Green Gage plum or Greengage – Sir William Gage (c. 1656-1727), a botanist and 2nd Baronet of Hengrave, is believed to have brought the plum to England from France in 1724. Knowingly or unknowingly, he renamed the plum that in France was called Reine-Claude, after Francis I‘s wife Claude (1498-1524), daughter of Louis XII.
Poires Mary Garden – Mary Garden (1874-1967) was a hugely popular opera singer in Europe and the U.S. at the turn of the century. Born in Scotland, she emigrated to the U.S. as a child, then came to Paris in 1897 to complete her training. After her 1900 debut at the Opra-Comique, she was much sought-after by composers for starring roles in their operas. Escoffier made this dish in her honor, and is said to have told a friend once that all his best dishes had been created “for the ladies”. (see Melba)
Garibaldi biscuits – English biscuits named for Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), Italian patriot and leader of the drive to unite Italy, after his wildly popular visit to England in 1864. There is also a French demi-glce sauce with mustard and anchovies, and a consomm named after him.
Baron de bouf la St. George – a dinner in honor of British guests was probably being held at Delmonico’s when Ranhofer named this dish. Saint George, a Roman soldier, was martyred c. 304, and was adopted as England’s patron saint in the 13th century. The dinner finished with “Plum Pudding la St. George.”
German chocolate cake, originally known as German’s Chocolate Cake – the 1950’s American cake took its name from Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, which in turn took its name from Sam German who developed the sweet baking chocolate (between milk and semi-sweet) in 1852.
Earl Grey tea – named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Viscount Howick, and British Prime Minister 1830-1834.
Graham crackers, Graham flour – Sylvester Graham, 19th-century American Presbyterian minister and proponent of a puritan lifestyle based on teetotalling, vegetarianism, and whole wheat.
Bombe Grimaldi – kümmel-flavored frozen dessert probably named for a late-19th century member or relative of Monaco’s royal Grimaldi family. There is also an apple flan Grimaldi.
Docteur Jules Guyot pear – 19th-century French agronomist Dr. Jules Guyot, c. 1870. Guyot did work for Napolon
III in several agricultural fields.
Hamantaschen – the Yiddish version (Haman’s Pockets) of the Hebrew Oznei Haman (Haman’s Ears}; a small pastry named for the cruel Persian official outwitted by Queen Esther and hanged, Haman, in the Book of Esther. Hamantaschen are traditionally eaten at Purim. They are also referred to as Haman’s hats.
Pate de filets d’oie Adolphe Hardy – the young Belgian poet Adolphe-Marie Hardy (1868-1954), first published in 1888, and subsequently rising to be a major figure in French literature, was favored early on by Charles Ranhofer with this goose liver pate.
Hass avocado – in the 1920’s, California postal worker Rudolph Hass set out to grow a number of Lyon avocado trees in his backyard. One of the seedlings he bought was a chance variant which produced fruit, his children apparently noticed as unique. Hass patented the variety in 1935, and it now makes up about 75% of U.S. avocado production.
Heath bar – the American “English toffee” bar is named for brothers Bayard and Everett Heath, Illinois confectioners who developed it in the 1920’s and eventually turned the local favorite into a nationally popular candy bar.
Oh Henry! – the candy bar introduced by the Williamson Candy Company in Chicago, 1920, was named for a young man who frequented the company store and was often commandeered to do odd jobs with that call.
Schnitzel la Holstein – Baron Friedrich von Holstein (1837-1909), primary German diplomat after Otto von Bismarck, serving Kaiser Wilhelm II. The gourmet Holstein liked to have a variety of foods on one plate, and the original dish consisted of a veal cutlet topped by a fried egg, anchovies, capers, and parsley, and surrounded by small piles of caviar, crawfish tails, smoked salmon, mushrooms, and truffles. Contemporary versions tend to be pared down to the cutlet, egg, anchovies and capers.
Gateau Saint-Honor – pastry named for the French patron saint of bakers, confectioners, and pastry chefs, Saint Honor or Honorius (d. 653), Bishop of Amiens. The pastry chef Chiboust is thought to have invented it in his Paris shop in 1846.
Hubbard squash – Elizabeth Hubbard, who talked up the qualities of the heretofore unnamed squash in Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1842-1843.
Omelette St. Hubert – the patron saint of hunters, St. Hubert of Lige (656-727), the son of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitane, has several dishes involving game named after him: this omelette with a game pure, tournedos of venison, a consomme, timbales of game meat and truffles, et al. The first bishop of Lige is said to have converted after seeing a stag with a cross in its antlers while he was hunting on a Good Friday.
Lamb chops Victor Hugo – the renowned French author, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), is commemorated with these, and with fillets of plover.
Humboldt pudding – Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the famous explorer and influential naturalist,
has one of Ranhofer’s elaborate molded puddings named after him.
Timbales la Irving – Washington Irving (1789-1859), the American author, given Charles Ranhofer’s penchant for honoring writers with his creations, is the likely source of the name.
Coquilles St. Jacques – the French term for scallops, and the Anglo-American term for the popular scallop dish with butter and garlic, owe their name to St. James the Great (d. 44 a.d.), fisherman and first martyred apostle. His major shrine in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, drew pilgrims in quantity from all over Europe. The scallop’s shell became an emblem of the pilgrimage as it was used as a water cup along the way, and sewn to the pilgrims’ clothes like a badge. The scallop became an emblem of St. James, himself, although the timing is unclear. In Spanish, the scallop has “pilgrims” as part of its name, rather than Santiago.
Flounder Jules Janin – Jules-Gabriel Janin (1804-1874) was a famous, if somewhat eccentric, 19th-century French dramatic critic. A good friend of Dumas and Berlioz, Janin wrote several novels; the best known is perhaps The Dead Donkey and the Guillotined Woman.
Jansson’s Temptation – thought to be named after the Swedish opera-singer Per Janzon (1844-1889).
Apricots with rice la Jefferson – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third U.S. president, is honored appropriately with this Ranhofer dessert and with Jefferson rice, a recently developed strain of Texas rice. Jefferson was very interested in improving American rice culture, to which end he illegally smuggled Piedmont rice out of Italy. During his term as U.S. minister to France, Jefferson found the French preferred the qualities of Italian rice to Carolina rice. On a trip to see Rome, Jefferson stopped in Turin to collect a cache of seeds, and never reached Rome. The rice did reach the U.S.
Jesus sausage – Jesus has small sausages of the French Basque and Savoy regions named after him. One version is called the Baby Jsus de Lyon.
Trout Joan of Arc – the French martyr Joan of Arc (1412-1431) is remembered in this dish by Charles Ranhofer.
John Dory – the English name for a saltwater fish known elsewhere in Europe as Saint Peter’s (San Pietro, Saint-Pierre, San Pedro) fish is said to be a reference to Saint Peter‘s role as “janitor” or doorkeeper at the gates of heaven. Legends claim that spots on the fish are either the fisherman apostle’s fingerprints, or a reminder of the coin he found in the fish’s mouth – a story from the Gospel of Luke.
St. Julian plum – the fact that National Plum Pudding Day falls on the same day as that of St. Julian the Hospitaler (d. 160), February 12, may indicate the source of the name. Or not.
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