Ever wonder how our daily routine lunch were named after. A new book has unearthed the fascinating and bizarre stories behind our favourite foods and tells how they got their names
Here’s the list of some of the dishes with bizarre names and their origin.
The name conjures up a toga-clad emperor tucking into a spot of lunch before perhaps throwing a Christian or two to the lions.
But, actually, Caesar salad is less than 100 years old and hails from a restaurant in Mexico run by a man called Caesar Cardini.
In a fit of panic, Caesar threw together everything left in the kitchen: lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, eggs, olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and Worcester sauce – mixed it all together and presented it with a confident flourish to a group of film stars who’d flown in from Hollywood.
We all know that a ploughman’s lunch is made up of fresh bread, hard cheese, onion and pickles, and harks back to simpler times when ploughmen pulled up their horses in shady furrows, unpacked their humble lunches and tucked in with gusto.
And we’d all be wrong. Because while it all sounds so wonderfully rural and wholesome, the ploughman’s has nothing to do with the traditional rural way of life at all.
The ‘Ploughman’s lunch’ is actually a modern term, coined during the late 1960s by the English Country Cheese Council as part of a marketing campaign to encourage people to eat more cheese.
The origins of porridge have nothing to do with Scottish peasants stirring big cooking pots, and all to do with a fasting Buddha in sun-soaked India in about 500BC.
In his search for enlightenment, the Buddha fasted for so long that he fainted, only to be bought back from the brink by a peasant girl brandishing a little milk and a bowl of rice porridge.
Thanks to her ministrations, he finally achieved enlightenment, and held forth about the five not terribly transcendental benefits of porridge: it improves digestion, quenches thirst, suppresses hunger and reduces constipation and flatulence.
The Battenberg – a sweet, rectangular sponge of variegated pink and yellow squares and covered in marzipan – was invented to celebrate the marriage of Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, to her cousin Louis of Battenberg in 1884.
The four pink and yellow squares – as appear when the cake is cut in cross-section – represented the four Battenberg princes (of whom Louis was one).
Said to be the perfect hangover cure, a Bloody Mary is made up of vodka, tomato juice and seasonings such as cayenne pepper and Tabasco or Worcester Sauce.
It is said to have been named after the Catholic Queen Mary I (1516-58), nicknamed Bloody Mary thanks to her relentless pursuit of Protestant dissenters – of whom nearly 300 were burned at the stake. Presumably the tomato juice is thought to resemble the blood she spilled