Name Changes of Foods

It's not just dictators who like to change the names of things. Regular people do it too. Usually for money. Sometimes, we even change the names of things that we eat to make them sound more appetizing. In that spirit, here are some foods whose names have changed throughout history.

1. The Slimehead

One day I showed up to my family dinner table in the early 1990s to be greeted with a new and strange dish: orange roughy. It tasted okay I guess. What I didn't know was that the orange roughy was originally known as the slimehead. The name was changed in the late 1970s to make it more palatable. And it worked. I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have eaten anything called slimehead. I'm also pretty certain that the name change was the worst thing to ever happen to the slimehead.

You see, the thing about slimehead is that people originally thought they had a lifespan of 30 years. But it turns out that they can live for up to 200 years. They don't reach even reach sexual maturity until 23–40 years of age. This led to a huge amount of overfishing, as slimehead stocks take approximately forever to regenerate. Within 20 years of the opening of commercial fisheries in New Zealand, most stocks were depleted.

Mmmm.... tasty slimehead

2. The Sablefish

The sablefish is found in muddy sea beds in the North Pacific. It is also delicious.

But even the sweet and savory taste of a miso-glazed sablefish isn't enough to entice the finicky consumers of North America. We need something familiar. Something that we've heard of before. Not something yucky and new.

And thus the "black cod" was born. Never mind that sablefish bears no relation to actual cod. It tastes kind of like cod, I guess. It's the different, but the same. No wonder black cod is a staple of just about every Asian fusion restaurant that has ever existed.

3. Patagonian Toothfish

Eww.. a fish that's made of teeth. That's gross.

Chilean sea bass? That sounds like a fish I know. Plus it's exotic. I'd have no problem paying $20/pound for something like that.

4. The Chinese Gooseberry

Chinese food is delicious. But there are certain things that Chinese people eat which give Westerners the heebie-jeebies. Here, are, a, few, examples. So when someone asks you if you want a Chinese gooseberry, you're maybe a little unsure of how to answer. Thus, in an effort to juice sales, the good people of New Zealand started calling it the "kiwifruit". And it worked! Since 1970, New Zealand's sales of kiwifruit have increased by over 20,000%.

5. Rapeseed Oil

Because cooking with canola oil doesn't make you a sex offender...

Beautiful, awkwardly-named fields of yellow blossoms

6. Whore’s Eggs

Yes, that is what some people used to call sea urchin.

Saving The Planet

Did you know that bluefin tuna used to be considered unappealing? That started to change in the 1960s. Today, a single bluefin tuna can sell for up to $3.1 million. Imagine that someone put a $3.1 million bounty on your head. Your life expectancy would be very short, no matter where you were hiding. And now you can understand why bluefin tuna are threatened with extinction. But there's something we can do about it. Petition for a name change! I hereby recommend that bluefin tuna be renamed to the Atlantic Snotbutt. Who's with me!

+16
Level 56
Aug 10, 2020
When you click on a link that leads you to deer penis
+2
Level 61
Aug 10, 2020
The only one I’ve eaten is thousand year old egg (it’s pretty good). I’ve heard of some other disgusting foods that Chinese people eat. Pork brains/livers/blood/stomach, bullfrog, chicken feet/head, stinky tofu, all kinds of fermented and pickled stuff, pigeon, quail, quail eggs (not bad), and other weird body parts, to name a few.
+11
Level 56
Aug 10, 2020
You forgot to mention Bat Soup
+3
Level 44
Aug 11, 2020
Thousand year old egg is okay except for the yolk (which sucks in my opinion). The weirdest thing I've eaten is probably chicken gizzard (its stomach), but I've also seen my parents having pork blood, beef intestine/intestine lining, and also chicken feet (which honestly doesn't seem that weird to me but I'm also Chinese so)
+1
Level 61
Aug 12, 2020
Yeah chicken feet isn't that weird. I've seen pork blood, liver, and intestines at my local Chinese supermarket. The deli there also has fried pigeon.
+5
Level 69
Aug 10, 2020
Rocky Mountain Oysters.
+3
Level 70
Aug 10, 2020
Haven't tried these, despite being offered several times. And I don't plan to.
+2
Level 48
Aug 10, 2020
Very interesting! And yes, I'm with you on the name change!
+3
Level 71
Aug 10, 2020
Here in the UK we have "Black Pudding" but in Germany the same thing is called "Blutwurst". Its actually Blood Sausage, i.e. a sausage that is filled with blood mixed with a thickener (often oats or oatmeal" Sounds disgusting but is very tasty.
+1
Level ∞
Aug 10, 2020
Your comment reminds me of this ESPN commercial.

But black pudding is delicious! I had it just about every day for breakfast on my last trip to the UK.

+1
Level 51
Aug 11, 2020
Personally I didnt really like it when i went there
+1
Level 66
Aug 11, 2020
I ate it once for breakfast when I was holidaying in Windermere. I quite liked it though it was pretty salty.
+3
Level 71
Aug 11, 2020
There is a huge difference in quality as well, I love the stuff and even eat it uncooked. Supermarket BP is OK but for the best it has to be a local butcher's own made.
+3
Level 71
Aug 11, 2020
I think sablefish actually sounds better than black cod. But I get why they changed it anyway.
+1
Level 75
Aug 13, 2020
It does sound better. However, for me, and many people I know, I already know what Sable fish is and would never order it. Mostly because of smoked sable that I find quite disgusting. (I know others love it). I do love cod, so seeing black cod on a menu would intrigue me. Thanks to this blog, I will not be duped.
+1
Level 66
Aug 11, 2020
I still call it rapeseed oil!
+2
Level 73
Aug 11, 2020
Boiled potatoes, quark, a slice of butter, then a nice splash of rapeseed oil on top, and I don't really care what it is called :)
+1
Level 80
Aug 11, 2020
Balut is from the Philippines not China, and should be renamed to Fetid Duck Fetus.
+1
Level 53
Aug 11, 2020
On the topic of food, Americans call it arugula, Brits call or rocket.
+1
Level 71
Aug 11, 2020
And it's crisps not chips. Chips are with Fish from the takeaway :)
+2
Level 44
Aug 11, 2020
The slimehead image is absolutely horrifying, thanks for providing me with nightmares. Honestly, rapeseed oil just has an unfortunate name, it's just another oil at the end of the day. The French word for grated is rapé, which is also unfortunate
+1
Level 61
Aug 12, 2020
Fromage râpé, anyone?
+6
Level 56
Aug 12, 2020
Friend: So what did you eat for dinner?

Me: You know, just some whore's eggs, deer penis and slimehead cooked with rapeseed oil.

Friend: -_- what the heck

+1
Level 47
Aug 15, 2020
In the UK we still call it rapeseed oil, but a lot of vegetable oil in supermarkets is actually rapeseed oil and is cheaper
+4
Level 48
Aug 19, 2020
Yeah, driving past a field of canola plants in bloom with a pair of fairly elderly English folks a while back, I was surprised (and rather amused) to hear one of them remark with no apparent irony whatsoever, "What a beautiful field of rape!" I was aware the plants were called "rape" in the UK, and I've bought "rapeseed oil" at the market more than once, but it was still a sentence that fell oddly on my American ear.
+2
Level 68
Sep 19, 2020
I always loved that food can be named so that it becomes rare, gourmet and expensive sounding. "Tonight we are serving grilled prawns." translates to diner talk "Here's some shrimp, y'all." Other variants: Caviar or Fish Eggs. Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans. Why eat hazelnuts when you can eat filberts?🥜
+1
Level 53
Sep 28, 2020
It's true that some foods are similar, but they're not the same. Caviar, for example, is specifically the roe of a sturgeon, while fish eggs are the eggs of any fish. Prawns and shrimp are also different.
+1
Level 67
Oct 5, 2020
Also blood orange → red orange.