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4 Foods We’ve Been Crediting the Wrong Countries for Creating

The true origin of some of your favorite noshes

1) Croissants

Belgium may actually be responsible for creating the croissant.

When thinking of this pastry’s flaky goodness, France typically comes to mind. However, Austria is actually to thank for creating this crescent-shaped roll. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the origins of the croissant date back to at least the 13th century when the Austrian kipfel was a standard Christmas treat. Later, in 1838, August Zang, an Austrian entrepreneur who opened the first Viennese bakery in France, introduced the country to moon-shaped pastry. It became very popular in France, and ultimately French bakers gave the kipfel their own spin, using puff pastry to create what’s known today as the croissant.

2) Fortune Cookie

The Chinese had no hand in creating the fortune cookie. It may have been invented by a Japanese immigrant to the U.S.

Fortune cookies are a common way of finishing up a Chinese meal in most Western countries. But in China, these treats are seen as an American invention. Indeed, it seems the fortune cookie was created in the United States, but to this day, the inventor remains a mystery, with several people claiming to know who the first to do it really was. Some say it was Suyeichi Okamura, a Japanese immigrant who supplied it for Makoto Hagiwara who ran a Japanese tea room; others say it was Makoto himself. And still, more theories abound. One thing’s for sure — China had no hand in creating it.

3) French Fries

The French may not be responsible for creating french fries.

Despite the name, the French may not be responsible for creating this popular side dish. Instead, their true origin might be Belgium. Legend has it, locals would fry small fish they caught, but in winter when fishing wasn’t an option, they fried potatoes, instead. The story goes on to say that during World War I, Americans stationed in Belgium were introduced to the snack, and since French was the language spoken there, they called the dish french fries. Others disagree, though. The BBC reports while one chef (Albert Verdeyen) believes the fry is of Belgian origin, culinary historian Pierre Leclercq says that’s historically inaccurate. We may never know where fries truly come from, but currently, Belgium is petitioning UNESCO that their fries receive World Heritage Status.

4) Spaghetti and Meatballs

Should we be crediting Italian immigrants to the U.S. with creating spaghetti and meatballs?

Although a common order at Italian-style restaurants, spaghetti and meatballs was first created in the United States. True, this noodle and meatballs are both from Italy, but according to Smithsonian Magazine, it wasn’t until Italian immigrants came to the U.S. that they were paired together. As the aforementioned magazine reports, when Italian immigrants came to America, they had an increase in income, which led to them being able to spend more money on food. Because of this, they were able to indulge in more meat-heavy meals and meatballs were a popular choice. Marinara sauce completes this dish.

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