"Whatever [the ingredients] taste like together is not particularly relevant." Terry Gross interviews married culinary historians Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe on the culinary history of the Great Depression and their new book 'A Square Meal' (37:00 audio, transcribed sections)
Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays "This special features Lidia and six celebrity guests—Christopher Walken, Ann Curry, Padma Lakshmi, Rita Moreno, Marcus Samuelson and Carlo Ponti, Jr. as they share their immigrant experiences and holiday traditions."
The New Rules of Oyster Eating, from Rowan Jacobsen of The Oyster Guide and Oysterater, home of the Oyster Map. Pearls of wisdom within.
Michael Twitty is becoming one of the most transformative figures in the world of food. Reinterrogating and recreating African-American history in the context of American culinary history through his blog Afroculinaria, Twitty argues for "culinary justice" in food writing and the conversation on food history. His project (and forthcoming book of the same name) The Cooking Gene is in part a product of his Southern Discomfort Tour, a journey retracing the preservation and transmission of culinary knowledge before, during and beyond slavery. [more inside]
Hannah Rothstein imagines how different famous artists would plate Thanksgiving. [more inside]
"This is like the gateway drug of the Jewish foods" - Non-Jews try traditional Jewish food for the first time
The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery is an annual weekend conference discussing food, its history, and culture. Since 1981 the papers presented at the Symposium have been collected into a conference volume called the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, most of which have been made available for free in their entirety via Google Books. Each volume consists of about 25-40 papers surrounding the theme of that year's Symposium (e.g. Eggs, Authenticity, or The Meal). [more inside]
The history of the hamburger could be a relatively short story, or one spanning centuries and continents, depending on how far you disassemble the modern hamburger. If you look for the origins of ground meat between two pieces of bread, that's something American, but where and when exactly is the question. But how did we get the ground meat patty? You can thank the Mongols and Kublai Khan, who brought their ground meat to Russia. Oh, and don't forget the fish sauce! [more inside]
"New Englanders learn quickly to dismiss the chowder where tomato ruins its gorgeous broth, where references to New York tarnish its name...However, few know how such distinctions came about in the first place, what processes were involved that resulted in one person's disgust of another's beloved creation, and why, to this day, do we stand by such convictions?" The New England Chowder Compendium, from the McIntosh Cookery Collection at the UMass Amherst library. [more inside]
Burger Of The Future by Dave Arnold, Director of Technology at the French Culinary Institute in 22 steps & Voilà
Ivan Day is both chef and historian. Using old equipment and original research in primary sources for recipes and descriptions, he can "cook a meal from any time from the Battle of Agincourt to the First World War," recreating historic banquets and collations in full detail. Galleries of his food exhibitions show that he can back that claim up, and that rapid changes in culinary trends are not of recent vintage. [more inside]
Inventor of the Döner has died. As anybody who has been drunk at 2 a.m. in Germany knows, the Döner is a staple of German fast-food cuisine. Although similar dishes have been around for a while, the modern version is believed to be invented in 1971 in West Berlin by Mahmut Aygün. From there it spread to many other cities and countries in Europe and beyond. Mahmut Aygün died at the age of 87 last month in Berlin. [more inside]
Carbonated watermelon. Gelatin spheres with liquid centers. Broths and sauces whipped into foams. When the world's best chefs want something that defies the laws of physics, they come to one man: Dave Arnold, the DIY guru of high-tech cooking. Want to turn your kitchen into a science lab? Check out 25 extreme kitchen gadgets. Related, previously on Mefi: molecular gastronomy.
On September 2, 1901, then vice-president Theodore Roosevelt first articulated his theory of diplomacy: "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair. In some sort of hideous misinterpretation of Roosevelt's quote, Minnesotans have ever since provided a dizzying array (YouTube link) of foods on the ends of sticks to be eaten as one strolls the state fair. Hotdish. Teriyaki ostrich. Pork chop. Scotch eggs. Alligator. Drugs. This year's complete and rather breathtaking list.
“Kool-Aid pickles violate tradition, maybe even propriety. Depending on your palate and perspective, they are either the worst thing to happen to pickles since plastic brining barrels or a brave new taste sensation to be celebrated.” (BugMeNot)
In the long stretch of culinary history, the creation of the menu was a notable development. In the U.S., New York is the restaurant capital, and the New York Public Library has an enormous collection of menus, many of which they are currently displaying in a third-floor gallery. If you're in NYC (or will be visiting this winter) and are interested in such things, don't miss it; it's showing until March 1.