Food History
11.6k voters

Famous Foods Discovered by Accident

Updated February 14, 2020 80.0k votes 11.6k voters 824.7k views16 items

List RulesVote up the accidentally discovered foods you're most glad made it to market (and to your plate).

What makes a food so tasty? You might say, a skillful chef, high-quality materials, and recipes passed down and improved upon from generation to generation. While that’s certainly true, you’d be surprised to learn that there are a great deal of foods that were found on accident. That’s right -  instead of complimenting the chef, sometimes you can just thank the universe for the twists of fate that created awesomeness in the form of these accidental foods. 

While we know it took Colonel Sanders years and 1009 rejections to create and sell the perfect fried chicken recipe, that’s not always the case. Who would have thought that cheese curls were a waste product from a machine? Or that beer came about as an accidental food discovery while storing wheat to make bread?In fact, some of the world's most popular foods were discovered accidentally.

So the next time you try to make something in the kitchen and it turns out as something entirely different, remember to embrace your culinary accidents - they might wind up as the next international taste sensation.
  • 1

    Popsicles Were Frozen by Accident

    Like every other 11-year-old, Frank Epperson loved sodas. Unfortunately - or rather, fortunately - on a cold night in 1905, he left his soda-making equipment out on the porch. Morning came, and little Frank found that his mixture had frozen, capturing the stirring stick upright. When he tried to remove the ice pop using the stick, that’s when it hit him: this thing is awesome. He spent almost 20 years making the frozen treats for his friends (and later, his children) before he applied for a patent for “Pop’s sicles” in 1923. 
    Happy accident?
  • Ruth Wakefield, a lodge owner, ran out of baker's chocolate when she was supposed to bake chocolate cookies for her guests. So she went with her instinct and grabbed a bag of Nestle’s chocolate morsels, assuming that they would melt and blend with the cookie dough.

    Well, we can thank fate that she was wrong, and so the first batch of chocolate chip cookies was born. It wasn’t long before people started to come over to her Massachusetts lodge just for the cookies. Nestle embraced its involvement in the happy accident by featuring variations of Ruth’s original cookie recipe on the back of its products' bags for years.

    Happy accident?
  • 3

    Potato Chips Were Created as a Protest

    Although as many as 1.2 billion pounds of potato chips are feasted on every year, apparently we were not meant to like this savory snack. In a restaurant in 1853, chef George Crum was frustrated after a customer sent back his fried potatoes over and over again, complaining that they were soggy and too thick. So, to get back at the customer, the chef sliced the next batch of potatoes as thinly as he could, fried them, and covered them in a great deal of salt. Surprisingly, the customer loved them and spread the word about these thin, crunchy potato slices. Faced with growing demand, Chef Crum opened his own restaurant, called the Crumbs House.
    Happy accident?


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  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Ice cream was already a popular food long before the cone was used as a way to serve it. In fact, ice cream was so popular that one day, at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, a vendor ran out of dishes to serve his ice cream. Hamwri, a Syrian who sold a waffle-like crispy pastry in the next stall, quickly rolled up his product and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The customers preferred the crunchy waffle to bowls, and in 1910, Hamwri founded his own cone company.
    Happy accident?