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Six Tasty Foods Named After People

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Salisbury Steak:

James Salisbury was a 19th-century American doctor with a rather kooky set of beliefs.  According to Salisbury, fruits, vegetables, and starches were the absolute worst thing a person could eat, as they would produce toxins as our bodies digested them.  The solution?  A diet heavy on lean meats.  to help his cause, Salisbury invented the Salisbury steak, which he recommended patients eat three times a day and wash down with a glass of hot water to aid digestion.  Apparently the only people paying attention to the doctor’s orders were elementary school lunch ladies.

Graham Crackers:

Sylvester Graham would not have gotten along very well with James Salisbury.  Graham, a 19th-century diet proponent, felt that people should ingest mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding meats and any sort of spice.  The upside of all of this bland food sounds a bit curious to the modern reader:  Graham thought his diet would keep his patients form having impure thoughts.  Cleaner thoughts would lead to less masturbation, which would in turn help stave off blindness, pulmonary problems, and a whole host of other potential pitfalls that stemmed from moral corruption.  Graham invented the cracker that bears his name as one of the staples of this anti-self-abuse diet.


In 1943 Ignacio Anaya – better known by his nickname "Nacho" – was working at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas.  As the story goes, there were a lot of American servicemen stationed at Fort Duncan near Eagle Pass, and one evening a large group of soldiers’ wives came into Nacho’s restaurant as he was closing down.

Nacho didn’t want to turn the women away with empty stomachs, but he was too low on provisions to make a full dinner.  So he improvised.  Nacho Anaya supposedly cut up a bunch of tortillas, sprinkled them with cheddar and jalapenos and popped them in the oven.  the women were so delighted with the nachos especiales that the snack quickly spread throughout Texas.

Bananas Foster:

In 1951, Richard Foster had a tough job.  He was the chairman of a New Orleans crime commission that was trying to clean up the French Quarter,and he also ran his own business, the Foster Awning Company.  When Foster was hungry, he would often head into his friend Own Brennan’s restaurant, Brennan’s, and happily wolf down whatever chef Paul Blange was making.  When Chef Blange invented a new dessert of flaming bananas, he named it after his owner’s buddy and frequent customer.

Fettuccine Alfredo:

The Italian favorite has been around for centuries, but it supposedly took on its current form around 1914 when Alfredo di Lelio upped the amount of butter in the recipe in an attempt to find something his pregnant wife would enjoy eating.  Di Lelio realized that his buttery cheese sauce was extraordinarily tasty, so he started serving it to tourists at his Rome restaurant and named the dish after himself.

Margherita Pizza:

This deliciously simple pizza is named after Margherita of Savoy, who was Queen consort of Italy from 1878 until 1900 during the reign of her husband, King Umberto I.  In 1889, Umberto and Margherita took a vacation to Naples and visited renowned pizza chef Raffaele Esposito, who cooked the royal couple three special pizzas.  Margherita particularly enjoyed one that had used mozzarella, tomato, and basil to mimic the colors of the Italian flag, so Esposito named the dish in her honor.


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04/14/2013 - Posted by | Food Origins

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