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17 Food Word Origin Stories That Will Make You Hungry

Why do they call it a hot dog, anyway?

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2. Deviled Eggs


No, they're not evil eggs, silly! Deviling food means "to chop food finely and mix with hot seasoning or sauce, usually after cooking." Although stuffed eggs first appeared in Italian cookbooks in the 15th century, the term "deviled eggs" was first used in 1786 in Great Britain.

4. Hoagies


Hoagies are DELICIOUS, and there are several alleged origin stories for the popular East Coast staple. One of these theories is that, in the 1920s, Italian immigrant workers nicknamed "hoggies" brought big sandwiches with cold cuts on baked rolls to eat for lunch while working at the Philadelphia Navy Yard (once known as "Hog Island"). And over time, "hoggies" eventually became "hoagies."

5. Bundt Cakes


The Bundt cake is named after "Bundt" -- a brand name of pans made in 1950 by H. David Dalquist. As the story goes, members of the Minneapolis Hadassah Society needed a modern pan that could handle a popular German/Austrian coffeecake called "bundkuchen." At their request, Dalquist conceived of an aluminum pan and named it after the cake by adding a T after "bund." (Ugh, cake sounds so good right now.)

6. Granny Smith Apples


Yes, Granny Smith was a real person. Her name was Maria Ann Sherwood Smith, and in 1868 she found a weird new apple growing in her orchard. Turns out it wasn't just some ugly mutation like she thought at first -- it was actually tasty! Tragically, she died just two years later, and thus the "Granny Smith" apple was born.

8. Shepherd's Pie


When potatoes were first introduced to the U.K., peasants ate them up like, well, potatoes. They also lived in cottages and frequently used those potatoes to cook "cottage pies." Shepherd's pie is the same thing as a cottage pie (minced meat, vegetables, and a potato crust) except it contains lamb. Get it? Do you get it? It's because shepherds work with lamb and that's what's in the pie!

9. Pastrami


Pastrami is the king of the deli meats. If you disagree, you are wrong. Sorry. Anyway, its name has several origins, including Yiddish ("pastrame"), Rumanian ("pastrama"), and Turkish ("pastrima"). The English spelling with "-mi" may have been influenced by "salami." Salami has always been such a cultural influencer.

10. Waffles


The word itself comes from the Dutch word "wafel," which comes from the Germanic word meaning "honeycomb." The treats arrived in the U.S. when the Pilgrims came, having sampled them in Holland. Sure glad they stopped to take a bite, aren't ya?

11. Doughnuts


Once called "olykoeks" (Dutch for "oily cakes"), doughnuts got their name in the mid-19th century by a New England ship captain's mother named Elizabeth Gregory. In frying up olykoeks for her son's long voyages at sea, she put hazelnuts or walnuts in their centers, "where the dough might not cook through." Can you guess why she then called them "doughnuts"? Good guess!

12. Coconuts


Spanish explorers dubbed coconuts "coco," meaning "monkey face," because, well, they thought they looked like little monkey faces. And the scientific name for coconuts is "cocos nucifera," the latter word meaning "nut-bearing." Put them together, and baby, you've got coconuts!

13. Cake

Courtesy of Red Robin

MORE CAKE WORDS!!! Doesn't it just make you want cake? Well, you can thank 13th-century Nordic folks, who originally coined it "kaka." So catchy. The cake that we know and love today first became sweetened in the 15th century and didn't get icing until the 1760s!

14. Pizza


Although food similar to pizza goes back to the ancient Middle East, the pizza we know and love was created by Raffaele Esposito in Naples, Italy, in the 1800s. The first pizzeria in America was opened in 1905 by Gennuardo Lombardi in New York City. But pizza actually didn't catch on until around WWII when American soldiers tasted pizza in occupied Italian territory. As for the word itself, its origin is unknown, but is Italian for "pie." And that, folks, is "amore." Just kiddin'!

15. Hamburgers

Courtesy of Red Robin

AMERICA, BABY!! It's believed that the word for our favorite meal comes from "Hamburg steak" (named after Hamburg, Germany) around 1880. In 1939 it earned the nickname "burger" and interestingly, in 1940, there was an attempt to rename it "beefburger" to more accurately reflect the main ingredient.

16. Hot Dogs


Although the meat itself has its origins in Germany and Vienna ("wiener" comes from "Wien," which is how Vienna is pronounced in German), the term "hot dog" first appeared in the 1890s. Originally called "dachshund sausages" because of the striking resemblance to the small dog, "hot dog" became a sort of "sarcastic comment on the provenance of the meat."

17. Sandwiches


As the story goes, John Mantagu (the fourth Earl of Sandwich) loved gambling. In fact, he loved it so much that in 1762 he went on a 24-hour gambling streak. At his request of not wanting to be inconvenienced by eating (what a pain!), he was given meat laid between two pieces of toast. And thus, the sandwich was born. Sadly, the cook responsible for conceiving this culinary classic was never credited.

Now you can be part of food history by naming the Finest Chicken Burger at Red Robin! Get out there and #NameThatChicken!