The Search for the Perfect Toast

An article found on British Food: A History

Hot buttered toast must be the most popular British breakfast item, whether eaten on the run to the bus stop, or served up with a full English breakfast or posh scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a Sunday. Elizabeth David described it as a ‘peculiarly English…delicacy’.

Full English Breakfast

It is true that the wafting smell of freshly made toast combined with the sight of the slow melting of a good covering of salted butter is so comforting. Indeed, the first thing offered up to you after you’ve come round from an operation on the NHS (and I unfortunately have had many times) is tea and toast. (Digressing slightly, the first thing offered up to you after an operation in the USA is the similarly comforting cookies and milk.)

Most toast today is, of course, made from flabby processed white sliced loaf, which produces quite depressingly poor ‘wangy’ toast. Proper toast requires proper bread; bread that has gone a slightly stale. Perfect toast is in the eye of the beholder: thick, thin, crisp throughout, soft in the centre, pale, dark, a scraping of butter or lashings of it.

Chorleywood processed white sliced loaf

Making toast was a way of using up stale bread, of course, so toast shouldn’t even be required now that we have the invention of Chorleywood processed bread. It’s ironic that our love of toast means we, on the whole, now make it with a product unsuitable for making it.

It won’t surprise you that there are some very detailed descriptions in old cookbooks as to the best way for making toast.

The earliest official piece of toasting equipment was the toasting fork. Here’s the flamboyant Victorian chef Alexis Soyer’s instructions from A Shilling Cookery for the People from 1854:

Alexis SoyerHow to Toast Bread – Procure a nice square loaf that had been baked one or two days previously, then with a sharp knife cut off the bottom crust evenly, and then as many sliced you require, about a quarter of an inch in thickness. Contrive to have a clear fire: place a slice of the bread upon a toasting-fork, about an inch from one of the sides, hold it a minute before the fire, then turn it, hold it another minute, by which time the bread will be thoroughly hot, then begin to move it gradually to and fro until the whole surface has assumed a yellowish-brown colour, then turn it again, toasting the other side in the same manner; lay it then upon a hot plate, have some fresh or salt butter (which must not be too hard, as pressing it upon the roast would make it heavy),spread a piece, rather less than an ounce, over, and cut the toast into four or six pieces. You will then have toast made to perfection.

toastin plateNext rung up on the evolutionary ladder of toast-making was the invention of the toast plate, a cast iron rack that could sit in front of coal-powered range cooker.

You can buy plates that lay over a gas burner on the stove top that would achieve a flavour closest to the ones found on the coal ranges. Elizabeth David owned one (from English Bread and Yeast Cookery, 1977):

Elizabeth DavidPart of the charm of the toast produced on this device is that every piece is different, and differently marked, irregularly chequered with the marks of the grill, charred here and there, flecked with brown and gold and black.

toasting plate for gas rangeAt home, the best way to make toast is by using a grill, preferably a gas grill; it produces a much more even heat and therefore even toasting than an electric grill. I love the flecked toast that David described, but an electric grill has hot spots that produce slices well done in one patch and hardly coloured in another.

NOTE: When the toasts are done, a toast rack is an essential. Just stacking them on top of each other is simply not the done thing.

Toast rack

The Surprising History of Punch

An article  by Stephanie Butler found on Hungry History

The Surprising History of Punch

The Surprising History of PunchIt’s the chosen summer drink of thousands of thirsty kids every day, and the chosen rum-based tipple of Charles Dickens himself. You’ll find it in tiny boxes, straws included, or in an overflowing bowl heaped with green sherbet at a retro ladies’ luncheon. The beverage, of course, is punch, and it’s come a long way since British sailors first concocted it in the 17th century. Let’s take a look at the history of punch from rum-filled grog to Hawaiian.

The Surprising History of PunchThough it’s mainly known as a non-alcoholic beverage today, punch was invented as a beer alternative in the 17th century by men working the ships for the British East India Company. These men were accomplished drinkers, throwing back an allotment of 10 pints of beer per shipman per day. But when the ships reached the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, the beer held in cargo bays grew rancid and flat. Once the boats reached the shore, sailors created new drinks out of the ingredients indigenous to their destinations: rum, citrus and spices.

The sailors brought punch back to Britain and soon the drink became a party staple, spreading even as far as the American colonies. Massive punch bowls were ubiquitous at gatherings in the summer months: the founding fathers drank 76 of them at the celebration following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It’s around this time that the first mention of non-alcoholic punches appears, specifically made for ladies and children.

The Surprising History of PunchBy the Victorian Age, those teetotalling punches ruled the day. Queen Victoria disapproved of strong drink, so alcoholic punches gradually fell out of favor. Frothy egg white-based and sherbet versions grew popular, and continued to be served to ladies who lunched until the 1950s. By that time, cocktail culture was in full effect, and it was socially acceptable for women to drink in public. Punch was relegated to the footnotes of history, only to be resurrected in the 2000s by mustachioed mixologists in cities like New York and San Francisco.

The Surprising History of Punch

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Dr Brown’s

Dr Brown's_06Dr. Brown’s is a brand of soft drink made by J & R Bottling. It is popular in the New York City region and South Florida, but it can also be found in Jewish delicatessens and upscale supermarkets around the United States. Slogans for the products have included: “Imported From the Old Neighborhood” and “Taste of the Town.”

Dr. Brown’s was created in 1869 and was commonly sold in New York delicatessens and by soda salesmen who sold the product from door to door in Jewish neighborhoods. According to former marketing director, Harry Gold, a Dr Brown's_02New York doctor used celery seeds and sugar to invent the cream soda and celery tonic now known as Cel-Ray, which was advertised as a “pure beverage for the nerves.”

In the early 1930s, before Coca-Cola received kosher certification, many Jewish people drank Cel-Ray soda as well as the other flavored soda that had been created by Dr. Brown. In the last 25 years, the cans were redesigned by Herb Lubalin. Each of the six Dr. Brown’s flavors is packaged with a New York vignette taken from old prints, to emphasize the brand’s origins in 1800s New York.

In 2013, J & R Bottling transferred the bottling rights to LA Bottleworks. The bottling of the product will continue to be produced at the same facility. As of 2014, Dr Brown’s is produced by PepsiCo in their New York City bottling plant. Dr. Brown’s is owned by the Honickman Beverage Group

Dr Brown's_01

Dr Brown's_05Dr. Brown’s varieties include: cream soda (regular and diet), black cherry soda (regular and diet), orange soda, ginger ale, root beer, and Cel-Ray (celery-flavored soda).

Dr. Brown’s soda is typically sold in 12-ounce cans and in one-liter and plastic bottles as well as two-liters in Black Cherry, Cream, and Root Beer flavors. Dr. Brown’s soda is also available in a 6-pack of 12-ounce glass bottles.

Dr Brown's_04

Text from Wikipedia

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday–Tru-Ade

A Brief History Of Tru-Ade

Article found on Frans Finest

On August 25, 1938, Lee C. Ward of Los Angeles, CA developed a non-carbonated orange soft drink, successfully trademarking the TruAde brand on January 3, 1939. The original formula contained orange juice concentrate, which required pasteurization of the product on the returnable bottling lines of the era. The brand was available from coast to coast by 1950, but was most popular on the east coast of the U.S.

06b31e41f4dc37969d02e188e5ad11e8Ward formed TruAde, Inc. shortly thereafter, and moved it to Elgin, Illinois in the 1940’s. The company later moved its headquarters to adjacent Chicago, Illinois, and changed its name to The TruAde Company. Ward expanded his single line of 7oz and 10oz returnable bottles of non-carbonated orangeade to include grape, and briefly marketed non-carbonated grapefruit in green bottles (these bottles are quite rare).

Most early TruAde bottlers were associated with local 7-Up bottlers, but TruAde was also found in Dr. Pepper, RC, or other independent beverage franchises. However, there were many Pepsi-Cola bottlers that acquired TruAde franchises after merging with a 7-Up bottler, many of whom were located in the Carolinas. TruAde’s largest franchisee during its heyday was a huge 7-Up bottling conglomerate, Joyce Beverages. Based in Chicago, Illinois, the Joyce family owned tru-ade_02large swaths of 7-Up franchise territories in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, and Washington, DC, and was 7-Up’s largest franchised bottler at one time.

As bottler consolidation progressed quickly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the TruAde brand began suffering, losing distribution to new flavor brand introductions and TruAde’s pasteurization requirement. Alas, TruAde reformulated in the early 1980’s, dropping orange juice from its concentrate, hence no longer requiring the complex production requirements. The move was too little, too late.

Joyce Beverages, which later moved its headquarters to Washington, DC, bought the struggling TruAde brand in 1982 and also moved it to Washington, DC, continuing to support the few remaining TruAde bottlers into the late 1980’s. Alas, the 7-Up brand also suffered severe sales slumps in the early 1980’s, which pushed Joyce Beverages into bankruptcy in 1984. Joyce 7-Up franchises were divided up and sold in tru-ade_011986 amongst several neighboring 7-Up bottlers, and a few new 7-Up franchisees: Honickman, Kemmerer Resources, and Brooks Beverage Management. Most of these new 7-Up franchisees discontinued the TruAde brand.

From the ashes of Joyce Beverages’ bankruptcy, the TruAde trademark was transferred to Joyce/ Canfield, Inc. of New Rochelle in 1985, then to New York 7-Up Bottling Company, Inc. in 1986, then in 1992 to Alec C. Gunter, a former chemist with The TruAde Company in Chicago. After Gunter acquired the TruAde trademark, he transferred it in 1997 to his company, Bottler’s International, LTD, based in Clearbrook, VA, which owned several other small beverage trademarks. After the TruAde acquisition, Gunter personally visited the former TruAde bottlers, attempting to relaunch the brand, but met with failure as he lacked access to production facilities. He attempted to convince Pepsi-Cola bottler co-op, Carolina Canners of Cheraw, SC (CCI) to produce 12oz TruAde Orangeade cans again, but could not garner enough interest amongst the Carolina tru-ade_03TruAde franchisees to gain a production run. It is unknown if Gunter had any active TruAde franchises or bottlers when he acquired the trademark.

Fast forward to July, 2010: CCI was seeking to find, acquire, or create a competitive flavor line for its member-bottlers. It was discovered that the non-carbonated brand, TruAde, a product familiar to all CCI bottlers who sold it in the 1970’s and 1980’s, was available – its U.S. trademark had expired in 2009 and there were no known TruAde bottlers or distributors in the U.S. All calls to TruAde and/or Bottlers’ International, LTD went unanswered, or phone numbers had been disconnected. The trademark attorney representing Bottlers’ International, LTD was contacted. He informed CCI officials that Gunter had passed away several years back, and offered to apply for the now-defunct TruAde trademark in CCI’s name. CCI agreed and began the trademark process in earnest in August, 2010.

tru-ade2

However, unbeknownst to any Pepsi-Cola bottlers at the time, PepsiCo planned to announce in December, 2010 the discontinuation of its non-carbonated Tropicana brand of flavored soft drinks (ie. orangeade, lemonade), all of which were popular in the South, and the Carolinas in particular. These Tropicana flavors would be transferred to, and continued to be sold under PepsiCo’s Brisk Tea brand in March, 2011. CCI unknowingly continued development of the TruAde brand and, under trademark counsel, eventually produced 6 initial flavors of TruAde in 3 package sizes for its member-bottlers in April, 2011 as the few remaining Tropicana packages began to sell out of the Carolina marketplace. Sales of the rejuvenated TruAde brand were surprisingly high for the CCI bottlers, easily outpacing the same Tropicana flavors due to TruAde’s strong brand name recognition from 20+ years previous.

tru-ade1

CCI was officially awarded the U.S. trademark for TruAde in September, 2011. Since TruAde’s reintroduction, several non-Pepsi bottlers/distributors covering most of NC and SC, and part of VA and GA have signed agreements to sell TruAde in their territories.

Spread The Word – Butter Has An Epic Backstory

An article by Nicole Jankowski posted on TheSalt at NPR

Among the rolling hills of ancient Africa, sometime around 8000 B.C., a dusty traveler was making gastronomic history, quite by accident.

Thirsty from a long, hot journey, the weary herdsman reached for the sheepskin bag of milk knotted to the back of his pack animal. But as he tilted his head to pour the warm liquid into his mouth, he was astonished to find that the sheep’s milk had curdled. The rough terrain and constant joggling of the milk had transformed it into butter – and bewilderingly, it tasted heavenly.

Butter_02

That’s likely how it went down, as author Elaine Khosrova explains in her new book, Butter: A Rich History. From happy Neolithic-era accident to inspiration for student protests to tabletop staple, butter has had quite the ride over the past 10,000 years.

Butter_03The story of butter, Khosrova says, is a historical roadmap of humanity. “I felt like I had uncovered an epic story that very few people had been paying attention to,” she tells NPR.

Butter appeared on the world scene soon after the domestication of animals, although the first primitive batches would scarcely resemble the sticks that sit on your refrigerator shelf. Instead of cows, she writes, early butter came from the milk of yak, sheep and goats — the very first tamed beasts of our ancestors.

Butter_06And while archaeologists have unearthed a 4,500-year-old limestone tablet depicting early butter-making, it’s not clear precisely how our ancestors shifted from “accidental discovery” to purposeful manufacturing. Khosrova writes that after trial and error, early civilizations probably realized that if they removed the milk pouch “off the back of animal and hung [it] like a cradle from a tree limb,” it could be deliberately “agitated” into sumptuous golden kernels. According to Khosrova, isolated communities in North Africa and the Middle East still make their butter in this way.

As butter spread, it took on new uses and meaning. Ancient Romans associated it with barbarism, much preferring to slather their bread in locally abundant olive oil rather than resort to the food of their enemies, the marauding army from Gaul. But they appreciated butter for its “curative properties,” Khosrova says. Romans used butter for cosmetic purposes and also as a healing balm, often sneaking tiny licks in between applications on their wounds.

Butter_01Perhaps most surprising is the story of butter’s sacred and supernatural past. For many ancient civilizations, the unexplained mystery behind milk’s transformation into butter made it seem magical. It “seemed like a marvelous event,” Khosrova says.

Ancient Sumerians offered up gifts of butter at temple in honor of the “powerful fertility goddess Inanna, protector of the seasons and harvest,” she writes.

Recent discoveries in Ireland of ancient bog butter — wooden buckets loaded with butter and hidden in expanses of mossy swamp — date back as far as 400 B.C. These long-lost provisions were probably buried by early Celts, who knew that the Irish wetlands would preserve their spoils, keeping them edible for leaner times. But Khosrova also writes that ancient bog butter was likely presented to the pagan gods, as a way of appeasing the mystical “‘faeries’ that alternately terrified and awed country folk.”

Butter_07Even the first-ever documented student protest in American history is linked with butter. Harvard University’s Great Butter Rebellion of 1766 began after a meal containing particularly rancid butter was served to students, who (not unlike modern college-goers) were frustrated over the state of food in the dining hall. As reported in The Harvard Crimson, Asa Dunbar (who would later become the grandfather of Henry David Thoreau), incited the student body into action by hopping onto his chair, shouting, “Behold our butter stinketh! Give us therefore butter that stinketh not!”

Once avoided for fears of making us overweight, butter is now making a vigorous comeback, with artisanal interpretations aplenty. And through small-batch production and experimentation, producers have returned to quaint traditions, such as slow-churning and hand packing, to recapture simple flavors and generate new ones.

Butter_08

As Khosrova sampled butter from around the world, she says that she was amazed by how a food with only one ingredient could produce so many diverse “nuances of flavors, textures and color.”

How this happens is a mystery that has astounded and confounded humanity for centuries. The history of butter is both humble and wondrous. With a simple batch of milk and a little creativity, a luscious — and magical — golden food is born.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday–Sun Drop

sun drop_01

Sun Drop, also marketed as Sundrop, is a citrus-flavored soda produced by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. It has a yellowish-green color imparted by Yellow 5. Among soft drinks, it is known for its high caffeine content (63 mg per 12 oz can, 9 mg higher than a 12 oz can of Mountain Dew, but not as much as Vault with 70.5 mg per 12 oz can). Orange juice is an ingredient in the drink, and remaining pulp matter from the orange juice provides some of the soft drink’s taste and appearance.

History

sun drop_02Sun Drop was developed in Missouri, by Charles Lazier, a salesman of beverage concentrates. While riding around town in the family car, Lazier quickly scribbled a recipe for a new soft drink on a small piece of paper which he handed to his son, Charles Jr. The younger Lazier worked as a lab technician at his father’s plant, and soon began work on the formula. Two years later, Sun Drop Cola debuted at the American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages Conference in Washington, D.C. The Sun Drop formula was patented on April 15, 1930.

sun drop_04The drink was marketed in several Southern states under names such as “Sundrop Golden Cola” or “Golden Girl Cola.” The brand was acquired and standardized by Crush International in 1970. Crush International was purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1980, which sold its soft drinks holdings to Cadbury Schweppes plc in 1989. Cadbury Schweppes plc demerged in 2008, with its beverages unit becoming Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which currently produces Sun Drop.

Prior to the sale to Cadbury Schweppes, Procter & Gamble introduced several new Sun Drop flavors in 1985, including a reformulated Diet Sun Drop brand using aspartame instead of saccharin. A third brand, Cherry-Lemon Sun Drop, was introduced that same year. In February 2002, the brand introduced Caffeine-Free Sun Drop to the portfolio after the company received numerous requests from loyal consumers for a caffeine-free version of their favorite citrus soft drink. A diet variant of Cherry Lemon Sun Drop was introduced 2014.

sun drop_03

Sun Drop has maintained popularity in many parts of the southern United States, especially in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and parts of the Midwest, including Wisconsin and western Minnesota. sun drop_05Similar to other regional drinks with a cult following, fans outside bottling areas have been known to pay large amounts to have the drink shipped to them. Families have sent it to U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Sun Drop is the official drink of the nationally recognized “Fancy Farm Picnic” in Fancy Farm, Kentucky.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the drink was promoted in the American South by NASCAR Winston Cup driver Dale Earnhardt.

Carolina Beverage Corp. bought Sun Drop Bottling Co. of Concord effective December 1, 2016. The Concord, North Carolina plant closed.

Text from Wikipedia

Eat Like an Egyptian

An article by Stephanie Butler publised on
history.com october 2013
Eat Like an Egyptian_04

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.

Eat Like an Egyptian_05

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.

Eat Like an Egyptian_01

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.

Eat Like an Egyptian_03

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

Silce_02

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.

Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Sidral Mundet

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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.

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Varieties

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

Text from Wikipedia