Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson first patented a “peanut paste” out of milled, roasted peanuts in 1884. Peanuts? In paste form? Minds blown in the patent office! (It took another decade before the process for making early peanut butter out of raw peanuts was patented.) The first recipe for a PB & J, for the record, wasn’t published until 1901, in an American cooking school magazine.
It was Canada’s Walter Chell who invented the caesar in 1969, inspired by the recipe for spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). He wasn’t a fan of the drink himself—maybe because it contained macerated shellfish—but he knew that other Canadians would go for it.
It was prairie province plant breeders who developed canola beginning in the late 1960s. Thanks to cross-breeding experiments, Canadians created a variation of rapeseed that produced a food-grade oil. But what to call their new product? They combined the words “Canada” and “ola” (meaning “oil”). It doesn’t have the same ring as Bennifer or Brangelina, but obviously, the name caught on.
It’s been disputed, sure, but Japanese-born chef Hidekazu Tojo claimed to have invented “inside-out sushi” after he moved to Vancouver several decades ago, and found that Canadians were reluctant to eat his traditional creations. He thought that putting the rice on the outside, hiding the seaweed on the inside, and using cooked crab meat, not raw fish, would change their minds. Which, it did. The name “California roll” came about in part because the maki contained avocado.
Edward Asselbergs, while working with the Canada Department of Agriculture in 1961, developed a process for making instant potato flakes that tasted—at least at the time—nearly as good as homemade mashed potatoes. He went on to develop other “instant” products, including cheese and meat. Instant meat? No thanks.
This layered cocktail was created by a bartender in Banff in the late-’70s. The basic recipe is still coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and Grand Marnier orange liqueur—but if you add a layer of rum on top, you can light the whole business on fire. Fun! Mind your eyebrows.
This takeout favourite has a Canadian connection—at least allegedly. As the story goes, it was Chef George Wong from Calgary who developed it in the mid-’70s. He deep-fried shredded beef, then simmered it in a chilli sauce. The original recipe had no ginger in it. But customers thought it did and dubbed it “ginger beef.” The name stuck.