How To Get a Food Named After You
Screw Michelin stars — the most prestigious culinary honor is having a popular food named after you. Here’s how Benedict, Salisbury, and Reagan (that’s right) did it.
By Mike Jenckes
It’s no secret people are obsessed with food. Not just because we’re all fat — there are also plenty of yappy “foodies,” Top Chef marathons, and TV hucksters peddling Slap Chops to wannabe Gordon Ramsays.
Knowing how to cook or where the best restaurants are is cool and all, but it doesn’t often bring you the ultimate culinary prize. We don’t mean a Michelin star or dinner with Padma Lakshmi. We mean having a popular food named after you.
Our odds of achieving that honor? Approximately zero — but we have eight stories of how people made it happen. Knowing these origin tales probably won’t help you get a job or get laid (unless you’re trying to become or are pursuing a sous chef). But they may get you a little closer to one-upping those jerks Alfredo, Benedict, and … Reagan?
Ronald Reagan’s Hamburger Soup
In 1986, during his second term as president, Ronald Reagan took a lot of heat for admitting he liked French soups. After all, many people equated our president approving of anything French to a pink Commie flag being flown over the White House. After the potage gaffe, the Gipper unleashed a dish all Americans would be guaranteed to love: Ronald Regan’s Hamburger Soup. It’s basically two pounds of cooked ground beef in beef broth along with carrots, black pepper, garlic, and green peppers. Our brilliant culinary tip: A little melted cheese makes anything better.
In 1914, an Italian restaurateur named Alfredo di Lelio had a problem: His pregnant wife wouldn’t mangiare. We can only assume that what happened next was basically an ’80s movie montage in which Freddy put numerous dishes in front of her only to be met with stereotypical Italian hand gestures of displeasure. But eventually Alfredo struck gold when he presented her with fettuccine pasta tossed with Parmesan cheese and plenty of butter. (Seriously? No one had thought of that before?) Her delight prompted him to add it to his restaurant’s menu and name it after … himself.
Back in the 1700s, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was super into gambling. Like, the dude really, really loved to gamble. He never wanted to leave the table or get his hands messy by eating meat with his bare hands, so he’d instruct his servants to bring him slices of meat between two pieces of bread. Soon after, his pals at the tables started telling the servants they’d take “the same as Sandwich.”
Ah, Tijuana. City of lost weekends, donkey shows, and … classy salads? Turns out the Caesar isn’t named after any Roman emperor dudes. It’s named after a guy named Caesar Cardini, a Tijuana hotel owner — we’re guessing it wasn’t one of the pay-by-the-hour kinds — who came up with the shockingly delicious salad back in 1924.