Tag Archives: food and cooking

Physical skills, intellectual instruction, and the complexities of egg-beating

A few years ago I left off my research into historical gastronomy when it became clear that I was onto an idea bigger than the project could contain — a set of interlocking ideas, really, about craft and the body. … Continue reading

Posted in Historical Gastronomy, Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do convenience foods undermine the family dinner?

A study finds that “The consumption of preprepared convenience foods, many of which are packaged as individual meals, stand alongside busy schedules as a root factor in undermining dinner as a family event.” And also that convenience foods don’t actually save people time. Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Zest, wow wow sauce, and William Kitchiner’s magazine of taste

“Magazine” as in powder magazine, that is, not the periodical kind. A personal arsenal of condiments, created by Regency England’s foremost gastronome and noted eccentric. Do not go unarmed into the battle for flavor, men! Continue reading

Posted in Historical Gastronomy, Historical Miscellany, Magazine of Taste | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The vegetable plate as status symbol

I couldn’t cook much at twenty-one, but I knew how to stir-fry. I stopped on the way home for a pork chop, washed my bounty in the sink, and began seeding and slicing. A shame, really, to disembowl such beauty, but poor hungry students can afford to admire their dinner only but so long. Oil in the wok, some rice on the back burner, and into the pan they went. The sizzle! The aroma! The burning in my eyes from the vein-smoke of what I learned only much later was a habañero! Oh, and a glorious meal it was, too, even if it took a fortnight before the nerves in the soft of my cheeks healed. Gorgeous even in death, those peppers, a feast both exotic and rooting. Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The manly art of baking

As a guy who bakes a lot, I get sort of tired of seeing baking portrayed as some cutesy thing that mommy bloggers do while their toddlers crawl around the kitchen, licking flour off the flour. Nothing against mommy bloggers, understand. Or toddlers. But sometimes I wish there were a more, you know, manly depiction of baking. Enter the sixteenth-century Swiss artist Jost Ammam, who produced this woodcut for The Book of Trades, a collection of illustrated poems… Continue reading

Posted in Historical Miscellany | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Area man still not eating his veggies

A school system in New York has dropped out of the federal school lunch program because the fruits and vegetables they’re forced to serve kids are winding up in the trash. The USDA has known for decades what’s needed to build a successful nutrition education program — one that actually changes people’s eating habits. But the confident language obscures just how hard it really is. Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A brief history of USDA nutritional advice

The USDA has made a big deal the last couple of years about its “healthy plate” model of good eating, which replaces the old food pyramid, which replaced the four food groups, which replaced… well… I thought a chart might help. Today’s post is a visual history of the USDA’s nutritional advice, showing how food groups and recommended servings have changed over the past century. Continue reading

Posted in Historical Miscellany | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How much do Americans actually spend on food? (And how much should we?)

I went digging for numbers and found far too many. What’s the bottom line? Yes, our food is incredibly cheap in historical and global terms, but we spend more of our budgets on it than is often claimed, and we’d have to spend a lot more than that to eat healthy. Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Juliet Corson teaches the poor to cook, 1877

It’s the birthday of Juliet Corson, Gilded Age cooking teacher who gave free classes and free books to poor women and children in hopes that teaching them to cook would improve their lives. Continue reading

Posted in Historical Miscellany | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are personal recipes more usable?

Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook uses an open, visual layout that’s a lot like my handwritten recipe cards. People like that book in part because her tone is so friendly, but does the design actually make it more usable? And if so, why hasn’t anybody emulated it? Continue reading

Posted in Impressions | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments