Little did we know how even the absolute kitchen disasters would result in discovering things that are some of our favorite food and drinks these days.
Whether they’re urban legends, popular myths, or something that happened thousands of years ago, the stories are undeniably funny and entertaining to listen to.
As time passed by, some of these inventors became long forgotten. Sometimes, establishments decided to develop their versions, and some even turned out better than the originals.
Some of these foods and drinks took years to refine and perfect. But some of them were produced by accidentally pushing something into hot boiling oil or forgetting it outside on a freezing night.
Enjoy the gallery along with the stories about the invention of some of our favorite delicacies.
#1 Chocolate Chip Cookies
The story behind the most famous cookies retells how a semi-disappointment from the kitchen oven resulted in one of the best sweet things ever.
Ruth Wakefield baked chocolate cookies for her guests when she noticed that she had run out of powdered baker’s chocolate. Instead, she decided to break up a Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bar and go with it.
Although the chocolate pieces only melted slightly, the guests loved the cookies.
Ruth’s recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, which additionally increased Nestle’s chocolate bar sales. Later, the company gave Ruth a lifetime supply of the chocolate from Andrew Nestle as a reward for printing her recipe on the chocolate bars.
Coffee originally came from Ethiopia.
An old legend claims that a goat herder named Kaldi noticed how his goats would become very energetic and wouldn’t sleep at night after eating this particular tree’s berries.
He decided to report this to a local monastery. Soon, everyone was sipping on this enjoyable and stimulating drink that helped them stay up during long hours of evening prayers.
An urban myth of how this delicious snack was born revolves around Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya Garcia. He worked in the kitchen in Piedras Negras (Coahuila state, Mexico) when a few US military wives from a nearby base passed by the restaurant for a snack.
The chef was nowhere to be seen, so Ignacio decided to throw together some tortillas topped with cheese and jalapeños and named the dish Nachos Especiales.
#4 Cheese Puffs
Although there are many versions of the story about the cheese puffs, one of them became most popular for retelling.
Around the 1930s, Edward Wilson was just an ordinary man who worked in a company in Wisconsin. The company was producing partially cooked animal feed, and Edward decided to taste the puffed mashed corn kernel himself.
When he added some seasoning, he realized that it was not that bad at all. It could even make a decent snack!
Later, the founders of Flakall Corporation worked to patent the product that is now produced under different names by over 100 companies worldwide.
#5 Ice Popsicles
11-year-old Fran Efferson was playing with his water and powdered soda mix, leaving it with the wooden stirrer inside.
But kids will be kids. So, when he forgot his little experiment outside overnight, it froze. And as any 11-year-old would probably do, he was curious about it and decided to give it a try and lick it.
When he realized what a revolutionary invention he’d made, he began to sell his Epsicles around the neighborhood and amusement parks.
Later, he patented his invention and changed its name to Pop’sicles.
#6 Worcestershire Sauce
John Wheeler Lea and William Perrins were the chemists who invented this popular condiment.
The Governor of Bengal asked them to do him a favor and prepare this delicacy based upon a recipe he brought from Asia.
Our lab heroes made two batches of it, but they didn’t like it at all!
Yet, they stored it away. And when they later re-tasted it, they instantly felt the potential of a new food item. Believe it or not, the sauce went on sale in 1837. Still, the original recipe hasn’t been revealed and remains a secret.
Pietro Ferrero was an Italian baker who was trying to create a chocolate alternative in the 1940s as a result of shortages during WWII.
He had no clue that hazelnuts, sugar, and just a pinch of cocoa would become our savory food on the first try!
#8 Chocolate Brownies
One of the most delicious baked goods originating from the US is assumed to have been invented by Fanny Farmer.
She modified her chocolate cookie to be baked in a rectangular pan. Another legend retells about a chef accidentally adding melted (and a bit too much) chocolate into the dough.
#9 Potato Chips
In 1853, a chef named George Crum decided that his menu needed to up its game.
His customers were repeatedly sending their fried potatoes back, complaining that they were too thick and soggy. After hearing their complaints, George decided to overcook super thinly sliced potatoes to satisfy their needs.
And this is exactly how the potato chips were born.
The chimichangas are a popular Mexican-American dish combining its rich tastes in a large, deep-fried burrito.
In 1922, Monica Flin from El Charro Cafe accidentally flipped a burrito into the deep fryer. Besides the urge to swear, she tried to stay calm in front of her nieces and started yelling ‘chimichanga’ instead.
#11 Hawaiian Pizza
Although some pizza lovers would say that putting pineapple on it doesn’t make any sense, in the end, they might be right.
Did you know that this type of pizza was not invented on purpose?
Two brothers who emigrated to Canada from Greece in the ’50s experimented with different ingredients at their restaurant. Suddenly, one of them thought of throwing in some ham and pineapple to see how it would taste.
People believe that 4,000 years ago, an Arabian merchant accidentally produced cheese for the first time. He was preparing to go on a long journey across a desert, so he had a milk supply in a sheep’s stomach pouch.
But the heat did its job, and it cured the cheese. The enzymes in the pouch worked their magic as well and separated the whey. The merchant quenched his thirst but also enjoyed the cheese (curd).
#13 Toasted Ravioli
All that we know about toasted ravioli is that it was invented by a German cook who had too much wine while cooking. One thing led to another, and our cook accidentally put some ravioli in the fryer.
Regardless of the kitchen incident, he sent out the food to the table with some parmesan. And guess what? People loved it from the first bite!
People believe that brandy was made to fortify wine so that it could make it through long, intercontinental journeys.
It was stored in wooden casks, which resulted in improving the original distilled spirit and made it more drinkable.
Later, it evolved into a drink of its own.
#15 Pink Lemonade
In the last couple of years, the pink color is a true representation of summer.
But would you ever think that dirty laundry was behind the invention of pink lemonade?
Well, brace yourself: it’s true.
Although pink lemons do exist, their juice doesn’t have any color. But there is a jaw-dropping story that explains how pink lemonade became a thing back in time.
In 1857, Pete Conklin was selling lemonade at the circus when he ran out of water. He grabbed a tub full of dirty water, where one of the performers had just rinsed her pink-colored tights.
He sold it as this new strawberry lemonade, and since then, circuses have had pink lemonade available to satisfy your thirst.
#16 Tarte Tatin
One of the stories tells that Hotel Tatin was the birthplace of the popular pastry.
This hotel was nearly 100 miles south of Paris, and it was run by two sisters. One of them, Stephanie Tatin, was exhausted, and she overcooked the apples in butter and sugar though they were meant to be for a traditional apple pie.
Stephanie smelled the burning apples in the pan. Instead of tossing them, she decided to cover the mess with a pastry base and crammed it inside the oven. Stephanie decided to serve the apple pie, making it a pure success among the guests.
If you thought that beer was invented in Germany, then there might be some bad news.
This time, Mesopotamians are the main suspects in the chronicles of beer.
Nearly 6,000 years ago, they were annoyed by the fact that the grains they’d been storing for producing bread would go damp and start to ferment into liquid affected by the loose yeast in the air.
And soon, they realized that there was no point in ignoring the potential of brewing what is now one of the oldest drinks humans have ever produced.
#18 Waffle Cones
The Syrian pastry vendor Ernest A. Hamwi is the one we should thank for inventing the ice-cream cones.
Although Italo Marchiony was granted a patent for developing his ice cream cone in December 1903 in NYC, Hamwi’s invention at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair was a pure creative effort made in a hurry.
An ice-cream seller in the booth next door to him ran out of dishes to serve the ice cream. Hamwi took the things in his hands and rolled up one of his freshly baked waffle pastries to place the ice cream on top.
The customers got fond of his idea, and this became solid proof that necessity is the mother of invention.
John Pemberton is the father of the famous soft drink, Coca-Cola, which was invented back in 1885 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Coca-Cola was initially meant to be medicine.
But of course, he marketed it as a brain tonic and intellectual beverage, keeping the recipe a secret. However, he didn’t hide the fact that it contained cocaine extracted from the coca leaf and caffeine from kola nuts.
During Prohibition, the fame of Coca-Cola hit the roof. People enjoyed the taste of it, without the added cocaine, of course.
One of the most famous comfort food, the sandwich, was invented by an intense gambler.
His name was John Montagu, and he was the noble 4th Earl of Sandwich that was diving deep into the world of gambling.
In 1762, he ordered his cook to prepare something to eat while gambling so that he wouldn’t have to leave his game. His cook came up with putting some beef in between toasted bread. And of course – the rest is history!
#21 Granny Smith Apples
Maria Ann Smith arrived in Australia in the 1830s. She brought with her too much fruit that went ripe, so she ended up tossing them by the creek close to her property.
Besides the fact that she brought French Crabapples, she noticed that the fruit that grew on the new trees was very different.
Later, she decided to patent it and it quickly became the most popular cooking apple in the country.
The Slurpee was probably invented by accident.
Omar Knedlik was the owner of an old Dairy Queen. After his soda fountain broke, he started improvising – he left the soda bottles in the freezer to remain cool.
But the drinks turned quite slushy, and the customers loved them!
Then, he built a machine that would produce a slushy soda drink by mixing some carbon dioxide, water, and flavorings. He patented it, and soon, ICEE started to be sold nearly everywhere.
The new name Slurpee came later, and it was meant to describe the sound made while drinking it through a straw.
Thanks to the herdsmen in Central Asia, we can now enjoy the taste of yogurt.
Nearly 8,000 years ago, they stored goat’s milk in containers made out of different animal stomachs. The substance would curdle, and then the fermenting of good bacteria would add the specific flavor to it and preserve it.
Voila – this is how yogurt is made.
Clumsiness can be a good thing too. Thanks to it, a cook in ancient China accidentally invented tofu.
He mixed the natural coagulant called nigari into soybean milk, and the ancient Chinese began to make tofu following the same pattern.
Tofu is the ideal ingredient for anyone preferring plant-based meals. And although it appeared in China 2,000 years ago, tofu wasn’t that popular among the world’s cuisine during the 20th century.
#25 Crepes Suzette
Henri Charpentier claims in his biography that he invented crêpes Suzette in 1895 by accident. He was only 15 years old back then, and at the time, he was serving the Prince of Wales.
Henri was working in front of a chafing dish and the cordials incidentally caught on fire, setting the crepes ablaze.
The young cook didn’t want to leave The Prince waiting, so he decided to serve the dish anyway.
But The Prince fell in love with this taste of the sweet delicacy. He even requested this dessert to be named after a lady who was present that day.
#26 Blue Cheese
In the 7th century, a scatterbrained shepherd in the village of Roquefort, France, forgot his lunch in a cave.
The shepherd returned to the cave several months later. Of course, he found the cheese infested with Penicillium roqueforti – a mold that was growing there.
Was it hard to believe that this was simply a forgotten cheese?
The winemakers in France’s Champagne region wanted to compete with their sworn enemies – Burgundy wines.
This region is known for its cold winters. But the yeast couldn’t stay active during the long, cold days, and the natural fermenting process of the wine stopped.
The fermenting was resumed once again in spring when the temperatures got higher, and the yeast would come alive and start fermenting.
During the process, it released carbon dioxide gas that would pop the weak bottles, but over time winemakers managed to keep the bottles intact.
#28 Nashville Hot Chicken
Love comes through the stomach. But believe it or not – the Nashville hot chicken dish was meant to be a revenge meal.
The girlfriend of Thornton Prince III wanted to punish her lover boy for his late-night adventures with other women.
She prepared him a fried chicken breast for breakfast with a large amount of pepper. But not everything sticks to our plans, indeed.
Thornton liked the meal so much that in the mid-1930s, he opened his BBQ Chicken Shack cafe, serving that recipe inspired by the same event.
#29 Fortified Wine
Long sea voyages around the globe a couple of centuries ago, were a serious thing.
During these long trips, European wines weren’t able to remain unspoiled. But the bright winemakers fortified the wine by adding brandy to stabilize it. The brandy also helped in preparing it to withstand the temperature variations.
#30 Buffalo Wings
One out of at least two different versions claims that at The Anchor Bar, situated in Buffalo, NY, Teresa Bellismo received many chicken wings instead of the chicken necks she thought she’d ordered originally.
However, Teresa didn’t want anything to go to waste. She fried them up and tossed them in her signature sauce.
Who would have guessed that a misplaced order could end up becoming one of the best mouth-watering dishes in the world – chicken wings served with a side of blue cheese sauce and celery sticks. Yum!
#31 Chewing Gum
Chewing gum was around the Mayas and Aztecs as chicle – a natural rubbery substance extracted from sapodilla trees in Mexico and Central America.
But it remained unpopular until the scientist Thomas Adams Sr. got a chicle supply through an exiled Mexican President. He seized the opportunity and tried to convert the chicle to some useful industrial substance that he called chewing gum.
#32 Corn Flakes
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but upon their invention, corn flakes were known as a part of a food diet that possibly suppressed masturbation and sexual desire.
The two brothers who owned a health spa and sanitarium – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Will Keith ‘WK’ Kellogg, were strict Seventh-Day Adventists who propagated vegetarianism.
They were constantly coming up with new recipes for the blandest food possible that had no seasoning and no meats. The meal was supposed to reduce clients’ desire for sex and the need for the self-pollution of masturbation.
There were many experiments with the preparation of corn flakes, and all their guests loved this dish.
#33 Artificial Sweetener
Constantin Fahlberg was a chemist at Johns Hopkins University in 1879.
One day when he returned home after work, he probably forgot to wash his hands and noticed a sweet taste on some part of his palm.
It was connected to overboiled sulfobenzoic acid, phosphorus chloride, and ammonia. Constantin tested the compound, and upon returning to Germany, started producing the artificial sweetener: saccharin.
Raisins were originally used as a decoration, around 2000 BC by inhabitants in the Mediterranean.
It presumably took over a thousand years for people to get the courage to put a dried grape in their mouth and realize that it tasted delicious and sweet.
#35 Bakewell Pudding
Although the origins of this English dessert are still unknown, a legend tells an amusing story.
In the town of Bakewell in 1820, Mrs. Greaves’ cook at the White Horse Inn didn’t properly understand the recipe, and instead of beating the egg and almond paste into the pastry, she ended up spreading it on top of the jam.
The baked mixture set like egg custard, and soon became the favorite dessert of the patrons.