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Foods Named After People

Updated on March 13, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher and online writer. She loves to share her teachings online.

When you eat a food, do you think about how it got its name? Many of the foods we eat have interesting origins, and many times there is a reason for the name the food has.

Caesar Salad

Don't think the Caesar Salad is named as the Roman Emperor. Instead, it is named after someone less famous. On July 4, 1925, Caesar Cardini, a restaurant owner in Tijuana, Mexico served finger foods on top of garlic-scented shredded lettuce leaves on platters.

People loved the combination so much that his concoction became a big hit. It was added to his menu as a Caesar Salad like the ones we enjoy today.

Cobb Salad

The name Cobb Salad did not happen by accident. Robert Cobb owned the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood. One night in 1936, he had an important guest and all his employees had gone home.

With not much time to think about what to do, Cobb made a salad out of leftovers that were in the refrigerator. It turned out so good that he added it to the menu, and as they say, "The rest is history."

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

You can thank Lemuel Benedict for the Eggs Benedict that you eat today. When the New York socialite returned to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel after a long night of drinking, he requested to have a piece of toast, a poached egg, bacon and hollandaise sauce thinking it would cure his hangover.

The chef made some substitutions. Instead of toast, he used an English muffin. In the place of bacon, he used ham.

That's why we can eat Eggs Benedict today. However, the main reason for eating it is not to cure a hangover.

Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

After given birth, Alfredo di Lelio's wife was sick. The 20-century Italian chef invented a dish for her thinking it would make her feel better.

He prepared a sauce made from cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese to help her regain her strength. He then added fettuccine to the mixture. His wife loved it and she did feel better. It was called Fettuccine Alfredo that is still popular.

German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake has nothing to do with the country. The delicious cake is named after a person and not a place. In 1852, the American baker Samuel German developed a type of dark baking chocolate for the Baker's Chocolate Company.

The chocolate, named after German, was called Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate in his honor. So, when people make a cake using the chocolate, the dessert is known as a German Chocolate Cake after a person and not a place.

Graham Crackers
Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers

Sylvester Graham, who lived from 1794 to 1851, was a preacher who believed that God intended for people to follow His natural law when it comes to eating. Instead of eating white bread and meats, Graham preached that people should eat more fruits and vegetables.

Graham advocated a vegetarian diet with homemade whole grain bread, made from wheat coarsely ground at home, as part of a lifestyle that involved minimizing pleasure and stimulation of all kinds.

His followers, known as the Grahamites, formed one of the first vegetarian movements in the United States. Graham flour, graham crackers, and graham bread were created and marketed for them.

Even though Sylvester Graham did not invent these products or profited from them, the Graham Cracker still carries his name to this day.

Granny Smith Apples

Have you ever eaten a Granny Smith apple? Maria Smith had thrown out some rotten apples. Days later, she found a small sapling growing from the pile. Wondering what would happen, she replanted the sapling that bore green apples with a tart flavor.

Smith's friends and neighbors were so surprised and so was Smith herself. The apples became popular, and you can find them in every grocery store today all because Maria Smith took a chance on replanting the sapling for the rotten apple pile.

Melba Toast
Melba Toast

Melba Toast and Peach Melba

Have you ever eaten Melba toast? Have you ever had peach Melba? Both foods were named after the same person.

When singer Helen Porter Mitchell, whose stage name is Nellie Melba, was staying at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1897 she became very sick.

Her chef Auguste Escoffier gave her dry, crisp and thinly sliced toast to strengthen her. He called it Melba Toast which is often served topped with either melted cheese or pâté and eaten with soup and salad.

The chef had already created the Peach Melba dessert for the soprano singer four years earlier. It is a dessert made with peaches and vanilla ice cream and topped with and raspberry sauce.

Peach Melba
Peach Melba

Nachos

In 1943, wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan were shopping in Piedras Negras. When they arrived at a restaurant, it was closed. They were allowed to come in any way and the maître d'hôtel, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya found whatever he could in the kitchen because the women were so hungry.

The only things Nachos could find were tortillas, cheese, and jalapeño peppers. He cut the tortillas into triangles, fried them, added the cheddar cheese and heated them so the cheese would melt. He added the sliced pickled jalapeño peppers and served them to the women.

When they asked him about the name of the dish, he said it was Nacho's special. Today, they are called nachos. Who knew when you eat nachos, you are eating somebody's name? Aren't you glad the women were hungry that day?

Salibury Steak

The Salisbury Steak is not a name pulled out of a hat. It was created by Dr. James H. Salisbury in 1886. Believe it or not, the steak was a treatment for many ailments such as bronchitis, gout, and tuberculosis. Salisbury encouraged sick people to eat the well-done ground beef three times a day along with a glass of hot water before and after each meal.

People today don't think about eating a steak to cure their ailments.

Salisbury Steak
Salisbury Steak

Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben is a hot sandwich made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. Those ingredients are grilled between slices of rye bread.

Its name is said to come from Reuben Kulakofsky at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska.

Another account said that the Reuben sandwich was created by Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of the famed Reuben's Delicatessen in New York City.

Reuben Sandwich
Reuben Sandwich

Sandwich

John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich, but he did not invent the sandwich. Meat between slices of bread had been eaten long before he ate it.

Montagun was accustomed to playing cards. During some games, he did not want to stop to eat with a knife and fork. He would usually ask a servant to put roast beef between two slices of bread so he could continue playing with one hand.

Today any food placed between two slices of bread is called a sandwich, even peanut butter and jelly.

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      11 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Ines Di Lelio, for your detailed information about your grandfather in reference to Fettuccine Alfredo and the history of the dish. It was very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing that with others who will read your comment.

    • profile image

      Ines Di Lelio 

      11 months ago

      HISTORY OF ALFREDO DI LELIO CREATOR IN 1908 OF “FETTUCCINE ALL’ALFREDO” (“FETTUCCINE ALFREDO”), NOW SERVED BY HIS NEPHEW INES DI LELIO, AT THE RESTAURANT “IL VERO ALFREDO” – “ALFREDO DI ROMA” IN ROME, PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE 30

      With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.

      More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo", this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).

      Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.

      In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 "Il Vero Alfredo" (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).

      See the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” (also for franchising news).

      I must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand "Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma".

      I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.

      Best regards Ines Di Lelio

      IN ITALIANO

      STORIA DI ALFREDO DI LELIO, CREATORE DELLE “FETTUCCINE ALL’ALFREDO” (“FETTUCCINE ALFREDO”), E DELLA SUA TRADIZIONE FAMILIARE PRESSO IL RISTORANTE “IL VERO ALFREDO” (“ALFREDO DI ROMA”) IN PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE A ROMA

      Con riferimento al Vostro articolo ho il piacere di raccontarVi la storia di mio nonno Alfredo Di Lelio, inventore delle note "fettuccine all'Alfredo" (“Fettuccine Alfredo”).

      Alfredo Di Lelio, nato nel settembre del 1883 a Roma in Vicolo di Santa Maria in Trastevere, cominciò a lavorare fin da ragazzo nella piccola trattoria aperta da sua madre Angelina in Piazza Rosa, un piccolo slargo (scomparso intorno al 1910) che esisteva prima della costruzione della Galleria Colonna (ora Galleria Sordi).

      Il 1908 fu un anno indimenticabile per Alfredo Di Lelio: nacque, infatti, suo figlio Armando e videro contemporaneamente la luce in tale trattoria di Piazza Rosa le sue “fettuccine”, divenute poi famose in tutto il mondo. Questa trattoria è “the birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.

      Alfredo Di Lelio inventò le sue “fettuccine” per dare un ricostituente naturale, a base di burro e parmigiano, a sua moglie (e mia nonna) Ines, prostrata in seguito al parto del suo primogenito (mio padre Armando). Il piatto delle “fettuccine” fu un successo familiare prima ancora di diventare il piatto che rese noto e popolare Alfredo Di Lelio, personaggio con “i baffi all’Umberto” ed i calli alle mani a forza di mischiare le sue “fettuccine” davanti ai clienti sempre più numerosi.

      Nel 1914, a seguito della chiusura di detta trattoria per la scomparsa di Piazza Rosa dovuta alla costruzione della Galleria Colonna, Alfredo Di Lelio decise di trasferirsi in un locale in una via del centro di Roma, ove aprì il suo primo ristorante che gestì fino al 1943, per poi cedere l’attività a terzi estranei alla sua famiglia.

      Ma l’assenza dalla scena gastronomica di Alfredo Di Lelio fu del tutto transitoria. Infatti nel 1950 riprese il controllo della sua tradizione familiare ed aprì, insieme al figlio Armando, il ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” (noto all’estero anche come “Alfredo di Roma”) in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 (cfr. il sito web di Il Vero Alfredo).

      Con l’avvio del nuovo ristorante Alfredo Di Lelio ottenne un forte successo di pubblico e di clienti negli anni della “dolce vita”. Successo, che, tuttora, richiama nel ristorante un flusso continuo di turisti da ogni parte del mondo per assaggiare le famose “fettuccine all’Alfredo” al doppio burro da me servite, con l’impegno di continuare nel tempo la tradizione familiare dei miei cari maestri, nonno Alfredo, mio padre Armando e mio fratello Alfredo. In particolare le fettuccine sono servite ai clienti con 2 “posate d’oro”: una forchetta ed un cucchiaio d’oro regalati nel 1927 ad Alfredo dai due noti attori americani M. Pickford e D. Fairbanks (in segno di gratitudine per l’ospitalità).

      Desidero precisare che altri ristoranti “Alfredo” a Roma non appartengono e sono fuori dal mio brand di famiglia.

      Vi informo che il Ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” è presente nell’Albo dei “Negozi Storici di Eccellenza – sezione Attività Storiche di Eccellenza” del Comune di Roma Capitale.

      Grata per la Vostra attenzione ed ospitalità nel Vostro interessante blog, cordiali saluti

      Ines Di Lelio

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