I was web browsing tonight and ran across www.gourmet.com and found a couple of food trivia items I thought I'd share. This is a great site if you get a chance to visit.
Although associated with Chinese cuisine, fortune cookies are actually as American as apple pie. Food historians point to a number of possible pedigrees for this crunchy confection, but most agree that the first-ever fortune cookies were created in California in the early 20th century. The cookies, famous for the paper fortunes tucked inside their folds, were originally crafted by hand, using chopsticks. It wasn't until the 1960s that producers made the switch to machines, according to The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink by John F. Mariani. Chinese proverbs, suggested lottery numbers, jokes, biblical references, and quotes from pop culture are among the inspirations for the sayings inside.
French Dip Sandwich
Philippe Mathieu, a transplant from France to Los Angeles, is credited with inventing the famous French Dip sandwich: layers of warm, thinly sliced roast beef stacked on a French roll and bathed in the meat's natural juices. As legend has it, one day in 1918, Mathieu was preparing a sandwich in Philippe's, his Southern California restaurant, when he inadvertently dropped a French baguette into a nearby roasting pan filled with beef juices. His customer said he'd take the sandwich anyway, au jus and all, and the French Dip sandwich was born. Although Mathieu is undoubtedly associated with inventing the deli classic, some question whether he may have intentionally doused the baguette, or if it truly did take a fortuitous fall.