35 Foods That Were Invented Accidentally, And We Are Sure Glad They Were
Disasters and accidents aren’t cool, and usually, neither are their consequences. Sometimes though, you can discover something fantastic after what you thought was a kitchen disaster. Not the ones where the whole kitchen is on fire, no. We’re talking about the more positive ones, where we accidentally and unexpectedly end up creating the recipes of a lifetime! Yes, accidental recipes are a thing and have been a thing for thousands of years. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have all those kooky bakery goodies, cereals, or our favorite junk snacks that our lives practically depend on. Not all heroes wear capes. These heroes include all those “chefs” who mistakenly left the soda water out on a freezing night, felt like eating animal food, or even added an insane amount of pepper in the breakfast for revenge! Their “behind the scenes” are as interesting as they are hilarious, so let’s go enjoy the history behind some of our favorite snacks and drinks.
Chocolate chip cookies
We believe this to be the best result of all the kitchen experiments in history. Let’s address our hearty thanks to the quick thinker, dear Ruth Wakefield, who decided to add little chunks of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bars in cookies!
Well, behind the scenes, while guests were waiting for a dessert in the living room, this dearie was all in the cookie dough until she realized she was out of chocolate powder. The replacement choco-chunks added in the cookies didn’t melt as she thought, but now we have choco-chip cookies!
Grab a cup of coffee for yourself right away courtesy of Kaldi, the goat herder from Ethiopia, the legend who is the reason you can keep yourself awake at work at 7 in the morning! This legendary man gave you the masterpiece of coffee.
This all happened because his observation skills were acute enough to see that his herd of goats was becoming giddy and sleepless after eating cocoa beans! Soon, people like us were sipping on them too to keep ourselves awake at night. And well, we’re their coffee-addicted babies now!
Let’s tell you a fairytale with a happy ending. Once upon a time, there was a Mexican restaurant worker, Mr. Ignacio Anaya García (not a chef). He was in the kitchen minding his own business when a group of military wives came in for a little snack.
Here comes his quick thinking: with no chef around and having no idea how to cook, he randomly put up everything he could grasp, fried tortilla pieces topped with jalapenos and cheese. Well, long story short, the wives ended up loving “nacho especiales,” and later he opened his own restaurant!
This is where the accidents come in: Mr. Edward Wilson in Wisconsin was working in a factory that manufactured animal feed from corn kernels in mashed form. Cheese puffs came to life when Wilson randomly tasted this mashed corn himself.
This happening was entirely up to fate because this happened out of nowhere! The man liked the taste of the mash so much that he took a little batch, added some seasoning, and voila! He brought cheese puffs into the world all because he tasted animal feed! Decades later, it’s among our favorite snacks!
Believe it or not, this fantastic all-time summer favorite was invented by an 11-year-old kid named Fran Epperson! Sure, it may have come into being by accident, but then again, little accidents like these save the day! Summery hot sun and ice popsicles: name us a better duo. We’ll wait.
This child was doing an “experiment” where he mixed water and soda with a wooden stirrer. Accidentally leaving it out on the porch overnight led to what we know as popsicles. He began to sell his greatest invention in his neighborhood soon after!
It’s a mystery how this classically mispronounced sauce was made. Regardless, this sauce is one of the most used in cooking. Why is the recipe a secret? Well, because the chemists who produced it did not feel like revealing it.
Chemists John Wheeler Lea and William Perrins were working on making a sauce for the Governor of Bengal based on an Asian recipe. Well, these two primarily couldn’t figure out the weird taste of the first two batches. Frustrated, they put it away. Later, it aged like fine wine!
Leave it to Italians to develop a subtle yet groundbreaking food invention. Nutella is one of the most used and, not to mention, most loved, spreads around the globe. But there is a story behind it. A short experiment done under pressure and limited resources led to this delicious snack.
When the Second World War was raging in the 1940s, an Italian Megamind Pietro Ferrero was initially trying to create an alternative for chocolate when the food supply was shortened. He experimentally mixed hazelnuts, sugar, and just a pinch of cocoa that he was left with, and ta-da!
Well, legend says that two different roads led to one single highway towards the invention of brownies! A US citizen, Fanny Farmer, decided to bake her chocolate cookie dough in a rectangular pan. That’s all it took for brownies to come into being.
And the second story, as it goes, started when a clumsy chef accidentally spilled melted chocolate into the dough, and the accidental spill was a little intentional. But hey, if it weren’t for them, we probably would still be lingering on one recipe of chocolate brownie goodness.
The story behind our beloved potato chips started in 1853 when annoyed customers annoyed the chef, George Crum. The potato chips were basically the result of the annoyance towards haughty lady patrons of the 19th century. They were literally invented out of spite! Love it.
Mr. Crum had been receiving complaints about his fries from the customers that they were “thick and soggy,” so he cut the next batch of potatoes so thinly sliced and overcooked them in frustration. But, low and behold, his new invention of chips, rooted in frustration, became a hit!
Now this one’s hilarious, we tell you. The food invention and the origination of its name both have a history to be remembered. So let us tell you what happened behind the scenes of this Mexican-American food invention because it is one story that needs to be said!
From Sonora, Mexico, Monica Flin had a family restaurant business going in El Charro café back in 1922. While making a burrito, she accidentally flipped it into a deep fryer, and this glorious food was invented. The lady tried not to swear in front of her nieces during the kitchen disaster, so she yelled, “chimichangas!”
This is the invention that segregated pizza lovers. Well, just like we don’t take Hawaiian pizza lovers seriously, Hawaiian pizza makers didn’t take it seriously either! News flash! It’s all fun and games, well, until a relationship is broken off based on this sole opinion.
The inventors of this pizza were only fooling around in their restaurant, throwing different ingredients on the pizza for the toppings when one of them, Sam Panopolous, added ham and pineapple. They surely didn’t realize that moment would be a community divider!
Our special thanks for this invention goes to the merchants and travelers moving from Asia to Europe who accidentally made cheese for us. It all goes back 4,000 years when they used sheep and other animals’ stomach pouches to keep their food items safe and edible during long trips.
The story has changed over time, but the legend says that over 4,000 years ago, an Arabian merchant had milk in his sheep’s pouch while traveling. Due to enzymes in the bag and intense heat, it cured the cheese. It was enjoyed back then just as much as it is now.
Sure, drinking and cooking at the same time are dangerous, but let’s agree this one time that this inebriated German in St. Louis brought some serious love into our lives. He got toasted and made us toasted ravioli. Because if it wasn’t for him, who would’ve thrown freshly cooked ravioli in the fryer?
This fantastic food invention came into being when a German cook drank too much wine at work. He even took the accidental invention to the customers’ table. And guess what? They loved it! Well, duh, of course, they did, especially when topped with parmesan!
Another summer special! But for most of you, it won’t remain as special and mouth-watering as before once you hear about its origins. We’ve always had our suspicions and curiosities about what made pink lemonade pink, and we now know that it’s not pink lemons…
It began at a circus in 1857 when a lemonade seller, Pete Conklin, ran out of water for the lemonade. That sneaky man grabbed a tub of water in which a performer had previously washed their pink tights and sold the pink-colored lemonade as “strawberry lemonade.” So there’s that.
Apple pie gone wrong? More like evolved! The birth of the great ever-loved tarte Tatin took place at a hotel near Paris, France. Two sisters ran this small family hotel. This kitchen mishap happened during a traditional holiday where their famous apple pie was to be served.
But things took quite a turn when one of the sisters, Stephanie Tatin, overcooked the apples in butter and sugar because she was exhausted from the day’s work. To cover the smell of burning apples, she covered it with a pastry base and threw it in the oven to bake. It was served and loved!
The behind-the-scenes of this story are significant proof that necessity is the mother of invention. If it weren’t for Ernest A. Hamwi, we wouldn’t have gotten this magnificent crunchy bonus with ice cream. During the St. Louis Fair in 1904, one seller helped the other.
This story restores our faith in humanity. Hamwi was a waffle pastry seller in a booth at the fair. In the stall next to him was an ice-cream seller who ran out of little ice cream containers. Hamwi’s quick thinking saved the guy’s day when he rolled his fresh hot waffle in a cone shape to put scoops on top.
John Pemberton intended Coca-Cola to be medicine when he invented it back in 1885. Although its entire original recipe has been kept a secret all this time, it is no secret that coca-cola contained the illicit substance cocaine and caffeine.
Marketed as a “medicinal brain tonic and intellectual beverage,” Pemberton revealed that the beverage had the drug extracted from the coca leaf and caffeine from kola nuts (hence the name Coca-Cola was originated). Later, people started enjoying the taste without the coca leaf.
Who knew a thing as simple as a sandwich needed to be invented? We believed that a sandwich was an already known thing. No chemistry or accidents are required to make such an easy-peasy thing, right? But there is a whole background story of the sandwich.
John Montagu was a passionate gambler in 1762 who was also apparently lazy. We say this because he asked his cook to make him something to eat so he doesn’t have to leave the game (kinda like modern times when we’re watching Netflix). The gambler was served beef between toasted bread.
Granny smith apples
Granny Smith apples are the most popular cooking apples. Apple pies, apple tart, apple jam, you name it – they almost always call for our favorite sour apples. Interestingly, these weren’t nature’s first choice; they grew out of rotten ones.
Yes, it’s true, and there is a story behind it as well. As the legend says, Maria Ann Smith arrived in Australia in the 1830s. She had bought too many French Crabapples that they went bad before finishing the stock. Tossed by the creek, a new colored apple grew on trees from those rotten apples’ seeds.
Drink a Slurpee and notice the sound it makes. It’s like “sluurrrpp,” right? Yes, that’s where our summery favorite got its quirky name from. And it was also made by accident, believe it or not. No one put the soda in the freezer on purpose; it was an accident followed by breaking the soda fountain!
Omar Knedlik, an old Dairy Queen owner, cooled the soda bottles in the freezer after his soda fountain broke. Customers actually loved the slushy drink that resulted! Later, a machine for slushes was made, and stores were convinced to sell Slurpee as a new item.
Yogurt was an invention made 8,000 years ago by who else but herdsmen! That’s awesome, isn’t it? Because who would’ve thought of storing goat’s milk in a container made out of some other animal’s stomachs? Not us, to be honest. But we have plastic and factories and such, so there’s that.
When the milk was stored in that container (clay containers weren’t easy to carry around), the thought behind it was that the substance would curdle through fermentation of good bacteria and add this tart flavor to it and preserve it. Those herdsmen were modern times’ biotech engineers.
Two thousand years ago, this clumsy cook in China accidentally mixed soybean sauce and a natural coagulant, nigari, which led to the making of the first batch of tofu! Little did the cook know that in the 20th century, his accidental recipe would be one of the most eaten vegetarian food items worldwide!
Tofu, or bean curd, is a food item that is majorly enjoyed by people who are vegans or simply prefer plant-based meals. Where are our vegans? They’d tell you how important and popular tofu is among their community. Even in US kitchens, tofu is a loved staple!
Henri Charpentier, the inventor of the crepes Suzette, claimed that he accidentally invented them in 1895 at age 14! Also, the legends say that he was a personal server for the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). The kitchen disaster which led to the fantastic invention is worth listening to.
Henri was working in front of a chafing dish when the cordials accidentally caught on fire, setting the crepes ablaze. The Prince enjoyed it so much that he even requested it be named after Suzette, the lady present at the dinner table.
Cheese gone blue? Well, that’s how we got our beloved blue cheese! Literally! And it was not done on purpose. The cheese was simply forgotten and found again. The history is one heck of a ride, and we assure you, you won’t see it coming.
In the 7th century, a French shepherd, who apparently was very absentminded, forgot his lunch in a cave. When he returned to his cave a few months later, he found the cheese blue! Now, as we know, penicillium was growing there (it was moldy). Now we intentionally make moldy cheese.
Nashville hot chicken
Revenge is a great motivation, right? It is a dish served cold, but not in the case of the invention of Nashville hot chicken. Thornton Prince III’s girlfriend acted on her revengeful tactics and served us with a fiery meal that is beloved to this day!
Prince’s late-night adventure with other women led the girlfriend to add an insane amount of pepper and spices to his breakfast of fried chicken breast. But to her surprise, the Prince loved it so much that in the 1930s, he opened his own BBQ Chicken Shack cafe, serving this hot chicken recipe.
For those who are still confused about buffaloes having wings, they don’t. Buffalo is a place in New York, and the chicken wings sold there are called Buffalo wings. Whoever named it should have looked into other, more creative possibilities. But we digress.
But then again, who cares what they are called, as long as they are good? Teresa Bellismo accidentally got a shipment of chicken wings instead of necks. She didn’t care; she went on, fried them and dipped them in her signature sauce. The Anchor Bay is still famous for them to this day!
The look-back to the invention of chewing gum is quite interesting. A rubbery substance called chicle was extracted from sapodilla trees in Mexico and Central America. But nobody knew what it could be used for. It was just an extraction from a tree nobody cared about.
Later, Thomas Adams Sr. and an exiled Mexican president got together and dealt in a huge batch of his sapodilla tree extraction. Mr. Adams tried to make some industrial substance out of this rubbery thing, but soon he noticed that the rubber turned into gum after boiling. Cut it into pieces, and voila!
The history and the backstory of the invention of this globally eaten and loved cereal is quite the opposite of what these subtle sweet flakes make us feel when we eat them. There was a reason why the Kellogg brothers invented them.
Dr. John Kellogg and Will Kellogg were trying to come up with recipes that would stop people from enjoying physical pleasures, something bland – with no meat and seasonings. They accidentally boiled wheat for too long, and they got flakes. And then they simply toasted them.
You know the saying, accidents happen on purpose? Well, this story makes this saying feel true. This food invention came about because the inventor forgot to wash his hands after work! Like, how many of you believe that this is not an accident on purpose? Or maybe it’s fate?
We don’t know what it was, but in 1879 a German chemist, Mr. Constantin Fahlberg, certainly did when he smelled his unwashed hands upon returning home and noticed a sweet smell and taste on his palms! Connecting to over-boiled chemicals, he tested the chemical compound, Saccharin.
“Raise-n” your hands if you didn’t know that Mediterranean people used raisins as décor in 2,000 BC. We didn’t. News flash for us. So it means that it took another 1,000 years for people to put their décor items in their mouths and see if it was edible?
It seems so weird if we picture them eating their knickknacks. But at least someone was weird AND smart enough to test it. What a breakthrough they must have felt when they found out grapes could be eaten in dried form, as well as cultivated for winemaking.
As far as we know, this pudding originated in some English town called Bakewell (we’re mini Sherlocks, yes). Another thing about this accidental kitchen mishap is that in 1820, a lady called Mrs. Greaves, who was a cook at White Horse Inn, misunderstood the recipe.
That confusion led her to create this magnificent dessert recipe. It took place when the lady ended up spreading the egg and almond on the top of the jam instead of stirring it in the pastry. The baked concoction is set like egg custard and is loved everywhere!
The name describes the backstory of this accident all by itself. It wasn’t a tidy accident, but the result was pretty yummy, so who cares about the name, right? You know what they say, “Everything happens for a reason,” well, this food invention’s history certainly fulfills the saying to the core!
During a cricket match between Eton college (hence, the name) and Harrow School in England in 1893, the servers dropped meringue and cream pudding with berries on the floor. Instead of throwing it away, the 5-second rule was applied, and it was scooped off the floor in a mess, but the results were good.
Many claimed to be doing it for years, but some little birdies told us that the cheeseburger first appeared in 1926. This guy named Lionel Sternberger, a mere 16-year-old kid, randomly added a slice of American cheese on the top of a burger. It tasted delicious (of course).
He worked part-time at his father’s sandwich shop. Due to his little experiment and the ending results, his fame sky-rocketed after he added this new item to their restaurant’s menu. No wonder cheeseburgers are the most eaten fast food in the world.
The story behind tea’s invention (or discovery) is incredible, almost unbelievable. Feels like a fairytale where wind talks to humans and birds do their chores. The same happened in this story, where the wind blew leaves from a wild tree in the pot of boiling water.
The tale began in Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s garden when he was drinking hot water. The wind dropped some leaves in it. The magnificent scent and the amazing taste of the leaves in hot water mesmerized him and soothed his body all over. He called it ‘ch’a,’ which means to check.
Dippin’ Dots reminds us of the zoo and movie theaters. We were gifted this fun treat in 1988 by a man named Curt Jones. He was a microbiologist looking to feed his cows more efficiently. Using nitrogen, he would flash freeze the feed.
It froze the drops of liquid cow food instantly. Jones realized what he had on his hands. He must have been our kind of guy, because he immediately thought that you could do the same to ice cream. How right he was!