20 Foods You Might Not Know Were Named After Places

iStock.com/FotografiaBasica
iStock.com/FotografiaBasica

Back in the days before supermarkets and microwaves, foods were frequently named for the places they were grown, manufactured, or produced. While most people know that European wines and cheeses are often named for their place of origin, here are a number of other less-expected foods that can also be traced back to a spot on the map.

1. LIMA BEANS

From the capital of Peru, wouldn't you know.

2. FIG NEWTON

Nope, they’re not named after Sir Isaac. The cookies were originally named for Newton, Massachusetts, not far from the town of Cambridge where they were originally produced in the 1890s. The Kennedy Biscuit Company named many of their products after surrounding towns, including cookies and crackers called Shrewsbusy, Harvard, and Beacon Hill, which were apparently less popular.

3. MONTEREY JACK 

Monterey Jack was first made in Monterey, California, by the dairyman and reportedly brutal landlord David Jack. Other cheeses named for places include Colby (Wisconsin); Manchego (produced in the La Mancha region of Spain); Asiago, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano (from locations in Italy); Munster, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort (sites in France); Edam and Gouda (places in the Netherlands); and Cheddar and Stilton (locations in England). 

4. VICHYSSOISE SOUP

A soup honoring Vichy, France, created by Ritz-Carlton chef Louis Diat in New York, and modeled on the potato-and-leek soups his mother made him while Diat was growing up in France.

5. PEACH

Native to China but named for Persia, where Europeans first encountered it. According to John Ayto’s Glutton’s Glossary, in Greek the fruit was called melon persikon, and in Latin malum persicum, both meaning “Persian apple.” In post-classical times the Latin term became persicum, which eventually evolved into peach.

6. MARTINI

By some accounts, the eternally chic drink was named for the Californian town of Martinez. However, others say the name relates to a New York bartender with the name. Whatever the origin, the moniker more recently relates to Italian manufacturers of vermouth Martini and Rossi. 

7. CURRANT

Originally called raysons of coraunce (with various spellings) in English, a name derived from the Old French raisins de Corinthe, or “raisins of Corinth”—as in Corinth, Greece. 

8. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

According to Ayto’s book, the 19th century in England was full of retired military men attempting to recreate the pungent sauces they’d encountered during their travels abroad. One of the few of these attempts to survive to the present was supposedly concocted by a Sir Marcus Sandys out of vinegar, molasses, garlic, shallots, tamarinds, and various spices. Sandys supposedly took it to his local grocers in Worcester, England—a shop named Lea and Perrins—who began manufacturing it commercially as Worcestershire sauce in the 1830s.

9. PHEASANT

From the Greek for "Phasian bird," a reference to the Phasis River in present-day Georgia, where the fowl were plentiful. 

10. CANTALOUPE

Said to have been first cultivated in Cantalupo, Italy, which was supposedly the site of a papal summer residence. However, this oft-repeated etymology might not be as straightforward as it seems: In Toponymity: An Atlas of Words, author John Bemelmans Marciano notes that there at least 10 towns named Cantalupo in Italy (and similarly named towns in France), none of which have ever been the site of the pope’s summer home. So the true origin of the delicious salmon-colored melon remains somewhat mysterious.

11. SARDINES

Said to have been named after the island of Sardinia, where they are plentiful in nearby waters. 

12. SATSUMA

From the former province of Kyushu, Japan, where the small, seedless orange was first grown. 

13. SCALLIONS

From “onions of Ascalon,” a former Philistine city that is now Ashkelon, Israel. 

14. SHERRY

Sherry was originally a fortified wine made in the southwest Spanish town now known as Jerez. According to Ayto’s Glutton’s Glossary, in the 16th and 17th centuries the town name was spelled Xeres and pronounced, more or less, as sheris. The type of strong white wine, or sack, produced there was known as sherris sack. As the 17th century progressed, the references to sack were dropped, as was the final s, and the drink became known as sherry.

Of course, sherry is far from the only alcoholic topononym. In Toponymity, Marciano notes that practically every type of alcohol is named for a place. Pilsen and Budweis are towns in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, while Chablis, Bordeaux, Gamay, and Chardonnay are all French towns or villages; both Burgundy and Champagne are regions. Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados are all brandies as well as places in France. Madeira, Port, Amontillado, and Marsala are fortified wines that come from Spanish toponyms. Bourbon is a county in Kentucky, and Tequila a town in Mexico. Curaçao is also both a country and a liquor. Then of course there's Scotch, which is both derived from a toponym in general and when it comes to specific varieties such as Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, "which come from the narrow valleys—or glens—of the Rivers Livet and Fiddich," as Marciano noes.

Even Evian water comes from Évian-les-Bains, France, and San Pellegrino from San Pellegrino Terme, Italy.

15. CARRAGEEN

A type of edible seaweed (also called Irish Moss) named for Carragheen near Waterford in Ireland. 

16. MAYONNAISE

The etymology is disputed, but some French sources say the sauce was named “in recognition of Mahon, seaport capital of island of Minorca, captured by France [in] 1756 after the defeat of the British defending fleet in the Seven Years' War.”

17. TANGERINE

Originally tangerine orange, meaning "an orange from Tangier," as in the place in Morocco. 

18. WIENER/WIENER SCHNITZEL

Both from Vienna.

19. QUINCE

Originally Greek kydonion malon "apple of Kydonia,” a seaport in Crete. 

20. ROMAINE

As in lettuce, from Rome.  

UK Burger King Restaurants Will Stop Giving Plastic Toys With Kids' Meals

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Fast food companies don't have a reputation for being eco-friendly, but through small changes made in recent years, some of the biggest names in the industry are working to reduce their environmental impact. Just a few weeks after introducing the meat-free Impossible Whopper, Burger King announced a new policy for its United Kingdom locations. As CNN reports, UK restaurants will no long include plastic toys with kids' meals.

The change comes after two sisters from the UK started a petition on Change.org calling on McDonald's and Burger King to stop distributing plastic toys with kids' meals. Ella and and Caitlin McEwan, who were 9 and 7 respectively when the petition launched this summer, wrote, “children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea." They went on to say: "It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys—big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all." Their online petition has received more than 530,000 signatures.

By cutting plastic from kids' meals, Burger King estimates it will avoid wasting 350 tons of single-use plastic a year. The chain has also installed containers in its UK stores for collecting old plastic toys from customers, so the material can be recycled to make playgrounds. The UK represents just a fraction of Burger King's market, but according to the company, non-biodegradable plastic toys will be phased out of all locations by 2025.

McDonald's has had a different response to the McEwan sister's petition. Instead of doing away with plastic toys completely, UK restaurants will give customers the option to swap toys for fruit with their Happy Meals later this year, and then allow them to opt for books instead for a period in early 2020. Meanwhile, in Canada and Germany, some McDonald's restaurants are experimenting with going totally plastic-free. The more sustainable restaurants feature paper straws, waffle cone condiment cups, and burger wrappers made from grass.

[h/t CNN]

How to Make 3 Delicious Fall Cocktails

Mental Floss Video
Mental Floss Video

As the leaves start to change color, it’s time to put away the White Claw and the rosé …OK, sure, you can drink whatever you like whenever you like. But if you live in a temperate climate, part of the fun of changing seasons is falling in love with new beverages and meals that complement the weather. That’s why we asked Eamon Rockey, the Director of Beverage Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, to craft three cocktails that are perfect for fall. 

Pumpkin Spice Flip Recipe

Ingredients:

Blended Scotch
Maple Syrup
Pumpkin Puree
One Whole Egg
Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Add 2 ounces of blended scotch to a cocktail shaker
  2. Add 3/4 of an ounce of good maple syrup
  3. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin puree
  4. Crack 1 egg and add to mixture
  5. Add one piece of ice and shake vigorously, to emulsify the ingredients
  6. Add ice to the top of your shaker and shake again, to chill and dilute the drink
  7. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. You want all of the volume and richness of the egg, without any solid matter or shards of ice. 
  8. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and serve

Four Apples a Day Recipe

Ingredients:

Calvados
Rockey’s Milk Punch
Hard Apple Cider
One Granny Smith Apple

Instructions:

  1. Add 1.5 ounces of calvados to a mixing glass
  2. Add 2 ounces of Rockey’s Milk Punch
  3. Stir with ice to chill
  4. Strain into a wine glass
  5. Top with 3 ounces of hard apple cider
  6. Garnish with fresh apple in any style you like

Old Fashioned Recipe

Ingredients:

Bourbon
Angostura Bitters
Simple Syrup

Instructions:

  1. Add 2.5 ounces of bourbon to a mixing glass
  2. Add 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  3. Add 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup (50% sugar, 50% water)
  4. Add ice and stir, to chill and dilute the drink
  5. Strain into a rocks glass containing a large cube of ice
  6. Finish with a freshly cut twist of orange peel

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