6 Famous Foods that were Invented by Accident

A simple mistake, neglect, laziness, and even frustration led to the creation of some of the world's famous foods...

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6 Famous Foods that were Invented by Accident

Have you ever been eating some of your favourite foods and thinking “how did anyone even come up with this deliciousness?” well, it may interest you to know that some of the most-loved delicacies all over the world today were not borne out of clearly thought-out recipes but rather just a simple mistake, neglect, laziness, and even frustration. Below are 6 famous foods you did not know were created by accident!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

They were not supposed to have chocolate chips in them. In the 1930s Ruth Wakefield and her husband, Kenneth, owned the Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts, where Ruth prepared freshly homemade foods for her guests.

Chocolate Chips

Credit: Jennifer Pallian via Unsplash

One beautiful evening of 1938, Ruth was making plain butter cookies and thought she would make them chocolate instead but then she realised that she had run out of regular baking chocolate so she cut a slightly sweet chocolate bar into tiny pieces and added them to the cookie dough. Her intention was that the chocolate would melt completely and she would have chocolate cookies. To her greatest surprise, when the cookies came out of the oven, the chocolate had not melted at all. Rather, the “chocolate chips” had kept their chunky form.

Her guests loved the accidental cookies. Much so that people from all around came to the Inn just to eat the cookies. As a result of the public reaction to the cookies, Ruth went to Nestle with her recipe for “Chocolate Crunch Cookies.” Nestle bought the idea, and they got her permission to put the recipe on the back of their chocolate bars. In return, they supplied Ruth with all the chocolate she needed to keep baking those cookies.

Officially, in 1939, the Chocolate Morsels that we know today were introduced.

Potato Chips

The combination of a nagging customer and a furious chef resulted in the creation of Potato chips.

It happened in 1853 at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York where George Crum, an African-American worked as a chef.

potato chips
Credit: Sean McClintock via Unsplash

The restaurant had French fries as one of their best selling meals. One day a customer came to dine and requested their famous fries. George Crum prepared the fries as he normally did but this customer complained that they were too thick. He made another batch of potatoes, this time slicing it thinner but the customer complained they were still too thick.

The third time, a frustrated and angry George Crum sliced the potatoes really thin, like paper, salted them overly, and deep-fried them for a long time till they were hard and crisp. The rationale was to make the potatoes taste terrible and inedible. However, he was met with shock when he served them and had the customer ridiculously pleased!

The fries became a hit known as the “Saratoga Chip” or “Potato Crunches” and like that, the potato chips have come to stay. Quite a few believe this story as a myth but a majority of researchers have upheld it to be true.

Sandwich

The sandwich is named after John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, and an 18th century English nobleman. 

sandwich
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One narration has it that on the 3rd of November, 1762, the Earl was swamped in an intense marathon poker game (as usual) and could not risk leaving the gaming table for dinner. Thus, he asked a servant to bring him meat stuffed between two slices of toast so he wouldn’t spill food on his card. The original sandwich was salt beef between two slices of toast and bystanders began to say, “I’ll have the same as Sandwich”.

Other accounts of the story say it was work rather than gambling, that kept Montagu at his desk all day. Whichever way, the meat between bread bug caught up on a lot of people resulting in naming ‘the sandwich’ in honor of the Earl.

Worthy of note is that some people believe the sandwich was invented earlier. It is said that the Arabs were the first to stuff meat between ‘Pita’, their kind of bread. Although John Montagu may not have been the first to think of/eat a sandwich, he was certainly the one that gave rise to the name “Sandwich”.

Popsicle

The popsicle, a child’s favourite, is a frozen snack held by the stick. Little wonder an 11-year-old boy, Frank Epperson, invented them by mistake.

popsicle
Credit: Jennifer Pallian via Unsplash

One hot summer afternoon in 1905, Epperson was making a lemonade-flavored soda drink out of powder and water, a popular mix back then. However, that evening, he never finished making the soda and left it outside overnight with the stick he used to stir the mix still in the cup. The night was cold and by morning he discovered that the drink had frozen around the stick. He popped it out of the cup and licked it.

At first, Epperson did not realize he was about to create one of the world’s famous foods. About 17 years later, he served the frozen lollipops to the public at a fireman’s ball. (Fortunately for him, no one had come up with the idea yet). They were a huge hit. A year later, he gained more popularity and success after serving them at Neptune Beach, an amusement park in Alameda, Calif., which closed in 1939.

Epperson finally applied for the patent in 1923 and produced even more fruit flavors. Frank named his invention the ‘Epsicle’, because it was like an icicle, but his own kids preferred to call it ‘Pop’s ‘sicle’. He eventaully gave in and renamed it “Popsicle”.

Ice-cream Cones

What is a good ice-cream without cones or waffles? They add that extra bit of crunchiness that creates a balance to the soft and smooth icecream. We may not have had this awesomeness in existence if a young man did not think on his feet when posed with a challenge in 1904.

ice-cream cones
Credit: Anastasiia Rozumna via Unsplash

It happened at St Louis World’s Fair, in Missouri, in 1904, Ernest Hamwi had a pastry stall and he was selling waffles. His neighboring vendor was selling ice cream and ran out of bowls as the fair was still ongoing.  This ice cream vendor was blessed to have been next to Ernest Hamwi and his waffles because Hamwi was able to roll-up his waffles in a nice little form for the ice cream.

The ice-cream vendor was able to continue his business during the fair and to date, we all enjoy the reward of Ernest Hamwi’s kindness.

Yoghurt

This one is probably not for the faint-hearted; the story of the yoghurt’s invention may leave some a bit disturbed. It has its origin in ancient civilisation, Mesopotamia, around 5000 BC. Herdsmen from that time stored milk in containers made out of the animal’s stomach to preserve it while on the go.

yoghurt
Via Google Images

Along the line, they noticed some of the milk stored in these skins became thick and sour due to the presence of good bacteria and was still edible after long periods in the sun. Although in recent times, yoghurt is not produced in animal stomachs anymore, the power of microbes is still used to produce yogurt.

Which of these accidental foods is your favourite? Are there any foods created by accident that you know of? Kindly share in the comments below.

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Sources

Kids, S. S. (n.d.). The Chocolate Chip Cookie: An Accident. Retrieved from http://socialstudiesforkids.com/funfacts/chocolatechipcookie.htm

Love Food. (n.d.). From sandwiches to buffalo wings: foods invented by accident. Retrieved from https://www.lovefood.com/gallerylist/80947/from-sandwiches-to-buffalo-wings-foods-invented-by-accident

Morrison, C. (2019, August 11). 10 Foods That Were Invented By Accident. Retrieved from https://babbletop.com/10-foods-that-were-invented-by-accident/

Pamela Cyran, C. G. (2012, October 5). The 20 most fascinating accidental inventions. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2012/1005/The-20-most-fascinating-accidental-inventions/Popsicles

Voutititsas, G. (2018, November 24). 19 Delicious Food Items That Were Invented By Accident. Retrieved from https://www.therecipe.com/food-items-invented-accident/

Watson, S. (n.d.). Who Invented the Sandwich? Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/inventions/who-invented-the-sandwich.htm

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