Questions tagged [history]

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

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6 votes
1 answer
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What was this "gravel gum candy" product from the early 1990s?

This is such a massive long-shot, but it's been eating me up for decades now. I need to at least try. In the early 1990s, my brother and I used to walk to this local little grocery store (long gone) ...
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0 votes
1 answer
230 views

What could be the history of this pan?

I inherited this aluminum frying pan from my grandmother who passed away in 1998. Since then, it has mostly sat in the cabinet thanks to its distinct downward bulge in the center, and its ...
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0 votes
2 answers
168 views

Why is wheat flour more popular than corn flour? [closed]

If I understand correctly, one of the major reasons that corn syrup is so popular is that it made corn syrup cheaper than sugar. This makes sense to me. However, it seems odd to me that this never ...
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4 votes
2 answers
283 views

What was this mysterious food/dessert product in 1990s Finland?

Throughout the 1990s, I often visited Southern Finland with my family. More specifically, Hanko/Hangö. In the stores, in the refrigerated area, they sold these yummy-looking desserts, or possibly food ...
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9 votes
1 answer
4k views

How should red wine be used in Spaghetti Bolognese?

The classic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe adds red wine right at the beginning to the fried minced beef until its all absorbed with little liquid remaining. In theory, this makes sense to me in enhancing ...
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4 votes
1 answer
185 views

Where did the first kombucha SCOBY come from?

I haven't been able to find any information on this online. Kombucha recipes always suggest to either get a bit of the starter from someone else who makes kombucha or to grow the scoby from a ...
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35 votes
4 answers
6k views

What did European/American historical cooks do with the egg whites?

I do some historical cooking out of old cookbooks, like Amelia Simmons' American Cookery or The Art Of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. One thing I've noticed is that these cookbooks use way more egg ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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Where did the apples in Japanese Curry come from?

Japanese curry (カレー, karē) is its own distinct style, made with a roux base, mild curry powder, and grated apples or apple puree. It also has a well-documented origin, having been introduced by ...
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2 votes
2 answers
103 views

Recipes of Turkish drinks in Voltaire's Novel

There are some description of Turkish drinks in Voltaire's novel 'Candide', written in 1759 - presented them with several sorts of sherbet, which they had made themselves, with kaimak enriched with ...
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1 vote
1 answer
113 views

What are "cheese Parmentiers"?

From Clarissa Dickson Wright's A History of English Food (2012): [In the 1920s, British] hostesses also started to serve canapés: little cheese Parmentiers, asparagus rolled in thin brown bread and ...
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2 votes
1 answer
248 views

Is Virginia creeper safe to eat?

Spring and the Virginia Creeper is growing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenocissus_quinquefolia It is native to North America, and common. I read on Wikipedia the berries have "dangerous ...
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1 vote
1 answer
131 views

What were the main ingredients of the Thai cuisine before global trade? [closed]

The traditional Thai cuisine was very different than the current one in a holistic perspective. At some point in history the Thai nation started trading globally, directly or indirectly with Indians, ...
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19 votes
3 answers
7k views

Cumin in Taco Seasoning?

I've noticed that I never taste cumin in the tacos I get at restaurants, yet cumin is often the most noticeable flavor in pre-made taco seasonings. When and why did cumin get associated with tacos? ...
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the history of the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie?

By now in 2019, white chocolate macadamia nut seems a very typical cookie flavor (in the United States), available from lots of different shops and in lots of different brands. I'm pretty sure I ...
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0 votes
1 answer
109 views

Is there a wine traditionally served with beef carpaccio?

Is there a wine traditionally served with beef carpaccio? Like, they would typically serve flammkuchen with federweisser.
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Traditionally, why are 'pasta bowls' wide and shallow?

I was curious as to why they're marketed as pasta bowls in the UK, and it's because they're frequently used for pasta (obviously). Buy why are bowls used for pasta traditionally wide and relatively ...
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  • 576
4 votes
1 answer
628 views

What is "White Moist Sugar"?

Looking online at a copy of Mrs Beetons Book of Household management and I came across a recipe that called for "White Moist Sugar". https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Mrs_Beeton%...
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2 votes
4 answers
617 views

Is spaghetti and bechamel sauce an authentic Italian dish?

I have seen instances where people mix white sauce / bechamel with spaghetti or macaroni but never seen a reputable chef to do so. This mix is sometimes mistaken for carbonara since its creamy white. ...
1 vote
1 answer
220 views

What vinegar was used in 1904?

What kind of vinegar would best replicate that was being used in the USA, upper Midwest in a recipe dated 1904? It is a potato salad recipe. The potatos & egg yolks are mashed together with minced ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the historical origin of the sauté cooking technique?

Although the term sauté is used colloquially in the US to refer to other types of frying, it is a specific cooking technique that involves high heat and constant movement of the ingredients in the pan....
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1 vote
2 answers
92 views

Has the storage duration of packaged "fresh" dairy products increased in the last 30 yrs?

Has the general shelf life / storage duration / packaging hygiene / of pasteurized milk, cream or yogurt significantly increased in the last 30 years in western Europe (or the US)? Or has there been ...
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41 votes
2 answers
8k views

Was honey in ancient times different than now?

I am trying to reproduce a recipe found in the Roman "cookbook" Apicius, Conditum paradoxum: it is a spiced wine that calls for honey as an ingredient, but it uses a lot (30 % of the volume of the ...
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10 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
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62 votes
7 answers
19k 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 ...
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6 votes
3 answers
363 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
343 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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
103 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? ...
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10 votes
2 answers
371 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 butter, 2 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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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  • 1,034
4 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
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29 votes
7 answers
16k 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
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0 votes
0 answers
247 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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34 votes
7 answers
34k 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 ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k 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.
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21 votes
2 answers
9k views

How was the usage of yeast for bread discovered?

From where did people get the yeast for their bread??
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3 votes
1 answer
3k 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
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2 votes
1 answer
903 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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
3k 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. ...
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3 votes
2 answers
390 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? (...
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15 votes
6 answers
35k 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, ...
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  • 261
2 votes
0 answers
393 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 ...
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  • 1,049
9 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
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  • 193
2 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
6k 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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  • 4,706
1 vote
2 answers
327 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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-1 votes
1 answer
781 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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17 votes
2 answers
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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  • 1,576
11 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 237
-1 votes
1 answer
217 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 ...
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