After posts on 19th century complaints about plagiarism and the evolution of recipe writing style, we finally get to the recipe that originally attracted me to William Kitchiner’s 1818 book, The Cook’s Oracle: Mock Tomata Sauce [sic]. When I first saw Mock Tomata Sauce on my screen, I had a few thoughts. First: ????. Next: I need […]
Old Restaurant Menus for Christmas, New Year’s Day, and a Gathering of Bankers
The Buttolph Collection of Menus at the New York Public Library shows what people were eating in restaurants decades ago through its collection of tens of thousands of menus, most from the early 20th century. Let’s take a look at three seasonal menus and a creative menu for bankers.
A Google Books Ngram of Pumpkin Pie Spice and Pumpkin Spice
We are at the edge of pumpkin and pumpkin spice season, with the peak still ahead of us, so I thought it would be fun to run three pumpkin terms through the Ngrams Viewer from Google Books: pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin spice. For those not familiar with the tool, The Ngrams Viewer tool […]
What is the First Movie to Mention Pizza?
In a scene in the 1953 film The Band Wagon, a cast member offers Fred Astaire “some pizza pie.” Could this be one of the first mentions of pizza in a Hollywood movie?
Before 1950, Celery Was an Extremely Popular Restaurant Menu Item
I don’t like celery, so it might have been a defense mechanism when I started noticing it on menu after menu from the late-19th and early-20th centuries. As I looked through the Buttolph Collection of Menus for food conservation messages on World War I-era menus, it seemed that nearly every menu included celery as a […]
Examining the Hangover Cure in the Western “El Dorado”: Was Asafoetida Known in the Old West?
For some forgotten reason, I recently watched the 1966 Western El Dorado. It’s one of the better Westerns I have seen, with more humor and a lot less racism than the typical Western (though there’s a short cringe-worthy stereotyping of a Chinese person near the end). The film has a top-notch cast and crew: the […]
Which Country Grows the Most Avocados?
At the 2017 International Food Blogging Conference in Sacramento, one of the sponsors was Avocados from Chile, the avocado promotion agency from that nation. The logic behind their promotional efforts in California is sound: United States avocado growers can’t meet growing U.S. demand The California avocado harvest is typically between April and September Chile is […]
The Seven Kinds of Catsup (Ketchup) You’ll Meet in a 19th Century Cookbook
As I’ve discussed before, in the olden days, catsup/ketchup was about much more than tomatoes. Cookbooks from the 18th and 19th century are ripe with recipes for catsup/ketchup that contain ingredients that are decidedly non-ketchup ingredients, like walnuts, anchovies, and oysters. In the early 19th century cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, author William Kitchiner shares seven […]
The Evolution of Recipe Writing Style
Last time, I wrote about an important 19th century cookbook, The Cook’s Oracle, by William Kitchiner and noted that his book was published during an era of significant cookbook evolution. One of the most important was how recipes were written: the structure and style of recipes.
Cookbook Author Rants about Cutting and Pasting in Cookbooks
The following Receipts [Ed. note: recipes] are not a mere marrowless collection of shreds, and patches, and cuttings, and pastings, from obsolete works, but a bona fide register of practical facts, accumulated by a perseverance not to be subdued, or evaporated, by the igniferous terrors of a roasting fire in the dog-days. The Receipts have […]