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It is amazing how many popular foods and drinks are available for consumption today that were created by accident. Little do most people know that many of those items were not invented by deliberate design but by an accident that caught the inventor by surprise.
Below is a list of some of those accidental foods and drinks.
Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith, whose real name is Maria Ann Smith, is the one who produced Granny Smith apples. They did not come about on purpose. The apples came about from chance seedlings. In 1868, Smith discovered green apple trees growing in the same spot where she had thrown away some bad seedlings on her property in Australia. They grew and the rest is history for the tart apples that are good for baking.
Saccharin is the first artificial sweetener. It was discovered by accident in 1878 by Constantin Fahlberg. The Russian chemist was working in a lab when he accidentally spilled some chemicals on his hand. He discovered how sweet the chemicals were when he went to dinner. He continued to experiment and concluded that he had created something that people could use years later as a sugar substitute.
Crêpes Suzette was made by accident. A 14-year-old part-time waiter named Henri Charpentier was working at a cafe in Monte Carlo. One day he was preparing dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England. The ingredients accidentally caught fire.
The teenager thought the dish was ruined, but he served it anyway because he didn't have time to make anything else. The Prince and his friends loved the sweet flavors. The dessert was named after a beautiful French girl named Suzette who was among the guests at the restaurant.
Almost every cereal lover has eaten corn flakes. They should thank brothers W.K. Kellogg and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for making a mistake. In 1898, the brothers were working in a sanitarium in Michigan trying to find healthy foods to serve their patients. They accidentally let some boiled wheat get hard, and it broke into flakes.
Instead of tossing the flakes, the brothers toasted them and served them to the patients. The patients loved the flakes so much that the brothers experimented with other grains. Corn was a better choice and was an instant success. That's how corn flakes came to be one of the most popular breakfast cereals.
The story is told that the sandwich came about by mistake. It was in the 1700s when John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich didn't want to leave an intense gambling game even though he was hungry. He requested that some meat be brought to him between two pieces of bread. He could eat that combination without having to use utensils as he continued to play cards. The meat between two slices of bread was named "sandwich" after the 4th Earl of Sandwich.
The first buffalo wings were introduced in 1964 at the Anchor Bar owned by Teressa Bellissimo and her husband in Buffalo, New York. Their son, Dominic, brought some friends home from college late one night.
Teressa wanted an easy snack to serve them quickly because they were hungry. She deep fried some chicken wings that were normally only used for stock. Teressa saturated them in cayenne hot sauce and served them with blue cheese dressing and celery because that's all she had available. Now buffalo wings are a favorite appetizer at most restaurants, and they are still served with blue cheese dressing and celery stalks.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are so delicious that it is hard to believe they were not first made on purpose. One day in 1930, Ruth Graves Wakefield, co-owner of the Toll House Inn, was preparing some chocolate cookies for her guests. In the middle of her baking, she discovered that she was out of baker’s chocolate that she typically used.
She did have a block of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate. She believed she could chop up some of it and use it as a substitute. However, the chunks did not melt and spread evenly throughout the batter. The chunks still did not melt even in the hot oven. When Wakefield took them out of the oven, she noticed dots of chocolate were visible in each cookie. What a sweet mistake!
Worcestershire sauce, like the other items in this article, was also the result of a mistake. According to a legend, a nobleman had spent some time in India where he fell in love with a spicy sauce for his foods. When he returned to England, he hired two chemists, John Lea and William Perrins, to come up with a sauce that tasted like the one he loved so much in India.
The chemists didn't like the combination they came up with. Instead of throwing it away, they left jars filled with it out of sight in the cellar. A few years later, they discovered the sauce had fermented. The spicy sauce turned out to be exactly what the nobleman wanted.
Who doesn't love potato chips? Well, thanks to a mistake, we can eat them whenever we want the popular savory snack. The chips were made by mistake in 1953 by a chef at the Moon Lake Lodge Resort in Saratoga Lake, New York.
An unsatisfied customer complained that the French fried potatoes were too thick and mushy. Chef George Crum didn't like the criticism. Therefore, he sliced some white potatoes very thin and fried them until they turned brown. His customer loved the thin, crispy snack so much that the rest is history.
The Flakall Company of Beloit, Wisconsin invented a machine in the 1930s that crushed grains for animal feed without any hulls and dust. Workers poured wet corn kernels into the machine to get rid of the clogs.
When the machine got hot, the moist corn kernels came out in puffy ribbons that got hard as they fell to the ground. Instead of throwing the ribbons away, Edward Wilson added oil and seasoning and made what we know and love as the first cheese puffs.
Frank W. Epperson invented the popsicle by accident when he was only 11 years old in 1904. The boy used a stick to stir soda powder and water in a cup. He forgot to remove the stick when he left the cup on the porch overnight. The mixture was completely frozen the next morning with the stick still in it.
Epperson held the stick and licked his frozen concoction that was really delicious. At first, he named it Epsicle by using part of his name with "sicle." He later changed the name to Pop's Sicle. He finally patented his accidental creation as ice lollipops.
Ice Cream Cone
Ice cream lovers have a choice today to eat the dairy product either in a cup or a cone. It hasn't always been that way. It was in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair that an ice cream vendor named Arnold Fornachou was selling so much ice cream that he ran out of cups to hold his ice cream.
A neighboring vendor named Ernest A. Hamwi was selling pastries. He shaped his waffles into cones and suggested that Fornachou use them as edible containers for his frozen treat.
Pink lemonade came about by mistake. According to a 1912 New York Times article, circus promoter Henry E. Allott was the originator of the drink.
One day while mixing a tub full of the basic yellow lemonade, he accidentally dropped some red cinnamon candies in the mixture. Even though the lemonade was a different color, he was still able to sell the rose-colored mixture at the circle. People enjoyed it so much that Allott continued to sell pink lemonade.
Coca-Cola was invented by Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist. He set out to make a cocaine and caffeine-filled alcoholic drink that people with chemical addictions could use to wean themselves off of morphine and other drugs.
However, Pemberton was forced to take the alcohol out of his formula because of Prohibition. Cocaine was allowed to remain in the mixture for many decades after the first bottle of Coca-Cola was made in 1886.
Today, Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink that is no longer considered to be a medicine.
Omar Knedlik, a Kansas-based Dairy Queen owner, accidentally invented the Slurpee in 1958 when he didn't intend to do so. He didn't have a fountain so he kept his sodas in a freezer. Once he left them in the freezer too long and customers liked the sodas must better because they were partially frozen.
Knedlik built a machine to make his sodas slushy all the time to keep up with the demand. Two years later, 300 companies, including 7-Eleven, bought the machine. In 1965, 7-Eleven began calling the frozen sodas "Slurpees." Even though people might call any slushy soda a Slurpee, they are wrong. Slurpee is a brand name sold only at 7-Eleven. On July 11 every year, 7-Eleven gives away free Slurpees to customers in honor of the name of the convenience store.
A Dutch shipmaster was trying to make wine easier to transport in the 16th century. He used heat to concentrate the alcohol but decided to add water to the wine after he arrived at his destination.
The shipmaster discovered that the taste of concentrated wine was much better without adding water. He called his new alcohol brandewijn which means “burnt wine” in Dutch.
Champagne was created by accident in 1693 when Benedictine monk Dom Perignon was making wine. He couldn’t get rid of the bubbles, but when he tasted it, he was very excited. The monk exclaimed, “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!” The beverage was much sweeter than champagne is today.
Chewing gum is not a food or drink, but it is included in this article because it is something that is put in the mouth like foods and drinks even though it is not swallowed.
The gum that we know today wasn’t invented until 1870. It was then that an American inventor named Thomas Adams, Sr. was experimenting with chicle which is sap from a South America tree. It was used as a substitute for rubber. When he accidentally put a piece in his mouth, he realized that it was chewable and he liked it very much. The sap did not succeed as a good replacement for rubber, but it was cut into strips and marketed as Adams New York Chewing Gum. It became the first chewing gum in the world.