Unplanned inventions of great things

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by oregonyeti, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Sometimes unplanned things or mistakes turn out to be brilliant.

    Fruit pie was supposedly a mistake. It was all meat pie in England, until someone screwed up and put fruit in it. If not for that we wouldn't have apple pie, peach pie, and a whole lot of others.

    Someone at 3M made post-its. It was a failure because they didn't stick as planned. They came un-stuck. But what would I do without them now?

    Crepes Suzette were another mistake.

    According to one version of the story, yogurt was the result of malice gone wrong (gone good) and turned out to be a great new thing.

    Marmalade was invented because someone in England had to figure out what to do with a ship full of oranges from France and not let them go to waste. One of my favorite things is the result.

    What other unplanned things or mistakes turned out to be great?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Penicillin 
     
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  3. luc_h

    luc_h

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    This is food science geek related...

    Vanillin.

    about 100 years ago, a flavourist\perfumer visited a pulp & paper plant.  If you never have been near a place that makes pulp & paper, you don't know how bad those places smell.  This person could smell a vanilla note in the bad odour and found a way to extract this chemical from wood lignin to make naturally derived vanilla flavour. We know today that vanillin in oak is one compound that dopes wine and aged spirits.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanillin#Biosynthesis

    Vanillin and similar parent chemical compounds that it can be derived from, like eugenol (clove taste), are ubiquitous in the plant world.  I always thought that was an interesting story of serendipity.

    Luc H.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
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  4. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Tarte Tatin.
     
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  5. mtullius

    mtullius

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    I've heard the theory that yogurt was discovered by herdsmen using pouches made of sheep or goat stomachs to store milk. But Yeti you hint at a different story. Please share.
     
  6. luc_h

    luc_h

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    I think the storing of milk in sheep\cow stomachs was the invention of kefir.

    Luc H.
     
  7. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Cool, thanks all.

    Mtullius, one story I heard about the origin of yogurt was this ... A legend has it that a messenger to Genghis Khan or the famed warrior himself had a skin flask, and a disgruntled villager that they had seized filled it with milk instead of water. The villager hoped to poison him with soured milk during his journey of conquest. Instead, the curdled milk became yogurt and strongly fortified the horseman.
     
  8. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Oh, kefir then, not yogurt. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif Or maybe both?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  9. luc_h

    luc_h

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    I don't know the story behind yoghurt but the bacteria flora naturally found in raw milk have both mesophilic (likes room temperature) and thermophilic (likes warm temperature) bacteria.

    Mesophilic bacteria in milk will immediately start converting milk to buttermilk or cream, to sour cream or crème fraîche at room temperature (i.e body temperature and lower)

    Thermophilic bacteria like hotter temperature (above body temperature) and will convert milk to yoghurt.

    (here is a good reference: http://fermup.com/blog/homemade-heirloom-yogurt-showdown/)

    That said, I think yoghurt was discovered/invented when leaving raw milk near the fireplace (not stomach digestion).  It's a gut feeling I have (pun intended)

    Mesophilic bacteria is usually encouraged to acidify the milk in cheese making where salt, environment and humidity is used to coax other surface microbes to act and ripen the cheese curd.

    Luc H.
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

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    VELCRO  was invented by a Greek man living in Connecticut . While walking thru the woods all of these little things(stickers) stuck to his socks and pants legs. He went home and analyzed them and wella  Velcro was developed.

    Microwave ovens. An engineer while walking into a lab owned by Ratheon (Radar Range the original) had a chocolate bar in his pocket , they were doing research for the government on microwaves for submarine applications , as he exited the lab the chocolate bar was completely melted in his shirt pocket. That's how they found out you could heat food by using confined magnetism.
     
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  11. mtullius

    mtullius

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    Thanks Luc_H. I thought kefir was just another type of yogurt. But now I know they're made by encouraging the growth of different types of bacteria. What you say makes sense. I've made yogurt and it does require heat.

    I like the story about Genghis Khan. Thanks Yet.
     
  12. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Since replying here I have been researching the possible history of yoghurt and found many indications that say milk conserved in animal skin bags was the initial way to make yoghurt. From a food science perspective, that could be the case if the term yoghurt is used as a broad term for fermented/acidified milk in which case everybody is right. Conserving milk in animal skin bags would make something that would resemble kefir more than (modern) yoghurt.  There is a tradition in Caucasus of storing milk in sheep skin containing kefir grains.


    reference: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

    Obviously we do not really know how any of these fermented products looked, felt or tasted like in those days but kefir is much more resilient as a starter culture than yoghurt cultures because

    Kefir grains can be dried and easily carried to every corner of the world in prehistoric/ancient times not so with yoghurt. On the other hand, yoghurt (fermented milk) can be made just with raw milk without adding anything to it.

    Luc H.
     
  13. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

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    Couple of my personal favorites

    Worcestershire Sauce

    According to historian and Herald for Wales, Major Francis Jones, 1908–93, the introduction of the recipe can be attributed to Captain Henry Lewis Edwardes 1788–1866. Edwardes, originally of Rhyd-y-gors, Carmarthenshire, was a veteran of the Napoleonic wars and held the position of Deputy-Lieutenant of Carmarthenshire. He is believed to have brought the recipe home after travels in India.

    When the recipe was first mixed at the pharmacy of John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, the resulting product was so strong that it was considered inedible and the barrel was abandoned in the basement.

    Looking to make space in the storage area a few years later, the chemists decided to try it again, discovering that the sauce had fermented and mellowed and was now palatable.

    In 1838 the first bottles of "Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce" were released to the general public. On 16 October 1897, Lea & Perrins relocated manufacturing of the sauce from their pharmacy to a factory in Aston on Midlands Road where it is still manufactured

    AND

    Currywurst

    The invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 after she obtained ketchup (or possibly Worcestershire sauce) and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany. She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. Heuwer started selling the cheap but filling snack at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the devastated city. She patented her sauce, called Chillup, in 1951
     
  14. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Roquefort bleu cheese seems to be the result of the eager of a young French guy to do what the French think they do best, and, it's not cooking, think "amour toujours".

    He left his bread and pedestrian cheese in a cave and forgot all about it... as I already mentioned above. After a while the bread grew mold and that went into the cheese, et voilà, Roquefort was born.

    The flourless chocolate tarte is another dumb /img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gifbut lucky invention.
     
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  15. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks for the great stories and history.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  16. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Chris, I really like your contributions and your writing style. Thanks /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  17. padkeejoe

    padkeejoe

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    Many millennia ago, there was a torrential downpour somewhere in Mesopotamia.

    Several weeks later, a farmer returned to his granary storage, only to discover that it had been flooded to the top.
     ​
    Not wanting to waste the fruits of his labor, he dipped his pail into the bin, intending to bail out the liquid.

    But being a bit adventurous, he took a sip and said: "mmm... beer."
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
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  18. alaminute

    alaminute

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    Ceaser salad was allegedly invented by an Italian American immigrant named Ceaser Cordiva who owned a restaurant in Mexico to avoid prohibition invented the dish after an insane rush and running out of ingredients.
     
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