Oh, James W. Denver, you lucky dude. How many people get not only an omelet named after them, but also a wheel clamp and a steak?
In 1858, when land speculator William Larimer renamed the St. Charles settlement at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platt
e River after Denver, then the governor of the Kansas Territory, who could have guessed that his name would so easily transfer to a variety of modern-day items (and one celebrity) that have nothing to do with him or each other?
Who could have known that drivers around the world would curse this city, while fans of folk-rock would sing its praises?
Mr. Denver visited his namesake city only twice, but he is remembered with several noteworthy honors — including the Denver steak, a little-known fabrication from the underblade of the chuck that's feature in this week's cover story, "A Cut Above." The steak is not only the fourth-most-tender cut in a steer, but also the most heavily marbled. That translates to a sweet, buttery taste that has a few Denver chefs (but not many others) using the cut regularly when they butcher their own beef – and you can also find it at many Walmart locations.
Here are five more, not-quite-as-tasty Denver namesakes:
5) Denver, the Last Dinosaur
This French-made cartoon aired for two seasons in the United States. starting in 1988. Voiced by Patrick Fraley, who was better known for his work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Denver was a Corythosaurus do-gooder who was always trying to get the real (animated) people who took care of him to halt high-tech progress and play nice with other species.
4) The Denver Omelet
Generally made with ham, bell peppers, onions and cheese, this dish has history murkier than an egg white. One theory is that Chinese cooks who came to work on the railroad made a variation of egg foo yung on bread for workers.
Another is that it came from a sandwich popular with cowboys, who piled scrambled eggs with peppers and onions onto bread to carry with them on cattle drives. In his 1972 book American Cooking, James Beard favors the former, because railroading influenced so much of Western cuisine at the time. "It seems to have been called the Western until the railroads made it to Utah, and then folks in Utah apparently renamed it the Denver," Beard writes. He also includes a recipe, but says there’s “no true recipe for this.” Still, his is a lot better than some of the ones you’ll find in greasy spoons across the country.
3) The Denver Boot
Far less appetizing is this bane of traffic scofflaws everywhere, the Denver boot, which is now marketed around the world by Clancy Systems. Originally called an "auto immobilizer" when Denver Symphony Orchestra violinist Frank Marugg came up with the ingenious, ingenious invention in 1944, the name was changed to Denver boot after the Mile High City officially adopted it. According to an article in Colorado Heritage, History Colorado’s magazine, when the Denver boot was first used in Denver, the city collected $18,000 in one month. That’s a lot of Denver omelets.
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2) The Denver Bulldog
An an odd cocktail concoction of 1 jigger vodka, 1 jigger Kahlua, 2/3 cup of cream and 1/3 cup of Sprite, usually served on the rocks, the Denver Bulldog is a variation on the Colorado Bulldog – itself a variation on a White Russian. We prefer the statewide version, a tastier mixture that include s the vodka and cream, but substitutes Coke for the Sprite and adds a nice pick-me-up of coffee liqueur, as well.
1) John Denver
The late singer-songwriter John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in Roswell, New Mexico, but he so loved the Mile High City that he took on its name, and the state responded in kind by naming him poet laureate in 1974. But instead of staying in Denver, the singer went Rocky Mountain higher and lived in Aspen most of his life. John Aspen just wouldn’t have been as catchy, right?
Bonus! According to the Urban Dictionary, if someone "kicks you in the Denvers," you've just been kicked in the nuts. In perhaps a related development, if you're "seeing Denver," you're making a booty call to one of your friends with benefits.