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Sweet Mistakes: Accidentally Invented Snacks That are Here to Stay

Some things are meant to be, and some, are not; and no, we are not talking about failed relationships. We are talking about snacks that came into being by accident, but have made their permanent mark on the world. Talk about luck! Imagine not being able to munch on chocolate chip cookies, just because someone didn’t knock over a bag of chocolate chips by mistake! 

Now, some of these are legendary tales, while others have been written down as myths. Nevertheless, no one is complaining about these sweet mistakes that have been part of our childhoods, our parents and maybe even our grandparents’! 

If you are thinking about your favorite snack, there is a very high chance that it was the result of a mishap that has found its way into your kitchen cabinet or secret snack stash. See if you can find any of your favorite sweets snacks in the list - we guarantee you’ll find at least one!

Game of Cones

The much loved waffle cones was the result of a camaraderie. At St’ Louis World Fair in 1904, when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups to scoop ice cream into, the friendly neighbourhood pastry man came in to help his friend. Ernest Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire, had a stall of middle-eastern pastries called Zalabia; a thinner and crispier version of waffles. Quick on his feet and with his hands, almost like a cone artist, he rolled the Zalabia into cones and passed them to his ice cream vendor friend and thus ice cream cones were invented. But that was only the beginning; Mr. Hamwi went on to establish the Missouri Cone Company to mass produce cones. The success was enormous and 20 years later, in 1924, ice cream cones had become a staple around the world with a cone production record of 245 million.

Mission Im-Popsicle

There are kids who make mistakes, cry about it and then get over it. Then we have Frank Epperson, an 11 year old boy, who left his soda glass with a stirrer outside on his porch one night and forgot about it. Frank went outside the next day, saw his frozen soda and, voila! The “Epsicle'' was born in 1905. Young Frank saw potential in the soda icicles and went on a mission to sell them at an amusement park, which were an instant hit. Frank’s children started calling them pop’s sicle, which later on became the brand name. After years of experimenting and making popsicles for friends and family, the entrepreneur patented the icy treat in 1924.

Tale of a Salty Friend-Chip

This story from 1853 involves salty revenge. George Crum was a chef at Moon’s Lake House hotel in the town of Saratoga Springs, New York. Cornelius Vanderbilt came into the diner as a super hungry customer and left as a super satisfied customer; but the time spent at the diner was comical, to say the least. Vanderbilt kept sending back his fried potatoes, saying that they were too thick and soggy. Chef Crum kept cutting the fries thinner and thinner but the hungry customer wasn’t happy. Eventually, Crum got frustrated and made the potatoes as thin and crispy as possible, tossed them in aggressive amounts of salt, and served it to the customer. For decades, the invention was famous as Saratoga chips before being known as potato chips. The chef didn’t let this accidental success go to waste. He later opened his restaurant, The Crumbs House. 

The Earl of Sandwich.

John Montagu was the fourth Earl of Sandwich in the 18th century. He was also a dedicated gambler. One fine day, in 1762, the English Nobleman was in a passionate gambling session and all that adrenaline made him hungry; but he couldn’t leave the game. That passion led him to order his cook to serve him two pieces of bread with beef between them, which he could hold in one hand, while placing bets with the other. The one-hand held snack became famous and people started asking for, “the same as Sandwich”. Probably the most noble thing the nobleman did was invent sandwiches; after all, the 18th century was called the Age of Enlightenment for a reason, and sandwiches must be the reason for it.

Chipped Cookies

This one is more like a happy accident than a mistake. Ruth Wakefield ran a famous restaurant called The Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Her chocolate cookies were already very popular; these cookies were a hit amongst her guests, but eventually, she would run out of baker’s chocolate - the important ingredient that was behind her dough's chocolate flavor. So, Mrs. Wakefield decided to chop up some Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate bars, and substitute those for the baker's chocolate in hopes that it would melt into the dough. Well… that did not go as planned, but what came out of the oven were cookies with chunks of half molten chocolate baked into them. Later on, in 1938, the recipe was published in Ruth Wakefield's Tried and True Cookbook. Then, Nestlé came into picture, offering Ruth a lifetime supply of chocolate in return for printing the recipe on their product packaging, and the rest is history.

Final Word

Little accidents every now and then can have unexpected great outcomes, like these sweet mess ups. Legends and myths are often far from the truth, but a little bit of spice – or sweets, if you will- make these stories all the more interesting. Science and technology aren’t the only things that have contributed to society - sometimes it only takes one small sweet mistake to bring upon a revolution.  

When it comes to inventing snacks, the sky's the limit!