As George Bernard Shaw has rightly expressed, “there is no sincerer love than the love for food”.
As most of us these days have become avid food connoisseurs and passionate foodies, we ought to gain knowledge about people whose names have been borrowed to name various dishes and food items, or even brands for that matter. In fact, I admit it hands down, being a passionate foodie, getting a dish named after me is one of my life’s long-term goals!
Some of these dishes or persons may not sound oh-so-familiar to you, but find solace in the fact that you may get to sample them someday in your life. Currently, you’ll have to make do with drooling over their descriptions!
Here’s a list of the top 10 people who have been immortalized as foods. The headings contain the name of the person who the food is named after, and the name of the food is given right next to that along with a colon.
10. Otto Von Bismarck: The Bismarcks, aka Jelly-filled doughnuts
Otto Von Bismarck was the first Chancellor of united Germany, ruling in the 1860s. He was and continues to be world-renown. As we dig into history, we find that there is no apparent reason why these doughnuts were named after him. But this may be accounted for by the fact that many cities in Northern California were also named after him. The Bismarcks are filled with jelly, custard, jam or chocolate and may be coated with icing or sugar on top. However, these doughnuts do nut (pun intended) have a hole in the middle, unlike regular donuts. They are very popularly consumed during the Lent period of Catholics. These are also known as Jelly doughnuts or simply jam busters in various parts of America.
9. William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. O’Henry: The Oh! Henry Candy Bar
Strange to know that an author enjoys the exclusivity of the name of an American candy bar, isn’t it? The main ingredients of this include fudge, peanuts and caramel. The Oh! Henry Candy Bar was originally manufactured by George Williamson, founder and chief executive of the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago. He introduced the bar in 1920 when he used to thoroughly enjoy O’henry’s short stories. However, this legendary candy bar also has other stories behind it. A famous story says that the name Henry actually came from a boy who used to visit the Williamson Company factories every afternoon and flirt with the worker girls. Thus, every time Henry ‘the flirt’ was around, the girls called him to help with their work. And thus originated “Oh! Henry”. Well, so much for entrepreneurship.
8. Ernest Hemingway: The Hemingway Champagne
Coming up, the next world-famous author on this list! Ernest Hemingway personally recommended this drink in his book of cocktails in the year 1935, to which he was invited to contribute. Also known as the ‘Death in the Afternoon or simply ‘The Hemingway’, this drink simply comprises Absinthe and Brut Champagne. However, Hemingway himself used to consume around 3-5 of these on an average basis daily! His liver’s capacity and dipsomaniac-like attributes should truly be acknowledged.
7. Robert Cobb: The Cobb’s Salad
Necessity is truly the mother of invention in this case! Innovated completely out of last-minute dire needs, the Cobb’s salad was merely a melange of leftovers from the fridge of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood. Robert Cobb, being the owner, decided to make the salad on his own for his guest. The innovation turned out to be a success, with the immediate effect that Robert added it as a permanent item on his menu. Clearly, the Cobb’s salad was here to stay for a very long time.
6. James H. Salisbury: The Salisbury Steak
Being a vegetarian sure is pretty hard, considering that the Salisbury steak has so many health benefits. It acts as a cure for many ailments, such as tuberculosis, gout and bronchitis. It was actually created in 1866 by James H Salisbury (surprise, surprise!) who was actually an American medical practitioner. He minced beef and did it well and mixed it with a gravy and brown sauce. He highly recommended this due to its healing powers and low-carb content. So it’s a great option if you’re on a crash diet!
5. Clara “Tootsie” Hirshfield: The Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Rolls originated in the late 1800s, when the word Tootsie was a slang referring to a ‘girl’ or a ‘sweetheart’. This term is often also attributed to Clara Hirshfield, daughter of the founder of Tootsie Roll Industries Ltd, i.e. Leo Hirshfield. The company itself was founded in 1896 in the United States, which was when the Tootsie Rolls started selling for a trivial one penny. These rolls essentially are similar to caramel or taffy rolls, but they stay put in the summers. Tootsie Roll Industries, also later on, made many successful mergers and acquisitions and is still a household name.
4. Lemuel Benedict: The Eggs Benedict
This dish is definitely not to be associated with Benedict Cumberbatch, the Hollywood actor! This popular New York breakfast meal has many, many Benedict having claimed it as their invention. Originally accompanied by the Bloody Mary, it is considered to be the best homemade remedy for a hangover. What’s more, it has been around since the late 19th century. Hangovers aren’t a recent phenomenon! Eggs Benedict have believed to have been invented by Lemuel Benedict, a socialite. He returned to his hotel after having drunk the entire night and demanded a remedy for his hangover. He thus ordered a meal comprising a toast, poached eggs, bacon and hollaindaise sauce. The waiter, who might have been half drunk himself, substituted the toast with an English muffin and bacon with ham. Hey, presto! The Eggs Benedict were born.
3. Caesar Cardini: The Caesar’s Salad
All hail Caesar! Contrary to popular beliefs, the Caesar’s salad or the “Emperor of Salads”, does not commemorate the ancient Roman Emperor. But as far as you believe that to be true, Caesar was not particularly fond of salad and nor has this been invented in his time. Caesar Cardini, the brains behind this salad, invented the salad by accident (the third time on this list!) when he placed finger foods with carefully shredded garlic leaves. He later worked on this, and it developed into a salad. It has a special technique of being tossed and a special dressing as well, though the recipe varies among regions. It’s a huge hit with Hollywood stars, too!
2. Alfredo di Lilo: Fettucine Alfredo or the Alfredo Sauce
The Alfredo sauce was invented as an energy booster and a means to regain the lost strength. Alfredo di Lilo came up with this famous Italian sauce after his wife had delivered and was in need of a serious dose of something which would revive her in this time of weakness. He mixed cream, Parmesan cheese and butter and cooked it along with Fettucine to give birth to this wonderful new Italian dish! Alfredo’s restaurant further basked in the success of this innovation. This was especially so when Hollywood’s famous couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford sampled Alfredo’s sauce on their honeymoon.
1. Suzanne Reichenberg: Crepes Suzette
One of the most fanciful and flamboyant French desserts, the crepes Suzette simply comprises pancakes with liquor poured over them. The liquor is burnt, resulting in a thick, caramelized sauce. This burnt texture or ‘flambe’ is what gives this dessert its exclusivity. The origin of this dish is extremely disputed, but is widely accredited to the French actress Suzane Reichenberg, who was often referred to as Suzette. Reichenberg appeared on stage in a French theater, playing the role of a maid serving pancakes. Monsieur Joseph decided to flambé the pancakes in order to keep them warm for the actors and make them look a tad bit attractive, and it was thus that the Crepes Suzette was born. It is still considered a delicacy among desserts, from when it was invented in 1897 till date.
In concluding this list, one may say that these dishes may not be the ones we get to sample in our everyday life. Even the names of the people behind these foods may not sound like those of Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. But let’s face it, these names will continue to be on our lips, and probably even those of our future generations.