Food History is a resource for anybody interested in food history. Articles exploring various issues of food history will be featured regularly. Learning food history means that cultural study which involves multidisciplinary approaches from economics, sociology and demography, and even literature.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The origin of Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict has been on American menus for almost one hundred years. There are several stories about the origins of eggs Benedict – all surrounding late-nineteenth-century New York.

It is a very popular brunch and breakfast item. The word first appeared in print in 1893.

During the late 1880s, financier Le Grand Benedick complained to the chef of New York’s Delmonico restaurant that the restaurant breakfast menu was stale.

The chef, Charles Ranhofer, claimed that he was then inspired to create what he called ‘Egg a la Benedick’ and there is a recipe for it in his book The Epicurean (1894).

A second claim to the dishes origin comes from stockbroker, Lemuel Benedict, who wandered into the Waldorf Restaurant Astoria Hotel in New York, suffering from a debilitating, carousal induced hangover in 1894. He claims to have ordered dry toast topped with bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise to cure his hangover.

The chef, Oscar Tschirky, actually substituted English muffins and Canadian bacon and truffles and came up with eggs Benedict in honor of the hung-over stockbroker.

Mary Lincoln in the 1896 edition of her book Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book includes a recipe for ‘Dropped or Poached Eggs on Toast’. She cuts the toast with around cutter and suggests making a thin cream sauce to pour around them.

Around 1970, Jack in the Box began serving and Eggs Benedict sandwich. In 1971 Herb Peterson a MacDonald’s operator in Santa Barbara, California modified the Eggs Benedict sandwich and ended up with the Egg McMuffin.
The origin of Eggs Benedict