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13 Foods That Were Invented by Accident

If you love Popsicles, beer, or ice cream cones, you have one of these accidental foodies to thank for stumbling upon them!

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beer close-up, backlit by golden Sun Gmarosso/Shutterstock


The earliest reference of beer in history is from the sixth century BC in Sumeria, according to Smithsonian. No one is 100 per cent sure, but most people believe beer was invented by accident during bread making. Horst Dornbusch, a beer consultant and author, told Smithsonian that someone was probably making bread outdoors before stopping for rainfall. Then, after forgetting about the wet dough, they came back to a fermented liquid.

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Corn-flakes background and texture, cornflake cereal box for morning breakfast.nokkaew/Shutterstock

Corn Flakes

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, operated a sanitorium in Battle Creek, Michigan back in the late 1890s. While looking for foods to feed their patients that were part of their strictly vegetarian diet, the duo accidentally left wheatberry cooking in the kitchen, causing the kernels to flake. They continued to experiment with their newly discovered breakfast food, eventually experimenting with corn and creating the Corn Flakes we know and love today.

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Chocolate-chip cookies up closeDylan P/Shutterstock

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The creation of the chocolate chip cookie is extremely relatable. Ruth Graves Wakefield was making her signature cookies, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. She improvised and broke up a Nestle chocolate bar instead, hoping it would melt. Instead, she accidentally invented chocolate chip cookies.

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Raisins close-up backgroundkenary820/Shutterstock


Back in 2000 BC, people found dried grapes on vines. These raisins were used for decoration, before becoming popular trading items, prizes at sporting events, and even medicine.

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swirled yogurtInes Behrens-Kunkel/Shutterstock


If you’ve ever let a milk container sit out for too long, you’re kind of on your way to making yogurt. That’s the theory many people believe about yogurt’s accidental creation, at least. At some point, raw milk was exposed to bacteria in warm climates, causing the milk’s fermentation into a creamy yogurt.

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waffle ice cream cone isolated on white backgroundStas Malyarevsky/Shutterstock

Ice Cream Cones

Technically, Italo Marchiony first produced the ice cream cone and had a patent in December 1903. However, Ernest A. Hamwi also deserves some credit for the invention. In the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Hamwi sold a crispy waffle-like pastry right next to an ice cream vendor. The ice cream vendor ran out of dishes, so Hamwi rolled up his waffle in the shape of a cone, and the rest is history.

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Food, cold sweet desert, summertime pleasure concept. Colorful ice cream slushy smoothie machineVoyagerix/Shutterstock


Dairy Queen owner Omar Knedilk had a broken soda machine. So one day in the late 1950s, he put a few bottles of soda in the freezer resulting in a frozen slushy-like drink. People loved it and started specifically asking for that frozen drink. He eventually built his own machine to combine and freeze a flavor mix, water, and carbon dioxide before his product was sold to convenience stores and eventually, 7-Eleven.

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Close up of picnic party in the park drink table with large pitcher and tops of glass bottles filled with ice cold pink lemonade and fresh lemons with yellow swirled strawsTeri Virbickis/Shutterstock

Pink Lemonade

Plain lemonade dates back to the arrival of European immigrants in the 17th century. But pink lemonade has a more eclectic background. According to Smithsonian, the earliest mentions of pink lemonade also mention traveling circuses. One theory is that Henry E. Allot invented pink lemonade by accidentally dropping red-coloured cinnamon candies into his mix sold at a circus. The other, gross theory is that Pete Conklin ran out of water for his lemonade stand—and used the dirty water that cleaned pink-coloured tights as a stand-in.

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Hot chicken wings served in the restaurant of MaltaVeronika Kovalenko/Shutterstock

Nashville Hot Chicken

This famous dish stems from revenge. Thornton Prince III came home late one night after galavanting, but his girlfriend had enough of him and wanted to teach him a lesson. She prepared his favourite chicken dish with lots of extra cayenne and spices. Ironically, Prince loved the heat, made a few tweaks to the recipe, and sold it at his BBQ Chicken Shack.

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Champagne glass with strawberries inside close up with many other glassesRobert W. Becker/Shutterstock


Although not verifiable, most people credit Dom Perignon with the creation of champagne. The Benedictine monk was responsible for overseeing wine production at the abbey. He was asked to get rid of bubbles forming in a few of the wines. He couldn’t, and instead tasted the bubbly drink. Perignon reportedly said, “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!

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Ice cream Venice_vanich/Shutterstock

Dippin’ Dots

There are about 2,000 Dippin’ Dots in a cup. That sounds like a lot, but the mini frozen ice cream bits are tiny. Curt Jones spent his days working in a lab developing flash freezing, but at night he applied his knowledge to his homemade ice cream making. According to Thrillist, he simply aimed his liquid nitrogen at his homemade ice cream creating the dots.

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Close up of frozen fresh fruit watermelon and kiwi popsicles sitting on white plateTeri Virbickis/Shutterstock


Frank Epperson was 11 years-old when he invented the Popsicle. After playing with a mixture of water and powdered soda mix, Epperson left his concoction outside. It froze overnight with his wooden stir stick lodged inside. He tasted it and knew he had something amazing on his hands. Epperson sold his “Epsicles” around the neighbourhood and eventually at amusement parks. As an adult, he patented his product. But his kids couldn’t get used to the name, calling them “Pop’sicles.” Unfortunately, Epperson couldn’t afford to keep the business, sold it, and later said he never reaped the financial reward of his creation.

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Worcestershire Sauce

Lord Sandys of Worcester, England was craving his favourite Indian sauce after returning home from governing Bengal, India. He asked drug store owners John Lea and William Perrins to come up with something similar. The pair made too much of the mixture and decided not to sell it in their store because of the fishy smell. They kept it in their cellar for two years before rediscovering, bottling, and selling it to customers.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest