Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie?

Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie?

I love classic recipes, great ones that work every time. For the brownies, I love Katherine Hepburn’s, it’s always a success. After multiple disappointing attempts with chocolate chip cookies, I started to go back to the source. Here are my findings:

Who created the Chocolate Chip Cookie?

It turns out that the story of the creation of the Chocolate Chip Cookie is pretty well-known. In fact, it’s one that is so perfectly cooked that it seems that it is somewhat fake. I’m pretty sure it’s more fiction than reality, but it is what we’ve got.

Read More “Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie?”
Who Invented the Toaster?

Who Invented the Toaster?

This morning, as I waited for my toast to be perfectly made by my recently acquired toaster, I thought about how much less toast I would eat if I had to put them on the stove. I didn’t know who I had to thank for that low-effort breakfast I was preparing half-awake, so I did some research (after finishing eating my toast, of course).

Who Created the Toaster?

Obviously, people were eating toasted bread before the invention of the toaster. They had to! Especially when they didn’t have electricity. However, the toaster was not invented yesterday, but more than a century ago.

Read More “Who Invented the Toaster?”
Who Invented Nutella?

Who Invented Nutella?

There are some food you eat, you know you shouldn’t touch, it’s not that healthy. Do you know what I mean? Well, for me, it’s Nutella. I know I should stop buying this sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread, but I can’t! So, as I continue to write about food (see the invention of chocolate), I thought it was time to write about that particular favorite of mine. So…

Who Created Nutella?

I won’t insult anybody by explaining what is Nutella. I mean, I suppose that everybody has eaten some once at least. If not, do yourself a gift and try it. But did you know the hazelnut and cocoa cream was the result of an evolving recipe?

Read More “Who Invented Nutella?”
Who Invented the Apple Crumble (during Victorian Times, not after WWII)?

Who Invented the Apple Crumble (during Victorian Times, not after WWII)?

I worked on an article about one of my favorite desserts, the apple crumble. What I mostly found is that it was created during World War II. Most of the website writing about that subject goes in that direction. I talked about that with my sister who tell me that she found a recipe on Reddit from the time of the First World War. I dig a little more after that and found an even older recipe!

Who Created the Apple Crumble?

So, yes, the British apple crumble was a popular dessert during and after World War II, it was also popular during Victorian times! In fact, I read that it was a personal favorite of Queen Victoria herself. It seems that she liked it without any cream and didn’t appreciate that other people at her table eat it any other way. At least, that’s how the anecdote goes.

Read More “Who Invented the Apple Crumble (during Victorian Times, not after WWII)?”
Who Invented the Can Opener?

Who Invented the Can Opener?

When I started this website, my motivation was learning about the inventors behind the great human inventions. I didn’t realize that, basically, everything had to be invented. Some things as innocuous as the can opener didn’t exist for the longest time! In fact, it was created way more recently than I would have expected.

Who Created the Can Opener?

The history of the can opener is connected to the one of canned food, but that’s a subject for another article. For now, we are looking at the history of the opening of those cans, but for context, let’s resume.

Read More “Who Invented the Can Opener?”
Who Invented Parmesan Cheese?

Who Invented Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan Cheese is my favorite cheese. I buy it in quantity from Italy because I eat a lot of it, and it’s weirdly cheaper for me than buying a small package at the supermarket here in France. Recently, as I was searching for recipes to find a way to add more Parmesan cheese to my diet, I went looking into its history.

Who Created Parmesan Cheese?

Parmigiano Reggiano (the original name of Parmesan cheese) first appeared in the area surrounding the Italian cities of Parma and Reggio Emilia, during the Middle Ages. To preserve the excess milk they were producing at the time, Benedictine monks who lived in this region invented the cheese.

Read More “Who Invented Parmesan Cheese?”
Who Invented Coca-Cola?

Who Invented Coca-Cola?

The other day I wrote about the invention of the Soda. I only put one line in my article about the creation of Coca-Cola, but being the one soda I like to drink, I thought I was going to take a quick look to learn more about it.

Who Created Coca-Cola?

As the story goes, everything started with Confederate Colonel John Pemberton in the late 19th century. Due to his combat injuries, this American Civil War veteran–who had a medical degree–became dependent on morphine, and he set out on a mission to develop an alternative.

Read More “Who Invented Coca-Cola?”
What Was The First Soda?

What Was The First Soda?

I was recently reading that the World Health Organisation has decided that aspartame was possibly carcinogenic, which was surprising–the timing, not the news, as I heard about that years ago.

To make it relatable for the consumer, the news outlet explained that this softener was used in drinks like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I remembered watching a mini-doc about the history of those brands and, instead of finding it again, I stumbled onto this history of soda.

Read More “What Was The First Soda?”
The Royal Who Invented The Gingerbread Man, A Fairytale Story

The Royal Who Invented The Gingerbread Man, A Fairytale Story

 

Recently, I wrote about the history of Gingerbread. As it was not the main subject of the article, I just evoked the part played by Queen Elizabeth I in the popularisation of Gingerbread in Europe. This story deserved a bit more, especially as it led to the invention of the Gingerbread Man!

Valued by the Romans for its medicinal and culinary uses, ginger vanished from Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t until the 13th century, when Marco Polo brought ginger back from China, that it regained popularity. Over time, ginger became more accessible and affordable, transitioning from a rare spice to a common ingredient.

In the past, people enjoyed ginger-flavored treats in various forms like cookies and cakes. However, the first recorded appearance of the gingerbread man was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. So, the story of the Gingerbread Man is not only a beloved fairytale but one that brought us back to the kitchen of the royal court of England.

The Royal Invention of Gingerbread Man

Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603, loved throwing lavish royal dinners that included things like marzipan shaped like fruit, castles and birds. Her court included a skilled gingerbread maker who satisfied her sweet tooth.

Gifts played a significant role in the Elizabethan Court. It was used to show respect and gain favor, assert social status, or climb the social ladder — a way for Elizabeth I and her subjects to consolidate their allegiances and hierarchical order. And Gifts ranged from jewelry and silk stockings to fruit, confectionery, and books. In return, Queen Elizabeth often gave gifts she had received but did not interest her or goods of lesser value than what she had been given.

Queen Elizabeth I (circa 1575, source)

Among her gifts were gingerbread men. She instructed her gingerbread maker to shape them like her suitors, foreign dignitaries, and people in her court. These edibles were decorated with features and outfits, and then served to the very guests who could consume their own likenesses!

Queen Elizabeth also used gingerbread men as a way to assert power within her inner circle. By selectively distributing personalized gingerbread treats, she could confer status or withdraw favor. Receiving a gingerbread likeness from the queen was seen as a royal “stamp of approval” for both esteemed guests and suitors competing for her attention.

These edible works of art became cherished tokens, valued by those fortunate enough to receive them. However, falling out of favor with the queen had its consequences. Courtiers who lost her favor might have felt disheartened as they watched Queen Elizabeth biting off the head of their gingerbread likeness.

The Gingerbread Man Goes Beyond the Royal Court

The tradition of gingerbread men extended beyond the royal court, becoming popular tokens of affection exchanged at fairs in hopes of attracting potential partners. Legend has it that if a young woman could entice the man of her affection to consume one of these biscuits, it would spark love and possibly lead to marriage. Certain gingerbread shapes were believed to hold special meanings, with heart-shaped pieces bringing good fortune in love, and gingerbread rabbits associated with fertility.

However, not all associations with gingerbread men were positive. Superstitions arose, linking these figures with dark powers. Some believed that gingerbread men, especially in human form, possessed dangerous magical properties. Stories circulated about witches crafting gingerbread effigies resembling their enemies, causing death and destruction when eaten.

In Queen Elizabeth’s time, “gingerbread” described something fancy and elegant. But over time, the term took on a negative connotation and became a disparaging term. Gingerbread’s reputation suffered in the centuries after Queen Elizabeth I. Dutch authorities even banned the baking and consumption of molded gingerbread cookies due to fears of witchcraft and malicious intent.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Loved Christmas and the Gingerbread Cookies

The Fairytail Comeback of the Gingerbread Man

Fortunately, gingerbread enjoyed a revival thanks to the tales of the Brothers Grimm. The tradition of decorating gingerbread houses with colorful candies resurfaced, and gingerbread men became cherished symbols of the festive holiday season.

In England around 1848, Queen Victoria and her German-born husband, Prince Albert, played a significant role in popularizing gingerbread cookies. They introduced these delightful treats as part of the German Christmas traditions they adopted, along with decorating Christmas trees and enjoying the Yule log. Since then, gingerbread cookies have become closely associated with the joyous celebrations of Christmas.

I often write about Christmas it seems, you can also read about the first Christmas card. And to stay focused on food, did you know that Queen Victoria loved the apple crumble.

Who Invented Gingerbread?

Who Invented Gingerbread?

I was just at the grocery shop, buying some comfort food to be ready for a low-activity weekend, when I saw a box of gingerbread. It was not, however, the one I liked from the brand Prosper. After a quick search, I learned that the production stopped.

It’s been so long that I didn’t even realize it. Well, at least, it led me to explore the history of gingerbread out of curiosity, because now I want to make my own (will see how it turns out).

Read More “Who Invented Gingerbread?”
Who Invented the Microwave Oven? (and it was an accident!)

Who Invented the Microwave Oven? (and it was an accident!)

Hello there! It’s been awhile. As you may remember (or maybe it’s your first visit), I recently bought a house, then I spent too much time and money to make it habitable. Now, I finally live in it, and I have a new microwave oven. Weirdly, using it is less intuitive than the ones I’m used to. This led me to read the manual and to ask who could have come up with it.

Who Created the Microwave Oven?

Apparently, it was an accident. Quite a useful one, if you ask me (apparently, 90% of people in America have one!). But let’s travel back in time, to 1945.

Read More “Who Invented the Microwave Oven? (and it was an accident!)”
Who Invented Chocolate?

Who Invented Chocolate?

It’s December! Soon, it will be Christmas. For me, it’s a good excuse to eat more chocolate—because I don’t consume much of it during the rest of the year! I don’t know why. Probably some guilt connected to my weight. Anyway, this led to my article of the day as I asked myself:

Who Created Chocolate?

When we are talking about chocolate and its invention, we are not simply talking about the culture of cacao beans. Here is the definition of chocolate by the NCA (National Confectioners Association):

The cocoa “beans” that form the basis of chocolate are actually seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree, which primarily grows in tropical areas near the Equator. The seeds grow inside a pod-like fruit and are covered with a juicy white pulp. How is it made? To make chocolate, cocoa farmers crack open the pods, scoop out the seeds, ferment them and dry them. The beans are shipped to factories all over the world, where manufacturers inspect and clean them, then roast and grind them into a dense liquid called chocolate liquor. More pressing, rolling, mixing with sugar and other ingredients, and heating and cooling finally yields this delicious treat.

Read More “Who Invented Chocolate?”