Eggs Benedict and More: How These Popular Dishes Got Their Names

So...who is General Tso? Find out where these famous dishes got their names!


Haven’t you ever wondered, in the midst of digging into your General Tso’s chicken, who General Tso even is? Or why your eggs Benedict is called exactly that? Here are some popular dishes with out-of-the-ordinary names—their origins are just as interesting as the dishes themselves! 


General Tso’s Chicken

Crispy chicken covered in a both sweet and savory sauce? It’s no wonder that both kids and adults love this dish! Taiwanese Chef C.K. Peng first created this dish back in the 1950’s and decided to name it after a well-known military hero who grew up in the same town as he did.  The military hero’s name was—you guessed it! General Tso. 



Eggs Benedict

 According to a New Yorker article, this well-loved breakfast dish was named after a hungover Wall Street broker named Lemuel Benedict. Benedict walked into the Waldorf Astoria in New York one morning and asked for toast, bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce all together. The hotel’s chef loved the combination so much that he ended up placing the dish on their menu. 



Devil’s Food Cake

This dark, dense, chocolate-laden cake was named to contrast the light, white, and fluffy angel food cake. That, or it could simply be the fact that it is such a sinfully delicious dessert! 



Food for the Gods

The name of this moist and chewy bar originated from the use of upscale ingredients in making it. Another theory of its origin comes from Greek mythology, where the gods ate a honey-laced dessert that would keep them immortal. 


Salisbury Steak

In the late 1800s, physician Dr. James H. Salisbury put together a dish that he believed to be beneficial to his patients’ digestive systems.  Funnily enough, he erroneously believed that vegetables would cause illness! Consequently, he made sure that the nature of his dish was protein-heavy.  




These delicate sponge cakes are shaped like fingers, hence its name! These cakes first came around in France back in the 11th century. In Italy, these are called savoiardi are popularly used in making tiramisu. In the Philippines, it is called broas, and Pinoys love to snack on them! 


Reuben Sandwich

According to the NY Times, the Reuben sandwich was named Reuben Kulakofsky, asked for a sandwich with corned beef and sauerkraut, while playing poker at Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska.


Bernard Schimmel who worked at Blackstone Hotel "drained the sauerkraut and mixed it with Thousand Island dressing. He layered that with homemade corned beef and Swiss cheese on dark rye bread and grilled it. His typewritten notes call for the sandwich to be served with a sliced kosher dill pickle, a rose radish and potato chips. The sandwich was a hit."




Bloody Mary

Famously believed to combat the dreaded hangover after a heavy night of drinking, a Bloody Mary makes an ideal brunch drink for many people. The history of the cocktail’s name appear to be murky but many believe it was inspired by Mary Tudor, and English queen who infamously executed a great number of Protestants in the 1950’s—the red color of the tomato juice in the cocktail is representative of all that spilled blood. 



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