The Impact of Early Modern Immigration on Food and Drink, and Vice Versa

A Boyar Wedding Feast, by Konstantin Makovsky, 1883 / Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens via Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Gunther Hirschfeld and Dr. Manuel Trummer / 08.20.2013 Hirschfeld: Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology, Universität Regensburg Trummer: Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology, Universität Regensburg Abstract There is scarcely an aspect of daily cultural practice which illustrates the processes of transformation[…]

The Early Modern Art of Sculpting with Sugar

In early modern Europe, melted sugar became its own dizzyingly complex artistic medium. By Dr. Darra Goldstein / 09.22.2015 Wilcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit Professor of Russian, Emerita Williams College White House chef Bill Yosses’s cast sugar plate with hand-pulled sugar flowers and petits fours created for French president François Hollande in 2014. Photo[…]

Fish Sauce: Ancient Roman Condiment?

Ava Gene’s, a Roman-inspired restaurant in Portland, Ore., incorporates colatura, a modern descendant of ancient Roman fish sauce, into several of its dishes. / Photo by Deena Prichep, NPR By Deena Prichep / 10.24.2013 Fish sauce — that funky, flavor-enhancing fermented condiment — is part of what gives Southeast Asian cooking its distinctive taste. But it[…]

Royal Cavities: The Bitter Implications of Sugar Consumption in Early Modern Europe

Dentist (detail), 1659–81, Jan van der Bruggen. Engraving, 26.6 x 18.7 cm. Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam The exploding popularity of sugar among the European rich led to an unprecedented form of affluenza: dental decay. By Dr. Joseph Imorde / 01.19.2016 Professor of Art History Universitaet Siegen In early modern Europe, the opulence of princely festive dinners[…]

When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth, and Dufour

Poseidon taking chocolate from Mexico to Europe, a detail from the frontispiece to Chocolata Inda by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, 1644 — National Institute of Health Chocolate has not always been the common confectionary we experience today. When it first arrived from the Americas into Europe in the 17th century it was a rare and mysterious substance, thought[…]

Chocolate, The Food of the Gods

The magical substance: Cacao Fruit and Leaf, November 27, 1783, Jan Brandes. Graphite and wash on paper, 19.5 × 15.5 mm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam The association between chocolate and love stretches back centuries. This Valentine’s Day, indulge in a decadent aphrodisiac recipe you can make at home. By Maite Gomez-Rejón / 02.12.2015 Chocolate. The ultimate aphrodisiac. Once available only[…]

Seven Global Christmas Food Traditions

Japanese Christmas cakes in production in Nagoya, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images) By Kevin Pang / 12.21.2017 Editor-in-Chief The Takeout Certain dishes are obligatory on the American Christmas dinner table—ham, mashed potatoes, pie, gingerbread. But why not baby back ribs? Battered shrimp? Why isn’t there Christmas chili mac? Tradition comforts, but tradition[…]

An Archaeological Dig in Israel Provides Clues to How Feasting Became an Important Ritual

LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Natalie Munro / 12.15.2017 Professor of Anthropology University of  Connecticut This holiday season millions of families will come together to celebrate their respective festivals and engage in myriad rituals. These may include exchanging gifts, singing songs, giving thanks, and most importantly, preparing and consuming the holiday feast. Archaeological evidence shows that[…]

The Long, Strange History of Dieting Fads

Another day, another diet. Yuriy Maksymiv/Shutterstock By Dr. Melissa Wdowik / 11.06.2017 Assistant Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition Colorado State University “Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity.” So started William Banting‘s “Letter on Corpulence,” likely the first diet[…]

Evolutionary Diets, Modern Food, and Malnutrition

By Neil Schoenherr / 11.01.2017 Senior News Director, Law and Social Network Washington University, St. Louis Malnutrition problems can be traced to poor-quality diets lacking in diversity, a recent phenomenon in evolutionary history, according to a new paper from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Earlier diets were highly diverse and nutrient[…]

This Isn’t Just Another Urban Farm—It’s a Food Bank

Former farm staff, Zotero Citlacoatl, and Las Milpitas volunteers in the greenhouse, learning about heritage fruit tree propagation. The fig and pomegranate tree cuttings pictured grew out over the spring and were given to program participants and community partners. / Photo © Groundwork Promotions The Tucson, Arizona, food bank isn’t just giving away packaged foods. It’s[…]

The Georgia Peach May be Vanishing, but Its Mythology is Alive and Well

Creative Commons By Dr. William Thomas Okie / 07.20.2017 Assistant Professor of History and History Education Kennesaw State University This is a tough year for the Georgia peach. In February, growers fretted about warm winter temperatures, which prevented some fruit from developing properly. They were more discouraged in March after a late freeze damaged many of the remaining[…]

How Spam Became One of the Most Iconic Brands of All Time

By Dr. Ayalla A. Ruvio / 07.02.2017 Assistant Professor of Marketing Michigan State University While you might think of Spam as a basic canned meat, it’s actually one of the greatest business success stories of all time: Since Hormel Foods Corporation launched the affordable, canned pork product in 1937, it’s sold over eight billion cans in 44 countries around[…]

Blackfeet Researcher Leads Her Tribe Back to Traditional Foods

Huckleberries / Creative Commons Forced assimilation destroyed most nations’ diets, but now Native youth are learning to integrate local foods back into their daily lives. By J. Gabriel Ware / 06.06.2017 Researcher Abaki Beck, 23, has vivid childhood memories of helping her mother, grandmothers, and aunts pick traditional foods and medicines on the Blackfeet Nation[…]

The Rise and Fall of Sourdough: 6,000 Years of Bread

Lecture By Dr. Eric Pallant at Barnard’s Inn Hall / 03.23.2017 Fulbright Scholar, Professor of Environmental Science Allegheny College The story of human civilization – our developing relationship to nature, to food, religion, science, time, and one another – can all be told by a loaf of freshly-baked, warm-from-the-oven sourdough bread.  The fact that for[…]

How Latkes Came to Be Hannukah’s ‘It’ Food

Making latkes involves lots of oil / Photo by Teena Wildman via Flickr Creative Commons By Susan Barocas / 12.18.2016 Special to The Washington Post I like latkes. All kinds: starchy potato, sweet potato, zucchini, cheese, apple, leek, even vegan and gluten-free ones. But for too long in this country, Hanukkah has been all about[…]

Ancient Indian Flavors

Tandoori Roast leg of lamb. (Photo: Courtesy of Niloufer Mavalvala.) By James Wiener / 11.17.2016 The flavors and aromas of ancient Persia and India converge in Parsi cuisine. In this exclusive interview, Niloufer Mavalvala, author of The Art of Parsi Cooking: Reviving an Ancient Cuisine, introduces us to the culture and the tastes of the Parsis. Niloufer[…]

These Realistic-Looking Leather Shoes Are Actually Made of Chocolate, Cost More Than Real Shoes

11.25.2016 Featuring perfectly replicated seams, soles and shoelaces, as well as impressively realistic finish, these life-size chocolate shoes seem made of genuine brown leather. The “Gentleman’s Radiance” chocolate line is the creation of master chocolatier Motohiro Okai of Rihga Royal Hotel’s chocolate boutique L’éclat, in Osaka, Japan. Each leather show measures 26 centimeters (10.2 inches) in length, and is crafted exclusively from chocolate, including[…]