The History of Junk Food

Knowledge

We all know they're unhealthy, but still we can't do without them. Here is a low-down on the origins of 10 popular junk foods 

SANDWICHES

This yummy food that you gorge down ever so often has a royal beginning! The word 'sandwich' was born in London in 1762 and was created by John Montague the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, an English aristocrat. It's believed that he preferred to eat a sandwich--meat between two slices of bread--as it kept his hands clean and non-greasy. His invention is now the most popular fast food.


CHOCOLATES

The sweet story of chocolate finds its roots in the Mayan civilisation of Yucatan and the Aztecs of Mexico. In fact, the Mexican Indian word 'chocolate' comes from a combination of the terms 'choco' (foam) and 'atl' (water).These civilisations cultivated cocoa crops and also began consuming cocoa beans in a unique preparation called 'chocolat'. This drink soon became popular across Spain and Europe. The first chocolate house, �The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll� opened in London in 1657. By 1674, chocolate had become an ingredient used in cakes and rolls.


PIZZAS

These cheesy delights don't have a specific origin. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians are said to have eaten a flat pizza-like food item many years ago. The word 'pizza' itself appears before 1000AD in the area between Naples and Rome. Despite these early incarnations, Raffaele Esposito of Naples is considered as the creator of modern pizza. The world's first pizzeria opened its doors in 1738 and was called Antica Pizzeria Port Alba. Its pizzas were cooked in an oven that used lava from the nearby Mount Vesuvius.

 

BURGERS

In the 19th Century when the German immigrants from Russia came to America, they brought with them a dish called 'Hamburg style beef'. With time, this food item became very popular and was termed 'Hamburg Steak' by the Americans. This is where the hamburger is believed to be derived from. It was further popularised when these burgers were sold in an amusement park at the St Louis World's Fair in 1904. The term 'burger' now refers to a round bun with any type of filling, be it chicken, fish or vegetarian.

 

NOODLES

It doesn't matter whether you slurp them down, gulp them or twirl them on your fork, everyone loves noodles. The word noodle derives from the German 'nudel' and may be related to the Latin word 'nodus' (knot).The origin of noodles is a mystery as the Arabs claim to have been the first to use dried pasta as a means of preserving flour. But the Chinese are the ones who have been feasting on noodles for approximately 2,000 years since the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). When it comes to the length of the noodles, they are usually served long and uncut. This is because long noodles symbolise a long life according to Chinese tradition.

 

FRENCH FRIES

French fries are a huge hit among children. These chopped potatoes are deep-fried in oil and served with ketchup or a dip. The history of French fries dates back to the 1680s when the inhabitants of Belgium used to fish in the Meuse River and fry the fish they caught to accompany their meals. However, when rivers and streams froze, people began to cut potatoes lengthwise and fry them. As for the name 'French fries', it came from the Belgian army whose official language was French at that time.

 

CAKE

Cutting a cake is a sign of celebration. However, the history of cake is slightly unclear. It's believed that cakes were made shortly after flour was discovered. Villagers in Switzerland made cakes by cooking them on a hot stone. Ancient Egyptians were the first to show true skill in baking. The Greeks had a form of cheesecake and the Romans developed early versions of fruitcakes with raisins, nuts and other fruits. They were called 'plakous', meaning 'flat', by the Greeks. Cakes came to Britain in the 14th Century.

 

WAFFLES

Crisp waffles are a delight! Waffles and maple syrup are simply inseparable. Initially a waffle was nothing more than a country cake made of cereals, prepared and cooked by the Neolithic men on heated stones. Then it was cooked by sandwiching it between two heated iron plates and this marked the beginning of the waffle as we know of it today. In the  13th Century waffles come into sight at a bakery called 'Waffle' in Belgium and that's where the name originated. But it was only in the 16th Century that waffles gained popularity as they were eaten as a substitute for bread.

 

LOLLIPOPS

The English word 'candy' derives from the Arabic word 'qandi', meaning 'something made with sugar'. The first candies were sugar coated nuts, seeds and fruits. The word 'lollipop' dates back to 1784. The term is derived from the word 'lolly' (tongue) and 'pop' (slap). The first references to the lollipop dates back to the Middle Ages, where the kings and queens often ate boiled sugar with the aid of sticks or handles.

 

ICE CREAM

Ice cream is a popular dessert across the world. Ice cream evolved from  iced beverages and fruit ices, some of which contained milk or cream, that were popular in early medieval periods. The first ice cream parlour opened  in New York City in 1776. The name 'ice cream' came from the phrase 'iced cream' very similar to 'iced tea'. Augustus Jackson, a confectioner from Philadelphia, USA created new recipes for making ice cream in 1832.

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