Gelatin foodstuffs have a long culinary history. The ancient Egyptians made a gelatin-like substance from protein-rich animal materials that they used in their cuisine. It wasn't until the 17th century invention of pressure cooking devices that the process of creating gelatin became significantly less labor and time intensive. The process was refined in the following decades, with the US inventor Peter Cooper filing the patent for Improvement in the preparation of portable gelatine in 1845. He never made much of the patent, and sold it to Pearle B. Wait, who's wife, May Davis Wait, helped turn the gelatin into Jell-O, both naming the product and turning it into a sweet, fruit-flavored dessert. They, too, had no luck selling Jell-O, and sold the patent for $450 to Orator Francis Woodward, who struggled for a period, before turning to marketing to increase interest in the dessert (NYT). By 1902, Jell-O was "America's Favorite Dessert," at least according to the advertisements. And now you know the history of gelatin and Jello. [more inside]
Starting in 2011, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has hosted a Minnesota delegation Hotdish competition - a friendly bipartisan and bicameral competition for all of the Minnesota congressional delegates. [more inside]
"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
Liver sausage pineapple? Igloo meat loaf? Tuna Jell-o pie? “21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes” [via Buzzfeed]
“It’s a cornmeal dough,” McDaniel says. “You can’t tell me that somebody in the South didn’t try frying that before the 20th century.” [more inside]
"Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are." -- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin [more inside]
A Bar Above presents 25 freely available classic bartending books providing a wealth of drinks (and otherwise fascinating information) to liven up your holiday season. These are hosted on Google's Play service, so a Google account might be necessary to access. [more inside]
For your culinary enjoyment, I present NativeTech's collection of recipes, which you can browse by recipe category, regions, types of dishes, and alphabetically (the site is pretty vast, and you can find recipes throughout the site). For more manageable lists, here is a mixed collection of Native American Recipes, from Apache acorn soup to Zuni corn soup (there's more listed than soups, I promise). One Feather has shared some favorite recipes, and then there's the Native Food blog, with recipes and more information.
Dean Martin used to make a joke in his stage shows: "I don't drink anymore. I freeze it and eat it like a Popsicle". But how exactly does that work? It's not exactly as simple as whipping up some Koolaid, poring it in a mold and sticking it in the freezer. And though summer is over and autumn is here, that's no reason not to indulge in a Tequila Lime Margarita Pop or a Havana Mojito Popsicle. And if you're feeling really daring, how about some Absinthe Pops?
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]
Bad Jelly. Trying retro recipes so you don't have to. (Some images involving fruit may be NSFW. )
Cookpad is Japan's largest recipe site and cooking community. Yesterday, an English version was launched. [more inside]
"Ariane Kambu Mbenza grew up with her uncle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When she was seven years old, he asked her to be in charge of preparing food. Sure, Uncle. No problem. She had grown up watching her mother cook and played kitchen plenty of times. "In Africa, you know how to cook automatically." Now a mother herself, Ariane showed me how to make what in Congo would be called, " Riz aux legumes avec poisson grillé avec la sauce tomate à l'ail." Text Via followed by Congolese mini Waffles as seen in the photo in the linked newspaper.
For the past two Februarys, Serious Eats Chief Creative Officer J. Kenji Alt-Lopez has gone vegan for the entire month. Here he shares the 60 vegan recipes he created during his Vegan Experience.
Yo La Tengo's 13th album, Fade, marks the first time in 15 years the band has made official music videos. 2 to be exact: the colorful & playfully psychedelic Before We Run, and the serene & educational I'll Be Around. Bon Appétit chats with Ira Kaplan about the use of recipes in the latter video.
Saveur's utterly charming "Recipe Comix" features illustrated recipes/short stories by some of the web's best cartoonists covering a wide range of meals.
Archie's Recipes - When my grandparents passed away my family rediscovered an old family recipe book that my great grandfather wrote by hand in an old ledger. [via mefi projects]
The citrus fruit called Buddha's hand or fingered citron, which "looks like a cross between a giant lemon and a squid, and can perfume a room for weeks with its mysterious fragrance," is currently in season in the northern hemisphere. Lacking pulp and juice, it does have long, pointed "fingers" full of curious non-bitter white pith. The skin is yellow and smells like flowers and bright lemon. [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]
Rutabaga, a webcomic about an adventuring chef.
The New Taste Journal is a collection of well over 600 healthy and delicious recipes that were created using a wide variety of simple yet amazing natural whole food ingredients.
Want to make historic recipes? You can help transcribe the University of Iowa Libraries age old assortment of handwritten cookbooks, ca. 1600s-1960s, documenting culinary history in America and Europe and how tastes have changed over the years. Copy the text as is, including misspellings and abbreviations. [more inside]
Christopher Kimball: "He may be the sole person associated with food journalism to remark, 'There’s something about pleasure I find annoying.'"
"Cooking isn't creative, and it isn't easy." A NYT Magazine piece on Christopher Kimball, Cook's Illustrated, and his franchise (America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, et al.). "At the core of C.I.’s M.O. are two intrepid observations Kimball has made about the innermost psychology of home cooks. Namely that they 1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook... What the magazine essentially offers its readers is a bargain: if they agree to follow the recipes as written, their cooking will succeed and they will be recognized by family and friends as competent or even expert in the kitchen... The bargain further holds that the peppercorn-crusted filet of beef or butterscotch-cream pie will turn out not only in C.I.’s professional kitchen, with its All-Clad pans and DCS ranges, but also on a lowly electric four-top, using a dull knife and a $20 nonstick skillet." [more inside]
We know the Obamas planted a vegetable garden in 2009, bringing back the tradition of a White House Vegetable Garden (7:44 YT video), and Barack has home-brewed beer. The White House then released the recipes for their honey ale and honey porter, but what of the other White House recipes? Here are some modern Thanksgiving recipes, but what about the rest of the year? Our White House provides a glimpse into past White House kitchens, menus, and recipes, but that's still too thin. More than 50 White House recipes? Still not enough! OK, how about the complete White House Cookbook from 1887 (on Archive.org, also on Project Gutenberg and Google books). Vintage Recipes has kindly provided a tidied up table of contents and recipes for quicker browsing, but be warned, the techniques are dated, and some of the household tips are a bit questionable. More on presidential gastronomy, previously.
Like all shrines, this one is on a hill, and built into solid rock. Richard Olney saw it first in 1961 on an excursion south from his adoptive home in Paris. Olney, whose The French Menu Cookbook was recently judged the best cookbook ever by this magazine, immediately knew he had found his proper place on earth. [more inside]
Archibald Query 's creation, Marshmallow Fluff, followed a winding path to household name. Most famous as a component of the Fluffernutter sandwich, this icon of New England cuisine appears in hundreds of other recipes, including whoopie pies and Mamie Eisenhower's Never Fail Fudge. You can even try making it yourself. . Other homages include the pop-style "Fluffart" of Susan Olsen, perhaps better known to us as the Brady Bunch's Cindy; some video tributes, and the What the Fluff? Festival in Somerville, MA (previously),
Tomorrow would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. To celebrate, PBS Digital Studios offers: Julia Child Remixed. They also have created a celebration page, complete with an infographic, recipes, quotes, videos and more. [more inside]
Drive 8.7 km (5.4 miles) west of the municipality of Roses in Catalonia, Spain, and you'll get to the gates of the renowned avant-garde restaurant, El Bulli. Run by Ferran Adrià since 1987, the restaurant closed in 2012 due to Adrià and his partner Juli Soler losing a half million Euros a year on the restaurant and Adrià's cooking workshop in Barcelona. Slate's Noreen Malone wrote an article on the history of the "I Ate at El Bulli" piece, giving an overview of tropes that you could expect in an IAaEB piece, and you can browse images tagged "elbulli" on Flickr for snapshots of personal experiences. But for an extended look into what went into making the ever-changing 35-course taster's menu, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (Trailer on YT and Vimeo) is a 109 minute documentary on the preparation and implementation of the 2008/9 season, an "extreme fly-on-the-wall vérité, with only the barest context provided." If you're looking for recipes, Molecular Recipes has a few listed under the El Bulli tag. [more inside]
What’s a Readlist? A group of web pages—articles, recipes, course materials, anything—bundled into an e-book you can send to your Kindle, iPad, or iPhone.
Following on the heels of the easy way to caramelize onions, there are lots of other ways to reuse common kitchen gadgets including waffle iron hash browns and crock pot souffle, cooking fish in your dishwasher, using your rice cooker for oatmeal (among many other uses), and making a cornish hen on your panini press (and more from the master of gadget reuse). And to find out what gadgets are just plain useless, you can of course ask Alton Brown.
Undoubtedly, at some point in your life, a recipe has told you to brown or caramelize some onions for 5-10 minutes. As many frustrated cooks have found through experience, this step of the recipe is a damned lie. In fact, the now-ubiquitous suggestion of 5-10 minutes isn't even a remote approximation of the amount of time it takes to brown an onion; Alton Brown and Julia Child weigh in on the matter, suggesting that the task can take anywhere from 45 minute to an hour. [more inside]
Did you know popcorn may be the perfect healthy snack food? Probably not so much once you pile on the toppings! If you'd like to try a uniquely Hawaiian snack (are you adventurous enough for crack seed?) then popcorn meets Hawaii in hurricane popcorn: a mix of buttered popcorn, furikake, and arare ("mochi crunch" - a rice cracker mix). (This re-invented version includes corn pops, dried pineapple, and bacon).
Did you know April is Grilled Cheese Month? You still have time to celebrate! (via Tastespotting) [more inside]
Classic seafood and fish recipes, from a time when it was cheap and plentiful, and often cured in salt.
Top 10 Unusual (yet tasty) Food Combinations. And after trying those, savor 10 Desserts with Unexpected Ingredients. Or check out the ask.
This is the perfect recipe for those of you who like to enjoy a big bowl of macaroni and cheese for dinner and absolutely nothing else. It’s beautifully flavored, creamy, cheesy, and with the smokey bite of crisp salty bacon on top?? Oh man, you guys are in for a treat — I’m not even kidding. It’s amazing. (previously)
The Peanut Butter Solution is a 1985 Canadian 'family' film about a boy who is scared bald trying to sneak into a burned house and cops a hairgrowth recipe from two ghosts. Then things get weird. See for yourself [google video, 90 min]
Great food ideas for a fantasy and sci-fi themed Thanksgiving features recipes from Inn at the Crossroads (medieval recipes/Game of Thrones), Harry Potter Recipes, and The Geeky Chef ("a collection of recipes inspired by books, movies, and video games").
Have you every wanted to try GLaDOS' chocolate cake or S’Jirra’s Famous Potato Bread with a Nirnroot Salad? We've got Starkos straight from the streets of Hillys, and steak skewers prepared in Inaba's finest lunch stops. If you're thirsty we've got some NukaCola Quantum or Lon-Lon Milk, and there's always FK in the coffee. All these recipes and more from your favourite virtual worlds can be found at Gourmet Gaming
[M.F.K. Fisher's] "How to Cook a Wolf" reads like an issue of Lady's Home Journal, if the editorial staff were taken over by a philosopher with an empty stomach, a slightly tipsy poet and your mischievous, foxy grandmother who once kept many lovers. (related) [more inside]
The Dinner Party Matrix from Mark Bittman. Drinks, appetizers, entrees, and desserts grouped by cuisine and ingredient.
Hot on the heels of the stunning revelation that Twining's had changed the 180-year-old recipe for Earl Grey tea, the Telegraph continues its reporting on the decline of British civilization with word that HP Sauce -- condiment of choice in millions of bacon butties around the United Kingdom -- has been brought "in line with changes in consumer tastes."