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Betcha' didn't know

Posted by: admin at 10:07 am on August 18th, 2016

Can you please share what you know about where the names of some of our foods come from? I had my grandkids asking me why a sandwich is called a sandwich?

It is amazing to think that every single word we say has an origin from somewhere. Most food words, in general, are Latin in origin. Some foods are named after individuals, and some foods have roots with the cultures that first brought them to English-speaking countries. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, is largely credited with being the food's namesake.

While eating meat between two slices of bread was initially more a lower class eating habit, the English aristocracy had appropriated it as a late-night snack by the 1700s. The Earl's friends took a liking to his "bread and meat" and began requesting "the same as Sandwich" and a legend was born.

The Reuben sandwich, on the other hand, wasn't named after the actress that inspired it but rather the chef that prepared it. According to Patricia Taylor, the daughter of the late Arnold Reuben, the New York Times reported that it was back in 1914 when an actress entered her father's deli and asked Reuben to make her a combo sandwich because she was so hungry she could eat a brick.

Keeping that in mind, Reuben began stacking ham, turkey, cheese and a Russian dressing on two pieces of rye. She called it the best Reuben ever.

That fabulous Caesar salad, that is a fixture on all Italian menus, has its roots in Tijuana, Mexico, according to the New York Times. The popular salad combination was discovered in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, that was the owner of a restaurant in Tijuana.

The German chocolate cake was named after Samuel German, an employee of Walter and Baker's, when he created a sweeter variation of the company's baking chocolate. The chocolate was branded German's, and a recipe for the cake soon followed. The earliest word for butter was the Greek bouturon, meaning "cow cheese." From there the Romans picked it up and started calling it butyrum, and that became butter. And for those famous "french fries," well, they are only called that in the United States. They are called chips in England, frites in France, patatas fritas in Spain. There is a rumor that "french" refers to the manner in which the potato is sliced, known as "frenching," but the food item actually predated that technique. Thanks to my friends at the Huffington Post for helping me with this information.

Thought for the week: If you aren't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at docphylis@gmail.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.