A group of friends sit at a table and laugh.

15 Fun Food Names

Food is a way of life. Actually, it’s a requirement for life. Thus, food literally is life. And since we’ve been eating food since, well, the dawn of man, we humans have come up with about as many ways to combine ingredients into a meal as there are people on earth. Some of these combinations have stuck and gained popularity in different regions or the world over to become the dishes we know and love today.

When a dish becomes commonplace in a culture and begins being prepared by many people in different kitchens from shared recipes, it needs a name. Usually these names are very blunt and to-the-point, like beef stew. But sometimes, the cooks get creative and give a dish a name a name that’s either silly or just downright fun to say. Here’s a short list of fun food names that will give guests at your next dinner party something to smile about.

1. Spotted Dick

Spotted dick waiting to be consumed.

I used to work at a store that sold spotted dick in a can. There was always an accompanying look of shame any time a customer asked for it. In fact, I don’t think a single stock associate ever came and went without making a joke or pun about spotted dick.

Invented around 1850, spotted dick has become a very common British dessert. The spotted part refers to the dried fruits speckled throughout (typically raisins) and the dick just comes from another word for pudding. How you ask? Pudding was also said as puddick, so it is in fact a shortened name.

2. Bangers & Mash

A pot of bangers and mash sits ready to be served.

Traditionally just mashed potatoes, sausage, & onion gravy, this dish just has a ring to it that’s fun to say. The mash is obviously referring to the potato portion of the meal, while “bangers” has a bit more of an interesting story surrounding the renaming of the sausage.

This English pub favorite gained popularity during World War I when meats were becoming more and more challenging to come by. Creativity had to take place so they began to fill the sausage casings up with contents other than meats. One of these fillings included water, which made the faux sausages commonly explode. Hence the name banger.

3. Lady Fingers

A glass jar full of lady fingers on its side.

While this fun food name sounds a little cannibalistic, a Lady Finger is actually a sweet cookie from Italy and France. They are named because of the delicate sponge cake they’re made from and the shape, which I guess Italians and French folks agreed were similar to a lady’s fingers. (Let’s call them lady fingers. I want to feed my children lady fingers. Yum, yum, yum…)

Accounts of this dainty dessert date back to 900 years ago in France.

4. Rocky Mountain Oysters

So the name of this food might be a little less silly than the actual substance being consumed here. Practically the stuff of urban legends, I remember hearing jokes about Rocky Mountian Oysters as a kid. And when someone finally told me it’s a fancy name for cooked bull testicles, I thought I was being trolled – Mexican Donkey Show style. But, it turns out Rocky Mountain Oysters are legit.

Some of the earlier settlers of the West in the Rocky Mountains didn’t have much and needed to stretch their hunting spoils out further. So naturally, these pioneers started consuming the less commonly eaten parts of the animal. And one part they deemed nutritious and delicious was the good ol’ testicles.

Though the name Rocky Mountain Oysters usually refers to fried bull testicles, the style of cooking nor animal they come from matters when it comes to this catchy moniker. Today, Rocky Mountain Oysters are a novel delicacy with a festival in Montana (and many other states) that celebrates them every year.

5. Boston Cream Pie

A boston cream pie sits on a table.

Woah there, Boston – I’m trying to make this a family friendly website! Okay, okay, maybe the name Boston Cream Pie isn’t that silly if your head’s not in the gutter.

Typically these days we see way more Boston Cream Pie donuts than the original dessert, which is in fact also not a pie – it’s a cake. Back when Boston Cream Pie exploded onto the scene in 1856, pie was just more of a common dessert… so the name stuck like batter.

6. Welsh Rarebit

Welsh rarebit on a plate.

This funny food name kinda looks like rabbit at first glance. Wait, turns out rarebit is another way to say rabbit. Kind of strange considering the dish Welsh Rarebit is just cheese and toast.

Caws Pobi was the initial name of this welsh dish around the 1500’s. It was first recorded being called Welsh Rabbit in 1725 as a joke that caught on. During those times, it was common for the English to give ridiculous names to things to make them sound higher class as a joke. This whole time I thought they were being snobby, turns out they might be laughing with us…

7. Rump Roast

Freshly cooked rump roast in a pan ready to be served.

Straightforward and to the point. You’re eating an animals rump, their rump, their lovely shaggy rump. Rump roast is typically considered a cheaper cut of meat due to toughness.

8. Gherkins

A pile of gherkins sit.

Not too different from the American pickle but much more fun to say, when it comes to Gherkins region definitely plays a role in the name. Technically, a pickle is any vegetable pickled in brine. Since the cucumber is regionally North America’s most pickled food we call them “pickles”. Our British counterparts prefer the term “gherkin” after the variety of cucumber that they most commonly pickle.

But wait, there’s more: traditionally a gherkin comes from a smaller species of cucumber which makes them taste a little different than the standard pickling cucumber.

So, to answer the question is a gherkin the same as a pickle? Yes and no, but getting caught in a gherkin sounds more fun if you ask me.

9. Mahi Mahi

Freshly grilled mahi mahi on a plate with a salad.

What can I say, I just love double-named food. Mahi mahi is said to mean strong in Hawaiian. This tender white fish is also referred to as Dolphin Fish in some regions (even though mahi mahi is in no way related to the swimming mammal). Luckily, the U.S. caught on to the mahi mahi name for this protein. Might sound a little brutal ordering dolphin at a fine restaurant…

10. Hush Puppy

Hush puppies sit in a basket.

This food got its silly name as Hush Puppies are rumored to do just that: quiet your howling dog. While cooking, you toss your dog one of these balls of fried cornbread if they are howling for food. In my experience with this method, the howling may stop but then the begging will begin.

Still typically served with fried fish, before being called hush puppies, they were called red horse bread. Red horse was a fish that was commonly served with them.

The footwear that shares the same name was indeed inspired by the food. Hush Puppies (shoes) got their name after the creator of the shoes heard the story of quieting your dogs while eating the dish himself. So comfy and quiet they will hush your puppies, he thought and the footwear known for soothing many a barking dog was born.

11. Head Cheese

Slabs of headcheese sit on a plate.

This medieval classic is one of the few that actually lives up to its weird and somewhat creepy name. Considered a delicacy throughout the European region, head cheese does in fact contain jellied pig’s head. Some renditions occasionally consist of other pig parts such as feet and tongue, yet either way, has no cheese in it. Maybe whoever invented head cheese thought they were doing the meat a favor by adding something that actually sounds good to the title?

More recent concoctions include gelatin made in the same fashion as Jell-O or gummies. Still boiled down pig knuckles, but a little less disturbing than chomping on straight up head.

12. Spam

Cream drizzled spam on a plate next to an over easy egg.

Dubbed as mystery meat. Used as a slang term for unwanted emails. The ultimate ironic cuisine. “Spam” was a spin-off of the word ham to imply pork as its main ingredient (though some believe that is up for debate).

Spam was created by Hormel in 1937 and is said to have been used to feed soldiers in World War II. Strangely loved in Hawaii, Spam is sometimes incorporated into a meal as some sort of delicacy.

Regardless of whether you love or resent the Spam, you have to admit, this is a stone cold American classic.

13. Couscous

A bowl of couscous sits on a table.

Popular in the Maghrib (a Muslim-named region spanning from Alexandria to the Atlantic Ocean), this nice little tasty side just has that double-name ring to it that I love. Earlier accounts of couscous show that it might not have been completely unique to the Arabian region. But, history that long ago is a little difficult to nail and to this day the pearl-like pasta is a staple in the the Middle Eastern world.

Couscous always makes for a fine addition to a meal, especially when served in a bowl with other entrees. Though sometimes its tininess makes for difficult picking up with a fork…

14. Shirako

Shirako sushi on a plate.

At first it just sounds like another Japanese sushi dish if you don’t know the language, but the definition of this one is a little questionable. Shirako translated in english means white children, and is a piece of sushi that contains a full sperm sac of a fish. Woah!

I thought eating fugu (pufferfish) was a wild take on sushi. In fact, I think I would risk the poisonous and deadly consequences of eating ill prepared pufferfish before I try shirako. Nonetheless, it is just a male version of caviar.

15. Toad In The Hole

Toad in the hole

Another silly British-named dish that contains no sign of the animal mentioned in the name. A product of hard times during the 1700’s to get the most out of what you had, Toad In The Hole was originally prepared with any meats or parts of the animal you could get a hold of mixed with gravy (unlike being prepared with sausages like the dish is known for today).

Maybe somewhere along the way someone put toad meat in it, but that’s not why it’s called that. Toad In The Hole is said to look like toads waiting for grub in a hole. Okay, I’m still not convinced.

The List Goes On

A pig head sits on a plate net to various choices.

This is just a short list of foods that are fun to say. Some are light-hearted, some make you wonder why, some are only funny names, and others explain right in the name look out for me!

The compilations of strangely-named foods across the world is countless. Not to mention in all the times of desperation, when humor was a way of forgetting, I’m sure there is a treasure trove of funny named foods that forever have gotten lost in history.
















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