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10 Town Names That Will Make You Hungry

Earlier this year, Ranker.com assembled a list of food-centric town names. It made us hungry. Here's how some of those places got those delicious monikers.

1. Hot Coffee, MS

Image credit: Flickr user jimmywayne

In the early 1800s, travelers on their way to Mobile often stopped at an inn in southern Mississippi, where owner Levi Davis greeted them with ginger cookies and a pot of piping hot coffee. The inn took on the name of its signature beverage, and eventually so did the surrounding area. Today, it’s not really a town so much as a scattering of farms, homes and businesses along Hot Coffee Road.

2. Two Egg, FL

This little burg got its name during the Great Depression. The story goes that in the town’s general store, two lads often came in on errands for their mom, regularly trading two eggs for a package of sugar. Locals began referring to the place as the “two egg store,” and the name stuck for the town as well. Strange fact: On the town’s website, there is news about recent sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature called the Two Egg Stump Jumper.

3. Cookietown, OK

This place supposedly got its name in the early 1900s, after general store owner Marvin Cornelius gave a cookie to a young boy, who exclaimed, “I don’t want to leave Cookietown.” Despite its yummy name, Cookietown is more of a ghost town today – just a few residents and a church.

4. Chicken, AK

In the late 1800s, gold prospectors who were mining near the south fork of 40-mile River found a tasty supply of victuals courtesy of the Ptarmigan, a game bird that resembles a sleek chicken. In 1902, the region was incorporated into a town called Ptarmigan. The only problem was, nobody could agree on how to spell the name. So they simplified it. Today, Chicken (pop. 17) offers tourists the opportunity to do some free gold panning along Chicken Creek. The Ptarmigan became the State Bird in 1955.

5. Rabbit Hash, KY

According to popular legend, a flood in the 1840s drove hundreds of rabbits from the riverbank, and right into the stew pots of hungry settlers. Described by the general store clerk as “a little slice of American pie,” Rabbit Hash consists of “eight buildings and an official population of one.” Strange fact: The current mayor of Rabbit Hash is Lucy Lou, a Border Collie.

6. Tortilla Flat, AZ

Back in the late 1800s, this area was a stop for cattle drivers. While on a drive from Phoenix to Tonto Basin, a man named Cline and his fellow cowboys had a bit too much to drink and forgot to stock up on supplies. Camped at the flat with only a bag of flour, all they could make to eat was tortillas. Today, this humble town has a museum, a country store, a post office and a population of 6.

7. Pie Town, NM

Image credit: Joe Berkovitz

In the 1920s, Clyde Norman, a World War I vet with a thing for baking, started a business in a rocky region of western New Mexico, making dried apple pies. Word got around among cattle drivers, and they nicknamed Norman’s place “Pie Town.” Today, it’s a town of approximately 50. At the center is the Pie Town Café, which serves over fifteen varieties of tasty home made pie.

8. Ding Dong, TX

In the early 1930s, uncle and nephew Zulis and Bert Bell ran a country store near the Lampasas River. They hired a local artist to paint them a sign, and he put their names inside two bells alongside the words “Ding Dong.” The small community that grew around the store took on the name. All that’s left of the town today is a bit of stray signage. Strange fact: Ding Dong was in Bell County (the county was named for Governor Peter Bell).

9. Oatmeal, TX

The town’s name is related to the German farmers who settled there in the 1840s. One version has it coming from a gristmill owner named Mr. Othneil. The other from a family named Habermill (Haber is a German dialect word for hafer, or oats). Today, the small town’s big event is their annual Oatmeal Festival.

10. Spuds, FL

St. John’s County is the leading producer of potatoes in Florida, as this little hamlet’s (est. 1911) name reflects. Though some signage remains, Spuds has pretty much been swallowed up by its larger neighbor, Hastings. A temporary camp for German prisoners of war was reportedly built in Spuds during World War II. The prisoners were put to work harvesting potatoes.

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Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California
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The Concept of the American 'Backyard' is Newer Than You Think
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California

Backyards are as American as apple pie and baseball. If you live in a suburban or rural area, chances are good that you have a lawn, and maybe a pool, some patio furniture, and a grill to boot.

This wasn’t always the case, though. As Smithsonian Insider reports, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans began to consider the backyard an extension of the home, as well as a space for recreation and relaxation. After World War II, Americans started leaving the big cities and moving to suburban homes that came equipped with private backyards. Then, after the 40-hour work week was implemented and wages started to increase, families started spending more money on patios, pools, and well-kept lawns, which became a “symbol of prosperity” in the 1950s, according to a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

A man mows his lawn in the 1950s
In this photo from the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit, a man mows his lawn in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington
Library in San Marino, California

Entitled "Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard," the exhibition includes photographs, advertisements, and articles about backyards from the 1950s and 1960s. The traveling display is currently on view at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas, and from there it will head to Hartford, Connecticut, in December.

Prior to the 1950s, outdoor yards were primarily workspaces, MLive.com reports. Some families may have had a vegetable garden, but most yards were used to store tools, livestock, and other basic necessities.

The rise of the backyard was largely fueled by materials that were already on hand, but hadn’t been accessible to the average American during World War II. As Smithsonian Insider notes, companies that had manufactured aluminum and concrete for wartime efforts later switched to swimming pools, patio furniture, and even grilling utensils.

A family eats at a picnic table in the 1960s
A family in Mendham, New Jersey, in the 1960s
Molly Adams/Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection

At the same time, DIY projects started to come into fashion. According to an exhibit caption of a Popular Mechanics article from the 1950s, “‘Doing-it-yourself’ was advertised as an enjoyable and affordable way for families to individualize their suburban homes.” The magazine wrote at the time that “patios, eating areas, places for play and relaxation are transforming back yards throughout the nation.”

The American backyard continues to grow to this day. As Bloomberg notes, data shows that the average backyard grew three years in a row, from 2015 to 2017. The average home last year had 7048 square feet of outdoor space—plenty of room for a sizable Memorial Day cookout.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]

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