Eat Like an Egyptian

An article by Stephanie Butler publised on
history.com october 2013
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Archeological discoveries have told us much about how ancient Egyptians worshiped, celebrated and mourned. But these scientific finds have also provided tantalizing clues about how–and what–this complex civilization ate. From grains like emmer and kamut to cloudy beer and honey-basted gazelle, this week’s Hungry History focuses on the meals of ancient Egypt.

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Bread and beer were the two staples of the Egyptian diet. Everyone from the highest priest to the lowliest laborer would eat these two foods every day, although the quality of the foods for the priest would undoubtedly be higher. The main grain cultivated in Egypt was emmer. Better known today as farro, emmer happens to be a fairly well balanced source of nutrition: it’s higher in minerals and fiber than similar grains. Breads and porridge were made from the grain, as well as a specially devised product that modern-day archeologists call “beer bread.”

Eat Like an Egyptian_02Beer bread was made from dough that used more yeast than normal breads, and it was baked at a temperature that didn’t kill off the yeast cultures. Brewers crumbled the bread into vats and let it ferment naturally in water. This yielded a thick and cloudy brew that would probably disgust our modern palates. But it was also nourishing and healthy, and filled in many nutritive deficiencies of the lower-class diet.

But ancient Egyptians did not survive on carbohydrates alone: Hunters could capture a variety of wild game, including hippos, gazelles, cranes as well as smaller species such as hedgehogs. Fish were caught, then salted and preserved; in fact fish curing was so important to Egyptians that only temple officials were allowed to do it. Honey was prized as a sweetener, as were dates, raisins and other dried fruits. Wild vegetables abounded, like celery, papyrus stalks and onions.

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Although no recipes from the times remain, we have a fair idea of how the Egyptians prepared their food thanks to dioramas and other objects left in tombs. Laborers ate two meals a day: a morning meal of bread, beer and often onions, and a more hearty dinner with boiled vegetables, meat and more bread and beer. Nobles ate well, with vegetables, meat and grains at every meal, plus wine and dairy products like butter and cheese. Priests and royalty ate even better. Tombs detail meals of honey-roasted wild gazelle, spit-roasted ducks, pomegranates and a berry-like fruit called jujubes with honey cakes for dessert. To top it all off, servant girls would circulate with jugs of wine to refill empty glasses: the perfect end to an Egyptian banquet.

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A Ladies’ Luncheon Served by the Hostess anno 1910

illustration_01This article was printed in “The Hostess” published by the Bromangelon Publishing Department in 1910, and it is making it quite clear that when inviting a few lady friends over for luncheon back then putting a box of Twinings Earl Grey tea bags and a tray of hastily made sandwiches on the table simply wouldn’t do

Ted
Winking smile


Every hostess, however modest her home surroundings, cherishes the ambition to shine in her own little sphere. The ideas suggested in this little book are intended as a guide to simple methods of entertaining in a hospitable, easy, refined and dignified manner, without any undue extravagance. They are intended to serve, not as set patterns to be copied or followed in every detail, but rather to suggest to the ingenious hostess, ways of adapting her own original ideas to the art of graceful home entertainment.

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Most hostesses do not realize the full value and usefulness of the serving table. To serve a meal without a maid  is easy of accomplishment, if one will follow the hints conveyed in this description.

Instead of the more conventional large tablecloth, for this cosy occasion we will use the more decorative embroidered centerpiece and doilies.

A Ladies’ Luncheon Served by the Hostess anno 1910

Place on the embroidered centerpiece an earthen jar or vase filled with honeysuckle or some graceful flowering vine. At each cover place a low, small glass with a long branch of the same vine; a water glass partly filled with cracked ice, a small butter plate, containing a butter ball, the little knife by its side; a doily, on which is the service-plate; to the right, two silver knives (sharp edge toward the plate)—to the left, three forks (the prongs turned up), and the napkin, folded square (monogram side up). On the table are three trays, one containing narrow strips of twice-baked bread; and the two smaller ones holding chocolate or other bonbons, and olives or salted almonds.

Most of this luncheon is prepared in advance, and ten minutes before serving, the hostess excuses herself to her guests to heat the first course and prepare the coffee. Everything else is in readiness.

The Menu

Lobster Newburg on Toast
Finger Slices of Dry Toast
Cold Turkey or Chicken
Hearts of Celery
Twice Baked Bread
Jellied Pecan Salad
Brown Bread Sandwiches
Chocolate Cakes filled with Whipped Cream
Black Coffee
Cheese Straws
Salted Nuts, (or Olives)
Sweets

As the guests enter the dining-room, the first course, Lobster Newburg (or Crab Creole) has already been placed. This has been prepared in advance, and only required quick heating on gas burner or chafing-dish before serving. The serving table with a five o’clock tea cloth of handsome linen stands against the wall to the left of the hostess. This table is of the same height as the luncheon table, and is equipped with a lower shelf of the same size as the table top. On top are placed the water pitcher, ice bowl, after-dinner coffee cups and saucers, the plates, a handsome coffee pot and two covered  trays, one holding cheese straws, the other the  cakes.

A Ladies’ Luncheon Served by the Hostess anno 1910

On the lower shelf, out of sight, are the second and third courses (which are both cold) arranged on plates—the salad plates toward the back, the plates of cold chicken or turkey (dressed with celery hearts and twice-baked bread) towards the front. The four finger bowls, the napkins and extra silver are in a corner at the back.

Each guest, as she receives the plate for the second course, passes her used plate and silver from the first course to the hostess. These used plates are slipped by the hostess into the places just vacated on the lower shelf of the serving table. When the salad comes forward, places are made for the plates from the second course. Thus, as soon as a plate has been used, it vanishes as completely as with the best trained service. After all the plates and silver have been used, they can be placed in piles on the lower shelf, and removed after the departure of the guests.

When dessert and coffee have been served, the guests will retire with the hostess to the drawing room.

If these instructions are observed everything will pass off very smoothly.

Lights, Camera, Action: The First TV Chefs

the swedish chef

Article by Stephanie Butler published on history.com Nov 2014

These days, it can seem like every chef has their own television show. From the smallest public television station to huge networks devoted to food, TV chefs occupy an inordinately large portion of the airwaves. This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Long before Emeril Lagasse and even Julia Child, folks were learning the ins and outs of cuisine from their televisions.

These days, it can seem like every chef has their own television show. From the smallest public television station to huge networks devoted to food, TV chefs occupy an inordinately large portion of the airwaves. This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Long before Emeril Lagasse and even Julia Child, folks were learning the ins and outs of cuisine from their televisions.

Phillip HarbenThe distinction of the very first cook to have his own television show goes to Philip Harben, a self-taught cook whose main kitchen experience came from running a restaurant in a residential club for young professionals in London (novelist Agatha Christie was one of Harben’s clients there). During WWII, Harben cooked for the Royal Air Force. Once he got out, he did radio cooking shows for the BBC until 1946, when his first cooking show aired. Entitled “Cookery,” the program was just 10 minutes long. The very first dish cooked on TV? Lobster vol-au-vents. His program aired for years in different formats, and he was unquestionably Britain’s most famous cook for the next 10 years. As food rationing laws were still in effect for most of that time, sometimes it could be difficult to get hold of ingredients like sugar and meat; Harben often resorted to bringing in shares from his own allotments of rations to cook on the show.

Fanny CradockAs Harben’s tenure on the airwaves came to a close, a new, more glamorous figure appeared on UK sets. Fanny Cradock was a rare character: self-proclaimed psychic, married four times (twice bigamously), and living in poverty selling cleaning products door to door until she discovered the works of influential French chef Auguste Escoffier. She began cooking in earnest, working in restaurants and throwing elaborate dinner parties with her partner and paramour Johnnie Cradock. Her kitchen talents came naturally, Cradock insisted, because she had been a chef in a previous life. She began writing a cooking column called “Bon Viveur” in The Daily Telegraph in 1950, and by 1955 she had her own show, “Chez Bon Viveur.”

Chez Bon Viveur was enormously influential in the UK, and Cradock was indisputably the first person to wear the title of “celebrity chef.” After the slim years of the post war period, Britons were ready for some glamour, and the kooky Ms. Cradock delivered in spades. She gave all her dishes French names (including the ones that were unquestionably English in nature, like Yorkshire pudding). She had a deep love of vegetable-based food dyes, and once colored a pot of scalloped potatoes green to match the rest of the dinner. With recipes for rose petal jam and baked hedgehog, Cradock introduced a generation of cooks to exotic ingredients.

James BeardIn the United States, another gourmand was about to make his mark on the airwaves. James Beard is known now as a cookbook author, bon vivant and for the yearly chef award that bears his name. But he was also the very first American chef to cook on television. In 1946, a few months after Harben’s premiere, Beard first appeared on air in “I Love to Eat.” Sponsored by Borden Foods, it was a live show, just 15 minutes long, which aired on Fridays right after an instructional dance show and before boxing from Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, since the show only lasted for a couple years, little is known about it—the technology to record live shows didn’t exist until 1947.

Dione LucasMore is known about the second show to appear on U.S. airwaves. In 1947, chef and restaurateur Dione Lucas began her own program, “To The Queen’s Taste.” It ran on a local New York City station for two years. Lucas cooked decidedly French food (omelettes were her specialty) and even had guests like Salvador Dali appear on her show. But those early years of cooking TV were far from polished. In one of her more memorable episodes, Lucas attempted to demonstrate a chocolate soufflé for her audience. She prepared the batter and then took a fresh, already made soufflé out of the oven to show off her creation. Unfortunately, an unwitting electrician had unplugged the oven on set, and the soufflé was stone cold. Lucas was unable to do anything except continue to chat about the soufflé’s glamorous appearance, as chocolate and egg whites dissolved into a puddle before the astonished eyes of her guests

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Slice

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Slice is a line of fruit-flavored soft drinks manufactured by PepsiCo and introduced in 1984.

Flavors

Varieties of Slice have included lemon-lime (replaced Teem in the United States; discontinued in 2000 with introduction of Sierra Mist), apple, fruit punch, grape, passionfruit, peach, Mandarin orange, pineapple, strawberry, Pink Lemonade, Cherry Cola (discontinued in 1988 following the introduction of Wild Cherry Pepsi), “Red”, Cherry-Lime, and Dr Slice. Until 1994, the drink contained 10% fruit juice.

History

Slice was a big success upon release, inspiring other juice-infused drinks based on already existing Silce_01juice brands, such as Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid orange soda and Cadbury Schweppes’s Sunkist. By May 1987, Slice held 3.2 percent of the soft drink market. One year later, it had fallen to 2.1 percent and was below 2 percent in June 1988.

The original design of the can was a solid color related to the flavor of the drink. These were replaced in 1994 with black cans that featured colorful bursts related to the flavor of the drink, along with slicker graphics. In 1997, the cans became blue with color-coordinated swirls. The original orange flavor was reformulated around this time with the new slogan, “It’s orange, only twisted.” Orange Slice has since been changed back to its original flavor.

In the summer of 2000, lemon-lime Slice was replaced in most markets by Sierra Mist, which became a Silce_03national brand in 2003. The rest of the Slice line was replaced in most markets by Tropicana Twister Soda in the summer of 2005, although the Dr. Slice variety can still be found in some fountains.

In early 2006, Pepsi resurrected the Slice name for a new line of diet soda called Slice ONE. Marketed exclusively at Wal-Mart stores, Slice ONE was available in orange, grape and berry flavors, all sweetened with Splenda.

As of 2009, Slice (orange, diet orange, grape, strawberry and peach flavors) was available solely from Wal-Mart Stores.

Slice was launched in India in 1993 as a mango flavored drink and quickly went on to become a leading player in the category, In India, ‘Slice Mango’ is promoted by Bollywood actress, Katrina Kaif. Slice mango is also available in Pakistan.

The History of the Cappuccino

An article by Lindsey Goodwin 
posted at
The Spruce in March 2016

The History of the Cappuccino

The cappuccino only began to become popular in America in the 1980s. This has led some people to believe that the cappuccino is a “new” drink. However, this drink actually dates back hundreds of years and has been enjoyed by generations in Italy and continental Europe.

Before the Cappuccino

The History of the CappuccinoIn Europe, coffee drinking was originally based on the traditional Ottoman style of preparation. Water and coffee beans were brought to a boil, and sometimes sugar was added.

This is similar to modern-day Turkish coffee preparation.

By the late 1700s, the British and French had started filtering coffee beans from their coffee. Gradually, filtered and brewed coffee became more popular than boiled coffee. It was around this time that the term ‘cappuccino’ originated (though it was not used to describe the drink as we know it).

The Name ‘Cappuccino’

‘Cappuccinos’ first popped up as the ‘Kapuziner’ in Viennese coffee houses in the 1700s. A description of the ‘Kapuziner’ from 1805 The History of the Cappuccinodescribed it as “coffee with cream and sugar”, and a description of the drink from 1850 adds “spices” to the recipe. Either way, these drinks had a brown color similar to the robes worn by the Capuchin (‘Kapuzin’) friars in Vienna, and this is where their name came from. (A similar drink of the time was known as the ‘Franziskaner’; it was made with more milk and named after the lighter-brown robes of the Franciscan monks.) The word ‘Capuchin’ literally means cowl or hood in Italian, and it was a name given to the Capuchin monks for their hooded robes.

The Invention of the Cappuccino

Although the name ‘Kapuziner’ was used in Vienna, the actual cappuccino was invented in Italy and the name was adapted to become ‘Cappuccino’. It was first made in the early 1900a, shortly The History of the Cappuccinoafter the popularization of the espresso machine in 1901. The first record of the cappuccino we have found was in the 1930s.

‘Cappuccini’ (as they are known in Italy) gradually became popular in cafes and restaurants across the country. At this time, espresso machines were complicated and bulky, so they were limited to specialized cafes and were operated solely by baristi. Italian coffee culture involved sitting around in these specialized cafes for hours, enjoying espresso, cappuccinos, caffe lattes and other drinks over conversation and reading. Photos from the era indicate that cappuccinos were served in the “Viennese” style, which is to say that they were topped with whipped cream and cinnamon or chocolate shavings.

The Modern-day Cappuccino Is Born

After World War II, the cappuccino making went through some improvements and simplifications in Italy. This was largely thanks to The History of the Cappuccinobetter and more widely available espresso machines, which introduced the so-called “Age of Crema“. These improvements and the post-WWII affluence across parts of Europe set the stage for cappuccino’s eventual worldwide popularity. This is when the modern cappuccino was born, so to speak, as it is when all the elements we now consider to make a great cappuccino (good espresso, a balance of steamed and frothed milk, presence of crema and a small, preheated porcelain cup) were all in play.

Cappuccinos Around the Globe

Cappuccinos first became popular across continental Europe and England. (In England, the first popularized form of espresso was, in fact, the cappuccino. It spread across the island easily because the Brits were already accustomed to drinking coffee with milk by that time, but the distinct texture and the cafe culture of the cappuccino set it apart from regular coffee with milk.) Later, the drink moved to Australia, South America and elsewhere in Europe. They then spread to America beginning in the 1980s, primarily due to its marketing in coffee shops (which had previously been more like diners with black The History of the Cappuccinocoffee on offer). In the 1990s, the introduction of cafe culture (and higher priced drinks which correlated to the longer use of a seat in the coffee shop) made cappuccinos, lattes and similar drinks a big hit in the US.

More recently, the finally appeared elsewhere in the world, largely due to Starbucks. (See these international Starbucks menus for more examples of Starbucks’ spread of coffee drinks around the world.)

For the most part, contemporary cappuccinos are made with espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk. However, in some parts of the world, cappuccinos are still made more like Viennese Kapuziners, complete with whipped cream and other additives. This includes Vienna, much of Austria and Europe (such as Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and other parts of the former Austrian empire). This even includes even Trieste, Italy, a city which now borders on Slovenia and which has been held The History of the Cappuccinoby various countries over the years. Since the 1950s, both cappuccinos and Kapuziners have been served in espresso bars since the 1950s.

Over the last three decades, automatic beverage machines in America and in some other countries have sold a drink that is called a ‘cappuccino’. These drinks are often made with brewed coffee or instant coffee powder and with powdered milk or milk substitute. They are not foamed and frothed but are whipped inside the machine to create bubbles. This unfortunate drink bears little relation to a true cappuccino.

In recent years, some European cappuccino customs have changed. Most notably, some Europeans (particularly those in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and Spain) have begun to drink cappuccino throughout the entire day rather than only in the morning. Now, cappuccinos are popular at cafes in the afternoon and at restaurants after dinner.

Cooking With The Bard: Sussing Out Shakespeare’s Forgotten Foods

An articke by Anne Bramley commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death posted on npr.org April 20, 2016

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For more than 400 years, Shakespeare’s audiences have devoured tales of Twelfth Night‘s “cakes and ale” and Hamlet’s “funeral baked meats.”

But there’s a whole lot more to the bard’s culinary story – the Shakespearean larder teems with intriguingly named foods. How about chewets, gallimaufries, and fools? (That’s small pies, mixtures and spiced, fruity custard for modern eaters.) And do you know your codlings from your carbonadoes and your umbles from your jumbles? (Translation: small apples, grilled meat, offal and bonbons.)

To really understand Shakespeare’s food literature, we need to tuck into food history and even crack open a Renaissance cookbook or two.

When Hamlet huffs about the “funeral baked meats” served at his mother’s wedding banquet, he is chastising her for her quick re-marriage, implying that she was serving leftovers from his father’s recent funeral. But funeral baked meats were in fact a real food, and they weren’t as macabre as their name implied — though they were cooked in a “coffin.” The same word was used for “a coffer to keep dead people or to keep meat in,” explains Ken Albala, director of food studies at the University of the Pacific. But these edible coffins, he explains, were made of pastry crust to seal the contents so that they lasted longer. Because that pastry was built to act more like Tupperware than a treat, it was coarse and tossed rather than eaten.

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More grim is the drink proffered by Lady Macbeth: To clear the way for murder, she drugs the grooms’ possets — half-food, half-drink staples of Renaissance tables. They were a sort of old-fashioned eggnog made by curdling cream in wine, ale or sack (that’s Spanish Sherry).

But glossing the Renaissance table helps us understand more about Shakespeare’s plays than simply what his characters ate. For example, then as now, which booze you chose said a lot about who you were.

Expensive sack was all the rage, and the bard’s famous tumble-down knight, Falstaff — though less true to his word — is true to his drink. Prince Hal christens Falstaff, a great guzzler of the Spanish wine (often taken with a bit of sweetener), “Sack-and Sugar Jack.”

Further down the social ladder, ale came in one size: small (meaning weak in both flavor and alcohol content). Prince Hal remembers “the poor creature, small beer” he drank when he played at being just one of the guys in The Boar’s Head tavern.

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In The Taming of the Shrew, joking aristocrats move a down-and-out Christopher Sly from the street in front of the alehouse, where he’s passed out, to a lord’s chamber. When he comes round, his new servants offer him sack and rich conserves, but he refuses them both and embraces his low-rent lifestyle with a cry of “For God’s sake, a pot of small ale.” No surprise that in Henry VI, Part II, the more aspirational class rebel Jack Cade promises to “make it felony to drink small beer.”

And in an era when what people ate was largely determined by class standing, we can expect the stage to mirror this reality.

The landed gentry and even well-fed merchants could show off their wealth with a banquet of conserves and comfits – a candy made of a nut or seed coated in sugar. Think of the “kissing comfits” (for sweet breath) Falstaff calls to fall from the sky in The Merry Wives of Windsor. In Shakespeare’s day, a banquet was not a rollicking dinner party in the great hall, but dessert. Or rather, an elaborate final sweet course of expensive sweets and elaborate sculptures crafted in sugar. The truly rich built separate banqueting houses on their manors to host their velvet-clad guests.

shakespear_012Fantasy-filled cookbooks of Shakespeare’s day, like Hugh Plat’s Delights for Ladies, let class climbers in on the secrets of the best tables in England with recipes for comfits. The detailed and diverse 11 pages of directions recommend that “for every two pound of sugar, a quarter of a pound of aniseeds or coriander seed” be used. Ivan Day, a British food historian known for his detailed recreations of meals of bygone eras, shows how it’s done. But the painstaking preparation of coating spices with layers and layers of sugar means they were usually left to the professional comfit maker.

And then there are those foods that cover a whole host of dishes and yet nothing in particular: kickshaws and cates.

In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio insists on shortening Katherine’s name, despite her resistance to the diminutive. In their running battle of wits, his pun on “household cates” turns Kate into a dainty dish ready to be devoured. “Cates” could be just about any food, but the term was usually reserved for the choicest morsels in the larder.

shakespear_06Same with kickshaws, like those that Shallow orders up in Henry IV, Part II: “a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws.” It’s an adulteration of the French quelquechose and a commodious cornucopia of a word covering a host of savory appetizers.

For homemade kickshaws, Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife (printed one year before Shakespeare’s death in 1616) instructs the cook to mix eggs, cream, currants, cinnamon, cloves, spinach, endive, shakespear_07marigold flowers and pigs’ pettitoes [feet]. But he also suggests using small birds, roots, oysters, giblets, lemons. And plenty more. “Who can do these need no further instruction for the rest,” he insists.

Markham’s directions, like all cookery books of the period, read more like shopping lists and stream-of-conscious kitchen stories than today’s cookbooks, with their meticulous measurements and over-explaining.

As for the jumbles and umbles that may make us mumble through Shakespeare’s plays, it’s hard not to quip that a dish by any other name would taste as delicious.

Hungry History: Lobsters

Hungry History: Lobsters

Ian Knauer at history.com dives into lowbrow history of a pricey food as he assembles two versions of a delicious lobster roll.

You wouldn’t suspect, perhaps, that a close relative of grasshoppers and tarantulas could be widely considered an elegant Hungry History: Lobstersindulgence in the United States or any other nation of generally sophisticated palates.

And yet, every time a chef proudly presents a lobster-based creation as a signature dish, that’s exactly what’s going on. Prepared broiled in butter or scampi, Newburg or in bisque, the lobster—a member of the invertebrate phylum Arthropoda just like insects and spiders—has held a place of honor at countless festive feasts and romantic repasts for well over a century. Nonetheless, trappers have a prosaic nickname for lobsters: bugs.

Lobster’s appeal as a special delicacy wasn’t always so, but not because Americans were necessarily repulsed by lobster’s less appetizing cousins. Rather, back in the colonial era, the clawed crustacean was so abundant that it was hardly deemed exceptional.

Hungry History: LobstersA three-term governor of Plymouth Colony who came over on the Mayflower, Edward Winslow, for instance, wrote to an English friend in 1621 that “Our Bay is full of Lobsters all the Summer.” At the end of that decade, Francis Higginson of Salem, Massachusetts, wrote in his book “New England’s Plantation, or a short and true description of the Commodities of that Country” that the “abundance of sea-fish are almost beyond believing … We take an abundance of lobsters, and the least boy in the Plantation may both catch and eat what he will of them. For my own part, I was soon cloyed with them, they were so great, and fat, and luscious.”

Hungry History: Lobsters

Travel ahead one century and several hundred miles northeast to Nova Scotia, and the situation was similar. In his 1876 book “The Emigrant and Sportsman in Canada: Some Experiences of An Old Country Settler,” essayist John J. Rowan recounted that “on still summer nights, lobster spearing parties are the fashion among Halifax people … On one occasion, I saw several acres of potato ground manured Hungry History: Lobsterswith them … Lobster shells about a house are looked upon as signs of poverty and degradation.”

Yet despite Rowan’s observations, times were in fact changing, and the transformation of Homarus americanus (American, or Maine, lobster) from fertilizer to fanciful indulgence had already begun in the United States by the mid-19th century.

The secret ingredient to lobster becoming a luxury was coal. Not on a barbecue, but as the fuel that powered steam-engine locomotives, explained culinary historian and consultant Lou Greenstein of North Reading, Massachusetts. “As the Industrial Revolution got underway and railroads were built, the capacity existed for perishable foods like lobster to be packed in ice and transported from the point of origin to inland places like Chicago,” said Greenstein, author of “A la Carte: A Tour of Dining History.” Hungry History: LobstersThe perceived romance of the travel story involved—not to mention the very real expense—added to the cachet of regionally “exotic” foods.

What’s more, the fact that eating multi-jointed lobster presented intrinsic logistical difficulties made it even more desirable to some. In the Victorian era, “labor was inexpensive,” explained Greenstein. “So a lot of the dishes served from the 1850s on featured lobster that had already been picked, like molded lobster salad. This way, servants did the work, and Victorian ladies didn’t have to go through the ordeal of eating something difficult in public. Even lobster Newburg—it can be served in the shell, but it was already picked.”

Hungry History: LobstersYet if, on the one claw, lobster has maintained its overall reputation as a luxury food, it has, on the other, spawned a very particular kind of informal dining experience in coastal New England: the lobster shack.

Mike Urban, a Connecticut resident and author of the book “Lobster Shacks: A Road Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints,” said that the first lobster shack most likely emerged in the early 1900s in Maine. “The first ones were offshoots of a lobsterman’s business,” he hypothesized. “His wife or kids might have begun cooking some of the catch right on the dock, for locals. They started small.”

Hungry History: LobstersOne of the earliest lobster shacks whose history Urban can document is Bayley’s Lobster Pound in Scarborough, Maine. Based in a small commercial shack he bought, Steve Bayley lobstered to supplement the income he earned at a clam-packing plant, where he worked beginning in 1916. Sometimes, after he’d supplied lobsters to all his nearby restaurant and market clients, “he would pack overcatch in suitcases, jump on a Portland-bound train and sell it at a local market there,” said Urban. From there, it became a small logical leap to prepare and sell simple boiled lobsters and lobster rolls (possibly a Bayley invention, too) right at the shack, cutting out middlemen. Today, the third and fourth generations of Bayley family members run the seasonal business. And in the century since Bayley’s began, shacks have come to densely dot the New England coast.

Hungry History: Lobsters

A drive or train ride away, New York’s Delmonico’s—in business, on and off, since 1827, but currently thriving on Beaver Street in a Victorian-era building—is also central to the lobster cuisine story. It was one of the first fine restaurants to serve lobster, according to Greenstein. Even more significant, a new way of preparing lobster—with butter, cream, Madeira and eggs—was introduced to one of the original Delmonico brothers by world-traveling sea captain Ben Wenberg in 1876. Lobster à la Wenberg became a favorite of patrons, but when Wenberg and Delmonico had a falling-out, the new specialty fell off the menu, too. When requests for the dish could no longer be ignored, though, it returned—with the letter-shifted name of Lobster à la Newberg (or Newburg, as it’s now spelled).

If the Puritans could see the esteem in which lobster is held today, they would doubtless be shell-shocked. But with melted butter easing its ascent, Homarus americanus clawed its way to the top, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Nedick’s

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Nedick’s was an American chain of fast-food restaurants that originated in New York City in 1913 or the early 1920s, per differing sources, and expanded in the 1950s to Newark, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. Originally known for making and selling a signature orange drink, it added coffee and donuts to its simple menu, and later hot dogs with a unique mustard relish in a toasted bun. The name was formed from the last names of Robert T. Neely and Orville A. Dickinson, who founded the chain with the original stand in a hotel storefront of the Bartholdi Hotel at 23rd Street and Broadway. The chain was known for its orange and white decor and its slogan, “Good food is never expensive at Nedick’s”. Another slogan, evidenced by the image at right, was “Always a pleasure”.

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Following intense competition in the 1970s from such national chains as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, and much criticism in 1981 for the quality of its concession at the Central Park Zoo, Nedick’s ceased operations.

Revival of the brand name

nedicks_04In 2003, the Riese Organization, which operates a number of restaurant chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut, revived the Nedick’s brand, with three restaurants by that name in New York City, at Penn Station; 1286 Broadway between 33rd & 34th Street; and 416 8th Avenue, at West 31st Street. All of these locations have since closed, and Nedick’s is no longer featured on Riese Restaurants webpage.

In popular culture

nedicks_03Nedick’s was a long-time New York landmark; The New York Times in 2003 recalled the chain as “The Starbucks of New York”.

Nedick’s was a sponsor of the New York Knicks basketball team. This gave rise to the catchphrase of the Knicks’ long-time radio announcer, Marty Glickman: “Good like Nedick’s”, intoned after the team scored a basket. Another common phrase was, “Meet me outside Nedick’s”; as a well-known and highly visible location, it was a common place to rendezvous with people.

nedicks_05In the musical On The Town, sailors Gabey, Ozzie, and Chip agree to meet at Nedick’s in Times Square at eleven.

Nedick’s is name-dropped in the liner notes to Leo Kottke’s 6- and 12-String Guitar.

A popular punchline from the heyday of the chain was “I’ll meet you in the Orange Room of the Hotel Nedick’s.”

In his 1971 album, When I Was a Kid, Bill Cosby talked about when he and his Boy Scout troop went on a hike around Fairmount Park in his hometown of Philadelphia. When the police forbade them setting up camp in the park, the

nedicks_01troop went to Nedick’s to eat their lunch (canned beans) before going home.

In the M*A*S*H Season Four episode, “Dear Peggy”, Hawkeye Pierce talks about watching Klinger eat a fresh egg he won in a poker game and facetiously says that for a moment, it evoked the air of “fine dining at Nedick’s in Grand Central Station.”

The Nedick’s neon sign can be seen in several location shots in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

In Audre Lorde’s poem, “Who Said It Was Simple,” the speaker can perceive, just “Sitting at Nedick’s,” the intersections of race, gender and class in the liberation movements of the 1970’s.

Text from Wikipedia

A Brief History of Vanilla

A Brief History of Vanilla

Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family and is native to central Mexico. The ancient Totonac Indians of Mexico were A Brief History of Vanillathe first to learn to use the fruit of the Tlilxochitl vine, vanilla pods. After their defeat by the Aztecs, they were forced to relinquish control of the exotic fruit.

The Aztecs were, in turn, defeated by the Spanish, who returned home with the precious vanilla beans – which were for many years, enjoyed only by the nobility and the very rich. Eventually, the use of vanilla, while still quite expensive, became widespread throughout Europe.

Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as Ambassador to France, he learned the use of vanilla beans, and when he returned to the A Brief History of VanillaUnited States, brought vanilla beans with him.

Today, vanilla beans are grown in several distinct regions of the world. This produces vanilla beans with unique regional characteristics and attributes, each particularly suited to different uses.

Madagascar, the world’s largest producer of vanilla beans, is the source of the famed Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and still produces the world’s finest and most consistent vanilla. (Incidentally, the term “Bourbon” has nothing to do with the liquor produced in Kentucky – but rather, derives its name from the old name for Madagascar – the Bourbon Islands.)

Madagascar Bourbon vanilla is considered to be the highest quality pure vanilla available, typified by a creamy, sweet, smooth, mellow flavor. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is known for its “staying power”, which makes it especially suited to pairing with rich foods.

A Brief History of Vanilla

Mexico, where vanilla originated, now produces only a small percentage of the harvest. Mexican vanilla beans, grown by skilled producers that carefully harvest and cure every pod. It’s this process that produces Mexican vanilla of exceptionally high quality and flavor.

Spicy Mexican vanilla is known by its creamy flavor that complements dishes that contain chocolate, cinnamon and other warm spices. A teaspoon or so of Mexican vanilla in tomato sauces or with citrus can also help reduce acidity.

A Brief History of VanillaThe last of the four major vanilla-producing regions is Tahiti. Tahitian vanilla, grown from a different genus of vanilla orchid (Vanilla Tahitensis Moore), is flowery, fruity and smooth.

Long a favorite of professional bakers and pastry chefs, Tahitian vanilla is known for its aromatic, fruity, cherry, anise-like flavor profile. Tahitian Pure Vanilla has a particular affinity to fruity flavors such as fruited yogurts, sorbets and fruit toppings.

Text from earthy.com

The History of Pineapples

The History of Pineapples

It is not a pine nor an apple, and it is not native to Hawaii. However, since it was first canned and became a major crop there, we associate pineapple with Hawaii and the tastes of the islands. It has wonderful tenderizing enzymes and goes especially well with pork as well as, seafood, and sweet-and-sour dishes. Of course, there are always plenty of dessert recipes using pineapple.

Pineapple History

The History of PineapplesAnanas comosus is the botanical name of the fruit we know as the pineapple.

Native to South America, it was named for its resemblance to a pine cone. The term pineapple (or pinappel in Middle English) did not appear in English print until around 1664.

Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493, although the fruit had long been grown in South America. He called it piña de Indes meaning “pine of the Indians.”

The History of PineapplesSouth American Guarani Indians cultivated pineapples for food. They called it nanã, meaning “excellent fruit.”

Another explorer, Magellan, is credited with finding pineapples in Brazil in 1519, and by 1555, the luscious fruit was being exported with gusto to England. It soon spread to India, Asia, and the West Indies.

When George Washington tasted pineapple in 1751 in Barbados, he declared it his favorite tropical fruit. Although the pineapple thrived in Florida, it was still a rarity for most Americans.

Captain James Cook later introduced the pineapple to Hawaii circa 1770.

However, commercial cultivation did not begin until the 1880s when steamships made transporting the perishable fruit viable.

The History of Pineapples

In 1903, James Drummond Dole began canning pineapple, making it easily accessible worldwide. Production stepped up dramatically when a new machine automated the skinning and coring of the fruit.

The Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company was a booming business by 1921, making pineapple Hawaii’s largest crop and industry.

Today, Hawaii produces only ten percent of the world’s pineapple crops. Other countries contributing to the pineapple industry include Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Thailand, Costa Rica, China, and Asia.

The History of Pineapples

Pineapple is the third most canned fruit behind applesauce and peaches.

Text from thespruce.com

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – TaB

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

Tab (stylized as TaB) is a diet cola soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company, introduced in 1963. The soda was popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and several variations were made, including Tab Clear as well as caffeine-free versions.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBAs a result of studies in the early 1970s linking saccharin, TaB’s main sweetener, with bladder cancer in rats, the United States Congress mandated warning labels on products containing the sweetener. The label requirement was later repealed when no evidence was found linking saccharin with cancer in humans.

After its introduction in 1982, Diet Coke quickly replaced TaB as the Coca-Cola Company’s most popular diet cola, although TaB still retained a loyal following. Approximately 3 million cases were sold in the United States in 2008

History

TaB was introduced as a diet drink in 1963. TaB was created by Coca-Cola after the successful sales and marketing of Diet Rite cola, owned by The Royal Crown Company; previously, Diet Rite had been the only sugarless soda on the market. Tab was marketed to consumers who wanted to “keep tabs” on their weight.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

Coca-Cola’s marketing research department used its IBM 1401 computer to generate a list of over 185,000 four-letter words with one vowel, adding names suggested by the company’s own staff; the list was stripped of any words deemed unpronounceable or too similar to existing trademarks. From a final list of about twenty names, “Tabb” was chosen, influenced by the possible play on words, and shortened to “TaB” during development.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBPackaging designer Robert Sidney Dickens gave the name the capitalization pattern (“TaB”) used in the logo as well as creating a new bottle design for the soft drink.

TaB has been reformulated several times. It was initially sweetened with cyclamate. After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on cyclamate in 1969, sodium saccharin was used. Studies in laboratory rats during the early 1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer.

As a result, the United States Congress mandated that further studies of saccharin be performed and required that all food containing saccharin bear a label warning that the sweetener had been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. In the absence of further evidence Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaBthat saccharin caused cancer in humans, the substance was delisted in 2000 from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens; this led to the repealing of the warning label requirements for products containing saccharin. In December 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from its list of hazardous substances.

At the height of its popularity, the Tab name was briefly extended to other diet soft drinks, including TaB Lemon-Lime, TaB Black Cherry, TaB Ginger Ale, TaB Root Beer and TaB Orange.

Other variants of Tab have appeared over the years

Caffeine Free TaB was introduced in the 1980s with little fanfare and disappeared soon afterward.

In 1992, Coca-Cola released TaB Clear in the U.S., Australia and UK. It was withdrawn after less than a year.

TaB Energy is an energy drink released in early 2006 that uses a different recipe than Tab cola.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday - TaB

TaB’s popularity began to decline in 1982 with the introduction of Diet Coke, although TaB retained something of a cult following in the United States, where customers purchased about 3 million cases in 2008. According to the Coca-Cola Company, in 2012 TaB was being sold in the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland), Spain, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States.

Text from Wikipedia

DIY Sunday – Build a Basement Golf Course

heading_diyBasement Golf

Popularity of miniature golf has brought the game right into the basement in the form of a knockdown course that can be picked up and stored away almost as easily as you would a game of croquet. It’s an exciting game the whole family can enjoy the year round from the youngsters on up to the avid golfer who will find it good practice in keeping his putting eye keen. Standard putters and irons are used and scoring is done as in real golf, penalties being counted as strokes.

As for space, most basements, especially those with compact heating units, will accommodate the “concentrated” nine-hole course pictured in the illustration above, but, where there’s only a minimum of space, a lot of fun can be had from a much smaller course. As each green is complete in itself and lightweight, the course can be quickly set up. Most of the greens are fairly shallow to permit stacking them in little space when not in use – By Allan Carpenter

These plans which were featured in the 1950 June edition of Popular Mechanics can be downloaded by clicking the icon below.
And remember if your basement is too small for this project,
your garden may not be

Ted
Winking smile

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Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Trocadero

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Trocadero, sometimes called Troca, is a caffeinated soft drink flavored with orange and apple. It was launched in Sweden in the summer of 1953 the Saturn AB brewery in Malmö. Trocadero has over the years been particularly popular in northern Sweden and has been called “Norrland’s national drink.”

The name

Trocadero was introduced by Nils-Håkan Håkansson at Saturn AB, and according to his grandson Edward Liepe the  named came either from the Place du Trocadero in Paris or from Café de Trocadero in the same city.

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Furthermore

Trocadero_03The same year the Trocadero was introduced the ban on cola sodas was lifted for in Sweden and both Coca-Cola and Cuba Cola (also brewed by Saturn) was introduced on the market. Trocadero was for long the only soft drink except cola drinks containing caffeine.

Saturn, however, became with the years more and more focused on selling essences for flavoring spirits and cocktail mixing, and in line with this focus also began selling soda essenses to other breweries instead Trocadero_04of manufacturing the soft drinks themselves. Saturn is only selling flavors and essences for Trocadero production to approved breweries to day, and the requirements are that the brewery focuses on the brand, has good water and keeps the amount of essence in relation to the amount of water within a given range.

Trocadero mixed with brandy is called Wholesaler Grog in Sweden.

Trocadero is now available as candyconsisting of two-colored jelly bottles tasting of Trocadero. In 2005 the Trocadero candy started to be produced and sold by Fagerströms candy factory in Hudiksvall.

According to the Trocadero Facebook page, the manufacturing of the candy has now ceased.

The History of Babycham

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The name has always been misleading – the ‘cham’ part leads many people to assume that the bubbly liquid they are happily quaffing at parties is champagne, when in fact this popular drink is actually perry; alcoholic sparkling pear juice. This confusion actually led to a more babycham_06serious altercation between the Babycham Company and the gourmand Raymond Postgate. The founder of the Good Food Guide, a once-a-year publication dedicated to searching out the best eateries in the UK, wrote an article in a 1965 edition of Holiday magazine claiming that his readers should know that Babycham looks and is served like champagne, but is actually a pear- based drink. Babycham sued Postgate for libel, stating that he had inferred that the company were trying to pass the drink off as something it wasn’t. Whilst the judge assigned to the case agreed that the wording was derogatory it was agreed that it could be passed as ‘fair comment’ and Postgate walked from court with no punishment.

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Largely remembered as a popular 1970s and 80’s drink, Babycham actually hit our shelves and bars in 1953 and had the honour of being the first booze to get a commercial aired on UK television. It almost single-handedly changed UK drinking culture by marketing itself directly at women, targeting them with their first specific ‘ladies’’ drink. Its history actually starts back in the 1940s, however.  

babycham_07Shepton Mallet in Somerset was home to the brewery belonging to the Showering brothers (I promise there will be no jokes about how clean they must have been), Francis, Ralph, Herbert and Arthur. Alongside the normal beer they also produced mineral water and cider and Francis spent time searching for new drinks to bring to the market. He looked into the fermentation of fruit juice, originally to improve upon their cider-making process but as he researched the topic he discovered that he could also make a great tasting beverage from perry pears.

After trying it out in the Bristol area as a test at first, their new alcoholic drink was bottled in 1950. It began its life in large bottles but was later swapped into the familiar small (‘baby’) ones that became its trademark.  It was first sent out under the name of Champagne de la Poire but after winning first prize in every important agricultural show in the country people started referring to it as the ‘Baby Champ’. (See where they went from there?)

babycham_05The Showerings had hit upon a real gap in the market. Up until then the drinks aimed towards women were few; stout, port and lemon, gin or sherry perhaps? Showering’s new sparkling perry was an ideal creation to fill that gap. It could be marketed as a light, fun drink specifically for females – and the cute little deer logo, which appeared on the bottles for its launch in the UK in 1953, just added to that appeal.

In 1957 it made its television commercial debut. It was an example of a truly aspirational brand; its strapline was ‘The genuine Champagne Perry’ and it was shown being drunk in saucer style champagne glasses by stylish and alluring women. The commercial was a success and Babycham’s popularity soared. The little Shepton Mallet brewery had to rapidly expand to keep up with increased demand; the campaign to introduce pear perry to a new (and obviously enthusiastic) audience had worked.

The decades rolled by and the success story continued. The drink and the deer became world famous and the ‘Babycham Babe’ beauty competition was launched in the 1960s. The adverts gained a guest appearance from Patrick Mower (Emmerdale) in the 1970s and further references to the ultimate in cool lifestyles (‘Hey, I’d love a Babycham!’) in the 1980s. Later on the image of the deer was turned into a cartoon; it became a party deer, able to bring a bit of pizzazz to the dullest of social gatherings.

babycham_04

By the 1990s though, the brand was losing ground. By now there were plenty of other cheap and ‘fun’ alcoholic brands on offer and a restriction on television alcohol advertising made it harder for the company to retain their status within the market. In 1993 the brand relaunched, aiming to target a more youthful consumer and a few years later there was a, possibly misguided, attempt to bring the ‘Babycham Babe’ contest back to life. babycham_08(A West End final crowned model Nell McAndrew the winner in case you were curious.)

The millennium saw a new ‘Popping Cork’ bottle added to the brand.

Dogged determination meant that the name survived, and even began gaining in popularity again. The sudden fashion for retro enabled Babycham to become stylish again – even having a regular night held in its honour at Browns’ nightclub in Covent Garden, London.

A range of clothing was launched in 2001; people could now celebrate their love of fizzy perry pear by wearing underwear, outer clothing and accessories adorned by the blue bow-wearing deer.  These caught the eye of the fashion press and Babycham found itself receiving some positive media attention.  A new range of shoes and matching bags came along in 2011.

babycham_01

In 2003 Babycham celebrated 50 years of bubbly pear goodness and also began sponsoring the Funny Women Comedy Awards and ten years later Diamond Anniversary commemorative Babycham glasses could be snapped up with their special pack promotion.

By 2011 Babycham was selling around 15 million bottles a year and two new flavours have been introduced, with an emphasis on its 1950’s heritage: ‘hint of cream soda’ and ‘hint of cherry soda’. Yum.

Text from doyouremember.co.uk


When I went to England as a young man back in the very early seventies all decent girls drank Babycham. The ones I dated drank vodka straight or gallons of bitter

Ted
Winking smile

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Howdy

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Before Sprite and 7-Up, there was Howdy. Orca Beverage President and Owner, Mike Bourgeois, calls Howdy the “original creators of the lemon-lime category.” In fact, Howdy Lemon-Lime was the primordial soda recipe from which 7-Up eventually evolved.

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The company originally began in 1929, and according to Bourgeois, back then Howdy was made with seven ingredients. I don’t think I need to explain the connection further. Here’s the weird part: one of those seven ingredients was lithium. Bourgeois tells us the soda was originally marketed as a “Bib-Lable Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.”

50Howdy-Cardboard-sign_crHe goes on to tell us that lithium was used at the turn of the century as a mood-altering stimulant, thought to “give you a lift.” He offered up cocaine as a comparison. Good. Because there’s nothing I like with my lunch more than an ice cold lemon-lime soda chocked full of angel dust. Really makes the rest of the day go faster when I do my afternoon accounting work with a heart rate of 200 BPM.

As you might imagine, lithium has since been regulated out of the drink. Bourgeois did not specify when Howdy went out of business, but notes the company had been dormant for many years until around 2010 when Orca Beverage reactivated the trademark due to its rich history.

Orca has done this several times since the Mukilteo, Washington-based soda distributor began in 1987 because it wants to preserve the nostalgia of retro soda as much as possible. It is now the sole producer of Howdy.

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Currently, the company boasts around 120 different brands. Bourgeois says in the case of Howdy, “It was a natural niche for us to cultivate.” He adds that the recipe has been reformulated to be more modern and clean and uses pure cane sugar and real lemon and lime oils. Even the logo is the same as the original. “It’s more flavorful. It has a little more of everything in it,” Bourgeois says at the end of our conversation. Time to taste the history.

Where to get it

Howdy Lemon Lime soda is distributed nationwide in the US at retro soda retailers. We suggest checking your nearest Rocketfizz retailer. You can also purchase it online at Amazon (via Orca Beverage) and Soda Emporium. And if you’re a retailer looking to sell soda yourself, or you’re just a dude wanting a bunch of soda at one time, Homer Soda is your go-to.

Text from fivestarsoda.com