21 December 2010

Accidents: Accidental Foods

By Jennifer Linforth

Food and the holidays go hand in hand and sometimes we all fall prey to a kitchen mishap or two. Lucky for us, some food accidents turned into everyday culinary delights! Below is a list of some of the more famous....

BEER: Beer began in Mesopotamia totally by mistake when stored grains for bread became wet and began to ferment. Some brave chap tasted the frothy mess and there you have it--the world's first beer.

POPCICLES: These tasty treats were the accident of eleven year old Frank Epperson who, in 1905, left his soda and soda making equipment outside by accident. It dropped below freezing that night and the next day he discovered the stick in which he'd used to stir the flavored powder into the water froze upright in the mixture. Bingo! The "Epsicle" was born. It was not until 1924, that he applied for a patent and redubbed it the "popsicle."

POTATO CHIPS: This one most folks know! It was 1853 and a customer at Saratoga Springs' Moon's Lake House had issues with the batches of fried potatoes served to him. He kept sending them back to the cook, claiming they weren't up to his standards. He liked his potatoes firm and crisp. The angered chef sliced the final batch paper thin, fried them in oil, and tossed a bunch of salt on top. Now it seems we can't eat just one....

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: Ever hear of the Toll House Inn? Inn keeper Ruth Wakefield ran out of baking chocolate one day and chopped up a bar of semi-sweet chocolate and added to her cookie dough thinking it would melt. However, upon their removal from the oven she noted the chocolate didn't melt but dappled the cookie with chocolate chunks. So in 1930, the chocolate chip cookie was born!

PEANUT BRITTLE: According to legend a woman in 1890 was making a batch of taffy and an ingredient mix-up led her to invent peanut brittle.

CHAMPAGNE: "Brothers come--I am drinking stars!" That apparently was what Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Perignon exclaimed upon his accident... Initially his job was to try to find a way to stop the secondary fermentation of wine. In the process of trying to discover a way to do this, many of the wines began to have bubbles in them. Once he tasted it, what was the point in stopping the fermentation when a drink as wonderful as champagne was born!

SANDWICHES: It was in the 1700s when the Earl of Sandwich couldn't stop gambling long enough to eat. Instead he ordered some food to be piled between two slices of bread...

COCA COLA: This famous drink was invented by a doctor working on a headache cure. He created the syrup, but those inspecting it for approval felt it tasted better than it worked. They added some carbonated water and...the rest is history.

Ever concocted something by accident? Bake a turkey without removing the bag? Add salt to coffee instead of sugar? What food accidents, holiday or otherwise, can you share?

Jennifer Linforth expands the classics by continuing The Phantom of the Opera. MADRIGAL and ABENDLIED are available now. Readers should look for future books based on the classics, in addition to her unique historical romances. "Ms. Linforth's prose is phenomenally beautiful and hauntingly breathtaking." ~ Coffee Time Romance