There are plenty of foods that are either named after places or are assumed to come from certain places. The following is a list of certain food origins that we’re frequently wrong about.
5German Chocolate Cake
German chocolate cake is delicious, but its name is lying to you; it’s not German at all. It was named after a German, though: a man named Sam German. He didn’t invent the cake itself, but back in 1852, he created a chocolate bar. It was different from normal chocolate (at the time) because it was made for cooking, and it came to be called Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate.
The first time the recipe for this cake was published was way back in the late ’50s. It was advertised in a Dallas newspaper and became popular almost immediately. The demand for German’s baking chocolate skyrocketed, and his name became synonymous with the dessert.
The Baked Alaska dessert was actually invented in New York City, most likely in 1868—the same year the US purchased Alaska from Russia. Charles Ranhofer, the chef who named it, called it Baked Alaska to cash in on the fame of the recently completed deal. It was considered a luxury at the time, since making ice cream in the 1860s was a laborious process and wasn’t yet mechanized.
The French dip sandwich, perhaps unsurprisingly, isn’t from France. It was invented at Phillipe’s in Los Angeles, in 1918. The first sandwich of its kind came about by accident. The restaurant’s namesake, Phillipe Mathieu, was making a sandwich for a police officer when he accidentally dropped the roll into hot oil. The officer (supposedly named French) bought it anyway. He loved it so much that he returned the next day with his friends and they all ordered their rolls dipped in oil.
Another restaurant in the area, Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet, also claim the invention of the French dip. In their version, they dipped the bread in jus (likeau jus) to make it softer for a customer that was on her way back from adentist’s appointment.
The Coney dog may be attributed to Coney Island, but its true origins lie a few states west: Michigan. Much like the French dip, the exact origin is unknown, as there are three different eateries that claim they invented the iconic dog. All three restaurants are located in Michigan. So there you have it. While we can’t be sure of the exact origin, we know it’s definitely not from New York.
The curry powder we know today is nothing like the original spice it was supposed to mimic. It was heavily influenced by the British, and in India it isn’t even referred to as curry. They call it masala, and there are many different varieties. The curry powder we know best is what the British produced when they tried to replicate the flavors they encountered in traditional Indian cooking. True Indian curry powder is custom-made to accompany whatever food is being prepared.