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Community

May 12, 2011

Curiosities about food names abound

There are some words we use so often, we never give a thought to their roots. There are many foods that contain the name of a place.

We say the name, and don't think twice about it. Some of these names actually are rooted in the place where the food originated, such as buffalo wings or Chicago-style pizza. Then there's baked Alaska. It looks like a snowy mound straight out of Alaska, but did you know the dish originated at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City? When the Alaskan territory was purchased in 1876, the restaurant decided to celebrate and create this luscious dessert. It was a hit then and still is today. Who would have thought?

Boston cream pie is a real misnomer. I've never been able to figure out why it's called a "pie" since it's mostly cake with pudding in the middle and chocolate frosting on top. It did originate in Boston, at a restaurant, so at least that part of the name is correct. German chocolate cake is another misleading name. It started with chocolate maker Sam German, who invented the baking bar we know today as Baker's German Sweet Chocolate. The company originally named it Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, and notice the "'s" after the name German. A woman used this chocolate to make a cake and she sent her recipe to a newspaper in Dallas in 1957.

When the paper printed her recipe, sales took off, and then other newspapers started publishing the recipe, too. Somewhere along the line, the "'s" after German's name got dropped, and it's been that way ever since. So when you eat that cake, celebrate the man, not the country.

There are dozens of other stories like this, all just as interesting. If you want to read more stories like this, type "food place names" into your favorite browser and read away.

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