In New Orleans during Mardi Gras they serve an iced, multi-colored cake called King Cake. Inside the cake there is a small baby figurine called a fève which represents baby Jesus. Whomever gets the fève is said to have luck and prosperity for the rest of the year.
Oysters used to be one of the cheapest and widely available foods in New York City, and crushed oyster shells were even used as mortar to build the city and pave its roads.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in New York and has never been made in Philadelphia. Its name was part of a clever marketing strategy, because at the time (1880s) Philadelphia was known for its high quality dairy.
Granula, the first breakfast cereal, was introduced in 1863; to be able to chew it, you had to soak it overnight.
45 years ago, ahi (tuna) were caught for fun and ground into pet food. In Japan, tuna was called neko-matagi, meaning “fish that even a cat would disdain.”
The Hula Burger was a meatless burger introduced in the 1960’s by Ray Kroc to McDonald’s. It was a substitute for American Catholics that would not eat meat on Fridays. The burger was a slice of grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun. But this was designed to go up against the Filet-O-Fish, which was created by a Catholic McDonald’s Franchisee Lou Groen. McDonald’s ended production of the Hula Burger early on, as it became quickly evident that its alternative, the Filet-O-Fish, was getting much better traction.
It took Taco Bell food engineers two years and 40 different recipes to create the Doritos Loco taco. It became so popular that it led to Taco Bell adding 15,000 jobs, propelling the company to outgrow Pizza Hut, KFC and even McDonald’s.
Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine. In 1834, it was sold as a cure for an upset stomach by an Ohio physician named John Cook. It wasn’t popularized as a condiment until the late 19th century.
In Milwaukee, it is a Christmas tradition to eat raw ground beef and onions on rye bread.
In mid-18th century France, eating potatoes was considered cruel and unusual punishment: potatoes were thought of as feed for livestock, and they were believed to cause leprosy in humans. The fear was so widespread that the French passed a law banning them in 1748.