Ever wonder what it takes to get your name permanently affixed to a dish? It doesn’t hurt to invent a new delicacy that people just can’t stop eating, but for some people it’s just been a matter of being in the right place at the right time—and complimenting the chef on a job well done. Here are nine foods named after people, including Margherita pizza, Graham crackers, and nachos (yes, nachos).
1. Chicken a la King
While some stories trace the savior of leftover chicken’s roots back to London’s Claridge Hotel or the famed restaurant Delmonico’s, one particular tale is widely accepted. As the story goes, a chef named George Greenwald ran the restaurant at the ritzy Brighton Beach Hotel in Brooklyn around the turn of the 20th century. Greenwald liked to experiment in the kitchen, and one night he turned out a special chicken dish for the owners of the hotel. The proprietor and his wife adored the dish and encouraged Greenwald to add it to his menu. Greenwald was so delighted that his boss liked his new creation that he named it after the hotelier: E. Clark King.
2. Graham crackers
Sylvester Graham would not have gotten along very well with James Salisbury. Graham, a 19th-century diet proponent, felt that people should ingest mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding meats and any sort of spice. The upside of all of this bland food sounds a bit curious to the modern reader: Graham thought his diet would keep his patients from having impure thoughts. Cleaner thoughts would lead to less masturbation, which would in turn help stave off blindness, pulmonary problems, and a whole host of other potential pitfalls that stemmed from moral corruption. Graham invented the cracker that bears his name as one of the staples of this anti-self-abuse diet.
3. Salisbury Steak
James Salisbury was a 19th-century American doctor with a rather kooky set of beliefs. According to Salisbury, fruits, vegetables, and starches were the absolute worst thing a person could eat, as they would produce toxins as our bodies digested them. The solution? A diet heavy on lean meats. To help his diet cause, Salisbury invented the Salisbury steak, which he recommended patients eat three times a day and wash down with a glass of hot water to aid digestion. Apparently the only people paying attention to the doctor’s orders were elementary school lunch ladies.
4. Cobb salad
Here’s a debate so fiery that even Curb Your Enthusiasm has tackled it. Although there are numerous origin stories for this main-course salad, it seems that most people generally agree the concoction bears the name of Robert Cobb, the former proprietor of Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant.There are a number of stories about how Cobb actually invented the salad, though. The one most frequently repeated is that in 1937, a hungry Cobb went to his restaurant’s kitchen for a midnight snack and ended up improvising a delicious salad with what he found in the fridge. His buddy Sid Grauman, the owner of the landmark Grauman’s Chinese Theater, was with Cobb on the night he got the munchies, and started ordering “Cobb’s salads” when he came in to eat at the Brown Derby.
5. Beef Stroganoff
The creamy beef dish supposedly takes its name from Count Pavel Stroganov, a 19th-century Russian statesman and military leader who commanded a division in the Napoleonic Wars. Stroganov’s family was one of Russia’s most wealthy and influential, so he certainly had the clout to get a namesake dish. It’s not totally clear, though, at what point the dish sprang into existence. Some sources credit an 1890 culinary competition—which seems unlikely because Count Pavel was long dead at that point—but the beef dish is mentioned in written records at least as far back as the 1860s.
Yep, there really was a guy named Nacho. In 1943 Ignacio Anaya—better known by his nickname “Nacho”—was working at the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. As the story goes, there were a lot of American servicemen stationed at Fort Duncan near Eagle Pass, and one evening a large group of soldiers’ wives came into Nacho’s restaurant as he was closing down.Nacho didn’t want to turn the women away with empty stomachs, but he was too low on provisions to make a full dinner. So he improvised. Nacho Anaya supposedly cut up a bunch of tortillas, sprinkled them with cheddar and jalapenos and popped them in the oven. The women were so delighted with the nachos especiales that the snack quickly spread throughout Texas.
7. Fettucine Alfredo
The Italian favorite has been around for centuries, but it supposedly took on its current form around 1914 when Alfredo di Lelio upped the amount of butter in the recipe in an attempt to find something his pregnant wife would enjoy eating. Di Lelio realized that his buttery cheese sauce was extraordinarily tasty, so he started serving it to tourists at his Rome restaurant and named the dish after himself.
8. Margherita pizza
This deliciously simple pizza is named after Margherita of Savoy, who was Queen consort of Italy from 1878 until 1900 during the reign of her husband, King Umberto I. In 1889, Umberto and Margherita took a vacation to Naples and visited renowned pizza chef Raffaele Esposito, who cooked the royal couple three special pizzas. Margherita particularly enjoyed one that had used mozzarella, tomato, and basil to mimic the colors the Italian flag, so Esposito named the dish in her honor.
9. Bananas Foster
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In 1951, Richard Foster had a tough job. He was the chairman of a New Orleans crime commission that was trying to clean up the French Quarter, and he also ran his own business, the Foster Awning Company. When Foster was hungry, he would often head in to his friend Owen Brennan’s restaurant, Brennan’s, and happily wolf down whatever chef Paul Blange was making. When Chef Blange invented a new dessert of flaming bananas, he named it after his owner’s buddy and frequent customer.
WFP is scaling up to reach some 2.7 million people across South Sudan with food aid this year as the country reels from poor harvests, high food prices and violent conflicts. Copyright: AFP/Bosire Bogonko
Hunger is on the rise across South Sudan as poor harvests, soaring prices and conflict push millions to the edge of survival. In response, WFP plans on feeding more than 2.7 million people there this year. WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi says that approaching rains, poor infrastructure and high levels of malnutrition make the emergency operation a race against time.
How many people in South Sudan are at risk of going hungry this year?
4.7 million South Sudanese will struggle to meet their food needs in 2012, which is about half the population of the entire country. One million of them are already severely food insecure and will need assistance to meet their food needs.
Operationally, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face in getting food assistance to the people who need it?
South Sudan is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Once the rains begin, 60 percent of the country will become inaccessible because there aren’t enough roads. We are always racing against time to get food assistance to the right locations before the rains.
In addition, the border-closure between Sudan and South Sudan has meant that we’ve had to find new ways to bring food into the country. To get around the bottlenecks that form along shipping routes from Kenya, we’ve now opened a separate corridor to bring food in from Djibouti. We’re also sourcing food from countries like Tanzania.
What are the main factors behind the current hunger crisis in South Sudan?
The first factor is the failed harvest, caused by the late rains in October and November. The second is conflict, which forced 350,000 people from their homes this year. Conflict leads to displacement and displacement interferes with farming. Then, there is the border closure between Sudan and South Sudan. This has made the situation worse. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese are now returning home from Sudan [increasing the numbers of people needing food – ed].
What are the main reasons people have fled their homes this year?
The first is violence between neighbouring communities. At the end of 2011, there was a major conflict broke out that affected over 140,000 people. The second is the violence in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region which has driven 100,000 Sudanese refugees across the border into South Sudan.
We know that WFP is now working to provide emergency food assistance in South Sudan. What are we doing to build longer term food security in the country?
The weather shocks will come, but the important thing is to build resilience. We’re working with communities to help them grow more food, improve storage facilities and improve their access to markets. In fact, we’re helping to build a whole network of feeder roads that will make it easier for farmers to get their produce to markets. Another important measure is providing children with proper nutrition to ensure their proper cognitive and physical development, because the future of South Sudan rests on them.
What is the key to insuring food security in South Sudan in the long term?
Only 4 percent of the arable land in South Sudan is currently cultivated. There is huge potential for agriculture. In order to reach that potential, however, communities need peace and stability so they can focus on their livelihoods. Providing food assistance to communities that need it is an important way of supporting that kind of stability.
This picture was taken in South Sudan where nearly half of the population is at risk of going hungry. Getting food to them is tough. It’s a country the size of France with less than 60 miles of paved roads. So how are we doing it?
Here’s the man in charge of our operation to explain: http://bit.ly/AzGelV
Why is it that we complain about not having things, stupid materialistic things, while much of the world needs the one thing necessary to sustain life.
PLEASE DO NOT WASTE FOOD OR THROW FOOD
Be thankful for them. Say Alhamdulilah