10 Famous Foods Discovered by Mistake

10 Famous Foods Discovered by Mistake

For most of us, coffee is the driving force of our everyday lives. It’s the only thing that helps us continue our daily routine until we are finally free of our responsibilities for the day. But, have you ever wondered where coffee originated from? In fact, have you ever wondered the origins of any of your favorite foods or drinks? Most of us think that there’s a chef or entrepreneur who is experimenting endlessly to craft the perfect concoction. As it turns out, not all of our favorite foods were invented. Some were discovered because of pure luck or mistake. Here, we are listing 10 such foods that are the result of pure serendipity.




1. Popsicles were invented by Frank Epperson in 1905 when he was 11 years old. After receiving some sugary mixture, he accidentally left it outside overnight, and the stick he had used to stir the soda had frozen into the mixture. Thus, the popsicle was born.

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Image: Goran Ivos

In 1905, Frank Epperson, a San Francisco Bay resident, was only 11 years old when he received some soda-making equipment. Excited to make some sugary soda, a young Epperson mixed the soda powder with water and accidentally left it out overnight. The night was cold and caused his soda mixture to be frozen by morning. When Epperson went to get it, he noticed that the stick he was using to stir it had also frozen into the mixture. Epperson picked up his accidental invention and named it Epsicle. He then started selling the treat around his neighborhood.

In 1923, he decided to expand his business out of his neighborhood and into the whole world. After selling it at nearby beaches, he found that people were falling in love with his invention. So, in 1924, Epperson applied for a patent for his “frozen confection”, which explained that the treat was easily consumable without the need for a spoon or fork. After patenting his product, his children urged him to change the name from Epsicle to Popsicle; which he did. (source)

2. Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Wakefield in 1930 when she ran out of baker’s chocolate and instead, added some Nestle chocolate to the cookie batter.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, food, mistake, facts, life, history
Image: Pixabay

Chocolate chip cookies are favored by almost all of us. However, it’s inventor, Ruth Wakefield, did not mean to make it. Ruth and her husband purchased a tourist lodge named the Toll House Inn during the mid 1920’s, and for the guests, she prepared some delicious meals. In 1930, she was mixing a batch of cookies for her new guests when she ran out of baker’s chocolate, one of the main ingredients. With little time on her hands, Ruth decided to improvise and substituted broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate.

She believed that the pieces of chocolate would melt and absorb into the dough to create chocolate cookies. That however, did not happen and in turn, created something new. When she removed the pan from the oven, Ruth realized that she had accidentally invented “chocolate chip cookies”. After serving the cookies to the guests who loved her invention, she called it the “Toll House Crunch Cookies”. After the cookies became extremely popular among the locals, Nestle discovered that their sales of semi-sweet chocolate bars were spiking. So, Nestle struck up a deal with Ruth and printed her recipe on their Nestle supply package. In return, she received a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate, also making her one of the 20th century’s most famous female inventors. (source)

3. Coffee was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi, after noticing that one of his goats who was eating a berry, was extremely excited and not sleeping.

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Image: Merlene Goulet

For some of us, coffee is the only thing that keeps us going. The discovery of this life giving substance was in fact an accidental one. During the 9th century, a goat herder named Kaldi came across the potential of coffee beans by chance. Kaldi noticed that one of his goats was regularly consuming some berries, which made him extremely hyper as well as awake at night.
He reported his findings to an abbot of the local monastery, who wanted to verify Kaldi’s story.

The abbot made a drink using the berries and found that it kept him alert for long hours, especially during the evening prayers. The abbot then shared his findings with a monk, who then spread the news to the town locals. Today, coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year. More than 450 million cups of coffee are consumed in the United States every day. (source)




4. Potato chips were discovered in 1853 by George Crum, who was a chef. When one of his customers complained that his order of fried potatoes were extremely thick, and sent the order back to the kitchen more than three times, Crum became unhappy and sliced it as thin as he possibly could. The customer loved them, and this new food was named the potato chip.

potato chips, food, snacks, life, mistake, accidental
Image: Pixabay

George Crum, an American native, invented the famous potato chips that we enjoy today. After becoming a chef, Crum was working in the kitchen of the restaurant at Moon’s Lake House, when he received an order for fried potatoes. Crum prepared the dish and to his surprise, the customer sent it back to the kitchen, asking the chef to slice it thinner. The customer complained two more times and sent his food back to the kitchen. Crum became unhappy with the customer and decided to slice the potato as thin as possible, in an effort to make it hard for the complaining customer.

To his surprise, the customer fell in love with his new creation. The dish became extremely popular among the customers and when Crum opened his own restaurant, potato chips were the main feature. (source)

5. Dippin’ Dots were invented in 1988 by microbiologist Curt Jones who was trying to figure out how to feed cows faster and easier while using fewer materials. He later figured out that the same technique can be used to feed humans.

Dippin' Dots, ice cream, food, facts, life, people, accident
Image: Wikimedia

In 1988, microbiologist Curt Jones used his knowledge of cryogenic technology to invent Dippin’ Dots. Jones was trying to figure out how to feed cows faster and easier while using fewer materials. So, Jones froze a batch of cow feed at around -350°F (-212 C) and the resulting pellets were used to feed the cows at a faster rate. His idea was working out and as Jones was observing the cows eating the dried feed, he figured out that the same technique could be used to feed humans; leading to our favorite sweet snack. (source)

6. Ice cream cones gained popularity in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair when Syrian concessionaire, Ernest Hamwi, decided to roll up some of his crisp, waffle-like pastries (also known as zalabia) to help out a neighboring ice cream vendor who ran out of dishes.

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Image: Patrick Fore

Who would think that helping out a neighbor would lead to a new invention that would become popular worldwide? That’s exactly what happened in the case of Ernest Hamwi. In 1904, during the St. Louis World’s Fair, business was booming for Arnold Fornachou, an ice cream merchant. After a few hours, Arnold ran out of plastic cups and was unable to make anymore sales. His neighbor was fortunately Ernest Hamwi, a pastry chef who was selling his waffle-life pastries.

Ernest Hamwi saw that Arnold was in need, so he gave him some of the remaining waffles and showed him how to fold it to make a cone. The waffle cone was able to hold a good amount of ice cream and proved to be an instant success. Thanks to an impromptu act, today we are able to enjoy ice cream in edible cups. (source)




7. Corn Flakes was invented in 1898, by W.K. Kellogg (who later became the founder of Kellogg’s) and his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, when they accidentally produced a batch of flaked wheat berry after attempting to make granola.

Corn Flakes, food, facts, life, history, invention,
Image: Pixabay

During the 19th century, William and John Kellogg invented the Corn Flakes in their quest to discover a healthy meal. The brothers worked at Battle Creek Sanitarium where vegetarianism and health was considered important. While trying to find a substitute for bread, the brothers boiled wheat in an effort to make a granola kind of substance. However, they boiled the wheat for too long, causing it to come out as flakes. The flakes were then baked and given to some of the locals, who loved it. So, the Kellogs brothers decided to make it a little bit more healthy by replacing wheat with corn and thus the Corn Flakes was born. (source)

8. Slurpees were invented in 1958 when a Dairy Queen franchisee named Omar Knedlik accidentally left some sodas in the freezer for too long. The partially-frozen sodas became such a hit that the enterprising Knedlik invented a machine to partially freeze the sodas and dispense them.

Slurpees, facts, food, icee, life, history, mistake
Image: Heidi/Flickr

In 1958, Omar Knedlik owned a Dairy Queen franchise. His store however, lacked a soda fountain, so he had to put the sodas in the freezer to keep them cold. One day, Knedlik noticed that the sodas he had left the other day had been left for too long and the result was a slushy and solid soda. Knedlik decided to try selling the soda in the slushy/solid form and realized that people loved it. So, he went on to invent a machine that partially freezes the sodas and dispenses them. In 1965, 7-Eleven saw that the machine had potential to become successful, so they purchased an Icee dispenser for each of their locations, and dubbed the semi-frozen treat the Slurpee. (source)

9. Tofu was invented by an ancient Chinese cook who dropped a coagulant named Nigari into a pot of soy milk.

Tofu, food, Asia, culture, life, mistake, facts
Image: Pixabay

Tofu is popular in many Asian cultures as well as among vegetarians. According to the legend, it was invented by a Chinese cook who accidentally dropped a piece of Nigari into a pot of soybean milk. The cook then saw a curdling effect occur, decided to name it Tofu and presented it to some of his guests. The accidental creation was an instant hit since it made many customers happy. One of the key factors about Tofu is the fact that it tastes like whatever it is cooked in. This makes it extremely popular among vegetarians and many Asian cultures who use Tofu as a substitute and healthy option. (source)

10. Crêpes Suzette was invented in 1895 by a 14-year-old assistant waiter at a cafe Monte Carlo. Henri Charpentier was preparing dessert for the Prince of Wales when the dessert accidentally caught fire. He served the desert as is and it became extremely popular.

Crêpes Suzette, food, facts, life, people, weird, history
Image: Pixabay

When Henri Charpentier was preparing dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England, the dessert accidentally caught fire. What followed was an amazing mix of flavors and what became one of the most popular crepe dishes of all time. In his autobiography, Charpentier wrote of the incident: “It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted”. (source)




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