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Questions pertaining to current culinary practices and foods--how did we get where we are today?

10
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3answers
325 views

How much is “1-2 cents worth” of yeast in an old recipe?

I'm looking through an old cookbook, ''The Art of German Cooking and Baking'' by Lina Meier (2nd Ed., 1922, Milwaukee, file on wikipedia). There is a recipe for waffles here which calls for "1-2 cents ...
55
votes
7answers
15k views

Why did flatbread dominate the Middle East but Europe adopted raised breads?

This may be a history question so please move it if appropriate. Culturally, local ingredients dominate cooking recipes and national dishes (e.g., soy in SE Asia), but why do Europeans add a raising ...
5
votes
2answers
103 views

Is allspice traditional in the Levant?

From the Wikipedia entry for allspice: Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. I am ...
3
votes
1answer
127 views

Is sour cream in olde recipes the same as sour cream today? [duplicate]

I have a really old cookbook (about 1890) that calls for soured cream or sour cream in some recipes. Is this the same as the stuff you get in a tub at the store or is it like sour milk where you put ...
2
votes
0answers
91 views

Concerning meat of hard digesture

Relating to the history of food and cooking, I have two questions pertaining to this quote by the (rather) late Philip Stubbs: Questions: What would constitute “meat of hard digesture” in 1583? ...
10
votes
2answers
228 views

Interpreting a recipe from Mrs Beeton: “carbonate of soda”

Prompted by a discussion at English.se I may be going to make Mrs Beeton's soda biscuits recipe: SODA BISCUITS. INGREDIENTS.—1 lb. of flour, 1/2 lb. of pounded loaf sugar, 1/4 lb. of fresh ...
1
vote
0answers
443 views

What are mandrakes? Are they edible? How are they prepared?

Mandrakes (mandragora) are mentioned in the Bible as an aid to fertility (cf. Genesis 30:14), but what exactly are mandrakes? I hear they are poisonous, have narcotic properties, or aid with fertility....
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2answers
2k views

Why is there no pork on the Indian take-away menu?

The standard Indian takeout menu does not represent the kind of food eaten in India. India is a large country and "Real Indian food" is little more meaningful than "Real European food". Dishes ...
29
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7answers
12k views

How did people transport food before aluminium foil was invented?

I know this question does not concern cooking, however I wondered how people transported their food before aluminium foil was invented (circa 1900, which is not too long ago). Did people in the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do so many things cook at 180C/350F

It seems that many, if not most recipes, that involve cooking something in an Oven specify a temperature of 180 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit (if using a Fan oven, 20/70 more if not). This also seems to ...
0
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0answers
206 views

Why are these called “no bake” brownies?

I have this old recipe, that my grandmother's aunt's, someone or other (don't really know any more, no one alive can remember) cut out of a magazine years and years ago. The Title is "Blondie Brownies,...
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6answers
12k views

What was Indian food like before the arrival of the chili pepper from the Americas?

One of the things associated with Indian cuisine is heat from chili peppers. Yet, chili peppers can only have been introduced to Asia from their Central and South American homeland after the Spanish ...
8
votes
1answer
639 views

What are these sweets from 16th century?

I keep seeing them in old European paintings from 16th - 17th century. I think they still must exist present days. White irregular shaped sweets on the left hand side.
20
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2answers
4k views

How was the usage of yeast for bread discovered?

From where did people get the yeast for their bread??
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the history of the standard sheet (bun) pan?

What is the history of the standard sheet (bun) pan? Who came out with the sizing? Why that size? When did it occur? There are full size(26x18 Inch), half(18x13) and quarter(13x9). image from
2
votes
1answer
682 views

Why should food be frozen quickly?

I was reading one of the articles in Uncle John's Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader about the history of harvested ice and ice houses. The article mentioned that electrical freezers and ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How did Cardinal Mazarin give name to a Swedish cake?

Mazarin is a classic Swedish pastry, well known in neighbouring countries as well in lots of variations. It seems that - as one with a bit of historic background may guess - it is of French origin. ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

Is “medium white sauce” a usefully distinct term?

I am familiar with a basic white sauce, or béchamel, and know how to make it. I recently came across a recipe (circa 1950's) that calls for 1 cup medium white sauce. Is this the same as a béchamel? (...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

Why is supermarket bread soft?

Nearly all "good" bread (from a traditional bakery, made at home by a competent baker) comes with a thick, hard crust. However in every supermarket there are shelves and shelves full of soft (white, ...
2
votes
0answers
355 views

How did egg-centric dishes become “breakfast only” food in American cuisine? [closed]

Eggs are great. You see eggs in lots of dishes in American cuisine. Egg salad made from hard-boiled eggs is an American cookout standard. Fried eggs often go on burgers; poached eggs frequently find ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of fish sauce in asia?

wondering about the history/origins of fish sauce, specifically in Asia. I haven't found anything after Googling a bit.. My friend claims that fish sauce was invented in Italy (the Romans?). Can ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do doughnuts have holes?

We're all familiar with the ring doughnut as an American confection. One thing I've always been curious about is why they have holes in them (or are toroidal in shape). What advantages, if any, does ...
4
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1answer
3k views

Why is it called spit roast?

Why is a spit called a spit? I can't imagine it, but historically, was it spat on?
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2answers
237 views

Murgh Shahi Korma

My father in law thinks "korma" may refer to dates, but it's supposed to be derived from the Urdu term for braising. The other two words "shahi" and "murgh" seem to indicate the Farsi words for king ...
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votes
1answer
434 views

History of eating not fully cooked meat

When/Where/Why did humans start eating not fully cooked meat? I am aware that certain cultures were eating raw meat and still do but I am interested specifically in how it became popular in the ...
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2answers
2k views

Why are non-orange coloured carrots so uncommon?

Carrots come in a great variety of colours, from almost white to dark purple. However, the most ubiquitous colour variety is orange, and often the only to be found in regular supermarkets. Why is this?...
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3answers
3k views

How can I eat or drink chocolate as Montezuma would have consumed it in pre-Columbian Mexico?

I know that pre-Columbian chocolate was less sweet and more bitter, but I can't find a recipe for it. That fact probably means that it doesn't taste great, but I'd like to try it anyway. The closest ...
-1
votes
1answer
212 views

Looking for coffee from the 80's for my father, Lucern? [closed]

my dad mentioned today that he loved this coffee he used to get once in a while in the early 80's called Lucerne (not sure about the spelling). He said it was in a white can with red lettering and he ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Historical recipe for cake before refined sugar

What ingredients were used in cake before the invention of any factory produced or processed foods such as refined sugars? Does anyone know where I could find historical recipes for such things?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Chopsticks versus forks?

Why are chopsticks the main eating utensil in many Asian cultures, but forks and knives serve the same purpose in many European cultures, and those descended from European cultures? Note: good ...
29
votes
12answers
65k views

Why did my grandfather-in-law salt his beer?

My grandfather-in-law was born in England in the 1920s and fought in World War II. Somewhere along the line he acquired the habit of salting his beer before drinking it, which persisted for the rest ...
8
votes
2answers
488 views

How can I cook chicken in a similar way to how it was done in Biblical times?

I want to make a historically accurate biblical meal for a group. I'm using chicken, and serving it with flatbread and an Israeli salad (sans tomatoes and other new world vegetables) Does anyone have ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Cooking cakes on asbestos mats

My mother tells me when she was young her mother would bake cakes on an asbestos mat inside a lidded electric frypan. I'd assume the practice is gone now because of the reputation of asbestos, but ...
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2answers
2k views

Why are salt and pepper the “classic” dinner table seasoning?

Is there a reason we use salt and pepper on so many dishes and they can be found in any kitchen table at dinner time? Does it have to do with their flavor synergies, or were they just more available "...
2
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2answers
2k views

How spicy is authentic, traditional Palak paneer?

I have heard that the spiciness of Palak paneer is regional, but I don't have any historical or geographical facts to confirm this. So, is there anybody around here that knows if a proper, old-school ...
7
votes
2answers
401 views

Is a “typical” jam sweeter today than the typical jams of centuries ago?

I have a new early morning snack this week - toast and jam, but after putting the (fridge temp) jam on the toast, I put the whole plate of toast and jam in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm the jam....
2
votes
1answer
8k views

What is the origin of cheese dip?

I want to know where cheese dip was invented. Based on this article it was invented in Arkansas. This documentary goes into more detail about it being from Mexico Chiquito, a restaurant in Arkansas.
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Did tomato paste come in only one size of can in the 1950s?

I found an old cookery book while on holiday at the german coast, it was published by Peter Pauper press, Mt. Vernon, New York in 1959. All recipes that use tomato paste just say "1/2 can tomato ...
5
votes
1answer
256 views

Forties dinner buffet

I'm serving food to 11 people in a dinner that is supposed to be set at the house of the Deputy Mayor of Casablanca in 1942. I can't seat that many people at table, so the food will have to be capable ...
3
votes
1answer
629 views

Where does the shape of pretzels come from?

I wonder where the shape of pretzels originated. My guesses: The holes make it easy to put them on a stick or rope and store them in a place (under the roof?) where mice would not get it. ...
13
votes
8answers
21k views

Why is the alcohol content in British beer so weak?

I am a Brit married into a French family, so there has obviously been some teasing and so-on over the years about the relative merits of the two cooking cultures :P I recently took my wife's uncle to ...
8
votes
5answers
21k views

Why is a tablespoon defined as 20mL in Australia?

In Australia, a tablespoon is defined as 20mL whereas it is 15mL in nearly all other countries. I'm interested to know where this comes from, and also what other Australian people do about this ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Where did hot dogs get their name?

Were they orginally made from real dogs?
5
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3answers
6k views

What's the origin of the name of the “Chinese Cookie” found in Jewish deli's in the US?

At a classic Los Angeles Deli for lunch yesterday, I snagged my usual take-out guilty pleasure for later: a fresh-baked Chinese Cookie. This is a four or five inch diameter short-bread cookie with a ...
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4answers
2k views

How the heck did people in the olden' days learn to beat eggs and other laborious tasks?

Did they have whipped cream in the olden days before electricity? I think that they might have. I'm sure I've seen a portrait of Henry VIII munching some of that creamy goodness before. But what on ...
41
votes
7answers
16k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What were the popular cookbooks of the 1950s?

What were the most popular cookbooks in the 1950s in the US? I have seen lists that cite the many Betty Crocker cookbooks, but what about other authors (or companies)?
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7answers
938 views

where can I find ancient ages/middle ages recipes and preparation techniques?

I always had an interest for recipes from ancient ages (ancient Greece, Roman empire) and middle ages (i.e. after the fall of the Roman empire until the Renaissance). It's nice to experience what ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Why powdered eggs?

Powdered egg is emblematic of all that was was ghastly and difficult about cooking during WWII. At least in Britain, but perhaps also in other countries during that period. Supposedly it was pretty ...
18
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7answers
61k views

Why do chefs traditionally wear a high white hat? [closed]

The stereotypical chef beloved of TV, cartoons, and elsewhere is always pictured wearing a high white hat. A hat I can understand. But why so high?