chinese meal, is purely an American invention. These cookies originated in California, but the identity of the inventor elicits great debate. Some claim it was David Jung, a Chinese immigrant living in Los Angeles, who gave out free meals to the poor and made sure each cookie had an inspirational message from the Bible. Others claim it was invented by a Japanese immigrant living in San Francisco who gave the cookies out to those who stood by him during his times of hardship.