Origins of Recipe Names

Chicken 65

An entrée or snack made with marinated and deep fried chicken, Chicken 65 originated from the kitchen of Buhari Hotel, Chennai, India. Number 65 comes from the year of its invention, 1965, named by Mr. A.M. Buhari, a South Indian food industry pioneer. Prior to introducing this dish, the hotel was serving curried chicken to all its customers. It was the first fried chicken dish on the hotel’s menu and probably was placed at the 65th position too. At that time, many North Indian soldiers frequented the hotel and due to language constraint in reading the menu; they referred to the fried chicken dish as Chicken 65. The menu of the hotel also features other chicken recipes such as Chicken 78, Chicken 82 and Chicken 90 based on the year the dish was invented.

Sundae

Sundae is believed to be an alteration of the word ‘Sunday’. It is a dessert made up of several scoops of same or different flavored ice creams topped with syrup, cherries, fruits, sprinkles or whipped cream.

In the early days in America, serving a fizzy soda ice cream drink on Sunday, the Sabbath was considered an unrighteous act. So in deference to the people’s religious sentiment, the spelling was changed from ‘Sunday’ to ‘Sundae’.

Ithaca, New York and Two River, Wisconsin are still disputing over the origin of the famous dessert.  The earliest account of the sundae is from Two River, Wisconsin in the year 1881. The story goes, “a customer ordered for an ice cream soda on a Sunday and as serving soda was against the ‘Blue Laws’, he was served ice cream with the toppings and the sauce minus the soda leading to the invention”. 

Ithaca has several records to prove their Sundae as their invention, the first record dating back to 1892. . This oldest documented report of the ice cream ‘sundae’ was served by the name ‘Cherry Sunday’. Evanston, Illinois is another town in the race. It was one the first towns to pass legislation against serving soda drink on a Sunday- ‘Sunday Soda Menace’. The other speculation is that the leftover ice cream from Sunday were served on other days and rechristened as sundae ice cream.   

French Fries

The thinly sliced batons of deep fried potatoes are called French Fries in North America and Canada, but in United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland they are referred to as shoestrings. 

Since ages, the origin of French Fries has been debated in France, Belgium, and Spain. A Spanish invasion of Colombia in 1537 was the reason for the discovery of Potatoes that later became part of the staple diet of Spain, Belgium, Italy, and France, 20 years later. 
Belgians claim to be the pioneer in making French Fries with the discovery of a 1781 family manuscript by Belgian journalist Jo Gèrard claiming that the practice of frying potato dates even before 1680 A.D. The manuscript mentions that the inhabitants of Meuse Valley- between Dinant and Liège, deep fried small fish as a part of everyday food. However, during the cold winter months the frozen rivers limited the access to fish, thus forcing the natives to substitute it with the potatoes, cut into small strips and deep fried. The Meuse Valley (present-day Belgium) was then under Spanish control and potatoes were already a part of the local cuisine.

The potatoes were made popular in France due to the effort of Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, a French army medical officer. It was not until 1772 that potato was accepted as an edible food. The French might have invented or discovered the art of making fries called as ‘frites’ around this time. 

The war between France-Austria during World War I was responsible for spreading the popularity of the French Fries from Belgium to the other parts of the world. Much of the war took place in Belgium and the foreign soldiers might have tasted the Belgium Fries but called it French Fries as local and official language of the army was French. The soldiers might have spread the popularity to their respective nations post-war to the America, Britain and the other non-european nations.

The French word ‘to french’ meaning to julienne the vegetable came into existence later in the 19th century. The raw new potato is cut into thin long strips, deep fried in fat and seasoned before served. 

French toast

Even though the name suggests French Origin, it did not originate from France as several other countries also made French toast calling it with different names- ‘eggy bread’, ‘gypsy bread’, ‘Spanish toast’, ‘German toast’, ‘nun’s toast’, ‘poor knights of Windsor’, ‘torriga’.  In France, it is called ‘pain perdu’ meaning lost bread with a special method to reuse the stale bread by dipping it in milk, with or without egg, sugar and fried in fat. Numerous cookbooks cite the art of making this kind of toast suggesting that it was an age old practice and not a modern day invention.

The earliest known reference of French toast is from a Roman book of Apicius, ‘Pan Dulcius’, dating back to the 4th century AD. One of the myths of the origin of name French toast is that it was probably coined in 1724 New York by a restaurateur Joseph French naming the toast after him, but missing out the apostrophe.  It may also be called French toast by the same reason potato strips are called French fries because it was made popular by the French immigrants. 

This delicious toast is no longer made with stale bread but fresh white bread. It can be served at breakfast or as a dessert with fruits, cream, syrup, butter, and powdered sugar as toppings.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is a recipe made with lean cuts of beef that are dusted with seasoned flour, sautéed and served with sour cream sauce. Rather than an individual’s name, the Russians have attached the name of the household to this dish. Beef Stroganoff is thought to be a recipe associated with the Stroganoff family. 

Count Grigory Stroganoff (1770-1857), was a reputed general under Alexander III. As a connoisseur of fine food and drink, he regularly hosted parties featuring Beef Stroganoff. If old narratives should be trusted - an in-house chef created this flavorful boneless beef dish for the Count as he had lost his teeth due to old age and was unable to chew meat.

Another story associating Beef Stroganoff with the Stroganoff family is that a chef Charles Brière, who worked for Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganoff, entered a competition ‘L’Art Culinaire’ in 1891 and won the first prize. His version included shallots, mushrooms, sour cream and was a slight modification of the original recipe. 

Beef Stroganoff could be an invention of Stroganoff family or any of his chefs as this recipe has been around even before 1891. In 1861, it first appeared in the cookbook of Elena Molokhovet titled ‘A Gift to Young Housewives’. Her recipe uses roux of flour and butter and mentions the use of mustard, sour cream and bouillon for making the sauce without any mention of mushrooms and onions. The second edition of this book in 1912 includes tomato paste and onions to the beef stroganoff and is served with thin crispy fried potato straws, a traditional staple of the Russians. 

When the book ‘Larousse Gastronomique’ was compiled in 1938 it featured Beef Stroganoff and included onions along with either mustard sauce or tomato paste.  

The first time this recipe featured in English was in the year 1932, in the book by Ambrose Heath titled ‘Good Food’. The soldiers and immigrants post-World War II spread the popularity of the dish worldwide making it a renowned dish. 

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