Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of feeding your holiday guests? Maybe you should refresh yourself on "How to Feed an Army" (1901). Perhaps a history lesson on feeding the troops would inspire you? (Break out your P38.) Ever wonder about the nutritional content of combat rations? Can sailors bring ship-grown lettuce to the table? [more inside]
In London, the coffeehouse offered the threat not of male homosexuality but rather of a different kind of dangerous male-on-male behavior, namely "wasting time." Coffee itself was often thought to be disgusting — a few of the names used by detractors were "syrup of soot," "a foreign fart," "a sister of the common sewer," "resembling the river Styx," "Pluto's diet-drink," "horsepond liquor" — but even for those who thought coffee led to medical problems, especially impotence, it was not as threatening as the spaces where it was drunk. Some perceived the coffeehouse as pure waste, a corrupting influence on London society, while others celebrated it with a strange enthusiasm.– Writing in Cafés: A Personal History by food historian Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft.
King Arthur Flour's Flourish blog investigates America's Love Affair With Pizza from the home cook's perspective. In The Beginning asks "When did Americans start making their own pizza at home, from scratch, rather than piling into the Studebaker to drive down to the pizza parlor for takeout?", and answers by reproducing pizza recipes from 1945, 1954, and 1961. [more inside]
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]
"I enjoy buffets. I wouldn't say love buffets, but it's a very reasonable way to eat out." (SLYT) [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]
The origins and history of brown sauce. The origins and history of brown sauce. The origins and history of brown sauce.
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]
Ancient Recipes: Foods of Bible Times will be broadcast on the Food Network at 9:00 P.M. ET on Sunday, Nov. 26. For the longest time I was under the impression that the only food items mentioned in the Bible are fish, bread, wine, quails and heavenly manna (which you can now buy on the internet). Then there are those peddling Pulse as bible food. Maybe it's time to change dietary habits.