In this series, we reveal the secrets, histories and quirky bits of trivia behind your favorite foods.
"Fudging it," an expression that implies someone is cobbling something together without any concrete knowledge or in a deliberately vague way, doesn't have anything to do with chewy chocolate confections. It has everything to do with one man named Captain Fudge, a salty seafarer with a tendency to fib. (At least, according to popular lore.)
While some say that "fudging it" comes from the word "fadge," meaning "to fit together," another tale traces the expression back to a 1600s sea captain known as "Lying Fudge." As his nickname suggests, Fudge had a reputation for twisting the truth and slacking off on the ship. Wise to his less-than-truthful ways, his crew would exclaim "You fudge it!" when they suspected anyone of balderdash—including the captain himself.
So how did chocolatey, gooey candies get mixed up in all this? Legend has it that the first batch of fudge was made when a cook fowled up some caramels and exclaimed "Oh fudge!" Sadly, the sugary innovation came about long after Captain Fudge was alive, so he missed out on delicious desserts made with his namesake sweet. But we think he would approve of these seafarer-friendly fudge brownies topped with flaky sea salt.