Have you ever bitten into some tasty treat or delectable delight and wondered, “Where did that come from?” Obviously, the short answer is the “nearest kitchen.” What if you were to go back even further to the very first time that yummy something was made? Sure, there are plenty of people who play around with recipes and come up with the best burger or best pizza but those are just variations on a theme. They aren’t the really cool stories. Here are some surprise origins of your favorite foods that you can take a bite out of:
The Po’ Boy
If you go to New Orleans without having a Po’ Boy, then you should have your foodie privileges revoked for a month. Po’ Boys are sandwiches that come in many varieties. The common theme is that they have to be served on French bread. Pretty much anything else goes. Legend has it that former streetcar drivers Clovis and Benjamin Martin served the po’ boys out of the back of their St. Charles restaurant. The year was 1929 and there was a streetcar drivers strike. The brothers came up with a cheap sandwich made from roast beef and gravy, served on that French bread. When the workers showed up for some eats, the restaurant employees would call out, “Here comes another poor boy!” The name stuck and we got a great sandwich in return.
The Philly Cheesesteak
Speaking of amazing sandwiches, the Philly Cheesesteak should be right up there with Beef Wellington and Beef Bourguignon. Although those two dishes aren’t sandwiches, they do feature beef, which is the star of the Philly Cheesesteak. It was Philadelphia hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri who decided to throw some steak and onions on his pushcart grill and serve that on an Italian roll. When a passing cabbie caught a whiff, he pulled over for a bite. He was sold. He then spread the word to his fellow cabbies. It wasn’t long before Pat chucked the hot dogs and focused on the steak. He opened his own restaurant aptly titled, Pat’s King of Steaks. This was 1930. The cheese actually didn’t come along until the 1940s and are we glad it did. Although others try to claim the title of best Cheesesteak, Pat’s is still around and still the King!
The Ice Cream Sundae
The first record of a frozen treat dates back to the 1660s. It wasn’t until we perfected the making of ice that ice cream could really come into its own. Surprisingly enough, folks used to just eat plain ice cream. In 1892, the Ithaca Daily Journal advertised a new treat being offered at the local pharmacy. It was called “the cherry Sunday.” Apparently, a local a reverend would wander over to the ice cream parlor after every Sunday service and get a scoop of vanilla with cherry syrup and candied cherries on top. If you’re going to be pious for six days, then you should be allowed a little decadence on at least one day. Thankfully, ice cream sundaes were never restricted to just Sundays.