Foods That Aren't What They Seem

Foods That Aren't What They Seem
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Foods That Aren't What They Seem

Foods aren't always what they seem based on their name. Think sweetbreads are fit for vegetarians? Think again!

Refried Beans

According to Find Your Balance, refried beans are not fried twice. In fact, they often aren't even fried once (although they are sometimes fried in lard). They are often simply mushed-up beans with seasoning. The word "refried" comes from the Spanish word "refrito" which means "cooked well."


Headcheese is not a cheese at all. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, headcheese is "a jellied loaf or sausage made from edible parts of the head, feet, and sometimes the tongue and heart especially of a pig."

Canadian Bacon

If you were to order Canadian bacon in Canada (or in England for that matter), you'd be served something very different from what you would be served here. Our version of Canadian bacon is not Canadian at all!

Image Credit: Jupiter Images

Bombay Duck

While Bombay duck is in fact a water creature, as you may have guessed, it is no duck at all. Instead, Bombay duck is a type of fish, dried and served.

Black Pudding

It's not black because it is chocolate. According to the BBC, black pudding consists of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, and blood.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Were you imagining sweetbreads to be something like this photo? If so, you may be surprised to find out that they are actually "paired thymus glands and pancreas of milk-fed veal or calves," according to Cook Think.

Image Credit: Getty Images

And the most common misleading food is...

Hot dogs. While the ballpark favorite is hot, everyone today knows there is no dog in that bun! The name may have come, in part, from people thinking there was, in fact, dog meat in their hot dogs! As the story goes, the name came from college kids in the late 1800s who believed there to be dog meat in their hot dogs.

Another way the term may have come about is that the long, skinny shape of the sausage was similar to that of dachshund dogs.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Even if you'd eat just about anything, you probably want to know exactly what you are eating. While this is often straightforward, many names of foods are highly misleading. If you follow a vegetarian diet, believe it or not, you will want to stay away from sweetbreads, and if you think Canadian bacon is just bacon from Canada, think again.

Check out the slideshow above to learn what other foods aren't what they seem.

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