Chicken A La King & The Buffalo Wing
by Steven Gilbar
Chicken A La King seeks to unravel the mysteries behind the names of our favorite foods. Sometimes it’s impossible to pinpoint a single origin – Buffalo Wings, the perpetually popular bar snack, have three different creation stories – so Steven Gilbar includes them all, leaving it to the reader to pick a favorite. An astounding number of foods are simply named after the place or person who invented them, but this isn’t always the case. For example, the Jerusalem Artichoke is neither an artichoke or from Jerusalem, but a kind of sunflower. But the plant, discovered by a French explorer in the Americas and brought back to Europe, is described as tasting artichoke-like, and as for the Jerusalem? Turns out that is an English corruption of the Italian word for sunflower, girasole.
Gilbar’s book is full of these curious little facts. A Bloody Mary isn’t named for the famous Tudor queen, a myth I previously would have sworn by, but for a girl at Chicago bar. General Tso’s Chicken is named for the renowned military leader of the Qing dynasty, but why is it named after him? No one knows!
At the back of the book are removable recipe cards for many of the different foods, so when you’ve finished reading about Lobster Newberg, Indian Pudding or Swedish Meatballs you can try your hand at making it. Quirky and fun, this little book will be a fun little gift for the foodies or the trivia lovers on your shopping list.