Intriguing Histories of Some of Your Favorite Bohemian Bull Dishes
There’s some foods that never get old and we find ourselves eating throughout our lives. When you think of these foods you may think of celebrations, comfort or just a delicious meal or snack that always hits the spot. After all, who doesn’t love gooey mac and cheese or a satisfying black bean burger? Not only do we have these beloved favorites on the Bohemian Bull menu, but we like to take these favorites to the next level by putting our own twist on them.
Have you ever wondered where some of your favorite dishes originated though? These well-known dishes have interesting histories that may surprise you. Keep reading for some insight into how these dishes came to be and how we take them and make them our own.
Mac & Cheese
When you think of classic comfort foods, mac and cheese is probably one of the dishes you imagine. This cheesy meal is a staple in many American homes and makes for the perfect side, entree or even quick bite. While many of us have spent a lot of our lives eating (and loving) mac and cheese, the history of this combination isn’t as well known. To start with the history of mac and cheese, we have to talk about one of its main components: macaroni.
While most people would assume that pasta originated in Italy, it actually has roots in early Palestine. Eventually though, pasta was introduced to Italy via Sicily. The word macaroni actually comes from the Sicilian term for forcefully kneading dough - which was a must when making early pasta that often took days to create. Food historians often point to a 13th century Italian cookbook as housing what appears to be an early form of mac and cheese. While this recipe wouldn’t look like today’s dish, it did bring together pasta and cheese.
It wasn’t until the late 1700s that the first ‘modern’ recipe resembling mac and cheese was circulated in an English cookbook. This recipe called for macaroni to be mixed with a bechamel sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan and baked until bubbly, which sounds pretty close to the gooey dish we know and love today. Macaroni and cheese remained popular in England and spread to aristocratic families throughout Europe. Eventually, the dish was introduced to America by wealthy travelers that fell in love with the recipe and were eager to bring it back home. You might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that this dish became something for the everyday family. Up until factory production was possible, macaroni and cheese was really only enjoyed by the elite since macaroni and the necessary cheeses weren’t readily available.
While it’s hard to imagine a world in which only a select few could enjoy this creamy dish, it’s since become an American classic. At Bohemian Bull, we’ve taken this iconic, melty meal and given it a twist. On our menu you’ll find Fried Mac & Cheese as an appetizer which ditches the need for a spoon and gives you all the creamy, melty, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese with a crispy twist. Our mac and cheese bites are lightly fried and come with a truffle mayonnaise - different from the 13th century recipe, but tastier than ever.
Black Bean Burger
Today vegetarians, vegans and even meat-enthusiasts have a plethora of options to enjoy when it comes to veggie burgers, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, if you ordered a “veggie burger” in the 1970s you were likely to receive a hamburger with vegetables on top, much different from today. Compared to other staples within our diets, veggie and black bean burgers are relatively new, but this creation has come a long way in flavor and popularity since its early days. While veggie and black bean burgers are relatively popular now, it wasn’t until 1969 that recipes for a “vegetable burger” began to appear.
Unlike other dishes that have a more complicated history, the veggie burger can actually be traced to a specific inventor: Gregory Sams. Sams released the VegeBurger in 1982, introducing a new product that hadn't been seen at the time.
Before Sams began producing this satisfyingly meatless creation, he was developing other vegetarian meals at his restaurant in the UK. Though vegetarianism has been around since ancient Egypt, it wasn’t a well-known diet across Europe and America throughout the 1960s and 70s. Instead, it was seen as something only hippies did. That being said, Sams had spent much of his life being the only vegetarian in the room, so in the late 1960s he opened SEED, a macrobiotic restaurant serving up holistic vegetarian dishes in London. It was at this restaurant where Sams created his first meatless patty using seitan, aduki beans and oat flakes. Over the course of a few months, Sams perfected the recipe into something that could be sold in stores and enjoyed by people in the comfort of their own home. While the patty was different from what consumers would be used to seeing today, coming in a mix that required home chefs to rehydrate and form into patties, it was still a big success. By 1985 the VegeBurger was a popular item in stores across the natural foods market. Soon after the success of Sams’ VegeBurger other big players in the vegetarian burger space followed.
Today, you’ll find our version of the humble veggie burger on Bohemian Bull’s menu. Our Hippie Black Bean Burger offers people of all diets a delicious, layered bite filled with freshness. Our black bean burgers are made fresh in house and come topped with crunchy, vibrant veggies, like pickled red onions and a juicy tomato. We also top our Hippie Black Bean Burger with a garlicky crema that adds a creamy tang to the dish.
Whether you’re in the mood for a centuries-old, creamy classic like mac and cheese or a fairly new, healthy, veggie-packed patty, we have options to satisfy you. Our dishes showcase these classics while featuring the freshness and flavor we’re known for.
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