Monday, August 14, 2006

Famous food, famous people

While looking up some thing else on Wikipedia recently, I came across this list of foods named after people. Some of the more interesting entries:

  • Fettuccine Alfredo – Alfredo di Lelio, an early-20th century Italian chef who invented the dish for his wife in 1914–1920 at his Roman restaurant. The dish became famous in part because Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks touted it after their 1927 visit to Rome. The authentic Alfredo recipe contains only several butters, no cream sauce.

  • Anna potatoes – the casserole of sliced potatoes cooked in butter was created and named by French chef Adolf Dugléré for the well-known 19th-century courtesan/actress Anna Deslions, who frequented Dugléré's Café Anglais. "Potatoes Annette" is a version of Potatoes Anna, with the potatoes julienned instead of in rounds.

  • Eggs Benedict – at least two main accounts. Lemuel Benedict, a New York stockbroker, claimed to have gone to the Waldorf Hotel for breakfast one day in 1894 while suffering a hangover. He asked for a restorative in the form of toast, bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce on the side. The famous maître d' Oscar of the Waldorf took an interest in Benedict's order, and adapted it for the Waldorf menu, substituting English muffins and ham, adding truffles, and naming it after Benedict. The other version: in 1893, Charles Ranhofer, head chef of Delmonico's, created the dish for Mr. and/or Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, New York stockbroker and socialite.

  • Hass avocado – in the 1920's, California postal worker Rudolph Hass set out to grow a number of Lyon avocado trees in his backyard. One of the seedlings he bought was a chance variant which produced fruit, his children apparently noticed as unique. Hass patented the variety in 1935, and it now makes up about 75% of U.S. avocado production.

  • Tootsie Rolls – Clara "Tootsie" Hirshfield, the small daughter of Leo Hirshfield, developer of the first paper-wrapped penny candy, in New York, 1896.