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Food History Articles and Links


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I often come across interesting articles on food history. They don't usually merit a full topic to themselves, but it would be nice to share any that I've enjoyed. And find any others have enjoyed. So here we are.

Foie gras, truffles, birds drowned in brandy: a menu fit for Queen Victoria

 

A royal lunch served at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire forms part of an exhibition on its kitchen

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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  • 1 month later...
22 hours ago, weinoo said:

Did they really?!

Are you kidding? They most certainly did. Railways all over the world offered and produced fine dining.

I don't know how true it is, but I read years ago that french fries, as we know them now, were first made in the kitchen car of a train.

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Possibly on this train?

 

image.png.1120fb2a36561a3094aff96599e693c4.png

 

(Don't believe everything you read). Like this:

Quote

 

In any event, historical accounts indicate that the Belgians were possibly frying up thin strips of potatoes as early as the late 17th century (though some claim it wasn’t until the late 18th century) in the Meuse Valley between Dinant and Liège, in Belgium.  How they supposedly came up with the idea was that, in this area, it was very common for the people to fry up small fish as a staple for their meals.  However, when the rivers froze up thick enough, it tended to make it somewhat difficult to get fish.  So instead of frying up fish in these times, they would cut up potatoes in long thin slices, and fry them up as they did the fish.

Giving some credence to this story is that the Spanish controlled much of what is now modern day Belgium at the time the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe.  So, at least, the Belgians probably were among the first to have a crack at the potato, in terms of thinking up ways to prepare food from potatoes

 

 

This (above) actually seems to be the consensus.

 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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4 hours ago, weinoo said:

This (above) actually seems to be the consensus.

Yeah, you're right. It was just something that I read years ago.

Seriously though, dining cars were a big thing and one big item in the collectors Market nowadays is the dinnerware that was used on the trains.

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3 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

in the collectors Market nowadays is the dinnerware that was used on the trains.

 

We have friends who do nice dinner parties. Or who used to do nice dinner parties.  He always pulls out something that was used on trains at one time, as he collects that stuff. It's pretty cool, and if I had room...

The menus in the article are telling.  We got to dine once on a train overnight from Florida to Virginia - it was fun. The food...well, they tried.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The height of elegance: the dining car seduction scene in North by Northwest. He's having a glittering martini. She recommends the brook trout..... she's playing with a full deck....and so on.....oh, they are SO pretty!

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

The food...well, they tried.

You are much too young to have lived through the elegant days of the dining car. Unfortunately they went the same way that the food went in the airplanes. Many eons ago, I worked for a company that did catering for the airlines and some of the meals that we put out were spectacular. There is just nothing spectacular nowadays about a bag of pretzels. The only time that I ever took a train ride that was long enough to take advantage of the dining car, I was much too poor to participate. By the way, that was when I was 18 and escaping from sauerkraut in Nebraska.

Edited by Tropicalsenior
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The Canadian Pacific Railway, in its heyday, was also renowned for its dining service. The company has an extensive archive, which includes menus and a great deal of other information about its glory days, but sadly the archive's public-facing website doesn't provide any of that (though it's still fascinating).

 

A few years back the University of British Columbia hosted an exhibition and presentation on the food of the old-days CPR, which is viewable on YouTube.

 

 

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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2 hours ago, chromedome said:

The Canadian Pacific Railway, in its heyday, was also renowned for its dining service. The company has an extensive archive, which includes menus and a great deal of other information about its glory days, but sadly the archive's public-facing website doesn't provide any of that (though it's still fascinating).

 

A few years back the University of British Columbia hosted an exhibition and presentation on the food of the old-days CPR, which is viewable on YouTube.

 

 

 

I can confirm that circa 1970 the Canadian Pacific cuisine was excellent.  Not bad wine list either.

 

 

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This store is in our co-op owned commercial strip.  When we first moved down here, the bialys were hand rolled, stuffed with real onions, and good. Now, not so much.  

 

The Explosive History Of Kossar's, NYC's Most Famous Bialy Bakery

 

Prior to that piece, another hack blogger wrote about Kossar's...

 

Bialy Wars North vs. South

 

Twice...

 

Bacon, Bialys and Bulkas, Oh My

 

Feeling somewhat qualified, as I had any number of ancestors who were in the Bagel Baker's Union!

 

 

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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@weinoo. What great articles. Thank you. This is a food that probably few of us outside of the big cities have ever had a chance to try or even know about. @shain makes wonderful bialys and even has a recipe for them in the recipe forum.

Edited by Tropicalsenior
Grammar (log)
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31 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I highly recommend making these

Thank you, I will. Every Sunday I make stromboli, Char siu bao or some other meat filled bun so that we can snack on them all day long and I don't have to cook a full meal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Ancient Mesopotamian Tablet as Cookbook

 

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Millennia before the Columbian Exchange brought potatoes, tomatoes, maize, and pepper from the New World, many of the Old World’s core food plants and animals were domesticated in the region of Upper Mesopotamia in what is today Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. This includes barley and wheat, sheep, goat, cow, and pig, which to this day account for more than half of all calories consumed by humans on the planet.

It is therefore not surprising that the oldest known culinary recipes also come from ancient Mesopotamia. These recipes can be found on a group of clay tablets kept in the Yale Babylonian Collection.

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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12th April, 1682. I went this afternoon with several of the Royal Society to a supper which was all dressed, both fish and flesh, in Monsieur Papin’s digestors, by which the hardest bones of beef itself, and mutton, were made as soft as cheese, without water or other liquor, and with less than eight ounces of coals, producing an incredible quantity of gravy; and for close of all, a jelly made of the bones of beef, the best for clearness and good relish, and the most delicious that I had ever seen, or tasted. We ate pike and other fish, bones and all, without impediment…the natural juice of all these provisions acting on the grosser substances, reduced the hardest bones to tenderness…I sent a glass of the jelly to my wife, to the reproach of all that the ladies ever made of their best hartshorn.

 

2021-03-03.thumb.png.f11e6e399841b44a5318afb50a2fb91e.png

 

A short history of the pressure cooker.

 

 

 

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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