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These 10 Famous Food Items Have Unexpected Origin Stories

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.

1. Tea

Food discoveries, Tea
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.

2. Coffee

Food discoveries, Coffee
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.

3. Popsicles

Food discoveries, Popsicles
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

Food discoveries, 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

Food discoveries, 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.

6. Corn Flakes

Food discoveries, Corn Flakes
In countless homes, breakfast isn’t completed without a bowl of corn flakes with milk. This renowned food product was discovered by accident, too. The story goes that while working in a sanitarium in Michigan, W.K. Kellogg, the founder of the Kellogg Company, attempted to make granola as a healthy vegetarian treat for some patients at a sanatorium at Battle Creek that he ran with his brother.
While making the dish, W.K. Kellogg and his brother accidentally left wheatberry cooking in the kitchen and found later that the kernels had flaked. The brothers kept on experimenting with cooking different grains and eventually flaked corn, thus creating a recipe for corn flakes that they really enjoyed. The cereal became the most loved morning meal worldwide and today its numerous variations can be found everywhere.

7. Nachos

Food discoveries, Nachos
The story of the creation of nachos is quite interesting. The famous Mexican snack is credited to Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya who was the head waiter at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico. One afternoon in 1943, a group of military wives from the US had crossed the border into Mexico from the Fort Duncan Army base to do some shopping.
In the evening, they came to the Victory Club restaurant to have a meal but were disappointed to find that the chef had left. Anaya didn’t want the women to leave and decided to prepare something new - covering a plate of tostadas with grated cheese, passing it through a salamander oven while heating the plate from above, and then adding a few sliced jalapeño peppers as a topping. 
The women adored the dish and one of them dubbed it “Nacho’s especiale” (“Nacho’s special”). Later on, it was shortened to just ‘Nachos’ and came to be the well-known snack we all recognize today.

8. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Food discoveries, Chocolate Chip Cookies
In the year 1930, an American woman named Ruth Wakefield was mixing a batch of cookies for her roadside inn guests when she found that she had run out of the baker's chocolate she generally used for making them. To compensate, Wakefield added broken up pieces of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate instead. She hoped that the chocolate would melt and absorb into the dough to create chocolate cookies. The chips didn’t spread. However, when Wakefield removed the pan from the oven, she found that she had accidentally created chocolate chip cookies. 
The guests loved the chocolate chip cookies, and it became Wakefield's specialty, which she called "Toll House Crunch Cookies”. The recipe for the cookies was published in a Boston newspaper and shortly afterward, chocolate chip cookies became the most popular variety of cookies in America. It didn't take long for this delicious recipe to reach different parts of the world as well. So, the next time you are savoring a pack of those yummy chocolate chip cookies, do remember to thank Ruth Wakefield for inventing them.

9.  Slurpees

Food discoveries, Slurpees
Slurpees are arguably the most popular drinks found in convenience stores all over the world. This frozen carbonated beverage is a favorite among kids in the summer. The first Slurpee was made in 1958 by Omar Knedlik, a Kansas-based Dairy Queen owner. Back then, Knedik's store didn't have a fountain and he would often keep his soda shipments in the freezer to keep them cool. Once, Knedlik accidentally left the sodas in the freezer a little longer than he had intended and they turned out to be partially frozen.
Knedlik decided to take a chance and sell them anyway. Surprisingly, the customers loved the partially frozen drinks. They became so popular, in fact, that Knedlik built a new machine to keep producing the partially frozen sodas and this is how the very first Slurpee machine was born.

10. Beer

Food discoveries, Beer
Did you know that beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world? The brewing process was first documented by the ancient Egyptians on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 BC. These first beers were blended with a mixture of such ingredients as dates, pomegranates, and other indigenous herbs. Their taste is likely to have been quite bitter and harsh. It is said that the Egyptians consumed these beers during religious ceremonies.
Even before the Egyptians, however, the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia are believed to have been the first brewers way back in 10,000 B.C. Historians say that when the Mesopotamians began storing grains for bread, their storage spaces would at times become damp, causing the grains to ferment. This fermentation process led to the creation of the earliest beer. Let’s raise a glass then to the Mesopotamians.
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