1. The Oh Henry! candy bar has at least three stories behind the name. I’ll let you pick your favorite. The first is that it was named after a boy who frequented the Williamson Candy Company quite often to flirt with the girls who worked there. Therefore, “Oh Henry!” would be kind of an exasperated, coy exclamation. Story #2 is that Henry was a young man who was often called to do odd jobs around the Williamson Company, which would make “Oh Henry!” a call for help. Finally, consider that the bar was invented by one Tom Henry. Makes more sense to me that the bar was probably named after him, although I like the flirting story the best.
2. Salisbury steak was invented by Dr. James H. Salisbury. He thought that fruits and veggies were bad for humans and caused heart disease, tumors, mental illness, tuberculosis and all kinds of horrible ailments. He invented the Salisbury steak (which is really just hamburger steak) to convince people to change their diet to mostly meat.
3. Crepes Suzette has quite the tale behind it. In 1896, Edward VII, Prince of Wales, was eating at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo. He ordered a special dessert and was pleased when the waiter brought out a flaming dish. When the dessert was dedicated to him, the Prince declined and asked if the dish could be named after his dining companion, Suzette. Some sources dispute this story, though, so take it with an ounce of Grand Marnier.
4. Beef Wellington was named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellington boots (”Wellies”) were also named after him. The story is either that it was his favorite dish, or that chefs could dump whatever crap they wanted to in a bowl and cover it with pastry and he would eat it. I’m more inclined to believe the latter – other accounts of the Duke say that he had no interest in creature comforts whatsoever and would repeatedly eat “cold meat” and bread for breakfast.
5. Eggs Benedict is another one with multiple stories (I guess maybe they all are). Story #1 - In 1894, a stockbroker by the last name of Benedict visited the Waldorf hotel in New York with a hangover one morning. He asked for toast, bacon and poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce on the side, believing it to be the perfect remedy to his drink-induced illness. The Waldorf decided to keep it on the menu, but changed a few ingredients a bit. Story #2 – The head chef at Delmonico’s created the dish for socialite Mrs. LeGrand Benedict in 1893. I like the hangover story best.
6. Clementines – those delicious, juicy little orange-like fruits – were named after a French monk who was living in North Africa. Père Clément Rodier either found or created the hybrid of the Mandarin and Seville oranges to create Clementines.
7. Bananas Foster calls its (their?) hometown New Orleans. Famed restaurant Brennan’s created the delicious dish for Richard Foster, a friend of owner Owen Brennan and also the chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission.
8. Kaiser rolls have been around for a long time – they were created sometime around 1487, when a Viennese baker stamped the image of either Frederick III or Franz Josef on it.
9. Reuben sandwiches are soooo good. Definitely one of my favorites, so I have to thank Reuben Kulakofsky for (maybe) making it happen. Rumor has it he created it for his poker buddies at an Omaha hotel in the early 1920s. The dispute on this origin comes from Arnold Reuben, a New York restauranteer who said he created the sandwich in 1914 for an actress. The earliest known Reuben reference is from a 1937 men from the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Neb., so I’d say Kulakofsky has a stronger claim.
10. The Cobb salad was invented by Hollywood Brown Derby owner Robert Cobb when he was asked to make a late-night snack for Sid Grauman of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He found some leftovers, chopped up the ingredients very finely and served it up. It became a hit across the town and the Cobb salad legend grew.