What do you do when you feel hungry but are too tired to go through all the messy process of preparing the ingredients, cutting and cooking them, only to be left with a pile of dirty dishes? You order out, of course! Pizza, sushi, tacos, burgers – these days you can have pretty much anything you want at any time of day or night, as long as you have the dough. Most of this is thanks to the invention of refrigeration, which led to the revolution called “processed food”.
Since then the factories were able to process more food (hence the name) and store it for a lot longer, which meant saving money and more time to develop new products. Some of those products have wild origin stories, and you’re about to see some real conversation starters!
Here are 6 secret origin stories of modern foods!
Statistically speaking, almost every person reading this has a bottle/pack of ketchup in their fridge right now. Well, that and mayonnaise. Coincidentally these two condiments make the best sauce for chicken. So where did ketchup come from? Some sources claim that sometime during 1600s traders coming from China would bring red chunky fish-based sauce which they called “ke-tsiap”. It instantly conquered the taste buds of the entire Europe and then the Americas. Naturally, the chefs began playing around with the formula, making thousands of variations, which is why today there’s only one sauce that supposedly tastes like the original – Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.
We all know about the Coca-Cola/Pepsi rivalry that has been going for over 100 years now, but how did Pepsi even came to be? About 100 years ago a bunch of chemists and pharmacists got a completely wrong idea that carbonated drinks improve health, and their own Coca-Cola was served for free inside their pharmacies. Pepsi was created in the same way just a few years later. Both Coke and Pepsi were sold everywhere in the early 1900s. But in 1923 Pepsi went out of business only to come back stronger and even more refreshing! They’ve started using 12 oz bottles instead of 6 oz ones, and that was a critical success among the customers. I personally would take Pepsi over Coke any day of the week.
3. Chicken Nugget
Did you know that even though McDonald’s were the first to sell these mouth-watering meat nuggets in 1980, they were not the ones who came up with the idea. Believe it or not, 18 years prior to that, a certain professor Robert C. Baker was trying to create new types of high-calorie chicken dishes for as cheap as possible. He came up with over a dozen recipes, sent them to various stores, and then later on published the results of his little experiment in a scientific journal. The rest is history.
4. Potato Chips
It’s August 24, 1853, George Crum is sitting in the kitchen of the Saratoga Springs resort when another order comes in. It’s from that d-bag Cornelius Vanderbilt. He wants his French fries thinner? Oh George will give him thinner! That’s basically the first time a human mouth tasted the crunchy goodness that is a potato chip. Lucky for George, Cornelius loved the new food and since he was super rich railroad tycoon, that recipe has made him even wealthier. For the next 40 years “Saratoga Chips” were exclusively served at restaurants, until William Tappenden created the world’s first chips factory in 1895.
Nutella is the best chocolate thing that has ever been created. To think that it was the result of WWII soldiers craving chocolate. At first it was a sweet paste made out of sugar and hazelnuts, because cocoa was incredibly hard to get, not to mention expensive, in Italy. In 1951 the first jar of SuperCrema saw the light of day. It contained almost the same chocolate spread we know and love today. After a few tweaks of the formula, a new product called Nutella was born in 1964, becoming a smash hit all over the world.
One chilly evening of 1905, a young boy named Frank Epperson was having fun outside, even made himself a powdered soda drink. While he was stirring his delicious treat in the cup, his mom called him back home or something like that. Frank left the drink and ran inside. That night was unusually frosty, so in the morning the 11-year-old boy found a cup of ice with a wooden stirrer sticking out. After a closer inspection he discovered that frozen soda tastes amazing and starts selling his innovative product appropriately called “Epsicle” to other kids. Sadly, when he grew up, he forgot all about his little invention. But in 1922 the popsicles he made for a firemen’s ball, reminded him of the good old times. 2 years later Frank patented “a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop” and started experimenting with flavors. Unfortunately, in 1929 he was in need of money and sold the patent to the Popsicle Corporation. Not cool, bro!