'food history' on Serious Eats

Book Review: 'Barbecue: The History of an American Institution'

If you've ever wanted to know why American barbecue matters, Robert Moss' new book on the subject is nothing short of essential. Documenting its subject from pre-Republic times to the present day, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution is an accessible foray into culinary evolution. In the process, Moss shatters several myths of barbecue—myths so dominant that they've come to define the food in American culture. More

Cakespy: Spiced Jumbles With Vanilla Frosting

Jumbles are cookies originally documented as early as the late 1500s in Europe. Since they fared well on long sea voyages, they were one of the first cookies brought over to the colonies. Strictly speaking, they aren't really a remarkable cookie. Made with a basic mix of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, they're more of an empty canvas, taking their personality from various mix-ins. More

Let Them Eat Historic Cake

A late Stuart dessert table. Photograph from historicfood.com Normally, if someone were to say that they've cooked for Marie Antoinette and Jane Austen, you would think they were crazy. But Ivan Day can make that claim and simply be describing his normal activities. By using authentic equipment and historic recipes, he examines history through what people ate. According to an interview with Day in The Age, history is the next big thing in food. Director Martin Scorsese recently phoned Day out of the blue, asking him to cook an authentic period banquet for a film Scorsese is producing about the young Queen Victoria. Related 'The Birth of the Croissant & the Bagel' Comic The History of the PBJ Sandwich... More

A Short History of the Bagel

Learn about the origins of your favorite ring of boiled and baked wheat in this short history of the bagel by Joan Nathan of Slate. For a longer history of the bagel, check out Maria Balinska's recently published book, The Bagel: A Cultural History.... More

The Other CHoW

Not to be confused with the food media site, this CHoW is an acronym for the Culinary Historians of Washington. The club meets monthly to get their geek on about topics like sugar science, orange juice's history, and solar cooking. At February's monthly meeting, members heard from guest speaker Brenda Rhodes Miller, who gave an insightful talk titled, "If You Don't Want Grits, Why'd You Order Breakfast? Church Ladies as Custodians of Culture and Tradition." Foodie history buffs might be the coolest class of nerd that exists. Luckily, Washington isn't the only town with a club like this one. See if there's one near you after the jump.... More

Forget Cupcakes: Whoopie Pies Are Gonna Be Big

Although chocolate cake with white cream filling is the most iconic whoopie pie flavor, you can find a variety of flavors at bakeries in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Erin Zimmer investigates the growing diversity of whoopie pies; will they become as popular as cupcakes? More

The Future of the Jewish Deli

Photographs by Robyn Lee In these modern times of high rises on New York City's Lower East Side, health fad diets, and increasingly hard-to-find high-quality ingredients (Where can you get a good rye bread these days? Does anyone dry-age pastrami anymore?), can the New York delicatessen survive? These questions were tackled Tuesday night at the Museum of the City of New York at a panel discussion titled "Jewish Cuisine and the Evolution of the Jewish Deli." The talk was moderated by food writer Matthew Goodman (Jewish Food: The World at Table), and the panel included food historian Joel Denker (The World on a Plate: A Tour through History of America’s Ethnic Cuisine); former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi... More

Today in Food

History All day: It's National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! All day: It's Dia dos Namorados, Brazil's Valentine's Day. Eat some chocolate—as if you need an excuse. 4th Century: Saint Onuphrius, a hermit who lived in Egypt, supposedly lived entirely on dates at some time in the 300s. Today is his feast day. 1898: The Philippines declares independence from Spain. Celebrate by eating some Philippine cuisine. Or cook some yourself. 1990: The Russian parliament formally declares its sovereignty. Celebrate with some sort of Russian dish. Birthdays George H. W. Bush: Born 1924. In 1990, he famously (or infamously, take your pick) banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One. "... I'm President of the United States. And I'm not... More

Getting Excited Over Really Stale Tacos

"Inhabitants of the New World had chili peppers and the makings of taco chips 6,100 years ago, according to new research that examined the bowl-scrapings of people sprinkled throughout Central America and the Amazon basin. Upcoming questions on the research agenda -- and this is not a joke -- include: Did they have salsa? When did they get beer?"... More

Oxford Food Historian Arrested For Jaywalking

One of my favorite food historians, author of Near A Thousand Tables: A History of Food Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, was recently arrested for jaywalking in Atlanta. This guy is an Oxford don. His wife is a beautiful Englishwoman, and they live in a classy Mayfair flat filled with books from floor to ceiling. Their son was the Comte de Provence in Sofia Coppola's recent Marie Antoinette. The slightly built historian said the officer kicked his legs under him and pinned him to the ground, causing his glasses to fall off. Two other officers assisted in holding him down, said Fernandez-Armesto, who said he suffered a gash on his forehead and a bruise on his wrist as he attempted to break his... More

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