Let’s face it — very few people hit the bull’s-eye the first time around. In fact, some miss the board entirely. This isn’t always a bad thing, however. In fact, sometimes it’s great! Let’s take a look at my favorite edible discoveries that were never supposed to be.
5) Corn Flakes. The year is 1894. American doctor John Harvey Kellogg is the overseer of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, in Battle Creek, Michigan. He and his brother Will Keith Kellogg accidentally leave some boiled wheat sitting unattended. When they come back to it, they see it has become stale. Hoping to find another use for the wheat, they feed it through a rolling machine, which crushes it into flakes. The Kellogg brothers later experiment with different ingredients, most notably, corn. At the time, Granose Flakes was the name given to the creation.
Fun Fact: The Kellogg brothers wrestled over the rights to use the Kellogg name for branding/marketing purposes. William Keith Kellogg won a Supreme Court lawsuit to use the “Kellogg” name and received $225,000!
4) Doughnut. Okay, this savory delight doesn’t truly belong on my top 5 list of accidental awesomeness, but I do enjoy the myth behind the making. No one can say with absolute certainty how the doughnut came to be, but if you’re a member of the Gregory family in Rockport, Maine, you’ll stand unwavering on the truth of the matter. Hanson Gregory was a 16-year-old sailor, ready to conquer the world. He always left home with some freshly made doughnuts, courtesy of his mother. At this time, the doughnuts were made without holes. One day he was eating a doughnut while navigating a ship, when the winds grew terribly fierce. A quick thinker, Hanson jabbed the doughnut through the wheel of the ship in order to steer with both hands, thus creating the modern-day doughnut.
Fun Fact: Germans, European Jews, and Arabs had been cooking treats with the classic “doughnut hole” shape long before the doughnut was mass-produced in 1889!
3) Potato Chip. An all-American favorite, the classic potato chip was never supposed to reach the level of stardom it has today. Back in 1853, in Saratoga Springs, New York, there lived a hard-working chef by the name of George Crum. Mr. Crum worked at Moon’s Lake House, where quality was everything. One fine evening, a customer complained about the French fries, saying they were much too thick. George took them back and returned shortly thereafter with a thinner batch of French fries. Still, the customer was not content. Irritated, Mr. Crum took them back and sliced a potato so thinly that it could not be pierced with a fork. Deep-fried and heavily salted, the customer loved it! The modern-day potato chip was born.
Fun Fact: Americans consume an estimated 12 million pounds of potato chips on Super Bowl Sunday!
2) Chocolate Chip Cookie – An undeniably popular treat, the chocolate chip cookie lands the number two spot on my list. Mrs. Ruth Graves Wakefield was the co-owner of the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts. She was the sole baker for the residents. One day she was preparing to bake a batch of cookies, when she realized she was out of baker’s chocolate. She decided she would try to mix in bits of a Nestlé chocolate bar instead. To her surprise, the chocolate didn’t melt like baker’s chocolate. Mrs. Wakefield coined the name “Toll House Crunch Cookies” and they were a huge hit!
Fun Fact: Mrs. Wakefield’s recipe was printed on each package of Nestle Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels. In return, Nestle agreed to give her free chocolate for life!
1) Coca-Cola. Weighing in at number one on my list of marvelous mishaps is Coca-Cola, arguably the most popular soft drink ever sold. However, this fizzy drink wasn’t created in a factory. It was made in a pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1886, Dr. John Stith Pemberton mixed the concoction in hopes to create a cure for headaches. Though it didn’t cure headaches, it tasted great, so Mr. Pemberton kept making it. Frank Robinson, his bookkeeper, suggested the name Coca-Cola, given for its two “healing” ingredients: extracts of cocoa leaves and kola nuts.
Fun Fact: There is a Coca-Cola Collectors Club, representing over 5,000 members in 28 countries!
I hope you enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at some of my favorite culinary coincidences. There are many more out there, and many that have yet to be discovered. Who knows, maybe you will stumble upon the next big thing in your kitchen!
the editors of Publications International, Ltd. – How Stuff Works (Science) http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/9-things-invented-or-discovered-by-accident.htm#page=1
Emily Smith – CNN
Cherri Megasko – Yahoo! News Contributor
David Monagan, Forbes
nexus126 – University of Florida, Interactive Media Lab
Tracy V. Wilson – How Stuff Works (Money)