Where Do Your Favorite Foods REALLY Come From? “The Source of the Sauce” by Author Ken Bayliss

Chop Suey
Chop Suey–the San Francisco Treat?

“The Source of the Sauce”

Ken Bayliss

We have all heard the one about Chop Suey being invented in San Francisco, and an equally famous story from the UK is that the nation’s most beloved dish is not fish and chips, but Chicken Tikka Masala, invented in Glasgow, Scotland, not India. Which makes you wonder where do famous foods originate.

There are a lot of disagreements, nationalistically as well as factually, of who invented what. Of course the idea that only one person or one country can invent a simple dish is unlikely. There were many variations as there were chefs. With initially limited ingredients how many variations can there be?

Pizza: Italian, Greek or Welsh?

First off, let’s go to Italy. Some historians reckon that the Pizza was a Greek invention, modified in nearby Italy. Hundreds of years later and hundreds of miles to the north the Welsh used to put a concoction of onion, cheese and beer on bread to make Rarebit, not quite a Pizza, but a nearly.

Still in Italy, Garlic Bread was said to be invented in the USA, along with Pasta Primavera. Spaghetti and those massive Meatballs, a combo from North and South Italy that originated in the USA too. Chicken Parmesan was an offspring of immigrants in NY and Mac and Cheese was said to have been invented in France. Caesar Salad was invented by Italians, though over the border in Tijuana, Mexico.

Into China, and the well known one invented in the USA is, as mentioned, Chop Suey, along with Fortune Cookies, plus we have Chicken Cashew by a Chinese chef in Missouri and, the famous standby, General Tsao’s Chicken also invented in the USA.

From France Austria takes the invention of the Baguette and French Toast was Italian in origin.

Australia gets a mention with Peach Melba and Melba Toast both invented in the Savoy hotel in London by French genius Escoffier. Though the Pavlova was invented for the dancer of the same name, and in Perth. The Mexicans don’t get away since Chimichangas came out of Tuscon.

Bloody Mary

And finally, in the drinks department we have the Bloody Mary invented in the St. Regis, NY. That infamous drink Pina Colada that seems to have come from Brazil or anywhere exotic, was invented in Puerto Rico. Then we have Mai Tai, which is not Asian in origin but Californian.

There are undoubtedly lots more. So, the next time you decide on using up all the leftovers in the fridge look for inspiration and think Italian, or Chinese and invent away. Their country needs you.


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