History Fans Will Want To Know About This New Food Show

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, South Dakotans love to nosh on a meaty bar snack that was first brought over from Crimea by a German-Russian immigrant. Time has the 411 on the origin of nachos and how a group of famished shoppers spurred a man named Ignacio Anaya to invent the iconic dish. And, if you're looking for fun facts about Malort, Chicago's deeply-divisive municipal spirit, Thrillist can help you out.

All this is to say that American foodways are often a wild, weird, and fascinating reflection of our nation's melting pot heritage. Just when we think we know all there is to know about pizza or burgers or hot dogs, a new wrinkle emerges that alters our perception of how foods reach our shores, menus, and plates, how they are altered by taste and time, and what that can tell us about our rich, diverse, cultural heritage.

"Messy History of American Food" is a new show from streaming channel discovery+ set to further plumb the annals of American gustatory history in search of the unvarnished and little-known truth behind our favorite foods (per The Futon Critic).

A bowlful of history

In the first episode, "Messy History of American Food" opens the box on breakfast stalwart cereal, uncovering a past much deeper than the cartoon tigers and berry-blue ghosts used to sway the opinions of kids, says WRKR. While the show is not yet out, the station situated in America's cereal birthplace, Battle Creek, Michigan, smartly speculates that the religious, vegetarian, and health-conscious origins of Kellogg's and Post will likely be explored.

It should come as no surprise that a show like "Messy History" will gladly feature foods with controversial, at-times disputed legacies. Take the hamburger, a seemingly innocuous food enjoyed by many Americans. But under that bun is a mess of claimants as the creator of the hamburger, explains What's Cooking America, from Louis Lassen in New Haven, Connecticut to Tulsa, Oklahoma's Oscar Weber Bilby. Still another is featured on "Messy History." We Are Green Bay says that production crews swung by Seymour, Wisconsin to learn more about local legend Hamburger Charlie who is said to have smashed a ground beef patty thin and served it between two slices of bread to fairgoers, along the way creating the basic template for what we know today.

"Messy History of American Food" begins its six-episode run on discovery+ on May 11, 2022, with two episodes debuting each week thereafter. In addition to cereal and burgers, episodes will explore soda, chocolate, bread, and spicy bar favorite, chicken wings.