Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes - Cheer Pick
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Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes

by Cheer Pick
Backstories of some Oldest American dishes

Consider a world without New York cheesecake or deep-dish pizza from Chicago. Obviously, they are not the same. But have you ever considered how your favorite food was created? Some of the most traditional American dishes have fascinating origin stories.

These stories range from accidents that turned into overnight successes to silly stories that you should take with a grain of salt.

Reuben Sandwich

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Oldest American Dishes| Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock

One of America’s favorite sandwiches is said to have been invented by a number of people, but Omaha, Nebraska, has a particularly fascinating origin story. In the 1920s, Bernard Schimmel, a hotelier, made sandwiches for Reuben Kulakofsky and his poker buddies with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing., pub-1975398499445207, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

As they say, the rest is history. According to the claim made by Kulakofsky’s family, Schimmel only gave a deli tray with the ingredients, and Kulakofsky prepared the sandwich from scratch.

Pumpkin pie

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Oldest American Dishes| Foodio/Shutterstock

The traditional Thanksgiving dessert is pumpkin pie, but the early settlers could not cook. What caused pumpkin pies to become so popular today? The recipe for “pumpkin,” a pastry-encased pumpkin dish spiced with nutmeg, allspice, and ginger and sweetened with molasses, was published in Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery in 1796.

This marked a turning point in the dish’s history. The pumpkin pie spice mix McCormick & Company introduced in the 1930s solidified its place on the Thanksgiving table by making it even easier for home cooks to make the delectable dessert.

Philly cheesesteaks

When you consider the most well-known cuisine from Philadelphia, the Philly cheesesteak comes to mind. Legend has it that hot dog vendors Pat and Harry Olivieri tried beef in an Italian-style roll because they got tired of frying hot dogs one day. At that moment, a cab driver passed by, witnessed what they were doing, and ordered one.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Oldest American Dishes| Igor Dutina/Shutterstock

The first steak sandwich shop in Philadelphia, Pat’s King of Steaks, opened as soon as demand rose. A few years later, the cheesesteak, which has come to represent Philadelphia, is often credited to the store manager Joe Lorenzo.

Heinz tomato ketchup.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Oldest American Dishes| heinz/Facebook

Heinz is frequently linked with ketchup, although the first product the manufacturers Clarence Noble and Henry J. Heinz, produced together was bottled grated horseradish in 1869. It wasn’t until 1886 that the savory and sweet tomato condiment we know today was invented. The success of the brand was secured by Henry Heinz’s skill in marketing.

Deep dish pizza

Deep-dish pizza was created in Chicago in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo. In order to operate Pizzeria Uno and provide a distinctive Italian-American pizza, the two formed their own business.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
PizzeriaUno/Facebook| Oldest American Dishes

It had a thick crust and layers of cheese, meat, and sauce baked in a skillet. 10 years later, Sewell took responsibility for Riccardo’s death. But whether pizza worker Rudy Malnati, Riccardo, or Sewell were the true inventors is still up for question.

Big Mac

The Big Mac was first offered in 1967 by Pittsburgh-based McDonald’s franchisee Jim Delligatti. The key ingredients are two beef patties, special sauce, iceberg lettuce, American cheese, pickles, and onions. On a three-part sesame seed bun, it is made and served.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
McDonalds/Facebook| Oldest American Dishes

Even though some McDonald’s managers didn’t like the idea at first, the product is now one of the company’s best sellers, with about 28 units sold around the world every second.

Kellogg’s corn flakes

Corn Flakes were developed as a result of a failed attempt to produce granola. The founders of Kellogg’s, brothers John and Will Kellogg, unintentionally flaked a wheat berry. He then carried on trying till he saw something when he flaked cor

KelloggsUK/Facebook| Oldest American Dishes

n. In the flakes corn flakes corn flakes were sold all over the world when the recipe was improved. It displays an early Kellogg’s advertisement from 1908.


The National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco), which produced the original Oreo in 1912, sold it as part of a premium biscuit package alongside the long-forgotten Mother Goose and Veronese cookies

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock| Oldest American Dishes

. Today’s crème-filled chocolate biscuits were originally available in a lemon meringue flavor, but that flavor was discontinued due to poor sales. Over time, the Oreos that we know and love have today have become the most popular cookies in the world.

New Your-Cheesecake

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock \ Oldest American Dishes

A cracker crust, cream cheese, cream, eggs, and sugar are the components of a cheesecake made in the New York style. It is prepared and presented plainly without any decorations. Arnold Reuben, a German-Jewish immigrant, claimed ownership of the recipe and stated that a cheese pie he had been served at a dinner gathering served as his inspiration. It soon gained popularity in his turf restaurant, where he initially began selling it.

Buffalo wings

Can you imagine a world without buffalo wings? The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, where deep-fried spicy wings paired with celery and blue cheese dip were accidently invented, can be found 60 years ago, in 1964.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Jeffrey Dorfsman/Shutterstock| Oldest American Dishes

There are three different versions of the same story: Teresa Bellissimo served celery and blue cheese dip and chicken wings with her homemade sauce because that was all she had.

The dish may have been developed by her for her kids as a late-night snack or as a result of an unexpected delivery of chicken wings to the bar. Whatever the story, they are more popular than ever. In 2019, it was thought that Americans would eat 1.38 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend.

Shrimp and grits

The traditional Southern dish of shrimp and grits has Native American origins and was initially a relatively small-scale cuisine that was mostly eaten at home. Then, in 1985, a Craig Claiborne piece that appeared in The New York Times caused everything to shift.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock| Oldest American Dishes

He highlighted the Southern food offered at Crook’s Corner, a restaurant owned by Bill Neal, highlighting the spicy shrimp on cheddar grits with bacon, mushrooms, and spring onions in particular (scallions). Since then, both conventional and contemporary versions of the straightforward meal have been offered, showing up on menus all around the world.


Did you know that all of the Tabasco used worldwide is produced on Avery Island, a salt dome in Louisiana? Edmund McIlhenny, a banker and keen gardener, tried cultivating pepper plants after he wed Mary Eliza Avery, whose family owned the island but no longer used it for salt manufacturing.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Alsis35/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0| Oldest American Dishes

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In 1869, he made 658 bottles of Tabasco and gave them to supermarkets along the Gulf Coast. When it was drizzled over oysters, it became popular, and San Francisco and New York quickly adopted the practice. By the 1880s, tabasco had made it to the UK. The sauce is currently sold in 185 countries, and the plant produces 700,000 bottles every day.

Benedict eggs

There is controversy over who created eggs benedict. Lemuel Benedict reportedly entered the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in 1894 while starving and inebriated and ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and hollandaise.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Kazimirov Vladimir/Shutterstock

The hotel’s maître d’ was so thrilled that he substituted an English muffin for toast and Canadian bacon for crisp bacon in order to make the dish a standard. Regardless of who invented it, it is still a standard brunch dish today.

Chocolate chip cookies

The chocolate biscuit was supposedly invented by Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts in the 1930s, partly by accident. The making of the adored candies is the subject of several legends. One alleges that when Wakefield ran out of chopped nuts, he replaced them with bittersweet Nestlé chocolate chunks.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Classic Film/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Regardless of the facts, the dish was outstanding, and Nestlé gave Wakefield $1 and a lifetime supply of chocolate for the rights to the recipe and the Toll House name once she put it in her cookbook. The picture promotes Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bits for Toll House Cookies.

Meals Kraft Dinner

Despite not having invented either macaroni cheese nor processed cheese, James Lewis Kraft was the first to patent emulsified and powdered cheese. After observing a seller selling pre-packaged pasta and grated cheese, he came up with the idea for Kraft Dinner Macaroni & Cheese.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes

Since a family of four could eat dinner for only 19 cents when it first debuted in 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, it was an instant hit, and eight million boxes were sold in the first year. Presently, more than a million boxes are sold each day. It plays a vintage Kraft Dinner commercial.

Asparagus salad

When the Waldorf salad was created in 1893 to celebrate the opening of the hotel bearing its name, it initially consisted of apples, celery, and mayonnaise and quickly gained popularity in New York City. The original recipe can be found in maître d’Oscard’ Tschirky’s cookbook, The Cookbook by Oscar of the Waldorf.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes

However, blue cheese, grapes, and chopped walnuts have been added virtually from the beginning. Since the Waldorf is now closed for repairs, other eateries all around the country and world have been serving its salad while adding their own distinctive twists.

Pink Lemonade

Have you ever wondered where the pink color of pink lemonade comes from? Pink lemonade has been a favorite beverage for over a century. Its creation is attributed to touring circuses in the middle of the nineteenth century in two well-known legends. A legendary circus producer named Henry E.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes

Allott is said to have accidentally mixed red-colored cinnamon candies into a container of freshly made lemonade when he was a little boy. The second theory says that when a lemonade vendor ran out of water, he took a pail of water that had been used to wash pink tights after a performance earlier. Thankfully, berries are where today’s pink hue originates.

Cheese puffs

The unsettlingly first cheese puffs were produced in the 1930s by the Flakall Company, a feed producer in Beloit, Wisconsin. Workers noticed that puffed corn would result from cleaning equipment by putting moist corn through the grinder. An employee named Edward Wilson made the decision to take some home, season them, and enjoy the flavor.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The company changed its name to Adams Corporation and increased its product offering to include Korn Kurls in an effort to dissociate itself from its past as a manufacturer of animal feed. Today, Cheetos are the most popular brand in America, although cheese puffs are still widely consumed.

Chocolate brownies

Numerous people have been given credit for creating the gooey-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside chocolate brownie. Some contend it was an accident, the result of adding melted chocolate to biscuits or a cake that was made with inadequate wheat. The most widely accepted explanation, however, is that a woman in Bangor, Maine, was making a chocolate cake when it crumbled.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Martin Gardeazabal/Shutterstock

According to Betty Crocker’s Baking Classics, this variation is used. Instead of discarding it, she cut it into bars and served it to rave reviews. As one of the most popular baked pastries in the world today, some people now prefer it to chocolate cake. Create your own with our best recipe ever.

Crisps (potato chips)

According to one tradition, the invention of crisps, also known as potato chips, is credited to Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, sometime about 1853. When billionaire steamship owner Cornelius Vanderbilt sent the French fries back to the kitchen because they were too thick, cook George Crum produced new ones. This time, he fried the potato until it was crisp after shaving it as thinly as he could.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

He was unaware that Vanderbilt loved them; as a result, they soon developed into the house specialty at Moon’s Lake House. More recently, it has been said that the myth is only partly true and that the restaurant is not to blame for the rise in popularity of crisps (potato chips).

Hot dog

The history of the American hot dog began in the 1860s. Although it’s widely believed that the first sausage in a bun was likely sold from a food cart in New York City, the industry didn’t really take off until Nathan Handwerker opened a hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1915.


Whether they are wrapped in bacon, covered in cheese, or topped with chilli, the classic frankfurter and bun combination is now a staple of American restaurant menus all throughout the country and the world.


Despite the complexities of Coca-Cola’s history, it all began in 1886 with a pharmacist named John Pemberton. Despite the complexities of Coca-Cola’s history, it all began in 1886 with a pharmacist named John Pemberton. Despite the complexities of Coca-Cola’s history, it all began in 1886 with a pharmacist named John Pemberton.

Backstories of some Oldest American Dishes
RV1864/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The drink was initially marketed as a brain tonic to treat weariness and headaches and included ingredients like coca leaf and kola nuts, hence the name Coca-Cola. However, the company’s commercial success is attributed to Asa Griggs Candler, who bought it in 1888 and was in charge of its effective marketing. It plays a vintage Coca-Cola commercial.

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