20 Foods You Didn't Know Were Named After People (Slideshow)
May 21, 2014
Granny Smith’s first name was Marie!
Alfredo’s of Rome was (and still is) an incredibly popular restaurant in Rome. In the early 20th century chef Alfredo de Lelio invented a dish for his pregnant wife, which was basically just fettucine with a whole lot of butter and Parmesan cheese added. Funny enough, the dish that bears his name today bears little resemblance to what de Lelio invented.
So who exactly was Benedict, anyway? There are two theories: One, a stockbroker named Lemuel Benedict claimed to have thought up the dish while nursing a hangover at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria in 1894. Two, Delmonico’s head chef Charles Ranhofer claimed that he invented it for the stockbroker LeGrand Benedict. Either way, Benedict had an awesome first name.
Nachos were invented by a (now-legendary) maître d’ named Ignacio Anaya, who whipped up the first batch for a group of hungry U.S. military wives at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico, near Fort Duncan. He fried up some tortilla chips, topped them with some shredded cheddar and sliced jalapenos, and served them as canapés. He named them after his nickname, Nacho, and the rest is history.
This popular salad actually had nothing to do with Julius Caesar; it was invented by chef Caesar Cardini in the restaurant at his Tijuana hotel, Hotel Caesar.
If you think the name of this dish of thinly-sliced raw beef dish sounds like the name of an Italian Renaissance painter, you’re right: Vittore Carpaccio was a Venetian School painter who lived from 1465 – 1525, and the dish was named after the vivid red color the painter was known for.
This type of steak was invented by a French chef named Montinireil in the early 1800s, and named for his employer, writer and diplomat Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand.
German Chocolate Cake
German chocolate cake actually has nothing to do with Germany; it was named in honor of Sam German, whose brand of baking chocolate (Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate) is a primary ingredient.
The Brown Derby was a Los Angeles-based restaurant chain, and owner Bob Cobb invented the salad for himself as a late-night snack sometime around 1936. It made its way onto the menu soon after, and is still popular today.
This flaming banana dessert is one of the most popular items on the menu at the New Orleans restaurant where it was invented in 1951, Brennan’s. Owner Owen Brennan named it after his friend, loyal customer Richard Foster.
Sylvester Graham was a Presbyterian minister in the 1800s, and was a big proponent of living a very puritan lifestyle. To that end, he invented this rather bland cracker, and would probably be appalled to learn that people are today defiling them with chocolate and marshmallows.
When Prince of Wales Edward VII visited Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris in 1896, he requested that the 16-year-old chef Henri Charpentier create a special dessert just for him. The flaming crepe he brought out was a hit, so Edward requested that it be named in honor of his companion, named Suzette.
Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken
Kung Pao and General Tso’s chicken are two of the most popular Americanized Chinese dishes around, and they were both named in honor of real people: Kung Pao chicken was named for a mid-1800s official named Ding Baozhen whose official title was Gōng Bǎo (which translates to “palace guardian”), and General Tso’s chicken was named for Qing Dynasty general Zuǒ Zōngtáng, who lived at around the same time.
While many people claim to have invented this simple variety of pizza, it was created in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who visited Naples in 1889. The tomato, cheese, and basil symbolizes the red, white, and green of the Italian flag.
This once-popular dessert was created by renowned chef August Escoffier at London’s Savoy Hotel in 1892, after he saw renowned singer Dame Nellie Melba sing at Covent Garden.
No, clementines aren’t named after the darlin’ protagonist of that Western folk ballad. They’re actually named after a French monk named Père Clément Rodier, who discovered the little orange in North Africa in the early 20th century.
Granny Smith Apples
Yes, Granny Smith was a real person! Her real name was Marie Ana Smith, and she invented this sour green apple by mistake in Australia in 1868.
The origin of this dish is classic: Delmonico’s chef Charles Ranhofer (who invented lots of famous dishes in his day) perfected this dish after owner Charles Delmonico’s friend Captain Ben Wenberg demonstrated it for him. It was added to the menu as Lobster à la Wenberg, but was removed after Delmonico and Wenburg had a falling-out. It was such a popular dish that patrons continued asking for it, however, so Delmonico swapped a couple letters and put it back on the menu as Lobster Newburg.
Monkey Business/ Thinkstock
This rather formal dish of beef tenderloin with mushrooms, pate, and a pastry crust was invented by the personal chef of Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, who lived from 1769 to 1852 and was best known as the hero of Waterloo.
This seasoned beef patty was actually invented by a doctor named James H. Salisbury in the late 1800s. An early health food advocate, he told his patients to eat it three times a day while foregoing starches and vegetables, which he deemed “poisonous.” Oops.
Austrian immigrant Leo Hirschfeld invented the Tootsie Roll at his New York candy shop in 1896. He named it after his daughter, Clara, whose nickname was Tootsie.