Fast Food Name Origins

When we are too busy and hungry, but there’s no food, we can go to the most convenient place to buy food: fast food restaurants. Some common fast food dishes are hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, and sandwiches. We know that “French” fries are not only consumed by French people, nor “hamburg”ers by Germans. Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that hot “dogs” do not contain dog meat and “sand”wiches are not made of sand. If so, how were their names created?

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.47.06 PM“Americans” usually eat “French” fries along with hamburgers and soda. However, those fried sticks of potatoes are not from the United States nor France. They were first created in Belgium and then introduced to the neighboring country, France. In the mid 1800s, “french fried potatoes” became popular among U.S citizens. The word “french” refers to the name of the cooking technique. Also, the term, “french fries” is not the only name for fries; they are “chips” in England, “frites” in Europe and “patatas fritas” in Spain.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.47.20 PMThere are several stories on how hot dogs were named “hot dogs”. Some historians say that the name was first created through a newspaper cartoon by Tad Dorgan. He saw the vendors shouting, “Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” and tried to capture that moment through drawing; German sausages were imported with German dachshund dogs so people joked about them. Because Dorgan was not sure about the spelling of the word “dachshund”, he just put “hot dogs”. Another theory is due to the fact that in 1900s, this food was sold from dog wagons.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.47.32 PMYou may have wondered why sandwiches have the word “sand” in them if they don’t contain sand at all. Originally, sandwiches were snacks called “bread and meat/cheese” in England. The name we all know today actually comes from John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He used to order meat enveloped by two slices of bread; his friends, wanting to do order the same food, said, “the same as Sandwich!” and that is how the name, sandwich, came to be.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.47.38 PMIt’s quite clear that the term, hamburger, comes from Hamburg, a city in Germany. However, the actual food itself is not German. In actuality, the recipe for cooked steak patty comes from Russia. Since Hamburg is a port city and a good stopping point for Russian ships, Russians introduced the food to the city of Hamburg, and it became extremely popular amongst the Germans. The word, “hamburger” was invented in the United States, where restaurant owners looked for ways to attract German immigrants.

The food listed above are not the only ones with intriguing names; there are certainly other meals around the world that have peculiar titles. Such food, even the ones you ate recently, may have an interesting background history, you never know.

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