Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Eating Our Way through History Roundup

Tim Carman, "With America Eats Tavern, Jose Andres offers bites of history," Washington Post, July 12, 2011

A few historic cookbooks from Jose Andres’s personal collection are displayed inside a hulking glass case at his new America Eats Tavern in the former Cafe Atlantico space. The chef is attempting to explain each volume — a notebook kept by George Washington’s chef, a “Chemistry of Cookery” tome that proves Harold McGee didn’t invent that field — when he can’t stand it anymore. He suddenly wraps his arms around the glass case, gives it a big bear hug and yanks it off the stand. He wants to paw through his books and actually show me what he’s talking about.>>>

Michael Knock, "History as an ingredient," Iowa City Press-Citizen, July 12, 2011

It's time for a little history. But don't worry, this is history you can really sink your teeth into.

The Johnson County Master Gardeners will host the 16th annual Taste of the Heritage Garden on July 20 at Plum Grove in Iowa City. The dinner, which runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m., offers the opportunity to learn a bit about Iowa's culinary history by letting attendees sample some of the foods and dishes our ancestors might have enjoyed.>>>

James McWilliams, "How 'Conscientious Carnivores' Ignore Meat's True Origins," Atlantic, July 12, 2011

. . . . The rationalization is that because factory farming is so horrifically brutal to animals, the conscientious carnivore can vote with his or her fork by purchasing meat from farmers who raise their animals in a more "humane" manner—free-range pork, grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs, and all that. The reality, however, is that the so-called conscientious consumers who support these alternative systems are doing very little to challenge the essence of factory farming. In fact, they may be strengthening its very foundation.>>>

Ann Treistman, "Eatymology: Our favorite summer foods, explained," Salon, July 9, 2011

Thinking about American cookery from its very roots reveals how nearly everything we eat came from Europe with settlers. It also makes very clear the elaborate -- and sometimes random -- updates and changes that have been made to these dishes. Brownies were once prepared without chocolate (is a brownie without chocolate really a brownie? you might ask). Pumpkin pie was made with rosemary, thyme and apples. Granula, a precursor to today's granola, was as hard as a rock and had to be soaked in milk before it was eaten. Biscuits went from twice-cooked pucks taken on ship journeys because they never became stale (they started out that way) to the flaky, buttery mounds we enjoy today. Peanuts for peanut butter were once boiled, not roasted. And there are dozens of variations on meatloaf; we added the ketchup and the cheese.>>>

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