food history

Last Dinner on the Titanic

By Rick Archbold; recipes by Dana McCauley

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A cookbook designed to recreate the atmosphere of dining on the famous, doomed luxury liner serves up such recipes as Lobster Thermidor, Quails' Eggs in Aspic with Caviar, and Poached Salmon with Dilled Mousseline Sauce and Cucumber.
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Food and Recipes of the Westward Expansion

By George Erdosh

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"Looking closely at the environment, economics, eating habits, and favorite foods of our American forebears teaches us volumes about their world and ours. The 'gravy train' takes on new meaning as kids learn how the pioneers survived the long journey. Video games and television take a back seat as kids learn how to make a prospector's dinner of skillet bread and pork and beans."

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Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almon

In Candyfreak, Steve Almond makes the typical chocoholic look like a quitter. Almond doesn’t just enjoy the occasional sweet indulgence. He is enamored with candy, especially chocolate candy bars. This infatuation drives his curiosity about the candy industry. It also compels Almond to wax poetic when describing candy’s taste and texture or lovingly tracing the popularity and disappearance of archaic, often regional, candies, such as Caravelle, Twin Bing, Idaho Spud, and Valomilk.

Throughout Candyfreak, Almond refers to his obsession with candy as a “freak,” arguing that the energy he expends thinking about, describing, hoarding, and consuming candy is not inherently different from the more widely accepted obsessive hobbies, such as sports fandom or extreme collecting: “[W]e don’t choose our freaks, they choose us. I don’t mean this as some kind of hippy dippy aphorism about the power of fate. We may not understand why we freak on a particular food or band or sports team. We may have no conscious control over our allegiances. But they arise from our most sacred fears and desires and, as such, they represent the truest expression of ourselves.”

Food & Feasts in Tudor Times

By Richard Balkwill

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The people in Queen Elizabeth's time did not eat the same foods or have the same table manners that we do today. Learn about some of the differences in this short book. Part of the Food and Feasts series.

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97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement

By Jane Ziegelman

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"In 97 Orchard , Jane Ziegelman explores the culinary life that was the heart and soul of New York's Lower East Side around the turn of the twentieth century-a city within a city, where Germans, Irish, Italians, and Eastern European Jews attempted to forge a new life. Through the experiences of five families, all of them residents of 97 Orchard Street, she takes readers on a vivid and unforgettable tour, from impossibly cramped tenement apartments down dimly lit stairwells where children played and neighbors socialized, beyond the front stoops where immigrant housewives found respite and company, and out into the hubbub of the dirty, teeming streets. Ziegelman shows how immigrant cooks brought their ingenuity to the daily task of feeding their families, preserving traditions from home but always ready to improvise. While health officials worried that pushcarts were unsanitary and that pickles made immigrants too excitable to be good citizens, a culinary revolution was taking place in the streets of what had been culturally an English city.

"Along the East River, German immigrants founded breweries, dispensing their beloved lager in the dozens of beer gardens that opened along the Bowery. Russian Jews opened tea parlors serving blintzes and strudel next door to Romanian nightclubs that specialized in goose pastrami. On the streets, Italian peddlers hawked the cheese-and-tomato pies known as pizzarelli , while Jews sold knishes and squares of halvah. Gradually, as Americans began to explore the immigrant ghetto, they uncovered the array of comestible enticements of their foreign-born neighbors."

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Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade

By Tim Unwin

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Wine and the Vine provides an introduction to the historical geography of viticulture and the wine trade from prehistory to the present. The rich symbolic and cultural significance of wine is related to its evolution as a commercial product.

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The Book of Chocolate

By Jeanne Bourin

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"This lavishly illustrated book, The Book of Chocolate takes readers on a journey through the history and production of the world's most seductive confection: chocolate. Learn how the cocoa bean, first enjoyed by the Aztecs, has traveled around the globe to produce endless variations of chocolate. Through the eyes of food critics, chefs, journalists, and historians, this book explores the rich history of chocolate, along with a modern-day investigation of its many flavors and forms. A list of tantalizing recipes and a guide to the finest purveyors of chocolate worldwide make this volume indispensable to chocolate lovers everywhere."

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Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History

By H.E. Jacob

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"Yeast, water, flour, and heat. How could this simple mixture have been the cause of war and plague, celebration and victory, supernatural vision and more? In this remarkable and all-encompassing volume written in 1944, H. E. Jacob takes us through six thousand dynamic years of bread's role in politics, religion, technology, and beyond. Who were the first bakers? Why were bakers distrusted during the Middle ages? How did bread cause Napoleon's defeat? Why were people buried with bread? Six Thousand Years of Bread has the answers. Jacob follows the story from its beginning in ancient Egypt and continues through to modern times. The poignant and inspiring conclusion of the book relays the author's experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, subsisting on bread made of sawdust."
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Salt: A World History

By Mark Kurlansky

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"Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. Today we take it for granted; however, as Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in this world-encompassing book, salt--the only rock we eat--has shaped civilization from the very beginning. Its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind. Until about 100 years ago, when modern geology revealed how prevalent it is, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities, for without it humans and animals could not live. Salt has often been considered so valuable that it served as currency, and it is still exchanged as such in places today. The story of salt encompasses fields as disparate as engineering, religion, and food, all of which Kurlansky richly explores."
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Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit

By Mort Rosenblum

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Until one stops to notice, an olive is only a lowly lump at the bottom of a martini. But not only does a history of olives traverse climates and cultures, it also reveals fascinating differences in processing, production, and personalities. Aficionados of the noble little fruit expect miracles from it as a matter of course. In 1986, Mort Rosenblum bought a small farm in Provence and acquired 150 neglected olive trees that were old when the Sun King ruled France. He brought them back to life and became obsessed with olives, their cultivation, and their role in international commerce.
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