Ever really looked at something like a pineapple, oyster or lobster and wondered about that first person who decided to try and EAT it? Hey, without those people those foods probably wouldn’t even exist as something edible. Here’s a quick look at the history behind four of everyone’s favorite classic snacks, to find out how they came to be, and became so popular.
Nope, this stuff didn’t start off in the movie theater. Corn is believed to have first been popped by Iroquois tribes in the northeastern U.S., who then passed the method on to European settlers in the early 1800s. It quickly became a common snack for family gatherings or to snack on in front of the fire.
In the 1890s the first popcorn-popping machine was invented, and then the snack really took off. Microwave technology was applied to popcorn in the mid-20th century, making it even easier to enjoy, and the rest is history. Can’t really imagine a good movie night without it, right?
2. Potato Chips
Flickr user kurmanstaff
Again, the exact history of these bad boys is under debate, but the most commonly told stories goes that back in 1853 a cook in Saratoga Springs, New York kept trying and failing to please one difficult customer in his restaurant who kept complaining that the French fries were cut too thick.
The cook, George Crum, finally cut the potatoes wafer thin in frustration and crisped them. The customer loved them, and soon so did everyone else.
Some people do say Crum came up with these “chips” later than this when he owned his own restaurant, and some people say that chips were technically invented even earlier in the 1820s. No matter what the real story, they’re genius.
Try the legend for yourself with these Plain Jaynes Sweet Potato Chips by One Potato Two Potato.
Flickr user anaulin
This one is super cool. The legend of pretzels goes waaaaaaaay back, back to the year 610. Italian monks began baking soft bread twisted into a shape that mimicked someone’s arms crossed, as if in prayer. They spread far beyond the church walls, and became extremely popular over the next few centuries.
Pretzels became a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Germany, and even love in some places. Swiss couples used pretzels in their wedding ceremonies, and it’s said that this might have actually been how the term “tying the knot” was introduced.
Pretzels never lost their popularity, and eventually found their way to America. The first pretzel bakery opened in 1861 in Pennsylvania, and the concept of hard pretzels was introduced. Today pretzels are (usually) made by machine, and are arguably just as popular as they were back in the day.
What’s another classic snacks snack origin story you’d like to hear? Tell us in the comments below!