Web Desk: Everyone has their own favorite foods to choose from, but how many of our beloved foods do we know the history of? We will explore the origin stories behind common place foods from around the world.
The full name ‘hamburger’ originates from 1880, when German immigrants created the meal within Hamburg Germany. In order to make a beef steak, they would grind up the meat and create steak from what remained, calling it a ‘Hamburg steak’. This steak would eventually have its name shortened to ‘hamburger’. What must be noted, however, was that this was the origin of the steak itself – nobody quite knows where the idea of sticking a hamburger between two buns came from.
There an ongoing dispute between France and Belgium as to who really made it.
The Belgian side of the story is that the 17th Century residents of the Meuse Valley in Belgium were not shy of frying things. They had a tendency to fry any fish that they caught, which made up the majority of what they ate. When winter came and the rivers froze over, the Belgians turned to the ever-reliable spud, preparing them in battered slices; the same way they prepared fish.
The French side states that in late 17 century, potatoes were regarded unfit for human consumption, and only for pigs to eat. When famine struck in 1785, this mid set changed and the French gave the potato another chance. It caught so well, by 1795 they were grown everywhere, with even some royal gardens being converted to help grow the friendly spud, preparing them in battled slices, the same they prepared fish.
The ‘traditional’ image of the dish consisting of bread, tomatoes and cheese did, in fact, originate from Naples. The
food was easy to make with little cost and was regarded as something that the poor could eat to keep themselves going. It contained basil, cheese and tomatoes- very similar the kind we consume today.
When King Darius the Great ruled the Persian Empire, it is thought that his soldiers baked flatbreads on their shields, and added cheese and dates for flavoring. Ordering Dominos while in enemy territory just isn’t ideal.
When you lick a chocolate bar, it feels like you’re eating the food of gods. The story begins as far as 1500BC, when the Olmec managed to find and utilize cocoa beans. Of course, it was not called ‘cocoa’ then, but ‘kakawa’ – where we get the name from. They managed to turn it into a drink, but historians are hard-pressed to find any evidence that the Olmec did much else with it.
The Mayans, however, loved the stuff. They identified it as a food of Kon, the god of rain and wind. They drank it, used the mixture as a substitute for blood in rituals, and even used the beans as currency. That’s right; once upon a time, you could buy things with chocolate.
As for the solid bars we all know and love? They didn’t pop up until around 1850AD. Even after all of these years, however, we still love to offer chocolate to people we praise highly.
Milkshakes are a lovely treat for the young, but you definitely would not want to give the original recipe to a child.
The first time the world saw the word ‘milkshake’ was in 1885, in a British newspaper. The article did not go on to talk about if people preferred strawberry or banana flavor; in fact, what the article did say was that milkshake was a “sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat.” Yes, that’s right; the original milkshake contained alcohol.
The actual milkshake we know and love came a little later in the 1900s. In 1922, a man called Ivan “Pop” Coulson wanted to make a remix on the recipe. Ever an experimenter, he added the one ingredient that made a huge impact on the recipe of milkshake forever; ice cream. Since then, the version with whiskey in it has fallen out of public knowledge; unfortunately, alcoholic milkshakes are not an item on the ‘hidden menu’ in fast food places.