Food has always divided classes. There’s been a huge difference in the food the poor consume and the rich enjoy. And the difference has been so stark that we associate food with people’s financial status. 

What many of us don’t know is these labels are just temporary. They change over time and what was once considered poor people’s food is now relished by the rich. Like these.

1. Lobster

Back in the mid-19th century, lobsters were considered pests. People didn’t find them visually appealing as compared to fish and eating them was a sign of poverty. They were served to prisoners 

After the invention of trains Lobster actually became one of the most popular canned products on the market. Today it’s a rare delicacy that is also quite expensive. 

2. Quinoa

Quinoa was just a cheap grain for poor Peruvians some 20 years ago. Wealthy people didn’t want to eat it because of the associated stigma. Its popularity and value increased only after people discovered the immense health benefits. Today, it is used in the preparation of fancy salads and meals.

3. Garlic

Ancient Egyptians were among the first people apart from Indians who used garlic for its medicinal properties. The Egyptians apparently fed their slaves with garlic to make them strong and capable of doing more work. Its monetary value increased much later when immigrants from Italy, Germany and Poland popularised garlic for its taste.


4. Oysters

Oysters were once present in abundance everywhere. They were so common and easily available that the poor people and working class who did not have food to eat would just go to the sea and get a bucketful of oysters. After industrialisation, factories and industries caused a lot of pollution. Oysters being susceptible to pollution started decreasing in number.

Its price increased due to reduced supply and it became one of the most sought-after seafoods.

The Spruce Eats

5. Sushi

Sushi once used to be the food of poor Japanese fishermen. It was originally a method used to preserve fish by covering it in fermented rice. Post WW-II, its prices skyrocketed mainly because sushi chefs started using exotic fish.


6. Caviar

Caviar is one of the world’s most luxurious foods today. But it wasn’t always. Some 100 years ago, bars used to serve it for free with sandwiches. As the rich began to be more interested in it, its price increased.

National Today

7. Snails

Snails were mostly frowned upon and considered gross throughout history. It was the French aristocracy that started serving them with aromatic butter and made it a delicacy.

Restaurant Hospitality

8. Salmon

Up until the 1950s in the UK and Ireland, salmon was so cheap that servants had it written into their contracts that they would eat salmon only once a week. 

9. Brisket

Texas-style smoked brisket was once an inexpensive, working people’s meal one could get even on the roadside. It’s popularity and prices increased as it made its way into the fast-food restaurants.


10. Peanut butter

Peanuts were once considered fit for only the poor and livestock in North America. Their cost rose only in recent years and this also impacted the cost of peanut butter.


11. Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms were considered too ugly and rough to be sellable until the 1980s. Their prices skyrocketed after they were reborn with a fancy Italian name and as a healthy meat replacement to be stuffed with cheese, veggies, and bread crumbs.


12. Eel

Freshwater eels were once available in plenty in Japan. They became so popular that their number reduced drastically in 3 decades and they were added to the list of endangered fish. Now the price of farmed eels is higher than ever.


How the tables have turned.