The history of your favorite dishes
Just like every person has a story, every dish has a history. How did your favorite meal become a culinary trend? And more importantly, how far did the recipe travel to be on the very plate in front of you? Here are the histories of some of the world's most popular dishes.
There are few dishes more satisfying than a slice of lasagna. The hearty noodles mixed with rich ricotta and melted cheese is a divine combination that may span as far back as Ancient Greece. The word "lasagna" is a Greek word for flat bread, like the thin strips of noodles used in lasagna. But there are alternate theories. Romans claimed the dish is actually named after the Latin term "lasanum," meaning "cooking pot." However, it wasn't until 1692 that the first lasagna recipe involving tomatoes was printed in Naples.
Today, the hamburger can be seen in many forms, from the classy, artfully arranged plate of salmon, chicken and bison sliders to the dollar menu at your local fast food joint. In 15th century Europe, hashed beef, much like the meat we use in burgers today, was shaped into a patty "sausage." In the 17th century, Germanic ships from the city of Hamburg docked in Russia, where sailors got a taste of steak tartare (a burger served with egg, capers and onions on top), which they later turned into the "Hamburg Steak." German immigrants to the United States brought the dish over from the old country, which was eventually wedged between two slices of bread.
Similar to the story of the hamburger, meatloaf was popularized in the Germanic regions of Europe with minced meat, but was mentioned as early as the 5th century in the famous Roman cookbook, Apicius. This larger version of the meatball can be seen throughout Europe, America and the Middle East in many different forms.
Surprisingly, the chimichanga is actually an American dish. Well, technically. After all, it's a deep fried twist on an original food -- the burrito. The origin of the burrito is no secret, but legend has it that 1922, a Tucson woman accidentally dropped the Mexican concoction in a deep fryer and exclaimed "¡Chimichanga!" -- the Spanish equivalent to the nonsensical word "thingamajig."
Traditionally, pizza is little more than garnished bread. During its inception, pizza was peasant food. Today, it's a satisfying sin in almost every American's diet. The Ancient Greeks topped their bread with olive oil, cheese and herbs. It then traveled to Italy, where legend suggests King Ferdinand I disguised himself as a commoner to get a slice of the "peasant food" that his queen banned from court.
Watch: How to make a Margherita pizza
The Margherita pizza bears the colors of Italy's flag: red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and green basil.