Dishes Newer Than You Think – It’s TRUE!

Every so often, this photo makes the rounds of Facebook and Reddit, claiming that many beloved “authentic” dishes are much, much younger than you may imagine:

Dishes Newer Than You Think

Well, I did some research and yes… this infographic\photo is largely accurate:

Apple Crumble – Wikipedia doesn’t have much on the history of crumbles specifically but does note that while certain dishes go back a long way – fruit cobblers were invented in Colonial America – “crumbles became popular in Britain during World War II” due to wartime rationing of baking ingredients.

Banoffee pie – Invented by Nigel Mackenzie and Ian Dowding, the owner and chef (respectively) of the Hungry Monk Restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex. They created the dessert in 1971, basing it on an American recipe for “Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie” from San Francisco. However, they could not get the dessert to gel correctly, so they substantially altered the original recipe into something they *could* make.

Blended Iced Coffee – This is a sketchy one. Iced coffee traces its history back to Vienna in the late 1700s, although that version of iced coffee wasn’t especially popular. Mazagran, a drink invented by French soldiers in Algeria, is likely the “granddaddy of iced coffee”, although the drink was simply made with cold water, not ice or ice water. However, BLENDED iced coffee – that thing you’d recognize from Starbucks – was invented in Westwood, California at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf coffee shop in 1987. Still, the drink didn’t become a national obsession until Starbucks started selling them in 1995.

Bubble Tea – Although two Taiwanese tea shops have competing claims for this invention – the Chun Shui Tang Tea Room and the Hanlin Tea Room – it’s clear that in the 1980s one of them added tapioca balls to tea with milk and sugar, itself a thing popularized in Taiwan by Dutch colonials in the 1620s. Taiwanese immigrants to the US brought the drink to California in the 1990s, where it spread across the US.

Butter chicken – Admittedly, this recipe didn’t appear out of thin air… curry’s been in thing in India for centuries. But this particular recipe comes from Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran the Moti Mahal restaurant in the Daryaganj neighborhood of Old Delhi. Fun fact: they also invented the popular lentil dish dal makhani.

Carbonara – The contentious one. It’s not entirely surprising that smoked meat + cheese and\or cream + pasta would be popular over the centuries. But modern carbonara is said to have been invented by Italian army cook Renato Gualandi in 1944. He was helping prepare a big dinner for US officers, and foodwise the US Army had “fabulous bacon, very good cream, some cheese and powdered egg yolks”. Italian food historian Luca Cesari doesn’t believe that exact story, but does believe the gist of it, that US Army bacon was in plentiful supply in Rome just after liberation, and the dish was popular with American servicemen. Also, the first printed recipe for this comes from a cookbook published in CHICAGO in 1952.

Carpaccio – based on the Piedmont specialty carne cruda all’albese, carpaccio was invented in 1963 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Harry’s, which is still open, was popular with Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin. Cipriani also invented the bellini, a drink made from Prosecco and peach nectar.

Chicken tikka masala – This is a tough one, ‘cos you’re gonna make SOMEBODY mad no matter which you choose. Tikka masala was, for sure, invented in the United Kingdom in the late 60s or early 70s. But exactly WHO depends on which story you believe: that it was invented in Glasgow by Ali Ahmed Aslam, or was invented somewhere in London by Bangladeshi chef unknown. You can imagine what the Brexit vs. Scottish Independence crowds think.

Chocolate fondant – An easy one: invented by chef Michel Bras in 1981. Bras currently runs the restaurant Bras Michel et Sébastien in Laguiole, France. The restaurant has made several “best restaurants in the world” lists and had three Michelin stars until 2017, when Bras gave them up so he could “experiment” more.

Ciabatta – Ciabatta bread was first produced in 1982, by Arnaldo Cavallari, who called the bread ciabatta polesana after Polesine, the area he lived in. The recipe was subsequently licensed by Cavallari’s company, Molini Adriesi, to bakers in 11 countries by 1999. Yes, ciabatta is a licensed style of bread.

Currywurst – Another easy one: currywurst was invented in 1949 when a Berliner named Herta Heuwer traded some sausages to some British soldiers in exchange for ketchup and curry powder. You can even go to the currywurst stand Heuwer ran back in the day (it’s still open!) and read the historic plaque about her.

Doner Kababs – Although vertical rotisseries were invented in the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1800s – leading to the Arab schwarma, the Greek gyro, and Mexico’s al-pastor (via Lebanese immigrants) – the specific dish that makes a doner kebab – rotisserie meat, salad and chili sauce stuffed in a pita – began with Turkish “guest workers” in Germany in the 1960s. Oddly, however, London was the site of the first known kebab shop, although they almost certainly came to London via Berlin.

Fartons – Yes, a hilarious name for a tasty pastry. They were created by Spain’s Polo (baking) family in the 1960s as the perfect pastry to dip in horchata, much like the ol’ biscotti & coffee combo. You can still buy them from the Polo family today:

General Tso’s Chicken – This was invented by a Hunan chef named Peng Chang-kuei. He was the official government banquet chef of the Chinese Nationalist government, and fled to Taiwan after the Communists took control of the mainland. He came to New York in 1973 and opened his own restaurant on East 44th Street. The dish was initially a dud until he added brown sugar… then it became wildly successful, spreading to Chinese restaurants across the US in months, not years.

Hawaiian Pizza – Invented by Greek immigrant Sam Panopoulos at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario in 1962. Panopoulos had worked in many kitchens, and at the time really liked how Chinese cuisine often put sweet and savory flavors together. Panopoulos died in 2017.

Mongolian Barbecue – Invented by Wu Zhaonan, a Chinese comedian and restaurateur, in 1951. Like so many, he fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. He originally wanted to call it “Beijing Barbecue” but realized that probably wasn’t the best idea with a civil war going on. He chose “Mongolian Barbecue” instead, despite the dish having no connection to Mongolia whatsoever. Like Sam Panopoulos, Wu died pretty recently, in Los Angeles at age 92, in 2018.

Nachos – Invented in 1940 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya at The Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Mamie Finan, a regular and the wife of an Army officer stationed at the base across the border, came in with friends late one evening. The chef had disappeared, so Nacho (not a chef, but the maître d’) cut some leftover tortillas into triangles and fried them, then covered them in Wisconsin cheese, stuck ‘em under the salamander to melt the cheese, then put a jalapeno slice on each chip. BOOM: NACHOS! When asked what they were called, Anaya said “Nacho’s Special”, which eventually just became “nachos”.

Pasta Primavera – Originated In 1975 when New York City restaurateur Sirio Maccioni flew to Shangri-La Ranch, the summer home of Italian Baron Carlo Amato, on Robert’s Island, Nova Scotia. Amato and his guests wanted “something different”, so Maccioni mixed butter, cheese, fresh vegetables and pasta. The dish was so well-received that Maccioni put it on the menu of his world-famous restaurant, Le Cirque, where it achieved instant fame.

Salmon sushi – True story: in the 1980s, Norway had a glut of salmon. They had warehouses FULL of frozen fish. Desperate, the Norwegian government hired a man named Bjorn Eirik Olsen to convince the Japanese that Norwegian salmon was perfectly fine to eat raw… unlike the parasite-laden Pacific salmon the Japanese were used to. Olsen tried a few things, but ultimately succeeded when he convinced Nishi Rei, a popular frozen food company, to buy 5,000 pounds of Norwegian salmon for almost nothing, as long as they used it to make sushi. Japanese consumers, seeing Nishi Rei’s trusted brand name on the box, figured it must be OK. Amazingly, sales soon exploded, and now Norwegian salmon is now one of Japan’s favorite fish!

Shopska Salad – A couple unrelated dishes with this name go back to 1940, but this specific recipe was created by the Official Bulgarian Communist Party Tourism Agency (Balkantourist) in 1955. Even though the Agency created as many as six recipes to show off the Glory of Mother Bulgaria, Shopska Salad was the only one to survive the downfall of Communism.

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Although the Gait Inn in Millington, East Riding of Yorkshire claims to have invented the dish in 1907, most historians agree that it was invented at Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire around 1962. It didn’t become “that thing grandma makes every Christmas” until the 1970s.

Tartiflette – This sinfully delicious French potato casserole dates to the 1980s. In France, the dish is ALWAYS made with Reblochon cheese, and that’s because their trade group – Le Syndicat Interprofessionnel du Reblochon – came up with the recipe and got several local restaurants and ski resorts to put it on the menu.

Tiramisu – No one’s exactly sure about this. Some say tiramisu is based on sbatudin, a simpler dessert made of egg yolks and sugar, while others say it comes from dolce Torino. What we do know is that it doesn’t appear in any Italian cookbook before the 1960s, and first appears in an Italian dictionary in 1980. The first English-language reference appears in a 1978 restaurant review in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Uramaki – Invented in the late 1960s by Machita Ichiro, sushi chef for Los Angeles restaurant Tokyo Kaikan. There was a shortage of sushi-grade tuna (toro), so Ichiro started substituting avocado instead. And while his Japanese customers liked the sushi as it was, American customers didn’t like the IN YOUR FACE taste of the seaweed wrapping… so Ichiro moved it to the inside of the roll.


One Reply to “Dishes Newer Than You Think – It’s TRUE!”

  1. My grandmother made iced coffee all her life. Made hot coffee, let it cool down, kept it in the fridge, served it over ice. Certainly not blended or fancy but she loved it in the summers. So I guess regular people (at least in hot areas) probably made iced coffee that fell between the “granddaddy” made with cold water and the more modern blended version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.