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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Soda & Soft Drink – Sanpellegrino Aranciata

Soda & Soft Drink - Sanpellegrino Aranciata

Sanpellegrino AranciataHomemade, delicious and thirst-quenching aranciata is an all-Italian tradition. With this inspiration, Sanpellegrino has produced a genuine and authentic beverage since 1932: Sanpellegrino Aranciata, which is prepared with high-quality ingredients selected with care. Keeping the same inspiration, now Sanpellegrino offers a wide range of delicious citrus-based beverages.

1899
The Sanpellegrino Company is founded as a public company and is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange.1906

The magnificent Liberty-style Grand Hotel and Casino of San Pellegrino are inaugurated.

1908
S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water’s distribution network is far reaching, stretching well beyond Europe.1924

Ezio Granelli, an Industrial chemist, becomes owner of Sanpellegrino. A true entrepreneur, Ezio Granelli soundly believed in innovation, research and development, and he willingly espoused the new concept of a natural and refreshing product like Aranciata.

1932
Ezio Granelli introduces Sanpellegrino Aranciata to the public at the Fiera Campionaria in Milan and become a huge success

1949
In celebration of the Company’s 50th birthday, Aranciata Amara – the bitter version of Aranciata – is launched.

1950
Limonata, Chinotto and other beverages, all part of the range of Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages, are introduced on the market as natural and refreshing beverages.

1976
The all-aluminium can version of the Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages is first introduced to the public.

2001
Aranciata Rossa – the blood orange version of Aranciata – appears on the shelf alongside the other Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages.

2013
Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages launch two new tasty products: Melograno e Arancia and Clementina.

2014
Two new mixed flavors of the Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages are presented: Limone e Menta and Ficodindia e Arancia.

Text from sanpellegrinofruitbeverages.com

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.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Inca Kola

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Inca Kola (also known as “the Golden Kola” in international advertising) is a soft drink that was created in Peru in 1935 by British immigrant Joseph (or sometimes José) Robinson Lindley using lemon verbena (verbena de Indias or cedrón in Spanish). The soda has a sweet, fruity Inca Kola_08flavor that somewhat resembles its main ingredient, lemon verbena, locally known as hierba luisa. Americans compare its flavor to bubblegum or cream soda. Sometimes categorized as a champagne cola, it has been described as “an acquired taste” whose “intense color alone is enough to drive away the uninitiated.”

The Coca-Cola Company owns the Inca Kola trademark everywhere but in Peru. In Peru, the Inca Kola trademark is owned by Corporación Inca Kola Perú S.A., which since 1999 is a joint venture between the Coca-Cola Company and the Lindley family, former sole owners of Corporación Inca Kola Perú S.A. and Corporación José R. Lindley S.A..

Inca Kola_03Inca Kola is a source of national pride and patriotism in Peru, a national icon. Inca Kola is available in parts of South America, North America and Europe, and while it has not enjoyed major success outside of Peru, it can be found in Latin American specialty shops worldwide. Inca Kola is sold in glass and plastic bottles of various sizes and cans of the same color with an Inca motif.

History

Inca Kola_09In 1910, in Rímac, one of Lima’s oldest and most traditional neighborhoods, an immigrant English family began a small bottling company under their family name, Lindley. In 1928, the company was formally chartered in Peru as Corporación José R. Lindley S.A., whereupon Joseph R. Lindley became its first General Manager.

By the early 1930s, the company had a line of ten flavors of soda including Orange Squash, Lemon Squash, Champagne Kola, and Cola Rosada. In 1935, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Lima’s founding, Lindley introduced what was to become its most noted product, Inca Kola, whose flavor was based on Lemon Verbena (Spanish: Verbena de Indias or Cedrón). He had experimented with various mixtures, other ingredients and levels of carbonation, until Inca Kola_04finally he came up with this combination of thirteen special plant-derived flavors. The company launched “Inca Kola” under the slogan “There is only one Inca Kola and it’s like no other” (Inca Kola sólo hay una y no se parece a ninguna).

By the mid-1940s, Inca Kola was a market leader in Lima due to an aggressive advertising campaign. Appealing to the Peruvian nationalism that was prevalent among the population, the company positioned Inca Kola as a traditional Peruvian drink, using national and indigenous iconography and images. This advertising campaign was very successful, and bottling volume expanded greatly.

Inca Kola reached levels of 38% market penetration by 1970, eclipsing all other carbonated drinks in Peru and firmly establishing itself as “Peru’s Drink” (La Bebida del Perú). A common logo in the late 1970s and early 1980s featured the slogan “Made of National Flavor!” (¡De Sabor Nacional!), later changed to “The taste of Peru” (El Sabor del Perú).

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On January 22, 2009, Inca Kola partnered with D’Onofrio, an iconic Peruvian ice cream brand owned by Nestlé, to launch an Inca Kola flavored ice pop.

In the United States, Inca Kola is manufactured by the Coca-Cola company and sold in supermarkets in 2-liter (68 U.S. fl oz) bottles, cans, and individual bottles.

It is one of eight international soda flavors featured and available for tasting at Club Cool in Epcot.

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Text from Wikipedia

When Mr. Coffee Was The Must-Have Christmas Gift For Java Snobs

Article by Jeff Koehler published at npr.org

mr coffee 05Back in the 1960s, Americans were preparing coffee by the potful for breakfast, lunch and even dinner with their percolator. While the glass knob-topped pot deliciously gurgled and filled the kitchen with wonderful aromas, percolators often produced a bitter brew from cycling boiling water over and over through the grounds.

“It was really an outmoded way of making coffee,” Vincent Marotta, a real estate developer in Cleveland told NPR’s Linda Wertheimer in 2005.

In 1969, Marotta set out to build an appliance that would make better coffee by controlling the temperature and flow of the water.

“The ideal temperature of the water is 200 degrees,” he explained to Forbes in 1979. “Not 212 degrees, which the percolators give you; 212 degrees gives you overextraction, so the coffee becomes bitter and astringent. Not under 200 degrees, because then there’s a tendency for the coffee to come out like tea — too weak, not enough extraction.”

The secret — the challenge — was to get a mechanism that would provide water at exactly 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then control its flow over the grounds for precisely the right length of time.

Marotta and his business partner Samuel Glazer hired a pair of former Westinghouse engineers to solve the problem.

mr coffee 04On July 26, 1971, Edmund Abel Jr., one of the engineers, filed a patent for a “Pour-in, instant brewing electric coffee maker.” On Sept. 26, 1972, patent number US3693535 A was granted.

Christened Mr. Coffee, the first automatic drip coffee maker for the home launched a month later. Despite its hefty price tag — the equivalent of about $230 today — it was an immediate hit. By 1975, over 1 million Mr. Coffees had been snapped up.

It was both the pour-over of its time, for how it boosted the quality of a cup, as well as the K-Cup, for speed and convenience. It took just 15 seconds for the coffee to start flowing.

Other major brands scrambled to launch their own versions. Mr. Coffee, though, was soon iconic, and became an American byword for drip brewing. In 1977, with ads running during the first commercial break of Roots, Mr. Coffee held a 50 percent share of the American coffee maker market. Revenues in 1979 were $150 million.

Credit for some of that success goes to Mr. Coffee’s longtime pitchman, joltin’ Joe DiMaggio.

mr coffee 03Largely out of the public eye since his 1951 retirement from baseball, and, because of an ulcer, not even much of a coffee drinker, DiMaggio was an inspired choice. Marotta wanted a known personality for an unknown product. Rather than a more symbolically modern figure, such as astronaut Buzz Aldrin or Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz, Marotta sought out the paradigm of American grace and integrity. He managed to get the slugger’s unlisted number in San Francisco, and after a lunch of broiled salmon, as Marotta recalled to NPR, a handshake sealed a partnership that lasted 15 years.

(DiMaggio lacked the affinity with the camera of his ex-wife, actress Marilyn Monroe, though. It reportedly took him 30 takes to make a commercial.)

mr coffee 06“Mr. Coffee has changed the way America makes coffee,” DiMaggio says in a 1975 ad. “Brews it properly, the best I’ve ever tasted, and brews it faster than any other coffeemaker.”

If those selling features weren’t quite enough reason to splurge on a machine, DiMaggio’s smooth, trustworthy encouragement often closed the deal. In a 1977 Christmas commercial, DiMaggio, wearing a plaid shirt and cardigan, sits in a heavily decorated living room. “When you give Mr. Coffee for Christmas, every delicious cup will be a reminder of your thoughtfulness for years to come,” he says in a fatherly manner. He takes a sip of coffee and then adds, “This Christmas, give Mr. Coffee.”

By the time that commercial ran, DiMaggio was helping move more than 40,000 Mr. Coffee makers a day off department store shelves.

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Some people even DiMaggio couldn’t pry away from their percolator. Among them were my grandparents, who remain loyal holdouts to this day. Now in their 90s, they still brew their ritualistic morning pot in a stovetop percolator. No fancy coffee gadgets for them this Christmas, or even a belated replacement with a drip machine. If I can manage it, though, I will fill their MJB canister with my favorite Ethiopian roast. Already ground, of course.

Grilling Tips from the Ancient Greeks

Article by Stephanie Butler posted on history.com in 2014

Love to grill? Well, you’re not the first. In fact, the Greeks beat us all to it by more than 3,000 years. Recently, archeologist Julie Hruby of Dartmouth College presented her research findings about how exactly the ancient Greeks used their grills at the Archeological Institute of America’s annual conference in Chicago. Hruby’s research centered on her work with ancient souvlaki trays and griddles from Mycenaean-era sites in Greece.

Souvlaki tray
Souvlaki tray

In years past, everyday objects like cooking pots were often thrown away at architectural sites, in favor of more glamorous items like vases or jewelry. But Hruby decided to take a second look at the trays and griddles to help solve some long-standing archeological mysteries. For starters, scientists knew the souvlaki trays would have somehow held skewers of roasting meat. But they didn’t know if cooks rested the meat directly on the trays over the fire, or if the trays were meant for hot coals with the meat placed on top. And the griddles, presumably for bread baking, had one smooth side and one side pocked with small holes. What would be best for baking?

To solve these problems, Hruby turned to an unlikely source: ceramicist Connie Podleski at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Hruby and Podleski mixed their own American clay to imitate the rough, gritty Mycenaean clay. They then fashioned new souvlaki trays and griddles to the exact specifications of the originals, and put them to the test over an open fire.

Griddles
Griddles

The results of this ingenious experiment answered all the scholars’ questions. When meat skewers were placed directly on the trays over the fire, the thickness of the tray resulted in uncooked souvlaki. A much tastier result occurred when hot coals were shoveled onto the trays, and the skewers placed directly above. Essentially, according to Hruby, the trays were portable barbeque pits, “perhaps used during Mycenaean picnics.” As for the griddles, Hruby found that baking bread stuck much more readily to the smooth sides of the utensil than the hole-marked side. This led her to believe that the rough surface could have served as a primitive nonstick pan, as the holes also result in a more even dispersion of oil across the cooking surface.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Sidral Mundet

Sidral Mundet_03

Sidral Mundet is a Mexican apple-flavored carbonated soft drink produced by FEMSA S.A de C.V and distributed in the United States by the Novamex company, which also distributes the Jarritos and Sangria Señorial soda brands.

History

Sidral Mundet_01Sidral Mundet was first bottled in 1902 by Don Arturo Mundet, who produced the cider-flavored beverage. Basing Sidral Mundet on the “limonada” or “gaseosa” drinks that were popular in Mexico at the turn of the 20th Century, he utilized the pasteurization technique to keep the drink sterile in the bottling process. The drink has been renowned in Mexico for its nourishing and hydrating abilities and has sometimes been used as a home remedy for stomach aches.

In 1988, Sidral Mundet was introduced to the US through Novamex and has since become a popular soft drink in the Hispanic American market.

Sidral Mundet_02

Varieties

Sidral Mundet is available in three flavors: red apple, green apple and golden apple.

Text from Wikipedia

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