Food seems to be one of the most trivial, everyday things that we meet day after day. Under the surface, in turn, the traditional foods of pretty much every geographical area have some interesting stories attached to them. Like the one about the Hawaii pizza being invented by a Canadian cook (which, by the way, is true), and the Caesar salad being invented in Rome (which, by the way, is false). Sometimes, in turn, the stories attached to them are fun, too, even if not all of them are fact-based.
Why does a bagel have a hole?
Officially, the bagel has a hole in the middle for it to bake faster and more evenly. The legend attached to it is, in turn, a much more entertaining explanation for the mystery of the bagel hole. Allegedly, a small Jewish village in Russia was exploited by a greedy tzar – the royalty even demanded a tenth of all bread baked in the village. And to make things worse, the royal portion had to come from the middle of the bread. The wise men of the village found a way to stop the tzar from ruining all the village’s bread by baking bagels – small loaves with holes in the middle, holes that made up exactly a tenth of each one. And when the soldiers came to collect the royal portion, they had no choice but to leave empty-handed.
The potato chips of vengeance
Officially, the first one to publish a recipe for potato chips was English inventor, musician, and cook William Kitchiner. But as you might expect, there is a legend claiming the invention belongs to someone else – and that’s way more fun to tell.
Apparently, a cook called George Crum at the Moon Lakehouse in Saratoga grew tired of a squeamish patron that kept sending back the house speciality – Moon’s Fried Potatoes – to the kitchen, saying they were too thick and soggy. George remade the dish several times, to the same result, until he decided to get back at the patron: he sliced the potatoes thin, fried them until they became crispy, and served them with loads of salt.
As you might expect, the patron was very happy with the result.
The not-so-humble origin of the humble sandwich
Finally, let’s not forget the most convenient dish that was born out of passion. For cards, that is.
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was a passionate gambler who wouldn’t even leave the table to eat. Instead, he ordered his servants to bring him a piece of meat between two pieces of bread so he could eat while playing without messing up the cards. The idea caught with his opponents – they, too, were asking for the same “sandwich”, and the name stuck.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that John Edward Hollister Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich – yes, he is a descendant of the 4th – licensed his title to a chain of sandwich shops. One of them is in Disney World.
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