Whoopie! Odd food names demystified

Friday, October 4, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 40

This past Saturday afternoon, we went to lunch with several family members. As you can guess, we had a lot of fun. There was plenty of joking and laughing during the few hours we spent together.

We went to eat at a place that’s very popular and has been around a long time, but that I’ve never tried – Buffalo Wild Wings. Quite a fun place, especially if you like sports, because there were more TV’s hanging around than Best Buy has on their showroom floor. Well, maybe not that many, but there were a lot.

However, the experience piqued my interest in hot wings, or Buffalo wings, whatever you want to call them. I wonder who came up with the name “Buffalo wings?” I mean, buffalo don’t have wings.

And while we’re on the topic of strange names, do chickens have fingers?

Here are some of the more odd-sounding names for food:

Buffalo wings: All my findings say they originated at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y.

Chicken fingers: Chicken producers, after cutting the thicker and meatier portion of the chicken breast from the smaller tenderloin parts, decided to market them as finger food. These small tenderloin pieces eventually evolved into chicken fingers.

Fish sticks (aka fish fingers): The term “fish fingers” is first referenced in a recipe given in a popular British magazine in 1900. Once commercial marketing started selling them in a breaded and frozen form, they became fish sticks, probably because they’re a piece of fish that resembles a stick.

Spotted dick: Spotted dick is a simple English dessert made from pudding and dried fruit. The name, which elicits giggles and jokes, might have originated in the mid 19th century. It describes the dish: the dried fruits, which are usually currants, look like spots, and “dick” is a version of the word “dough” or “thick pudding.”

Whoopie pies: According to food historians, Amish women would bake these desserts (known as hucklebucks or creamy turtles at the time) and put them in farmers’ lunch boxes. When farmers would find the treats in their lunch, they would shout, “Whoopie!”

Elegant Banana Pudding

2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced into bite-size chunks
2 cups of milk
1 (5-ounce) box of French vanilla pudding and pie filling
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. and 18 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup of sliced almonds, roasted

Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch dish with one bag of cookies and layer the bananas on top.

In a pan, combine the milk and pudding mix and cook according to the directions on the package. Place a sheet of saran wrap directly on top of the pudding (to prevent the pudding from forming a skin) and place it in your refrigerator to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and mix until smooth. Fold the 12-ounce container of whipped topping. Add the pudding to the cream cheese mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas.

Cover with the remaining cookies. Top with the 8-ounce container of whipped topping, and then sprinkle with the almonds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stinking bishop: If you’re anywhere close by, you’d understand the first part of this cheese’s name. As far as the “bishop” part, the cheese is immersed in the juice of pears, which got their name from the farmer who grew them – Mr. Bishop.

Headcheese: Headcheese is not cheese at all. This treat is made from various parts of a pig, calf, or cow, including the tongue, ears, feet, and heart. The origin of the name isn’t clear, but it could be due to it being made in a “cheese” mold. I didn’t want to dig any deeper on this one.

Burgoo: Kentuckians will tell you burgoo is a stew made with various meats and veggies, all simmered together. The name could be from an interpretation of bulgur, from which the stew was originally made.

Bedfordshire clanger: Both a savory and sweet suet pastry. Such is the reputation of the dish that people from Bedfordshire, England are nicknamed Clangers.

Cullen Skink: A smoked haddock soup from the town of Cullen in Northeast Scotland. One of Scotland’s national treasures, it’s somewhere between a fish soup and a stew. Hearty, creamy and wholesome, it is said to “blow chowder out of the water.”

Succotash: A classic Southern side dish that features cooked corn and lima beans, succotash first appeared in the English language in the mid- to late-1700s. It’s from the Narragansett Indian word msickquatash, which means “boiled whole kernels of corn.”

Sundae: The first official documentation of this sweet treat dates back to an 1892 Ithaca Daily Journal advertisement for a pharmacy’s new ice cream specialty known as the Cherry Sunday. Legend says the pharmacist topped a scoop of vanilla ice cream with cherry syrup and a candied cherry to please a reverend who stopped in for his weekly post-church treat.

The list could go on, but I’ve run out of space!

And I really want to go try my hand at some Cullen skink with a sundae for dessert!

Here’s one of my all-time favorite desserts that I love to make and take for special occasions. The name says it all!