A Short History of Le Croque Monsieur

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The French name Croque Monsieur translates to  “Crisp Mister” and is basically a cooked cheese and ham sandwich, traditionally made with gruyere cheese and thinly sliced ham.  The name is sometimes shortened to just Croque.

The First Croque Monsieur

croque monsieur_02The first Croque Monsieur was simply a hot ham and cheese sandwich which was fried in butter – one step further than what some believe was the original which was accidentally created when French workers left the tins containing their lunches of  sandwiches on  hot radiators  whilst they worked. By the time they came to eat them, the heat of the radiators had melted the cheese.

croque monsieur_03It’s not known who had the idea of embellishing the recipe by frying the sandwich until crisp and golden,  however they first  appeared on menus in Parisian cafés in 1910, and the earliest written reference is thought to have been by the novelist Proust in his 1918 work titled  À la recherche du temps perdu  (In search of lost time).

Today’s Croque Monsieur

Over the years, further changes were made to the basic recipe, in particular the addition of mustard and a béchamel sauce. Whilst this complicated an otherwise simple recipe, versions made this way are sumptuous and relatively filling  and well worth the extra attention. 

Then came the variations including:
The addition of a fried egg served on top – a Croque Madame
The addition of tomatoes – a Croque Provençal
The substitution of  blue cheese for Gruyere – a Croque Auvergnat
The substitution of smoked salmon for the ham – a Croque Norvégien

Simpel Croque Monsieur Recipes

A simple version would be to make a cheese and ham sandwich in the usual way, then fry in butter until crisp and golden on both sides. Alternatively, spread the outside on your sandwich with plenty of butter and cook under a very hot grill until well browned on both sides.

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Text from recipes4us

The History Of Tapas

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The Spanish practice of going out for tapas – called el tapeo – had its The history Of Tapas_02humble beginnings long ago and ironically originally involved empty plates. Widely thought to have gotten its start in Seville, bartenders would cover – or tapar – wine glasses with a small plate in order to protect the drink from fruit flies. Soon, they took to placing a simple slice of ham on top of this place, an addition which naturally appealed to bar patrons. Seeing the possibility of attracting more customers, the bar-owners began varying the tapas adorning the little plates that came with each drink, and the widespread national phenomenon known as tapas got its start.

Traditions

The history Of Tapas_03Going out for tapas is one of the few phenomenal gastronomic experiences that doesn’t involve a table cloth and a pricey sit-down meal. The way to enjoy tapas is to stand at the bar with a group of friends, share a few different tapas, and wash them down with wine or beer. Afterwards, pick a new bar, a new spread of tapas, and repeat the process. You can easily see why, when the conversation is lively and the tapas delicious, this advanced art of snacking can certainly substitute a whole meal.

Typical Tapas

The history Of Tapas_05Don’t be shy about asking what order as most bars will suggest that you try their specialties, which usually happen to be the region’s specialties as well. Tapas menus undeniably vary as you move through Spain; the best tapas in central Madrid, for example, are sure to be different from the choice tapas along the northern Galician shores. However, regardless of whether you’re relaxing along the Mediterranean or channelling your inner Don Quijote in La Mancha, you are sure to find some common tapas “classics.”

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As Spain is located on the Iberian peninsula and therefore very nearly surrounded by water, seafood and shellfish naturally play a huge part in Spanish gastronomy. A few delicacies of the sea to try are calamares (fried squid), cod fritters, gambas pil-pil (prawns in hot, garlic oil), and boquerones (anchovies). Moving away from seafood, other typical tapas include chorizo (sausage), paella (rice dish), a variety of casserole stews, callos (tripe with chickpeas), jamón serrano (cured ham), albóndigas (meatballs) and the ever classic tortilla española (Spanish potato omelette).

Text fra Enforex

Food in Art

A series of paintings featuring food in different situations
found on
foodmuseum.jigsy.com

Artists, photographers and illustrators seem to have been fascinated by food in all aspects of life up through history. Harvesting, cooking, serving and eating, all of it can be found in paintings in galleries all over the world.

Some pictures may show poverty, some quite the opposite. Some are kitchen scenes, some show people round tables ar home, some in restaurants, some again show people eating outdoors.

Common for all these pictures and illustrations is the food, be it a girl peeling a potato, a woman having breakfast or farmers showing their goods at a market or Andy Warhol’s famous Cambell’s soup tins.

I hope you enjoy this small collection of food in art  – Ted

Klick the thumbs to see the full-size pictures

Food in Artpotatoesfb-640x424Velazquez
Jan_Mandijn_(or_Mandyn)_-_Burlesque_Feast_-_Google_Art_ProjectBadhambreakfastjoint
04-puebloFeastDay_400Farmers-Market-1984
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A Short History of Airline Meals

The History of Airline Meals

Through the late 1930s, inflight dining on U.S. airlines often meant free cigarettes and box lunches of cold fried chicken, as the airplane heaved and bounced through the sky. Stewardesses were instructed to act as nurses, administering aspirin and cordials to anxious passengers. But in post-War years as planes grew larger and reached higher altitudes, more comfortable pressurized cabins became the norm and a golden age of airline dining was ushered in.

The History of Airline Meals

A promotional Pan Am video from 1958 showcases white tablecloths and hors d’ouevre trays, boasting that “the travail has been taken out of travel” with gourmet meals “prepared in simultaneously operating galleys, where dishes can be cooked in five-minute ovens.”

The History of Airline Meals

Until 1978, Congress had regulated the airline industry, mandating identical ticket prices for each given route and casting mile-high cuisine as a way for carriers to compete for passengers.

Albright College history professor Guillaume de Syon pinpoints 1973 as a watershed moment for in-flight dining, when French airline UTA recruited chef Raymond Oliver to reevaluate their menus. Acknowledging that dry cabin air dulls the palate and dehydration decreases the effectiveness of taste buds, Oliver prescribed a menu of coq au vin, beef bourguignon and veal in cream sauce—hearty, drenched in thick sauce, and well-suited to reheating.  (Although he didn’t know it then, recent studies show that loud background noise also mutes our perception of flavor.)

The History of Airline Meals

While variations of Oliver’s meat-and-sauce continue to appear on the trays of cabin-trapped passengers around the globe, last April, landlubber diners clamored to pay £50 a head at British Airways’ London pop-up restaurant Flight BA2012. The three-course meals were inspired by the airlines’ 1948 first-class menu.

In the cost-cutting years post-September 11, many airlines migrated to BYOF status. To live vicariously through the plastic trays of air travelers around the world, check out airlinemeals.net.

The History of Airline Meals

From an article by Erica Berry posted on NowhereMagazine

In context:

The world’s worst airline meals
The 10 most regrettable airline meals ever
Five myths about airline food
The best airline meals, according to an in-flight food addict
Wikipedia: Airline meal

A Brief History of Spam, an American Meat Icon

TowerCanTemplateFor a six-ingredient food product, it’s taken on a life of its own. Spam — the square-shaped mash-up of pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate — recently celebrated its 77th anniversary of being alternately maligned, celebrated, musicalized, or the subject of urban legend (one particularly pervasive myth insists that its name is actually an acronym for “Scientifically Processed Animal Matter”). And despite today’s more locavore approach to food and some unkind memories from soldiers who were served Spam during WWII, Spam has entered its third quarter-century on the rise. More than eight billion cans have been sold since the Hormel Corporation unleashed the product in 1937; it’s currently available in 44 countries throughout the world.

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Spam’s ability to straddle highbrow and lowbrow is apparently in its DNA: Since its early days, even Jay Hormel, the man who Spam made rich, had a vexed relationship with the lunchmeat. In a 1945 “Talk of the Town” profile published in The New Yorker, Hormel met writer Brendan Gill over noontime drinks, during which Gill “got the distinct 000_spam_04impression that being responsible for Spam might be too great a burden on any one man.” The piece sees Hormel waffling on his brand’s association with Spam, spending equal time distancing himself from it (“Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t have…”) and defending it (“Damn it, we eat it in our own home”).

The budget-friendly meat has enjoyed a recent upswing on the American mainland in part thanks to rising meat costs and a floundering economy: When the recession hit in early 2008, Spam saw its sales jump 10 percent compared to the previous year. A CBS News report noted that the increased numbers were seemingly accompanied by a cultural shift: Even consumers who continued to purchase expensive organic vegetables were adding cans of Spam to their pantries. The meat, once relegated as a quirk of Hawaiian or Asian cuisine, started 000_spam_02appearing on haute restaurant menus as a nod to that highbrow/lowbrow mash-up, or perhaps to the chef’s feelings of nostalgia for the ingredient. (A quick search of Spam recipes from the ’60s reveals dishes like Spam upside-down pie; and Spam sandwiches topped with baked beans.)

Today, its sometimes-kitsch factor is a point of pride, for both Hormel and Spam fans: You can show your affection for Spam with everything from Hormel-authorized T-shirts (reading “I think, therefore I Spam”) to crocheted, cat-shaped Spam musu000_spam_06bi (available for purchase, naturally, on Etsy). Here’s a look back at how Spam first got canned, why it’s currently beloved in Hawaii and South Korea, and why Spam remains on many restaurant menus today.

That recipe, using pork shoulder (once considered an undesirable byproduct of hog butchery), water, salt, sugar, and sodium nitrate (for coloring) remained unchanged until 2009, when Hormel began adding potato starch to sop up the infamous gelatin “layer” that naturally forms when meat is cooked. According to Behne, the recipe change was purely an aesthetic choice: “It looks a lot better now when you open the can.” The rest, Hormel insists, has remained the same.

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Although lore behind the name Spam varies, Hormel himself claimed the product was named for a combination of the words “spice” and “ham,” despite the fact that neither ingredient appears in Spam. The confusion has led some to speculate that Spam is an acronym for “Shoulder of Pork And Ham,” but company line gives Kenneth Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel VP, credit for naming the product. As Hormel tells it, he launched a naming contest for the new product during a New Year’s Eve party, when Daigneau spit out “Spam” as if “it were nothing at all,” Hormel told Gill. “I knew then and there that the name was perfect.”

Text from eater.com

What Did Elizabethan England Eat & Drink

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Poor people may have had humble and unvaried diets, consisting largely of bread, fish, cheese and ale, but the rich of Elizabethan England ate well. All kind of meats were served such as lamb, beef, mutton, pork, bacon, veal, rabbit, hare, and fowl such as peacock, swan, goose, blackbirds and pigeon. They also ate different kind of freshwater and sea fish. Vegetables such as turnips, parsnips, carrots, onions, leeks, garlic and radishes were also eaten, and fruits such as apples, pears, plums, cherries and woodland strawberries. However, vegetables and fruits were regarded with some suspicion and it was far more common for roasted and boiled meat to be accompanied with bread.

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Over the course of the Tudor period, more and more foods were introduced into society as they were discovered in the New World, such as Tomatoes (or love apples as they were known) from Mexico, Turkey from Mexico and Central America, Kidney Beans from Peru, and of course the Potato famously brought to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in the later years of Elizabeth’s reign. However, the Elizabethans did not know quite how to use or cook these foods to their optimum, so they were not as tasty as they could have been and tended to be kept as special delicacies.

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As well as a good meal, the Tudors were fond of desserts. They enjoyed pastries, tarts, cakes, cream, and custard, and crystallized fruit and syrup. They were especially fond of sugar and marzipan and on special occasions such as banquets, all kinds of specialities would be made out of sugar and marzipan such as animals, birds, fruits or baskets. Sometimes wine glasses, dishes, playing cards and trenchers were made out of a crisp modelled sugar called sugar-plate which would be elaborately decorated.

Apparently Elizabeth I affected the edible world quite a lot: Over the course of her 45-year reign, Lizzy made 382 proclamations, and 200 of those concerned food. Examples of these proclamations can be found in The Proclamations of the Tudor Queens. Here are but a few:

18 Sept 1561: Forbidding early sale of new wine
8 Jan 1564: Prohibiting import of French wines
30 Jan 1564: Lowering the price of hops
22 Dec 1564: Setting prices for wines
22 Mar 1565: Licensing export of grain from East Riding
20 Dec 1565: Setting prices for wines (again)
22 Dec 1565: Gauging Scottish fish barrels
14 Oct 1585: A Proclamation against bringing in of wines
or other merchandise from Bourdeaux, in respect of the
Plague being there

Alcohol

Yes, she made a lot of proclamations involving alcohol — the majority of food-related proclamations involved the pricing of wine. And then OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         there’s that one about measuring the Scottish fish barrels, because we know how sneaky the Scots can be when making fish barrels. On a side note, she also made a lot of proclamations regarding pirates and Frenchmen. But back to the alcohol: It was very important in the 16th century due to the undrinkable state of the water. Rather than risk dysentery and other unpleasant gastro-diseases, the people of the 16th century drank alcohol; while they were escaping the risk of illness they were also maintaining a nice buzz throughout the day.

The book “To The Queen’s Taste: Elizabethan Feasts and Recipes Adapted for Modern Cooking” by Lorna J. Sass, explains that “[Beer] was prepared in three strengths: single, double, and double-double.” The Queen herself is said to have consumed two pints of beer (single strength…weak) with breakfast on a daily basis, which is why one should plan on emulating the Queen more regularly. Though Queeny was a bit of a buzz kill at times too. In 1560 she ordered that the brewing of double-double be stopped.

Meat-free Fridays and sugary treats

Her Majesty was also very instrumental in meat-free Fridays. According to To The Queen’s Taste, “In 1563, by an act of Parliament, Elizabeth proclaimed that her countrymen had to eat fish on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Infraction of her command was punishable by three months’ imprisonment or a three-pound fine.” Though the law was rooted in religion, it was really implemented in order to boost the English shipbuilding industry and lower the cost of meat. She was a sneaky magistrate.

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Apart from booze and seafood, Elizabeth and her court dined on copious amounts of sugary treats like marchpane, a kind of marzipan or suckets (dried fruits). She liked them so much that her teeth ended up turning black. But one of the many benefits of being the Queen is that you can do no wrong. In an attempt to resemble their ruler more, the ladies of the court blackened their teeth. Pretty. In this way one should not try to emulate her ladyship.

Text from elizabethi.org & eatmedaily.com

Read more here:
Tudor History / food
Cook it! History Cookbook / Tudors
Hudsonsheritage / Tudor recipes
Hampton Court Palace / Henry VIII’s Kitchens
On The Tudor Trail / Recipes, Food and Cooking in Tudor England
Renaissance-spell / Food
The Tudors / Cooking

Tempting Orange Cake With Icing / Fristende Appelsinkake Med Glasur

A delicious orange flavoured cake found on Allers.no

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Sweet, juicy and tasty with a delicious glaze that makes this luscious cake extra good !! It’s hard to resist this cake flavoured with orange zest and juice, but then again, why should you 😉

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Chocolate Crescents / Sjokoladehorn

A nice crescents recipe found on melk.no

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Crescents with chocolate filling tastes great and makes yeast baking a little more exciting.

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Tempting Orange Squares / Fristende Appelsinruter

A toffee and chocolate covered cake found on aperitif.no

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A great recipe for small square cakes topped with orange flavoured toffee and chocolate.

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Bacon potatoes / Baconpoteter

A Yummy potato and bacon recipe found on rimi.no

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More potatoes. A yummy blend of potatoes, bacon, peppers and onions. A lovely dish in itself or as an accessory.

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Beef and Beer Stew / Biff Og Øl Gryte

A great stew recipe by Lise Finckenhagen found on nrk.no/mat/

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Lise Finckenhagen started working at Bagatelle (The only Norwegian restaurant with two stars in the Michelin Guide) under master chef Eyvind Hellstrom at age 16, and is  today a popular cook both in Norway’s largest newspaper and in radio and television. She is a self-proclaimed cake monster and she thought of Dad and Father’s Day when she made meat stew with beer in in a popular radio show “Nitimen” (The Ninth Hour) in the second week in November.

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purebloglove_smallFoodieFridays_buttonfiestafriday

Beet Bread / Rødbetebrød

A great and wholesome bread recipe found on helios.no

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What could be better than freshly baked bread with organic butter? The Norwegian National Baker Team has conjured up this wonderful bread that tastes as good as it looks!

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Spicy Lefse Bread / Krydret Lefsebrød

A traditional recipe from “Nye Mesterkokken” (The New Master Chef) published in 1974

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traditional badge2A buttered soft lefse is for many Norwegians the very best they can have with a nice cup of coffee or tea. It doesn’t need any spreading other than good, real butter, then fold it or roll it. Try these lefse that you bake and rise like you would bread.

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Queen Maud Mousse / Dronning Maud Fromasj

A classic dessert recipe found on melk.no

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Queen Maud mousse or pudding is named in honour of Norway’s former queen, married to King Olav. The dessert is also called “Haugesund Dessert”.

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Cucumber And Lemony Dill Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches / Agurk og Sitron & Dill Kremost Te Sandwicher

A variation on the classic cucumber sandwich found on FoodNetwork

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In Context:
Cucumber sandwiches contain little protein and so are generally not considered sustaining enough to take a place at a full meal. This is deliberate; cucumber sandwiches have historically been associated with the Victorian era upper classes of the United Kingdom, whose members were largely at leisure and who could therefore afford to consume foods with little nutritive value. Cucumber sandwiches formed an integral part of the stereotypical afternoon tea affair.

By contrast, people of the era’s lower working classes were thought to prefer a coarser but more satisfying protein-filled sandwich, in a “meat tea” that might substitute for supper.

Text from Wikipedia