Margarita – there are many claims for the name of this tequila/lime/orange liqueur cocktail. Dallas socialite Margarita Samas said she invented it in 1948 for one of her Acapulco parties. Enrique Bastate Gutierrez claimed he invented it in Tijuana in the 1940’s for Rita Hayworth. Hayworth’s real name was Margarita Cansino, and another story connects the drink to her during an earlier time when she was dancing in Tijuana nightclubs under that name. Carlos Herrera said he created and named the cocktail in his Tijuana restaurant in 1938-1939 for Marjorie King. Ms. King was reportedly allergic to all alcohol except tequila, and had asked for something besides a straight shot. Around this same general time period, Nevada bartender Red Hinton said he’d named the cocktail after his girlfriend Margarita Mendez. Other stories exist.
Pizza Margherita – Queen Margherita of Savoy (1851-1926) was presented with this pizza in the colors of the Italian flag on a trip to Naples, c. 1889. Many people claimed to have created it.
Sole Marguery – Nicholas Marguery (1834-1910), famed French chef, created and named this dish, along with others, for himself and his restaurant Marguery in Paris.
Mary Janes – peanut butter and molasses candy bars developed by Charles N. Miller in 1914, and named after his favorite aunt.
Massillon – the small almond pastry is named for noted French bishop and preacher Jean-Baptiste Massillon (1663-1742), a temporary favorite of Louis XIV. The pastry originated in the town of Hyres, where Massillon was born.
Pate chaud ris de veau la McAllister – most likely, Samuel Ward McAllister (1827-1895) is the name source of the hot veal pate Charles Ranhofer created at Delmonico’s. McAllister was best known for his list of the 400 people he considered New York City society.
McIntosh apple – John McIntosh (1777-1846), American-Canadian farmer who discovered the variety in Ontario, Canada in 1796 or 1811.
Melba toast – Dame Nellie Melba (1859-1931), famous Australian soprano, ne Mitchell, took her stage name from her hometown of Melbourne. In 1892-1893, she was living at the Savoy Hotel in London, which was then managed by Csar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier. During an illness, the singer favored some extremely dry toast which was subsequently named for her. Around this same time, Escoffier created the dessert Peach Melba in her honor. There is also a Melba garnish (raspberry sauce) that is an ingredient of Peach Melba.
Bisque of shrimps la Melville – when the great American author Herman Melville (1819-1891) died in New York, he had been almost forgotten for decades. Charles Ranhofer, however, remembered him with this seafood dish.
Beef tenderloin minions la Meyerbeer – Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864), the influential 19th-century opera composer, is honored by this dish.
Mirepoix – the carrot and onion mixture used for sauces and garnishes is thought to be named after the Duc de Lvis-Mirepoix, 18th-century marshal of France and one of Louis XV‘s ambassadors.
Poulet saut Montesquieu – culinary tribute to the philosopher and author, Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat (1689-1755), major intellect during the French Enlightenment. There is also a frozen dessert, “Plombire Montesquieu.”
Potage anglais de poisson Lady Morgan – Lady Morgan, ne Sydney Owenson (1776-1859), a popular Irish novelist, was visiting Baron James Mayer de Rothschild in 1829, when Creme created this elaborate fish soup in her honor. If you have several days available, you can make it yourself.
Mornay sauce – diplomat and writer Philippe de Mornay (1549-1623), a member of Henri IV‘s court, is often cited as the name source for this popular cheese version of Bchamel sauce. The alternative story is that 19th-century French chef Joseph Voiron invented it and named it after one of his cooks, Mornay, his oldest son.
Chaudfroid of chicken Clara Morris – Clara Morris (1848-1925) was a popular 19th-century American actress, specializing in the period’s emotional dramas. She became something of an overnight success when she debuted in New York in 1870, after growing up and working in Ohio ballet and theater. She had an active career until taste in drama changed in the 1890’s and she turned to writing. Ranhofer named this dish for her.
Mozartkugel – Salzburg, the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), is also the place where this marzipan/nougat-filled chocolate was created c. 1890. Also in the composer’s honor, Ranhofer created “Galantine of pullet la Mozart” at Delmonico’s.
Lamb cutlets Murillo – Bartolom Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), the influential Spanish painter, was
apparently a favorite artist of Charles Ranhofer.
Napoleon – Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) is usually thought to be the inspiration. However, the pastry is known as milles-feuilles in France, and millefoglie in Italy. It is possible that it originated in Naples, and the French term la Napolitaine was garbled in translation. The Danes claim to have invented it for a visit by Napoleon, but the pastry does not seem to have appeared until later in the century.
Bigarreau Napoleon cherry – unlike the pastry, the French cherry was most likely named after Napoleon Bonaparte, his son Napoleon II, or his nephew Napoleon III. The sweet, white-fleshed (bigarreau) cherry often used in maraschino cherry production fell into the hands of Oregon’s Seth Luelling of Bing cherry fame (the Napoleon is a forebear of the Bing), and he renamed it the Royal Anne. Subsequently the cherry also became known as Queen Anne cherry in North America.
Lord Nelson apple – Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), British hero of the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson also has a dish of mutton cutlets named after him, as well as an early-19th century boiled sweet (or hard candy) somewhat indelicately called “Nelson’s balls.”
Nesselrode Pudding – Russian diplomat Count Karl Robert von Nesselrode (1780-1862) had several dishes named for him, usually containing chestnuts, like this iced dessert. A contemporary product used for Nesselrode Pie, Nesselro, uses cauliflower to replace part of the chestnuts.
Lobster Newberg – variously spelled Newburg and Newburgh, and now applied to other seafood besides lobster, this dish is usually attributed to a Captain Ben Wenberg, who brought the recipe he had supposedly found in his travels to Delmonico’s in the late 19th century. The chef, Charles Ranhofer, reproduced the dish for him and put it on the restaurant menu as Lobster Wenberg. Allegedly, the two men had a falling-out, Ranhofer took the dish off the menu, and returned it, renamed, only at other customers’ insistence.
Marshal Ney – the elaborate Ranhofer dessert – molded tiers of meringue shells, vanilla custard, and marzipan – is named after Napoleon’s marshal Michel Ney (1769-1815), who led the retreat from Moscow and was a commander at Waterloo.
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