20 Foods You Might Not Know Were Named After Places

iStock.com/FotografiaBasica
iStock.com/FotografiaBasica

Back in the days before supermarkets and microwaves, foods were frequently named for the places they were grown, manufactured, or produced. While most people know that European wines and cheeses are often named for their place of origin, here are a number of other less-expected foods that can also be traced back to a spot on the map.

1. LIMA BEANS

From the capital of Peru, wouldn't you know.

2. FIG NEWTON

Nope, they’re not named after Sir Isaac. The cookies were originally named for Newton, Massachusetts, not far from the town of Cambridge where they were originally produced in the 1890s. The Kennedy Biscuit Company named many of their products after surrounding towns, including cookies and crackers called Shrewsbusy, Harvard, and Beacon Hill, which were apparently less popular.

3. MONTEREY JACK 

Monterey Jack was first made in Monterey, California, by the dairyman and reportedly brutal landlord David Jack. Other cheeses named for places include Colby (Wisconsin); Manchego (produced in the La Mancha region of Spain); Asiago, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano (from locations in Italy); Munster, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort (sites in France); Edam and Gouda (places in the Netherlands); and Cheddar and Stilton (locations in England). 

4. VICHYSSOISE SOUP

A soup honoring Vichy, France, created by Ritz-Carlton chef Louis Diat in New York, and modeled on the potato-and-leek soups his mother made him while Diat was growing up in France.

5. PEACH

Native to China but named for Persia, where Europeans first encountered it. According to John Ayto’s Glutton’s Glossary, in Greek the fruit was called melon persikon, and in Latin malum persicum, both meaning “Persian apple.” In post-classical times the Latin term became persicum, which eventually evolved into peach.

6. MARTINI

By some accounts, the eternally chic drink was named for the Californian town of Martinez. However, others say the name relates to a New York bartender with the name. Whatever the origin, the moniker more recently relates to Italian manufacturers of vermouth Martini and Rossi. 

7. CURRANT

Originally called raysons of coraunce (with various spellings) in English, a name derived from the Old French raisins de Corinthe, or “raisins of Corinth”—as in Corinth, Greece. 

8. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

According to Ayto’s book, the 19th century in England was full of retired military men attempting to recreate the pungent sauces they’d encountered during their travels abroad. One of the few of these attempts to survive to the present was supposedly concocted by a Sir Marcus Sandys out of vinegar, molasses, garlic, shallots, tamarinds, and various spices. Sandys supposedly took it to his local grocers in Worcester, England—a shop named Lea and Perrins—who began manufacturing it commercially as Worcestershire sauce in the 1830s.

9. PHEASANT

From the Greek for "Phasian bird," a reference to the Phasis River in present-day Georgia, where the fowl were plentiful. 

10. CANTALOUPE

Said to have been first cultivated in Cantalupo, Italy, which was supposedly the site of a papal summer residence. However, this oft-repeated etymology might not be as straightforward as it seems: In Toponymity: An Atlas of Words, author John Bemelmans Marciano notes that there at least 10 towns named Cantalupo in Italy (and similarly named towns in France), none of which have ever been the site of the pope’s summer home. So the true origin of the delicious salmon-colored melon remains somewhat mysterious.

11. SARDINES

Said to have been named after the island of Sardinia, where they are plentiful in nearby waters. 

12. SATSUMA

From the former province of Kyushu, Japan, where the small, seedless orange was first grown. 

13. SCALLIONS

From “onions of Ascalon,” a former Philistine city that is now Ashkelon, Israel. 

14. SHERRY

Sherry was originally a fortified wine made in the southwest Spanish town now known as Jerez. According to Ayto’s Glutton’s Glossary, in the 16th and 17th centuries the town name was spelled Xeres and pronounced, more or less, as sheris. The type of strong white wine, or sack, produced there was known as sherris sack. As the 17th century progressed, the references to sack were dropped, as was the final s, and the drink became known as sherry.

Of course, sherry is far from the only alcoholic topononym. In Toponymity, Marciano notes that practically every type of alcohol is named for a place. Pilsen and Budweis are towns in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, while Chablis, Bordeaux, Gamay, and Chardonnay are all French towns or villages; both Burgundy and Champagne are regions. Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados are all brandies as well as places in France. Madeira, Port, Amontillado, and Marsala are fortified wines that come from Spanish toponyms. Bourbon is a county in Kentucky, and Tequila a town in Mexico. Curaçao is also both a country and a liquor. Then of course there's Scotch, which is both derived from a toponym in general and when it comes to specific varieties such as Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, "which come from the narrow valleys—or glens—of the Rivers Livet and Fiddich," as Marciano noes.

Even Evian water comes from Évian-les-Bains, France, and San Pellegrino from San Pellegrino Terme, Italy.

15. CARRAGEEN

A type of edible seaweed (also called Irish Moss) named for Carragheen near Waterford in Ireland. 

16. MAYONNAISE

The etymology is disputed, but some French sources say the sauce was named “in recognition of Mahon, seaport capital of island of Minorca, captured by France [in] 1756 after the defeat of the British defending fleet in the Seven Years' War.”

17. TANGERINE

Originally tangerine orange, meaning "an orange from Tangier," as in the place in Morocco. 

18. WIENER/WIENER SCHNITZEL

Both from Vienna.

19. QUINCE

Originally Greek kydonion malon "apple of Kydonia,” a seaport in Crete. 

20. ROMAINE

As in lettuce, from Rome.  

Hurry—Starbucks Is Giving Away Free Coffee Today!

Starbucks
Starbucks

If Daylight Saving Time's cruel theft of those precious autumn sunlight hours is making you crave more caffeine than usual, you’re in luck: Starbucks is blessing us with a buy-one-get-one-free deal this afternoon.

Thrillist reports that you can claim your free drink with the purchase of any handcrafted coffee beverage, grande-sized or larger, between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m today. You’ll have to download the Starbucks app in order to access the deal, but you don’t have to be a member of the rewards program. If you’re planning on nabbing your two coffees today, however, now might be a good time to register—it’s free, and you’ll earn stars on your purchase that’ll count towards another eventual free beverage or food item.

Though Starbucks holds these “Happy Hour” opportunities every so often, the deals themselves vary. Sometimes, for example, all handcrafted beverages are half off, and other times the offer only applies to blended Frappuccino beverages.

According to the terms listed in the app, today’s BOGO bargain doesn’t include regular hot coffee, hot tea, ready-to-drink beverages (like juices or other bottled drinks), or Starbucks Reserve drinks.

It does, however, include the internationally esteemed pumpkin spice latte, as well as the recently returned lineup of irresistible holiday drinks: peppermint mocha, toasted white chocolate mocha, caramel brulée latte, chestnut praline latte, and eggnog latte.

starbucks holiday drinks
Starbucks

If you happen to have a child in tow (or you’re just not hooked on caffeine), hot chocolate makes an ideal after-school treat, and Starbucks has an impressive five flavors to choose from: traditional, peppermint, toasted white chocolate, regular white chocolate, and salted caramel.

And when you do visit the café today or any other day, remember to be kind to the barista … or else they might swap out your drink for a decaffeinated one. Here are 11 other secrets from Starbucks employees.

[h/t Thrillist]

The Great Tryptophan Lie: Eating Turkey Does Not Make You Tired

H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images
H. Armstrong Roberts/iStock via Getty Images

While you’re battling your cousins for the best napping spot after Thanksgiving dinner, feel free to use this as a diversion tactic: It’s a myth that eating turkey makes you tired.

It’s true that turkey contains L-Tryptophan, an amino acid involved in sleep. Your body uses it to produce a B vitamin called niacin, which generates the neurotransmitter serotonin, which yields the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your sleeping patterns. However, plenty of other common foods contain comparable levels of tryptophan, including other poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs.

Furthermore, in order for tryptophan to produce serotonin in your brain, it first has to make it across the blood-brain barrier, which many other amino acids are also trying to do. To give tryptophan a leg up in the competition, it needs the help of carbohydrates. Registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer tells WebMD that the best way to boost serotonin is to eat a small, all-carbohydrate snack a little while after you’ve eaten something that contains tryptophan, and the carbs will help ferry the tryptophan from your bloodstream to your brain.

But Thanksgiving isn’t exactly about eating small, well-timed snacks. It’s more about heaps of potatoes, mountains of stuffing, and generous globs of gravy—and that, along with alcohol, is more likely the reason you collapse into a spectacular food coma after your meal. Overeating (especially of foods high in fat) means your body has to work extra hard to digest everything. To get the job done, it redirects blood to the digestive system, leaving little energy for anything else. And since alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, it also slows down your brain and other organs.

In short, you can still hold turkey responsible for your Thanksgiving exhaustion, but you should make sure it knows it can share the blame with the homestyle mac and cheese, spiked apple cider, and second piece of pumpkin pie.

[h/t WebMD]

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