I love researching and writing about the history of food and cocktails and this category is all about that.
I feel like there is something special about being able to track back the origin of a recipe. For those connected to that dish, it gives them a time/place where an important meal to them started. If it is part of a person’s family heritage, it can help bring them closer to ‘the beginning’ of where their family started.
It can bring people closer together through understanding history. For example, did you know that tomatoes were not a part of Italian food at one point? That’s right. They were brought to Italy when the explorers found them in South America. As I learned in my history of the Chicago Style Pizza post, tomatoes were an import into Italy.
Even then, people thought tomatoes were poisonous, so it was relegated to the poor. Turns out, the acidity in the tomatoes helped bring out the poisons in the plates that the mostly rich people could afford. So, it was poisonous, but only to the rich!
Knowing that connection to history is fun, but can also help bring people to a place and help understand how foods evolved.
One thing about food and cocktail history, however, is that documentation is not always great. Nobody tended to write down recipes for a long time and even if they did, who would have thought it would have been notable enough to try and keep a permanent record of?
Different people often claim to have the story, but sometimes it is just for marketing purposes. They want to advertise that they were the first to make something or be the ‘Home of the …’ food or drink. Food history can get muddled because of poor documentation, advertising, and people just did not see this as important.
Some of these articles include both history AND a recipe, but some just focus on history. I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I enjoyed making them.