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12 Seemingly Foreign Foods That Were Actually Invented in America

12 Seemingly Foreign Foods That Were Actually Invented in America

There are a lot of seemingly foreign foods that were actually invented in America, and you may be surprised by a few of them. Take, for example, the well-loved Häagen-Dazs. Certainly sounds exotic, but, it’s not. This premium and delicious frozen treat hails from Mr. and Mrs. Mattus of the Bronx, New York. Disappointed? Well, I’ve got news for you. There are a lot of “foreign” foods that you love that are far more local than you think.

1. Fortune Cookies

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    Where You Think It’s From: China

    Where It’s Actually From: California

    Although the fortune cookie’s inventor is under some dispute, it is known that the cookie recipe itself is based on a Japanese cracker called senbei. The fortune cookie was popularized in the early 20th century, but as Jennifer Lee noted in her New York Times article, “[T]here is one place where fortune cookies are conspicuously absent: China.”

    2. French Dip Sandwich

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      Where You Think It’s From: France

      Where It’s Actually From: California

      Thinly sliced roast beef on a French baguette dipped in mouth-watering a-jus hails from the good ole’ U S of A. Two Los Angeles restaurants claim the invention of this sandwich. One is Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet, and the other is Phillipe The Original. Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet contends that the sandwich was invented in 1908 while Phillipe The Original says the sandwich was invented by their chef, Phillipe Mathieu, in 1918.

      3. English Muffins

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        Where You Think It’s From: England

        Where It’s Actually From: New York

        Samuel Bath Thomas, of Thomas’ English Muffin fame, developed the English muffin in the late 1800s. The family had the name of Thomas incorporated in 1919, the year that Samuel died. The trademark muffin is now made by Bimbo Bakeries.

        4. Pasta Primavera

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          Where You Think It’s From: Italy

          Where It’s Actually From: New York

          There are no less than three people considered to have invented pasta primavera. The trio, Ms. Maccioni, Mr. Giobi, and Jean Vergnes, were all connected in some way to the owner of Le Cirque, Sirio Maccioni. In any case, the dish was introduced in the 70s and has been a favorite among pasta lovers ever since.

          5. General Tao’s Chicken

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            Where You Think It’s From: China

            Where It’s Actually From: New York

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            The sad fact is that most Chinese foods popular in the U.S. don’t originate from China. This sweet and spicy dish was introduced to Chinese restaurants sometime in the 70s. Cashew chicken, orange chicken and dozens of other beloved Chinese dishes are completely unknown to the Chinese themselves.

            6. German Chocolate

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              Where You Think It’s From: Germany

              Where It’s Actually From: New York

              German Chocolate was originally referred to as German’s chocolate, because the guy who first made the dark, rich chocolate was Samuel German. The chocolate was made in 1852 for the American Baker’s Chocolate Company. What about German Chocolate Cake, you ask? That recipe originated in Dallas, TX. The recipe originated in 1957 from a housewife named Mrs. Clay.

              7. Chimichanga

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                Where You Think It’s From: Mexico

                Where It’s Actually From: Arizona

                While it is widely argued over who actually did the inventing, the resulting chimichanga was a burrito accidentally dropped into a deep fryer, right here in America. There are at least three originating stories, one that we will likely never know. One story is that the fried burrito got its debut in 1937, while another says it wasn’t invented until 1957.

                8. Swiss Steak

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                  Where You Think It’s From: Switzerland

                  Where It’s Actually From: somewhere in the U.S.

                  The name derives from the method of tenderizing a tough piece of meat. It’s actual origin is unknown, besides the fact it can be traced to have started and been popularized by someone in the United States.

                  9. Cuban Sandwich

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                    Where You Think It’s From: Cuba

                    Where It’s Actually From: Florida

                    While similar to a sandwich found in Cuba, the Cuban Sandwich originated in Tampa, FL in 1880. In 2012, the sandwich was dubbed the “signature sandwich of Tampa.” It is believed that workers in area cigar factories were the first to invent the Cuban.

                    10. Vichyssoise

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                      Where You Think It’s From: France

                      Where It’s Actually From: New York City

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                      This creamy soup is said to have been invented by a French chef, Louis Diat, in 1917. In 1950, Diat was interviewed by the New Yorker and was quoted as saying, “In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.”

                      11. Russian Dressing

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                        Where You Think It’s From: Russia

                        Where It’s Actually From: New Hampshire

                        The mayonnaise- and ketchup-based dressing was invented by James E. Colburn. The dressing was invented in 1912 and originally contained the Russian ingredient, caviar.

                        12. Doritos

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                          Where You Think It’s From: Mexico

                          Where It’s Actually From: Disneyland

                          Doritos were first introduced in the “Casa de Fritos” in the 1950s.  They are cut and fried from tortillas and use a Mexican spice for flavoring.

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                          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                          1. Work on the small tasks.

                          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                          2. Take a break from your work desk.

                          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                          3. Upgrade yourself

                          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                          4. Talk to a friend.

                          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                          7. Read a book (or blog).

                          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                          8. Have a quick nap.

                          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                          9. Remember why you are doing this.

                          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                          10. Find some competition.

                          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                          11. Go exercise.

                          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                          12. Take a good break.

                          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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