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12 Foods That Have Been Named All Wrong

So many foods have been named all wrong causing confusion for cooks and hungry folks alike. We get to the bottom of 12 food misnomers.

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Homemade boston cream pie, piece of cake filled with a custard and frosted with chocolate;Shutterstock / istetiana

Boston Cream Pie

The official Massachusetts state dessert, Boston cream pie is two layers of spongy yellow cake with a layer of vanilla pudding or custard in between. It’s then frosted with a rich chocolate fondant—not a pie at all!

If you don’t want to commit to the whole pie—we mean cake—bake this cookie version instead.

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Sweetbread with bacon, lemon puree, cippolini onions and tarragon is shown.Shutterstock / Graham Hughes

Sweetbreads

This one is not for the squeamish among us. It sounds like a loaf of something sugary (bring on this easy banana nut bread!), but sweetbreads are actually the thymus glands and pancreas of an animal, usually a calf or lamb. The dish is a delicacy in France.

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White chocolate pieces on gray background.Photo: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

White Chocolate

One of the biggest lies of all time, white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa powder—the ingredient that makes chocolate chocolate. Instead, it’s made with cocoa butter (which comes from the bean), milk, sugar and other flavorings. The news won’t stop us from enjoying it in this white chocolate fudge, though!

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Mincemeat tarts on baking sheetShutterstock / Brett Holmes

Mincemeat

Mincemeat is a food even vegetarians (and vegans) can enjoy because it isn’t meat at all. Instead, mincemeat is a combination of chopped nuts, dried fruits and spices, like clove, cinnamon and allspice. Sometimes it even includes a dash of brandy or rum.

Make your own mincemeat pie at home and enjoy!

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Easy Corned Beef and CabbageEasy Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef

There’s no corn involved in the making of corned beef. This traditional Irish dish is prepared by curing a beef brisket in a salty brine until tender. Eat your roast with a side of stewed cabbage and potatoes to feel like you’re on the Emerald Isle.

Learn how to make it from scratch here.

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Taste of Home

Pork Butt


You may be turned off by the name (after all, who wants to bite into the behind of a pig?). But pork butt, often used when making classic Southern barbecue, comes from the hog’s shoulder.

Cook it low and slow at home for great pulled pork.

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Taste of Home

Ladyfingers


Obviously, you aren’t eating a human hand, but the name isn’t very helpful in determining what this treat is. Often the foundation for classic desserts like tiramisu, ladyfingers are long, delicate biscuits with the texture of a sponge cake.

Put them to use in these tiramisu recipes.

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Square of hot milk cake topped with whipped cream on a plate with several berries lined up along one sideTaste of Home

Cool Whip

Ah, Cool Whip. A favorite of grandmas everywhere. But that dollop you’d find on your slice of pumpkin pie or mixed into an icebox cake isn’t actually whipped cream. It’s just an imitation made with water, corn syrup, vegetable oil and a tiny bit of skim milk.

Use it in this classic strawberry pretzel dessert.

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Taste of Home

Peanuts


Though the name says it, everyone’s favorite salty stadium snack are not nuts. They’re legumes, aka seeds that grow inside of pods like beans, chickpeas and lentils. Fun fact: A lot of the most common “nuts” are actually fruit seeds in disguise including almonds, pistachios and cashews.

Get your peanut fix with these peanut butter recipes.

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Homemade Powdered Sugar Puppy Chow Muddy Buddies to EatShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Puppy Chow

No, we’re not talking about the kibble you feed to Fido every morning. Puppy chow (also known as muddy buddies) is a snack mix made by tossing Chex cereal with peanut butter, melted chocolate and powedered sugar. Basically, it’s heaven in a bowl.

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Chinese Water Chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis)Shutterstock / sunipix55

Water Chestnuts

Here’s another food pretending to be a nut. You’re probably familiar with water chestnuts as an ingredient in your favorite Chinese takeout stirfry. It got its name because of its resemblance to a chestnut but the crunchy bite is a vegetable that grows underwater in marshes.

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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy 120399Taste of Home

Chicken Fried Steak

There’s no poultry to be found in this classic comfort food. Chicken fried steak is a slab of cube steak that is dipped in bread crumbs and fried up in a pan (don’t forget to smother it in gravy, too!). Why the name? You follow a similar process to frying chicken.

Find the recipe here.

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.

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