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102 votes
Accepted

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

I'm going to agree with Szczerzo about this being an anthropologic question, but I'm going to disagree about the cause. While nomadic lifestyles was an influence, it's not causative. I'm also going ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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82 votes
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How did people transport food before aluminium foil was invented?

A complete answer to this question would require writing a primer on the history of food preservation and transport. I'm not going to write one. Instead, I'll focus on the most common methods of ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
  • 61.4k
71 votes

Was honey in ancient times different than now?

It's not honey that's changed since ancient times, it's wine! Wine makers in ancient Rome lacked the knowledge and equipment to prevent oxidation and unwanted bacterial colonies, so their product was ...
GdD's user avatar
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65 votes
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Why doesn't Greek cuisine use a lot of spices, compared to neighbors?

The question of "why not" is difficult to answer definitively, or really at all. We can't ask folks 2000 years ago why they didn't care about cumin. However, there are some historical ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
  • 61.4k
44 votes

How did people transport food before aluminium foil was invented?

In addition of FuzzyChef's answer: Some cheaper (?) but less durable (in terms of re-using) food packaging mostly without cheating by curing: Wrapping In south-east Asia and central America even ...
Ching Chong's user avatar
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38 votes
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How was the usage of yeast for bread discovered?

The first yeast was "just there" - in the environment, everywhere. People discovered very early on that leaving the dough (or just a flour-water slurry) out would lead to it getting "...
Stephie's user avatar
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33 votes

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

It's actually an anthropologic question. It's more due to Europe being settled down while Middle Eastern peoples were still nomadic. Raising bread, even with agents, is very hard when you move or don'...
SZCZERZO KŁY's user avatar
30 votes

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

There were certainly uses for egg whites that didn't involve eating them: Clearing beer and wine (using egg white as finings). This isn't common any more, and anyway only uses one egg white to six ...
Chris H's user avatar
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30 votes
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What is a salad knife?

I've been involved in table setting for pretty formal (British) dinners, and what those images are calling salad cutlery I would just call starter cutlery. I don't mean to suggest that the term 'salad ...
dbmag9's user avatar
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28 votes
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What did European/American historical cooks do with the egg whites?

Another high-volume specialist use for egg white was mortar. Specifically, it was used very frequently in the Middle Ages, in the standard lime and sand mortar: a 2017 study suggests that 6% egg ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Cumin in Taco Seasoning?

I'm going to supplement Cindy's answer, by addressing this part of the question: When and why did cumin get associated with tacos? According to Wikipedia, Serious Eats, and History.com, the ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
  • 61.4k
26 votes

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

Just the other day I was watching an episode of the Great British Baking Show (sorry, don't remember which one), and they mentioned that egg whites were often used to stiffen clothing, something we'd ...
Pete Becker's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

How should red wine be used in Spaghetti Bolognese?

In general, when meat or vegetables are fried in hot fat, sugar and amino acid particles are formed. To capture this roasted aroma caused by this reaction (called Maillard reaction), you pour water or ...
Hannah's user avatar
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16 votes

How did people transport food before aluminium foil was invented?

Non-preserved food in aluminium foil is gonna spoil almost the same as if you didn't put it in foil ... If you just want to keep the food clean, you can just use any kind of food safe container that ...
rackandboneman's user avatar
16 votes

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

Hardly - pepper was exported from India before chillis were introduced. Some linguistic subgroups still use it in preference to chillis, and certain dishes use it in preference to (or in addition to) ...
Journeyman Geek's user avatar
13 votes

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

It's also worth mentioning that many flatbreads have a rather long storage life. For instance, the Sardinian pane carasau is split and cooked a second time so that it could be used on months long ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 80.1k
12 votes

Cumin in Taco Seasoning?

As per your comment, the reason is Tex-mex flavor. Most of the pre-made 'Mexican' seasonings we get in the US have cumin and probably various other spices or flavorings not associated with authentic ...
Cindy's user avatar
  • 18.3k
11 votes

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

The recipe 'thevasam' in the link is authentic ( but regional ) pre-columbian exchange cuisine, made with ingredients from species largely native to the indo-malayan ecoregion, and is pretty much ...
Ramesh Raghothama's user avatar
11 votes

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

The Blue Chip Cookie Company (now known as "Blue Chip Cookies") claims to have invented the cookie in 1983. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the cookie may have also been popularized ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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10 votes

What is a salad knife?

DBmag answered the rest of this question, so I'm going to just focus on "when would it be used". The current modern Western definition of salads generally has all of the contents cut up into ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

Where did the apples in Japanese Curry come from?

Curry and apples were both introduced to Japan in the late 19th century. Curry did not receive widespread popularity until the beginning of the 20th century and apples were not introduced to the curry ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 436
9 votes

Where did the apples in Japanese Curry come from?

Just to chart how British and Japanese tastes for apple in curry developed: The first published recipe for curry discovered so far in British recipes is from Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Why is wheat flour more popular than corn flour?

They are functionally quite different. Corn flour does not contain gluten, so is not useful as a direct substitute. It has little to nothing to do with cost.
moscafj's user avatar
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8 votes
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Interpreting a recipe from Mrs Beeton: "carbonate of soda"

There are many mentions of carbonate of soda in the Book of Household Management, and also two mentions of bicarbonate of soda (to preserve milk, and in a recipe for light buns). It has a specific ...
Peter Taylor's user avatar
  • 1,984
8 votes

Is allspice traditional in the Levant?

Allspice is, indeed, the only commonly used spice* native to North America. It is also very commonly used in various Arabic, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a standard part of the ...
FuzzyChef's user avatar
  • 61.4k
8 votes
Accepted

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

In the UK you see lamb and chicken on "Indian" restaurant menus, but not beef or pork. I suspect that in the colonial era when the English wanted meat there were goats (near enough the same as sheep) ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 43.8k
8 votes

How did people transport food before aluminium foil was invented?

If you're thinking more in terms of storing sandwiches and other small items for short periods, aluminium foil directly replaced waxed paper and oiled parchment. For longer-term storage, barrels were ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 1,033
8 votes

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

Perhaps the difference is not so much between leavened and unleavened as between flat and loaf. In colder climates, there is an existing need for a persistent fire, which has been lit for heating, as ...
Robin Betts's user avatar
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8 votes
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How much is "1-2 cents worth" of yeast in an old recipe?

I have no idea about historic yeast prices or measuring units, but there are typical ranges for yeast, and you are pretty flexible on the amount you use. In bakers' percentages, 2% is a standard (...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 137k
7 votes
Accepted

What are these sweets from 16th century?

I think user23614's comment is correct. They're ragged comfits, sugar coated seeds or spices. These two paintings by the German painter Georg Flegel, have similar objects depicted, and are described ...
Ross Ridge's user avatar
  • 2,146

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