Weird History
165 voters

Food History Facts That Sound Made Up, But Aren't

October 27, 2020 1.3k votes 165 voters 7.8k views16 items

List RulesVote up the most bizarre historical stories about common foods.

Waffles, bagels, and bacon sounds like an awesome breakfast - but did you know that 17th-century Polish women got bagels as birthing gifts, the ancient Greeks had waffle irons, and Neil Armstrong ate bacon on the moon? These bizarre food history facts will make you think twice before reaching for a chocolate bar or shelling out extra for lobster as a treat. 

Some weird food history facts sound completely fake. For example, ketchup used to contain fish and mushrooms. Or medieval bakers used bird claws to carry their chicken pot pies. And while you might know something about astronaut food (we all remember the dehydrated ice cream sandwich from that one field trip, right?), you probably don't know the first meal man ate on the moon. On our journey through the most bizarre food facts in history, you'll also learn what an "Epsicle" is and how the ancient Romans fattened up their chickens.

Vote up the most interesting food facts that sound too bizarre to be true.

  • Today, we think of ketchup as a red sauce made from tomatoes. But originally, ketchup was a fish sauce.

    The name and the food came from China, where it was called ke-tsiap. In Asian cuisine, the pickled fish sauce seasoned food. In the 17th century, European sailors imported "kechap," adding in ingredients like mushrooms and anchovies. 

    In the American colonies, ketchup was a mushroom sauce. It wasn't until the 19th century that tomatoes first appeared in the condiment. And that's why even today the popular condiment uses the name "tomato ketchup."

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    • Carrots weren't always orange. In fact, wild carrots only came in white, yellow, or purple until a few centuries ago. 

      When people began cultivating the carrot in Eurasia, it looked very different from today's crunchy vegetables. Ancient Greeks talked about carrots and parsnips interchangeably. People in Central Asia began domesticating purple and yellow carrots around 900 AD. Orange carrots are actually a mutation that farmers cultivated for its sweeter taste. 

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      • Bagels have a long history. They date back to at least the 14th century, when German immigrants brought their "feast day bread" to Poland, where it evolved into the bagel.

        Poland's Queen Jadwiga gave bagels a huge boost when she made them her go-to bread during Lent. 

        And then, in 1610, the city of Krakow in Poland passed a new law: Bagels should be given to new mothers as a gift. That's because 17th-century bagel lovers believed the tasty food symbolized a long, healthy life. Pregnant women treated bagels like a childbirth lucky charm.

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          Popsicles, Invented By Frank Epperson, Were Originally Called ‘Epsicles’

          There's nothing like an Epsicle on a hot day - at least according to Frank Epperson, the 11-year-old who invented the first version of a Popsicle.

          Frank came up with the invention by accident. Back in 1905, he left a cup of soda outside overnight. The next morning, Frank found that the stirring stick had frozen in the soda. The young inventor decided he'd created something like a tasty icicle, which he named an Epsicle. 

          The name evolved when Frank became a father and his kids started calling the treat "Pop's 'sicle." The new name - Popsicle - took off, and the rest is history.

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