20 Foods You Didn't Know Were Named After People

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20 Foods You Didn't Know Were Named After People
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20 Foods You Didn't Know Were Named After People

So read on to learn about 20 people whose names live on through food, even though most may not realize it.

Fettucine Alfredo

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.

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Eggs Benedict

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.

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Nachos

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.

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Caesar Salad

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.

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Carpaccio

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.

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Chateaubriand

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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Nic Taylor

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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Ginny

Cobb Salad

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.

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Bananas Foster

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.

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Graham Crackers

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.

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Crepes Suzette

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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Merla ja Joonas

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.

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Pizza Margherita

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.

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Peach Melba

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.

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Clementines

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.

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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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ monkeyc

Lobster Newberg

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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Bionicgrrl

Beef Wellington

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.

Image Credit: Monkey Business/ Thinkstock

Salisbury Steak

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.

Image Credit: iStockPhoto/ Thinkstock

Tootsie Rolls

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.

Image Credit: Flickr/ Lynn Friedman

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Whenever a new food item is invented or discovered, be it a completely new dish or a new variety of fruit or vegetable, it needs to be named. Some people, if they're feeling scientific, go with a variation of a Latin origin. More literal-minded folks just name it whatever's closest to what the product is (see "meatloaf"). Others choose a name that honors a specific person, be it a nobleman or monarch, the inventor, or someone else entirely. We bet that a lot more foods fall into the last category than you might think, and we've rounded up 20 of them.

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Some foods that were named after people are pretty darn obvious. For example, there's no mystery about who Cherry Garcia's name was inspired by. But for other foods it might not even cross our minds that there's someone who inspired its name. Take beef Stroganoff, for example, the Russian dish of beef in a sour cream sauce. It was named after a real guy named Count Stroganov. Heck, even the Kentucky Hot Brown, an open-faced sandwich, was named after J. Graham Brown, the owner of the hotel where it was invented. And when an Oregon-based horticulturist named Seth Luelling developed a new breed of cherry in 1875, he decided to name it after his Chinese assistant, Bing.

It's amazing how many dishes named after people have come and gone, generally never to be heard from again. Ever hear of an English sweet popular in the early 1800s called Bonaparte's ribs? How about peach pudding a la Cleveland, invented by Delmonico's chef Charles Ranhofer in honor of Grover Cleveland? And the next time you're in a diner order scrambled eggs a la Columbus, a heart-stopping assemblage of eggs, ham, fried blood pudding, and beef brains named in honor of Christopher Columbus, and see how many stares you get.

While plenty of foods were named after real people, so too were drinks. Veuve-Clicquot, a popular brand of Champagne, was named for Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, the widow ('veuve' in French) of François Clicquot. The Ramos gin fizz, a gin-based cocktail, was named after its inventor, New Orleans bartender Henry C. Ramos. While the origins of the margarita's name has been disputed, it's most likely named after actress Rita Hayworth, who got her start dancing in Tijuana nightclubs under her real name, Margarita Cansino. Coincidentally, the Shirley Temple, a combination of Sprite and grenadine, was also named after Hayworth.

Check out the slideshow above for 20 foods that you didn't know where named after people.

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