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7 Food Origins You Have Mistaken All Your Life

We trace back the origin countries of some of our favourite foods. Spoiler alert! Samosas are not as Indian as you think.

Image: Samosas, a snack commonly misunderstood to be of Indian origin via Shutterstock

Have you ever thought about where the food you eat originated from? Well, I am a foodie who loves to research, which can be quite a sizzling combination. One day, while feasting on a plate of samosas, I quizzed myself as to which state of India, we credit the origin of samosas. And I was shocked as I did not know the answer to that question. So, I did a bit of research that led me to find out about these dishes that we misbelieve to have originated from a particular country. Unbelievable, right? We have been thanking the wrong country all along for coming up with these brilliant dishes. Here are some foods whose places of origin you have mistaken all your life.  

Samosas

Brace yourself for a heartbreaking revelation! This crunchy triangle dish that can be found in every single tea stall and restaurant in India is not of Indian origin. It was formerly called samsa, named after the pyramids of Central Asia (Egypt) and is known under different aliases in the places it has travelled to on the ancient trade route, such as sanbusak in the Middle East and samoosa in Africa. It is said that this popular snack made its way to India during the reign of the Delhi Sultanate and praise of this triangular dish can be found in the ancient Persian texts. The filling in a samosa varies from region to region, country to country but no matter where it originated from, our canteens and evening discussions are incomplete without samosas.

Croissants
Image: Croissants via Shutterstock

We’re all too familiar with this crescent-shaped pastry that smiles at us from the display at the bakery. But here comes the twist, this seemingly French-like pastry actually had its origins in 13th century Austria and not France as we thought. The name sounds French, right? This pastry’s original name was kipferl, a Viennese dough that is buttery, yummy and flaky. The crescent shape for which it is now known was given to the bread by the French, who adapted it and innovated it into a puff pastry. Therefore, although it is French now, it is the Austrians that we have to thank, for coming up with this brilliant idea for breakfast.

Hamburgers
Image: Hamburger-a sandwich of German origin via Shutterstock

Now, where do you think hamburgers are from? Ha, it’s not from where you think it’s from! Hamburgers were originally from Germany, named after Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany. This appetizing sandwich made of grilled, smoked or flame-broiled patties is now a popular staple of America, so there is a lot of debate and confusion regarding the origin of this stomach-satisfying burger.

Caesar Salads
Image: Caesar Salad via Shutterstock

No, Julius Caesar has nothing to do with this salad, trust me! This world-renowned salad was a spur-of-the-moment creation by a chef named Caesar Cardini during the 1924 July Four holiday rush at his restaurant, that resulted in the depletion of supplies. But as the name suggests, this salad was the innovation of an Italian man. Still, it is not Italy that is credited with the invention, but Mexico because that’s where this chef’s restaurant was located!

Ketchup
Image: Commonly misunderstood table condiment-Ketchup via Shutterstock

You might be wondering what is so misunderstood about this; it’s from the U.S. That’s what I thought too until I realised its Chinese origin. While ketchup is part and parcel of most American dishes, ketchup originated as a sauce made of salt and fermented fish parts. It was later adopted by the British who created their own varieties out of mushrooms, oysters and peaches. And now ketchup is a mandatory item in every fridge there is in the world! I shudder to think of a life without ketchup.

Vindaloo
Image: Vindaloo Curry via Shutterstock

Another shocking disclosure! Vindaloo which you probably thought was Indian is actually of Portuguese origin. This dish’s original name is carne de vinha d’alhos which is meat marinated in vinegar and garlic. It was introduced to Indians by the Portuguese explorers who travelled to India in the 15th century. Indians made their own spicy version of this dish, like we always do, by adding chillies and spices. And voilà! Vindaloo was born!

French Toasts
Image: French Toast, a popular breakfast dish via Shutterstock

This breakfast dish has become so common worldwide, cooked in so many varieties and referred to by so many names, that I wonder why it is still called ‘French Toast’. French Toast is not really French and has its origins in the fifth century Roman Empire. But I guess people like to add French as a suffix to the names of dishes to give it an aura of romance. This delicious blend of milk, sugar, egg and vanilla has become the ideal breakfast, the aroma we all wish to wake up to!

I am sure all this discussion about food has made you hungry. Go grab a bite from the kitchen! But before that find out from where it made its way to you. 

Written By

A stargazer with a penchant for words and chocolates. A fan of Greek lore and dystopian novels.

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