Ever wonder how some of your favorite foods came about? Not all of them were created with thought and precision. Some were just a happy surprise! So let’s uncover ten foods that were invented by accident!
The invention of yogurt is pretty much unknown, but historians have imagined that yogurt was first invented around 5000 BC in Mesopotamia. This was a period when milk-producing animals were domesticated. Since milk products could be produced at home’s that owned such animals, the milk could be shared between families and friends. But, how did they transport the milk… hmmm… this is where things get interesting. The milk would have been transported in bags made from the stomachs of animals. Historians believe that the milk would begin coagulate in these bags due to the amount of bacteria and acidity. Not the best image for yogurt lovers, right? At least the big yogurt companies today aren’t using this method. So, that’s the theory of how yogurt came to be. Ancient Indian records call yogurt “the food of the Gods.” Maybe that’s because they would put milk and a bag and if you left it long enough it would divinely become something different. Whatever the reason and however this yummy food really was invented, this is a good story that seems to make a lot of sense.
A crepe is like a thin pancake, and oh boy oh boy are they delicious. The crepe suzette is a crepe that has been flambéed and served with a caramelized sugar and butter sauce. But, how did such a famous dessert or brunch treat come about? Well, back in 1854 in Monte Carlo a waiter named Henri Charpentier was sautéing a crepe in liqueur for a prince he was serving. This prince would later go on to become King Edward VII of England. Needless to say, he was a big shot of a guy to be cooking for. So far so good, nothing out of the ordinary here other than having to cook for a future king. But, let’s take into consideration that Henri was only fourteen and had been put in charge of cooking. Not only that, but cooking something that has liquor in it! Making it pretty flammable. Well, as Henri is sautéing along, just living his life, his crepe catches fire! Some may think that this would ruin the crepe, making it completely burnt and inedible. However, it did not. This accident lead to something wonderful and smoky and delicious! Next time you have the chance to try a crepe suzette, do it! You now know that it was first served to a future king and was a fiery surprise!
Number eight on our list is a sauce some may love, others may not know, and some may know they have it in their fridge but never really use it… Right? Well, Worcestershire Sauce has a long and interesting history. It all began in 1838 when Governor Marcus Sandys went to India with the East India trading Company and fell absolutely head over heels in love with a special Indian sauce. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a clever enough traveler to have brought some back with him. You snooze you lose Governor! However, what he did do was commission a local chemist to try and replicate it. He did his level best to describe the sauce, but when it was done it just didn’t taste right. It smelled and it did not satisfy the governor’s fond memories. The chemist’s names were John Lea and William Perrins. They had combined molasses, sugar, salt, garlic, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, spirit and barley malt vinegar, cloves, soy sauce, lemons, pickles, and peppers. Lots of stuff packed into one little sauce. With anchovies AND pickles it’s not surprising it smelt kinda gross! So when the sauce didn’t pass the test it was placed in a basement and forgotten. Fast forward two years… the sauce has now fermented and become something different than what the governor originally commissioned the chemists to concoct, but it was no longer icky! It was now a yummy sauce that could be used in meats, salads, or really anything else! Mmmm… the magical surprise of fermentation!
Next our list of things that came about by accident is Dippin Dots. For those of you who aren’t on the up and up, Dippin Dots are very little balls of frozen ice cream. Believe it or not this treat has been around since 1988! What happened here was Curt Jones was trying to find a way to feed cows! He wanted an easier way to get the cow’s their meals because cows can be finicky when it comes to cowing down. Who would have thought they could be picky eaters? The food cow’s eat needs to be properly balanced. The amino acid profiles, the fibre levels and the amount of fat in the food all need to be considered. So Curt Jones figured it might be a good idea to perfect the recipe for the cow feed mix and then freeze it with liquid nitrogen, which ended up creating little beads. He then gave it a try with ice cream and, bam, there they were, what we now know as Dippin’ Dots. Dubbing this “the ice cream of the future” Curt Jones opened up a company and began to sell this treat! Though this ice cream did gain some popularity it also had some financial trouble in 2011 when Regions Bank sued the company for defaulting on their debt. Oh uh Dippin’ Dots, that’s never a good thing… But, despite their financial troubles they do have one sweet and pretty cool product that was created completely by accident!
This invention is pretty cool, because it not only involves the invention of a product, but a machine as well. The folks over at Shark Tank would have liked this one for sure! In 1950’s Omar Knedlik’s soda fountain broke down and that surely made all of the local children sad and cranky. Omar put his sodas in the freezer to stay cool, trying to save his product and prevent himself from losing any business. When he ended up selling his sodas that had been sitting in the freezer for a while his customers were surprised and elated at the beverage that was not exactly a soda and not not a soda either. This gave him the idea to create a machine that helped him recreate the product! After he did this he even hired someone to make a new logo for the beverage. Her name was Ruth E. Taylor and she came up with the name ICEE. Omar took this name and his machine and sold it to a hundred stores! This man suddenly was no longer in the business of selling sodas for neighborhood children, but now in the big leagues selling machines to businesses all over his area. Good for you Mr. Omar Knedlik! Good for you for making a surprising idea into something great! Now we can all enjoy slurpees at local movie theatres, carnivals, sporting arenas, and even at some malls. Kids love it. And adults do too! The slurpee is a refreshing beverage that we are all happy to have!
Potato chips were invented after a restaurant customer, named Cornelius Vanderbilt, complained that the fries were too thick… Hmmm… One annoying customer nag lead to one of the most eaten snacks in the US. Go figure! Complaining can lead to innovating! This happened in 1853 at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. George Crum was the chef who received the complaint that the French fries were too thick, and wanting to please the customer and probably also his manager, he complied and made what we know now to be potato chips! Another version of this story goes that Chef George Crum was annoyed by the complaint and shaved the smallest pieces of potato he possibly could into the fryer, thinking that they would come out as obviously way too crispy and nothing like french fries. But, despite his attempt to spite Cornelius Vanderbilt the thin fries were enjoyed and celebrated. The proprietress, Harriet Moon, then announced that the chips would continue to be served at the Moon Lake Lodge! The chips went on to be popular at this venue, and then were copied again and again until they gained popularity worldwide. Charming story, right? Sadly, this story has been debunked as a myth. A few researchers have placed Cornelius Vanderbilt in Europe that summer, concluding that he could never have been the annoying customer that helped in bringing the invention of the potato chip about… Very interesting. So this invention really is up in the air. How did it actually happen? Well we don’t know! But, this accidental story is pretty popular and is what comes up when you type ‘invention of the potato chip’ into your preferred internet browser. So, take it or leave it… But something did happen to give us all the crispy crunch of a potato chip and whatever that was, we are grateful!
Ice Cream Cones
Who doesn’t love a good ice cream cone in the summer? There’s just nothing like eating one as you walk around a festival or along the beach. The best is that you’re eating this tasty treat and then poof, that’s it, you’re finished and you have no trash to get rid of! That’s the real magic of the ice cream cone… no sticky left over trash! Well, the cone was invented totally by accident and we couldn’t be happier! It happened in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair. Ernest Hamwi had a pastry stall and he was selling waffles. His neighboring vendor was selling ice cream and ran out of dishes as the fair was still going on. Well this ice cream vendor was lucky to have been next to Ernest Hamwi and his waffles because Hamwi was able to form his waffles into a nice little receptacle for the ice cream! Bam! The ice cream vendor was able to continue his business during the fair and now we’re all benefiting from this act of kindness! Mr. Hamwi, you are one of a kind! You can save the day and be innovative!
Tofu is kinda hit or miss right? Some people love it and others hate it. Some people might just not know how to cook it properly and therefore dislike it when actually they just need to get themselves together, step up, and learn a few culinary skills. However you identify on the liking tofu front, this food came about by absolute accident. What allegedly happened was this: a Chinese cook dropped a piece of nigari into a pot of soybean milk. This caused a curdling effect that resulted in the creation of tofu. Now, if this is not an accident, what is? This is literally an “Ooops!” moment that lead to something new and exciting. Apparently the chef who made this mistake served the tofu, which for him was just nigari in soybean milk, and his customers loved it! To this day people all over the world eat tofu as a meat replacement or simply as its own thing. Tofu is really great because it can be dressed up or dressed down and it can suck up any flavor you put on it. If you’re not a tofu person you really should get on the band wagon because it’s an accidental food that’s here to stay! Tofu’s name literally comes from the act of the accident that happened; it means “bean” and “curdled” or “fermented” so when you put hose together you get bean curd that fell into soybean and curdled into a new form! In this case the accident is so blatant it’s incorporated into the name of the food!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Santa likes them, your little cousin likes them, your great grandmother likes them, you can’t live without them, Beyoncé probably likes them, the Queen probably likes them, really everyone and anyone from the US to Russia to Chile, like the chocolate chip cookie. Right? Can you just smell it while I talk about it to you? Can you feel the gushiness in your fingers and taste the soft dough and the melty chocolate in your mouth? Can you remember eating way too much chocolate chip cookie dough as you made the cookies and spooned the batter onto the baking sheet? We’ve all been there. Well this cookie came about totally on purpose! Wait, no no no… that isn’t right! This cookie came about by, you guessed it, accident! Ruth Graves Wakefield and Chef Sue Brides came up with this cookie in 1938 when they owned Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts and wanted to see what would happen if they threw some of their Nestle chocolate in with the cookie dough. They expected the chocolate to melt, but to their complete surprise the chocolate actually kept its shape. Suddenly they had a new cookie! Well the original accidental recipe is called the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies” so, go ahead and look it up!
The number one food that was invented by accident is actually a beverage that everybody knows well. That’s right, it’s Coca-Cola! Now, this is the most exciting and accidental invention on our list because it involves a super long and rich history of drug addiction and searching for solutions to pain management. Let’s go back to 1885 when Confederate Colonel John Pemberton became addicted to morphine. The Colonel was injured in the American Civil War and used the morphine to deal with the pain. But, the drug was problematic for him and he set out to find a substitute. He experimented with cocaine and the kola nut, eventually bringing a flavored syrup to his neighborhood pharmacy where it was mixed and carbonated. Over numerous years the pain medication morphed into something different, yet similar in structure. It dropped its alcoholic properties and became the soda we know and love. For more information on this you can visit the Coca-Cola website where they have the history of Coke under the “about us” page. Their history brings us right up to the marketing of the product and the branding campaign that aligns the drink with happiness. So much happiness is created because of this product and that’s amazing considering it came about through so much pain and struggle! Talk about turning something dark and gloomy into bright and family-friendly!