Eggs Benedict has long been a favorite breakfast and brunch treat, but how did it become a breakfast tradition? Although everyone agrees that a traditional Eggs Benedict features an English muffin, Canadian bacon or ham, a poached egg, and Hollandaise sauce, but this history of this famed dish is up for debate. Here is a look at some of the potential inventors of Eggs Benedict.
Delmonico’s Restaurant is the first restaurant that opened in the U.S., and it may also be ground zero for the invention of Eggs Benedict. According to the lore of the dish, sometimes in the 1860s, a regular customer at Delmonico’s wanted to eat something different for lunch and asked the chef for his ideas. Chef Charles Ranhofer suggested a muffin cut in half and toasted, a piece of cooked ham and poached egg for each slice, and hollandaise sauce to top it. In honor of the customer, Mrs. LeGrand Benedick, he named the dish Eggs la Benedick. He published the recipe for Eggs la Benedick in an 1894 cookbook called The Epicurean.
In 1942, The New Yorker published an interview with a man named Lemuel Benedict in which Benedict told a story about a visit to the Waldorf he made in 1894. Benedict said he was hungover at the time, and looking for a cure, ordered toast, two poached eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce. The chef liked the dish so much that he added it to the breakfast and lunch menus at the Waldorf, using Canadian bacon and English muffins instead of bacon and toast.
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book
The legendary Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, which was published in 1896, contains a recipe for Eggs la Benedict. This recipe called for English muffins, cold ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise diluted with cream.
You don’t have to solve the mystery of the origins of Eggs Benedict to enjoy it at Winona’s Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO, alongside the world-famous cinnamon rolls and breakfast and lunch specials. Call Winona’s at (970) 879-2483 to learn more.