10 Foods You Didn't Know Were Born in the U.S.A.

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Pasta Primavera

According to David Kamp, author of the best seller The United States of Arugula, one of three people is the true inventor of the Italian-American classic known as pasta primavera: Egidiana Maccioni (the wife of Sirio Maccioni, owner of New York City institution Le Cirque and other restaurants); Ed Giobbi, an American artist and cookbook author who prepared it for Sirio Maccioni; or the late Jean Vergnes, a chef who worked closely with Sirio. And the dish's origins are as ambiguous as its ingredient list, which since its 1970s debut has evolved to include any shape of pasta; a variety of fresh vegetables, such as peas, tomatoes, and asparagus; and either a simple olive oil or cream-based sauce.


Like many a culinary phenomenon, ice pops were an accidental invention. The year was 1905, and 11-year-old Frank Epperson of San Francisco had forgotten a cup of powdered soda and water with a stirring stick inside it on his back porch. After a chilly night, Epperson returned the following morning to discover the frozen snack-on-a-stick, which he named the "Epsicle." Many years later, Epperson's own children would request "Pop's 'sicle," and thus the Popsicle brand name and company were born. Today, there are more than 30 Popsicle flavors, plus countless Popsicle-inspired snacks, including Fudgsicles and Creamsicles.

Reuben Sandwich

Bragging rights to the Reuben—a grilled sandwich featuring sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye bread—are hotly contested by the states of Nebraska and New York. Food historians tend to be split on this subject, but noted authority Jean Anderson, whose work has appeared in Gourmet Live, writes in her American Century Cookbook that, "as every good Nebraskan knows, Reuben Kulakofsky, an owner of Omaha's late, lamented Central Market, created the Reuben back in the 1920s." New Yorkers would beg to differ, citing New York City deli owner Arnold Reuben as the original inventor, around the same time. No matter which state you side with, it's impossible to deny that the Reuben—the winner at the first-ever National Sandwich Idea Contest in 1956—is now served just about everywhere across the U.S.


Food historian Barry Popik suggests the slang term slider may have been used to refer to hamburgers by the United States Navy in the 1940s or '50s. However, a majority of historical accounts point to famed fast-food chain White Castle as the birthplace of the slider (or Slyder, as it was trademarked). White Castle first opened its doors in 1921, selling its signature smaller-than-average burgers that were known to slide right down your throat. The chain quickly gained popularity and became the first fast-food chain to sell 1 million hamburgers and earn the unofficial title of Inventor of the Slider.

Kelly Senyei is an associate editor at Gourmet Live and author of Food Blogging for Dummies (Wiley, 2012).

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