Eating food is great, but have you ever wondered about different food and their origins? Like, we often associate pasta with Italy, or French fries with France, or Apple pie with America. But are those really the true origins of those eats?
Well, if you’re into diving deep into food history as much as we are, you’ll enjoy this article! Check out this list of five popular food dishes and their origins. As the title says, you may be surprised at the unexpected sources.
(And if you happen to run into a food and their origins quiz in the future, at least you’ll know the answers to some questions! LOL.)
Food origins: Pasta
From how we mentioned this food in our intro, you know it’s going to have surprising origins already.
While we may automatically think of Italy when we start talking about pasta and pasta noodles, pasta history says otherwise. Pasta actually descends from China, which makes sense with all the noodles being eaten over there. The overall general belief is that the recipe for egg noodles got imported from China into Italy all thanks to the adventurer Marco Polo.
However, what is truly Italian about pasta is the Italians’ use of durum wheat. It made pasta noodles more affordable, versatile and also granted a long shelf life when noodles are dried. So if you really want to, you can technically say that pasta is still an Italian invention.
There are now many versions of pasta nowadays, like fast food spaghetti. But if you want to make a “pasta” that is truly Pinoy, you can check out our Classic Pinoy Favorites class with Chef Chona. You’ll be able to make an Espesyal na Pancit Palabok!
Croissant’s food origin is…
And if you guess it by now, yes, the French didn’t invent the croissants (although croissant is a French word, meaning “crescent”). The croissant’s first descendant is the Vienna, Austria treat known as kipfel or kipferl. It’s also a crescent-shaped bread that is served nowadays as a cookie.
The invention of the croissant that we know nowadays is attributed to August Zang, an Austrian artillery officer. He opened Boulangerie Viennoise in Paris back in the 1830s. The Parisians fell for the bread, and French bakers eventually made their own methods of doing this particular bread. Thus, the flaky French croissants we all know and love was born!
Want to make your own croissants? It’s easy! Just enroll in our Laminated Dough class with Chef Jimbo!
Where did sushi come from?
Here’s another of the popular foods associated with one country but originated elsewhere. Sushi is associated with Japan, but you can trace its origins back to China. It’s surprising food news, but it’s true!
According to Roka Akor, sushi was first called narezushi. It was simply fermented rice and salted fish. You didn’t even eat the rice with the fish before – it was only used to wrap and preserve the fish! Hard to think about, huh?
The narezushi spread to Japan in the 8th century, where its popularity bloomed, and got called sushi by the Japanese. Apparently, in 1852, there were one to two sushi restaurants for every 100×100 meter square block! So the Japanese are still responsible for popularizing sushi. We have to give them that.
If you love sushi as much as we do, it’s worth trying out our class with Chef Allan Mertola: Modern Sushi and Maki!
Food origins: Doughnuts
Thanks to pop culture, we usually associate these treats with a hole in the middle with the US of A. You know, cops with doughnuts, that sort of thing.
That’s why we were surprised that when it came to doughnuts, there were plenty of food origin stories!
For example, according to Britannica, there were already records dating back to the mid-19th century of the Dutch making them. They were called “olykoeks” or oily cakes, balls of cake fried in pork fat. The center of the cake wouldn’t cook as fast as the outside, so these pastries got stuffed with fruits or nuts, treats that didn’t need to be cooked.
Here’s another origin story. Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, was preparing deep-fried dough for the boat’s crew. Apparently, she was the one who thought of stuffing the dough with nuts. Also, she was the one who referred to the treats as “doughnuts.”
But according to her son, Hanson Gregory, he was the one who innovated the hole in the middle, in 1847. He wanted to remove the raw insides, so he punched a hole through the center with his ship’s tin pepper box. The hole made the doughnut able to be cooked evenly.
One final story is that Greece is where the doughnut really comes from. Over there, they’re known as Loukoumades: small doughnut balls covered in honey and walnuts. They’re also considered to be the oldest recorded dessert, dating back to the very first Olympic Games in 776 BC. The Loukoumades are presented to the winners as honey tokens.
A very popular food comes with three origin stories. Isn’t it amazing?
If you want to start your own doughnut origin story (or simply just make doughnuts), enroll in Chef Joey Prats’ Divine Doughnuts class!
Food origin of the Apple pie
There’s a saying: “As American as apple pie.” It means that whatever you are referring to with that saying is very American. But the ironic thing about this particular saying is that neither apples nor apple pies originated in North America. Oops.
For one thing, Apples are native to Central Asia. As for the apple pie itself? Well, apples weren’t the first thing that the English put in their pies. In medieval England, they put meat, and called a pie a “pye”.
The first apple pie was recorded in 1381 and was a far cry from the apple pie we know of today. Think of an apple pie, but mixed with figs, saffron, raisins, and pears.
We can argue that the Americans have perfected the apple pie. After all, they have made it one of their unofficial symbols.
And if you want to experience true apple pie perfection, enroll in our Fabulous Pies class with Chef Joey!
And those are five popular food items and their origins. Did any of them surprise you? Which delicious eats would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments!
Before you go, don’t forget to sign up at The Bailiwick Academy so you can learn to make some of the food on this list. You won’t regret it!
Also, keep coming back to The Bailiwick Academy blog for more informative articles about food, baking, cooking, business, and so much more!