Linda Pelaccio, a culinary historian, takes a weekly journey through the history of food on A Taste of the Past. Tune in for interviews with authors, scholars and culinary chroniclers who discuss food culture from ancient Mesopotamia and Rome to the grazing tables and deli counters of today. Each week Linda explores the lively link between food cultures of the present and past.
Often blamed for the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among black Americans, fast food restaurants like McDonald’s have long symbolised capitalism’s villainous effects on our nation’s most vulnerable communities. But how did fast food restaurants so thoroughly saturate black neighbourhoods in the first place? Historian Marcia Chatelain whose new book is Franchise, The Golden Arches in Black America, traces the history of the relationships between the struggle for civil rights and the expansion of the fast food industry.
In her travels to the Russian North award-winning cookbook author and Russian scholar Darra Goldstein discovered the extraordinary in the ordinary. In her search to find truly Russian flavors she found that many of the old foods seemed new again in the context of modern cuisine. She shares her poetic sensibilities and sense of adventure and research on this episode.
Technology and industry put more food on the shelves and in markets by extending the life of perishable goods with canning and processing methods. But was the food safe? By the late 19th century, the American food supply was rife with frauds, fakes, and deadly chemicals. It affected everything from milk and beef, black pepper and mustard to candy, whiskey and soda. It took one man, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, chief chemist of the USDA, his entire career to campaign for food safety and consumer protection, and the ultimate creation of the Food and Drug Act in 1909. Award winning writer and science journalist Deborah Blum talks about the stories and struggles to safe food from her book, The Poison Squad, which is now a PBS documentary.
Who ever thought a video series about watching old Italian grandmothers making pasta would become a hugely successful YouTube channel? Food writer Vicky Bennison saw something special and spent over five years filming and interviewing the women who became "Pasta Grannies." Traditional regional recipes and techniques will be preserved thanks to her foresight and work. And now there's a companion cookbook that shares not only the recipes but also the extraordinary stories of these endearing women. And Vicky shares with us the behind-the-scene tales.
Charles Feltman, a German immigrant, invented the hot dog in Coney Island during the summer of 1867 as a convenient way for beachgoers to enjoy quality sausages on a bun without plates and silverware. The business closed in 1954, but the name lived on. Now entrepreneur and historian Michael Quinn and his brother have resurrected the brand FELTMAN'S OF CONEY ISLAND and tell us all about the history.
There are certain iconic restaurant dishes that defined the course of culinary history over the past 300 years, known as a chef's signature dish. Now an international team of culinary experts has featured 247 of those dishes in a new book, Signature Dishes That Matter. LInda's guest, writer and editor Christine Muhlke, wrote the texts that describe the dishes' histories as well as providing context and connections between chefs and culinary movements to create an innovative and fascinating history of gastronomy.
The holiday season is all about food and community. There’s no better time to show your support for food radio by becoming a member! Lend your voice and help HRN continue to spreading the message of equitable, sustainable, and delicious food – together, we can change minds and build a better food system. Go to heritageradionetwork.org/donate today to become a crucial part of the HRN community.
LIVE FROM INDUSTRY CITY: Linda interviews Ed Levine, food writer, author, and founder of one of the top food and cooking websites, SeriousEats.com. From a serious pizza taster to a serious website founder, Ed Levine had one mantra: “YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE people who refuse to lose who end up finding success.” It is the mindset that Levine carried with him throughout the ups and downs of his career. This tumultuous journey is also the primary focus of his latest book Serious Eater: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption.
Restaurant guides have been around for centuries since Grimod de La Reyniére published his Almanach des Gourmandes in1804. These guides were usually opinions of one writer about upscale restaurants or coupled with travel guides. Then along came Zagat in 1979, a restaurant guide for the people by the people founded by Tim and Nina Zagat. Forty years since its launch it is enjoying a resurrection of sorts. After having been dormanat for a few years TheInfatuation.com bought the rights to Zagat and has just published the first new NYC edition, and plans for more. The editor-in-chief Hillary Reinsberg joins Linda to share the story of its rebirth.
It’s been nearly ninety years since Irma S. Rombauer self-published the first edition of Joy of Cooking in 1931. It quickly rose in popularity and soon became the “kitchen bible,” shaping the recipes and techniques of home cooks. Irma’s daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, revised and wrote the 6th edition in 1975, now considered a classic. Today there is a new, modern edition which reclaims many of the lost recipes over the years and adds a few new ones. John Becker, Marion's grandson and great-grandson of Irma , and his wife Megan Scott spent nine years revising and updating the recipes and information for the newest Joy of Cooking. They share their stories of that effort with Linda on this episode.
Sichuan food has long been known for its heat and spice, but the fragrant flavors and sophistication that it holds throughout China was little known abroad. The award-winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop has done much to introduce the finer flavors of Sichuan cuisine. She has revised her 2001 book, Land of Plenty, to create a more encompassing book of the culture and recipes of Sichuan Food.
What is American cuisine? Is there an American cuisine? It’s probably one of the most debated questions in food circles, certainly by food writers. Historian Paul Freedman, author of the recent best-selling book, Ten Restaurants that Changed America, explores the question in his newest book, AMERICAN CUISINE, and How It Got This Way.
What do football games, concerts, NASCAR, and similar outdoor gatherings have in common? Tailgate parties, or "tailgating" as it's commonly called. It's an American cultural phenomenon, and my guest today, Lynne Weems Ryan, whose moniker is Tailgage Buzz, is well-versed in the art and history of these social gatherings.
“There’s no genre of American cuisine as storied as Southern,” according to Rob Newton, Southern born chef/restaurateur, and now cookbook author. In his book, Seeking the South: Finding Inspired Regional Cuisines, Rob describes how the clash of cultures and ever-shifting mix of people who have moved through Southern regions have influenced the cuisine, making it culturally rich with distinct regional differences.
Fans of the TV series "Downton Abbey" are excitedly awaiting the premiere of the movie on Friday of this week. And coinciding with the movie's release is the publication of "The Official Downtown Abbey Cookbook," by Annie Gray, one of Britain's leading food historians who joins Linda on today's episode. Dr. Gray researched recipes from historical sources for the meals seen on the show and includes notes on the ingredients and customs of the time. She gives a warm and fascinating insight into the background of the dishes that were popular between 1912 and 1926, when Downton Abbey is set – a period of tremendous change and conflict, as well as culinary development, which makes the book a truly useful work of culinary history.
In 2005, Slow Food USA declared the 17th century Gravenstein apple a heritage food. But despite the efforts of several organizations to preserve this historically important apple, it is now listed on the Slow Food’s Ark of Taste as an endangered American food.
Fermentationist Jori Jayne Emde of Lady Jaynes Alchemy talk about the process and Zach Meyer from Claussen (Kraft-Heinz,) one of America's top choice, commercially produced pickles shares their history.
Today, we are rerunning Episode #52 of A Taste of the Past, in which we spoke with Molly O'Neill. Molly passed away this week, and she will be sorely missed.
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Community cookbooks—you know, those spiral bound collections with each contributor credited--began as a way for women to come together and share recipes and to support a common cause be it a local church, school, club, or other fundraising goal.
Have you ever marveled at the delicately complex beauty of a plate of Japanese food? A dish is considered well-harmonized in Japanese when it is peaceful to look at. This arrangement of food on the plates in Japan or at Japanese restaurants is largely dictated by the rules of moritsuké, or serving arrangement. These are a set of styles that draw on the ideas of balance and contrast established centuries ago. Elizabeth Andoh, an authority on Japanese food and culture, TasteofCulture.com, explains the art and philosopy behind the saying, "Japanese eat with their eyes."
In her new book, Food of the Italian South, food journalist and historian Katie Parla explores the cuisine, region by region, and discovers that many of the dishes are disappearing or are lost and remain as vague memories by later generations.
For centuries, in the small town of Cetara on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, anchovies have been gathered and fermented into the piquant sauce "colatura di alici," a local specialty. Until the 1990s, colatura di alici had never been bottled or sold.
Author Crystal King’s newest historical novel, “The Chef’s Secret,” is a fictional story based on a true character, Bartolomeo Scappi, who served as the Vatican chef during the 16th century Italian Renaissance.
When Sukey and John Jamison purchased an old farmhouse over 40 years ago they had no idea they would they would become game-changing farmers, let alone being named Conservaton Farmers of the Year for 2017.
Situated strategically at the crossroads of Europe and Asia in the Caucasus mountain range the Republic of Georgia has a unique and ancient cultural heritage that is famed for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine
Culinary travel is one of the fastest growing travel trends today. By combining travel with unique eating--and even cooking--experiences, culinary tourism offers an authentic taste of place and understanding of the culture. Elizabeth Minchilli shares her philosophy and tips for seeking out some of the historical food experiences which serve to preserve the ways of life and traditions that might otherwise fade away.
Like the city itself, Rome’s culinary history is multi-layered, both vertically and horizontally, from migrant shepherds to the senatorial aristocracy, from the papal court to the flow of pilgrims and Grand Tourists, from the House of Savoy and the Kingdom of Italy to Fascism and the rise of the middle classes. Historian and author Karima Moyer-Nocchi joins Linda to talk about her recent book, The Eternal Table, in which she takes the reader on a culinary journey through the city streets, country kitchens, banquets, markets, festivals, osterias, and restaurants illuminating yet another facet of one of the most intriguing cities in the world.
Italian cookbooks do not refer to it by name. It's not known by name in Italy. In fact, in the north of Italy it's unheard of, and the Catholic church does not recognize it. So what exactly is the Feast of Seven Fishes and how did it come to be associated with Italian-American Christmas Eve celebrations? Cookbook author Michele Scicolone helps shed some light on the search for the beginnings of this feast which just might be an Italo-American construct.
Chinese cuisine's history dates back more than three millennia, and it's only in recent times that regional specialties beyond the usual Cantonese, Hunan, and Sichuan dishes have begun to arrive in the US. Still, one element of Chinese cookery that remains rare in the Western world is the most popular across China: street food. Author, photographer and food fanatic Howie Southworth aims to change that with his new book, Chinese Street Food, filled with history, recipes, stories, photos and more. He describes it as a celebration of a culinary culture.
Ashley Rose Young, Historian of the American Food History Project at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, has long been interested in the foodways of America’s past. And when she’s not hosting live cooking demos to explore that history at the Smithsonian Museum, she is immersed in her study of the alternative foodways and food economies—specifically of New Orleans—which relied heavily on street vendors. This street vending became the domain of the enslaved or newly freed, disenfranchised population. And, like so many street vendors in cities around the world, their sing-song cries heralding the fruits, vegetables and sweets in baskets often carried on their heads, became the street music of late 19th and early 20th century New Orleans. Listen in for a sample of some of the cries.
On a recent trip to Rome, I met up with Katie Parla, Italian food and culture writer, to talk to her about her thoughts on the recent renaissance of old classic Roman dishes, particularly pasta dishes. She spoke about past, present, and what she sees in the future for the food of Rome.
In his recently published book, Creole Italian, Justin A. Nystrom explores the influence Sicilian immigrants have had on New Orleans foodways. His culinary journey follows these immigrants from their first impressions on Louisiana food culture in the mid-1830s and along their path until the 1970s. Sicilian immigrants cut sugarcane, sold groceries, ran truck farms, operated bars and restaurants, and manufactured pasta. Citing these cultural confluences, Nystrom posits that the significance of Sicilian influence on New Orleans foodways traditionally has been undervalued and instead should be included, along with African, French, and Spanish cuisine, in the broad definition of “creole.”
Graham Kerr, aka The Galloping Gourmet, wrote a very modern and revolutionary cookbook in 1969, which was overshadowed by his huge success as one of the early TV cooking personalities. Matt and Ted Lee have resurrected the book and added Kerr's own handwritten commentary. Graham and Matt join Linda to revisit the newly republished book and early stardom of TV food.
In the 1980s, Montgomery County, Maryland set aside one-third of the county—93,000 acres—for agricultural uses. It was a remarkable act of stewardship, especially in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, where land is at a premium. Since then more than 500 farm operations produce food for local residents and for people around the world. The Reserve has become a national model for land preservation and has created space for food production, but also for clean air and water, recreation, and history. Independent writer, Claudia Kousoulas and producer, Ellen Letourneau have created a cookbook whose recipes, profiles, essays and photographs trace the Reserve’s history.
Food is a many layered topic in most cultures and none more so than in Sicily, where the bitterness found in the flavors of almonds and wild greens are also present in the emotions of Sicily's past. Fabrizia Lanza, born and raised in Palermo, left to study and live in northern Italy as an art historian for many years. She returned to carry on her mother's work at pre-eminent Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School on the family property and winery, and realized the roots of so many of those bitter feelings were imbued with love for the land, people and food. She has made it her mission to promote Sicilian cuisine and bitter flavors through her books and films. Her newest film project called Amaro (bitter) is raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign and she hopes to have it completed by next fall. She shares her story with Linda on this episode.
America has long had a love affair with cookies which led big business to get in the game and the choices of commercially made sweets seem endless. Several years ago Oreos, the iconic, #1 American cookie, celebrated their 100th birthday. Food writer and culinary historian Michael Krondl talks with Linda about their history and Nabisco - world's largest cookie factory that transformed cookie and cracker manufacturing.
The Kanz al-fawāʾid fī tanwīʿ al-mawāʾid, a fourteenth-century cookbook, is unique for its variety and comprehensive coverage of contemporary Egyptian cuisine. It is the only surviving cookbook from a period when Cairo was a flourishing metropolis and a cultural haven for people of diverse ethnicities and nationalities. Now available for the first time in English, it has been meticulously translated and supplemented with a comprehensive introduction by scholar Nawal Nasrallah. She joins Linda on this episode to discuss the discoveries, delights, and difficulties of the task of making this important work accessible.
Mary Randolph wrote The Virginia Housewife Cookbook, first published in 1824. But who was she and who was in the kitchen doing the cooking? Dr. Leni Sorensen, a writer, chef, and Jefferson's Monticello resident culinary historian, joins Linda to talk about the kitchens, cooking methods, and enslaved cooks who influenced the recipes and methods of cooking in one of America's oldest printed cookbooks.
Trying to pinpoint origins of cuisines from the Caribbean is not an easy task. The many traders, invaders, colonists, and travelers left bits and pieces of their cuisines that became incorporated in the island food cultures. And Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaican foods are derived from many different settlement cultures, including British, Dutch, French, Spanish, East Indian, Portuguese, Chinese, and importantly, West African. Writer Rochelle Oliver takes us back to the 1500’s to learn about the origins of the favorite Jamaican food preparation – Jerk.
Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky, author of the new book "Milk! A 10,000 Year Food Fracas" is the perfect person to tell it. HRN's Kat Johnson interviewed Mark last month at MOFAD, (Museum of Food and Drink) and shares it here with us. In this diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details milk's curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.
From the 1920s through the 1940s "Aunt Sammy's Housekeeper's Chat" was a hit food radio program created by the USDA Bureau of Home Economics. Aunt Sammy doled out recipes, kitchen tips, and other household advice. She was so popular that the spin-off recipe book stayed in print for 50 years. But who was she? Justin Nordstrom, editor of the newly annotated version of Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes, joins Linda to introduce and explain the phenomenon of Aunt Sammy.
America's agriculture has undergone many changes in the past century. One of the major changes is the growth of soy bean farming and how the little-known Chinese transplant became the nation's largest cash crop. Matthew Roth joins Linda to share the history and stories from his book, Magic Bean: Rise of Soy in America.
The adage "Power of the Press" is never truer than when it comes to restaurant reviews. A review can make or break a business, and more than that, it serves as a reliable guide to diners' experiences. Longtime restaurant critic and food writer Mimi Sheraton shares her insights and experience and sheds some light on the history of restaurant reviews.
Arabs have always been great traders, collecting spices and ingredients from the early Silk Road routes right through the expansion of Islam from North Africa to South Asia. With the ingredients came the development of recipes and dishes unique to the various locations. Anissa Helou has lived and traveled widely in these regions and has become an authority on the cuisines. In her new book she presents her research and recipes that are evidence of the great culinary traditions of the Islamic world.
Food trucks announcing "halal" proliferate in many urban areas but how many non-Muslims know what this means, other than cheap lunch? Middle Eastern historians Febe Armanios and Boğaç Ergene provide an accessible introduction to halal (permissible) food in the Islamic tradition, exploring what halal food means to Muslims and how its legal and cultural interpretations have changed in different geographies up to the present day.
Many Ancient Roman dishes included the use of fish sauce—garum or liquamen—made from fermented fish parts. Sally Grainger, one of the foremost authorities on Roman fish sauce and foods of the Roman era, joins Linda to explain the nuances, differences, and uses of the sauces, as well as other herbs, spices, and recipes she has written about in her book, Cooking Apicius.
Until the mid-19th Century, it was not acceptable--and in some cases not allowed--for women to out and about unescorted. They would not be served even at elite restaurants. But in 1868, a journalist named Jane Cunningham Croly pushed open the doors of restaurants to women with an historic luncheon at Delmonico's in New York City, and the rest is...history. this luncheon was recreated at the famed Delmonico's with guest chef/restaurateur Gabrielle Hamilton cooking some classic dishes for an all woman group of diners. Linda gives a first hand report of that event and speaks with those involved.
On this episode, historian and regular voice on BBC Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet, Annie Gray, joins Linda to talk about the enormous culinary changes during the Victorian era and the birth of modern food culture. In her recent book, The Greedy Queen, Annie considers Britain's most iconic monarch from a new perspective, telling the story of British food along the way. Voracious and adventurous in her tastes, Queen Victoria was head of state during a revolution in how the British ate--from the highest tables to the most humble.
Few ingredients have had greater influence on the cuisines and foodways of the world than peppers. Their diaspora spans millenia and has shaped the way generations of cooks create flavor. On this episode historian and three-time James Beard award winning author Maricel Presilla joins Linda and shares her work from her new book, Peppers of the Americas, in which she retraces the fascinating history of how Capsicum spread across the globe and found their way into cuisines of the world.
On this episode, Linda welcomes Kat Johnson, HRN's Communications Director, to share an panel she moderated at the 2018 Charleston Wine + Food festival. Kat welcomed Jerome Dixon and Doc Bill Thomas from Georgia Coastal Gourmet Farms, Chef Sean Brock of Husk, and Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills to talk about the repatriation of Purple Ribbon Sugar Cane to Sapelo Island, home of the Gullah-Gechee community Hog Hammock.
Marvin Taylor, Director and Archivist of NYU Fales Library and Special Collections, has been instrumental in building one of the top culinary collections in the nations. He and Linda discuss the meaning of classic cookbooks and other archival materials that can help us piece together the past.
In his book Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll, Andrew Friedman takes us back in time to witness the remarkable changes in the American dining scene and evolution of the American restaurant chef in the 1970s and '80s. Using oral histories told primarily in the words of the people who lived it Friedman writes about the pioneers behind Chez Panisse, Spago, River Cafe and other landmarks as well as many of the the young cooks like Jonathan Waxman, Tom Colicchio, and Mario Batali who went on to become household names. Friedman shares those stories with Linda on this informative episode.
African Americans have worked in presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Award-winning author and food historian Adrian Miller explores the lives of these men and women in his book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas (UNC Press, 2017). Miller gives us a glimpse of what life was like for these culinary artists, and he incorporates their White House experiences into the larger history of African American foodways, American foodways, and its cultural impact both at the White House and nationwide.
What is most commonly known about the food and dining of Ancient Rome comes from vivid—and often fictional—descriptions of exotic foods of lavish banquets of the wealthy. But further study reveals an approachable cuisine of the Mediterranean in ancient times. Farrell Monaco describes how she combines her background in archaeology to study and recreate many of those dishes.
Good news to David Shields is that the Speckled Whippoorwill Cowpea, Jimmy Red whisky corn, or the Sicilian Timilia strain of durum wheat has been located, identified, and successfully grown and harvested. And further success means that many of these formerly lost seeds are added to the Ark of Taste, Slow Food's global register of the most flavorful, historically resonant, and imperiled foods. David sat down with Linda to discuss some of the recent searches for seeds and why they are important in the final flavors of regional dishes.
Who were the Acadians? What was their food culture and cuisine? Food writer and journalist Simon Thibault, talks about exploring his Acadian roots and reacquainting himself with the food and recipes from his family’s past which he documented in his new book, Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food. It’s a cookbook filled with old food traditions, recipes and anecdotes “seasoned with history.”
Culinarians are and were intellectually curious, aesthetically experimental, and gastronomically evangelical. In his new book, "The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining," Dr. David Shields traces the stories of 175 lives and careers of chefs, caterers, and restaurateurs who raised the profession of cooking and fine dining in America to an art form.
Unlike many Italian cookbooks, Autentico goes far beyond pasta. In a world where culinary shortcuts, adulteration, misleading labeling, and mass production of seemingly “authentic” food rule, culinary archaeologist, innovator and cooking teacher Rolando Beramendi has kept centuries-old culinary traditions alive.
The American South is a diverse region with its own vocabulary, peculiarities, and complexities. Even Southerners can't always agree on all things Southern. A new book by the editors of Garden & Gun Magazine is a good source for answers. "S is for Southern" is an encyclopedia of Southern life, culture, and history, covering age-old traditions and current zeitgeists. Executive managing editor Phillip Rhodes, born and bred in the south, talks about the fun facts.
Following WWII, France--particularly Paris--became the world's most stylish tourist destination and capital of fine dining. Americans were smitten. Justin Spring follows the lives of six American writers-adventurers who adopted Paris as their home, and tells how they transformed the way Americans talk and think about food and the way they eat.
Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization. Erika Rappaport talks about her new book, A Thirst for Empire, in which she delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets and a plantation-based economy in South Asia and Africa. She shares her in-depth historical look at how men and women—through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa—transformed global tastes and habits and in the process created our modern consumer society.
Paris has been associated with fine dining for centuries and the city remains a veritable walking tour of historic gastronomy. David Downie, a travel and food writer living in Paris, takes a deep dive into this history for his new book, A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food. He shares with us stories, events and locations that brim with passion and flavor--a true food lover's paradise.
Award winning journalist Maryn McKenna reveals the fascinating history of chicken in her new book, Big Chicken. She talks with us about chicken's rise in popularity through the routine use of antibiotics, a practice that would transform agriculture, change the world's eating habits, and contribute to the deadly rise of drug-resistant infections around the globe.
In his new book, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar (Abrams Books), Michael Harlan Turkell takes us on a fermented look into vinegar's soured past and bright future. He shares tales and experiences from his travels throughout North America, France, Italy, Austria, and Japan to learn about vinegar-making practices in places where the art has evolved over centuries.
Most biographers pay little attention to people’s attitudes toward food, but once we ask how somebody relates to food, we find a whole world of different and provocative ways to understand her. Historian Laura Shapiro uses the lens of food to look at the lives of six women, each famous in her time, and most are still famous in ours; but until now, nobody has told their lives from the point of view of the kitchen and the table.
Scents and Flavors is a 13th century Syrian cookbook which historian and Arabic scholar Charles Perry has edited and translated. Unlike many early recipe manuals this book gives us a glimpse of the social history of the medieval period in Syria. Charles talks about an inventive cuisine that elevates simple ingredients by combining various aromas of herbs, spaces, fruits and flower essences. He shares stories and descriptions of ingredients and recipes for food and drink as well as the fragrances that garnish the meals and perfume the diners.
First patented in 1856, baking powder sparked a classic American struggle for business supremacy. For nearly a century, brands battled to win loyal consumers for the new leavening miracle, transforming American commerce and advertising even as they touched off a chemical revolution in the world's kitchens. Linda Civitello chronicles the titanic struggle that reshaped America's diet and rewrote its recipes.
From early trading posts to retail chains and superstores, award winning author Michael Ruhlman--The Soul of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking--traces the history and evolution of the American grocery store in his new book, Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America. On this episode Ruhlman shares his views of grocery stores as a reflection of our culture. He examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer.
John T. Edge joins Linda today for a conversation about his new book, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. John T., an esteemed writer of Southern food, traces how the food of the poorest Southerners has become the signature trend of modern American haute cuisine. He puts names and faces on the familiar dishes as he examines the food, race and politics in the South over the past 60 years.
Since 2013, David Shields has been the chairman of Slow Food's Ark of Taste Committee for the South, and will be a participant in Slow Food Nations Festival in Denver, July 14-16. There he will talk about the heirloom grains which have been revived with the help of farmers and chefs. He spoke with Linda about his work reviving many of the heirloom ingredients that made up the original flavors of southern cuisine.
Dr. Shields, Distinguished Professor at University of South Carolina, and the Chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, is the author of Southern Provisions: the Creation and Revival of a Cuisine (Univ of Chicago Press: 2015).
Author Megan Elias explores the role words play in the creation of taste on both a personal and a national level. From Fannie Farmer to The Joy of Cooking to food blogs, she argues, American cookbook writers have commented on national cuisine while tempting their readers to the table. By taking cookbooks seriously as a genre and by tracing their genealogy, her new book, Food on the Page, explains where contemporary assumptions about American food came from and where they might lead.
It’s been 111 years since the publication of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s groundbreaking book on the cattle industry. Though improvements in animal welfare have been made since then, the industry has evolved to include issues Sinclair could never have foreseen. In her new book, What’s the Matter with Meat?, Katy Keiffer, host of What Doesn’t Kill You here on HRN, leads readers though a crash course on how this powerful multinational business has been able to generate such a bountiful supply of absurdly cheap animal proteins.
Roses are indigenous to Iran and distilling the essential oils of the flower to make rose water has been practiced there for over 2,500 years. Every May, when the city of Kashan is enveloped in pink and a sweet floral scent, there is a festival that honors this ancient tradition of boiling petals in barrels of water and collecting and condensing the rising steam. Cookbook author Yasmin Khan attended the festivities last year and joins us to share the stories, significance and flavor uses of rose water and to share culinary insights from her recent book, The Saffron Tales, from Bloomsbury Press.
On the season premiere of A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is joined by Elizabeth Federici and Kathleen Squires, the director/producer and producer, respectively, of the new documentary film James Beard: America's First Foodie.
The name of James Beard has become synonymous with culinary excellence, and each year thousands gather in New York City for the James Beard Foundation Awards, which is often referred to as the Academy Awards for food. And yet, the incredible details of Beard's life are not as widely recognized.
The will air on PBS Friday, May 19 at 9:00 p.m.
For years Food History remained the purview of a few researchers writing papers for academic journals. But recently interest has grown in knowing what we ate in times past, and where certain foods in different cuisines came from. Emelyn Rude joins Linda to talk about a start-up magazine on the horizon called REPAST that aims to tell the interesting stories about food history that will appeal to everyone. And one of the early contributors, Ken Albala, a professor of history who has devoted a good part of his career writing about and teaching students about food and culinary history talks about his views on this growing interest.
This week on A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio is joined by tea sommelier for the historic St. Regis Hotel in New York City, Elizabeth Knight.
Widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on tea and entertaining, Knight shares her passion as the founder of Tea with Friends, a website devoted to all things tea. A certified English Tea Master, she is the author of bestselling books on the subjects of tea and entertaining including Tea with Friends, Celtic Teas with Friends, Welcome Home, and Tea in the City New York - A Tea Lover's Guide to Sipping and Shopping in the City.
The countries in the Persian culinary region are home to diverse religions, cultures, languages, and politics, but they are linked by captivating food traditions. The intrepid traveler, food writer and photographer Naomi Duguid covered the vast region to capture the cuisine. She uncovers the flavors of herbs, spices, fruit and tart that transcend the divisive borders and give a picture of ancient tastes of modern people.
Everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day, or so the saying goes. It's a celebration that's been going on in America since the mid 1700's. And except for the soda bread, the food of the day is anything but Irish. Irish-American cookbook author Margaret Johnson joins us to talk about the background of some of these dishes and others that have stayed true to their roots.
Andrea Nguyen, an author, food writer, culinary teacher and expert in Vietnamese cooking, learned to love the iconic noodle soup of Vietnam long before it became a cult food item in the US. She traveled back to her birthplace to research and learn about the birth of PHO which she recounts in her newest book, The Pho Cookbook, and shares with us in this episode.
The recently completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. Within the museums' exhibits are five forms of cultural expression including "Foodways: Culture and Cuisine." Author and historian of African-American foodways Jessica B. Harris was a consultant on the project, and talks about range of influence of African-Americans in the foods and cooking of the United States. And she gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the careful planning of regional foods offered in the museum's Sweet Home Cafe.
Handwritten Recipes is a living platform for culinary memories curated and edited by Rozanne Gold, a well-known chef and cookbook author. The column is part of the the website Handwrittenwork.com created by Brett Rawson, and serves to re-ignite the connection between generations of families through food, memory, and the power of the pen. While the relation of food to language is universal, the curve and slope of a loved one’s scrawl can re-capture long-lost scents, tastes and emotions at a moment’s notice--a living cookbook. Rozanne and Brett join Linda to discuss the silent power of the handwritten word in our digital world.
Chinese food first became popular in America under the shadow of violence against Chinese aliens. In her book Chow Chop Suey, Anne Mendelson traces the introduction of an altered Cantonese cuisine to white Americans by poor Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush. She follows the eventual abolition of anti-Chinese immigration laws and demographic changes that transformed the face of Chinese cooking in America.
Today is the launch the 8th Winter/Spring season of A Taste of the Past. To get this season cracking Ramin Ganeshram joins me to talk all about the background, history, and folklore of coconuts. Where do they originate? How were they dispersed? And how are they incorporated in cuisines across the continents? Ramin will include a discussion on the cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago, the land of her paternal ancestors where she spent many summer vacations and family visits learning to appreciate the sweet pleasures of coconut.
The winter solstice is the longest night of the year. Since ancient times, people all over the world have recognized this important astronomical occurrence and celebrated the subsequent “return” of the Sun in a variety of different ways. Old solstice traditions have influenced holidays we celebrate now, such as Christmas and Hanukkah and historian Cathy Kaufman discusses the rites, rituals and recipes of many of those celebrations.
Menus hold a vast amount of historic information on America's culture, social history, economy, and everyday life. Food and culture historian and menu collector Henry Voigt shares some of the stories old menus have to tell about 19th century America.
From an accidental churning in ancient times to the modern day quest for the purest, silkiest spreads, butter has a very rich history. Historian Elaine Khosrova, author of Butter, A Rich History, shares some of her stories as we dive into the unctuous beginnings of this delicious food.
American cuisine is often described as bland, but throughout our history flavors and spices such as pepper, vanilla, curry powder and soy sauce have crossed the ocean to define our ever-changing palate. Historic Gastronomist Sarah Lohman researched the stories of these flavors in her new book Eight Flavors, The Untold Story of American Cuisine and shares them with us.
Intrepid traveler and writer Shane Mitchell shares her insights into the culture and regional cuisines of remote communities around the world from her book, "Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters Around the World." She describes the food, farming, and fascinating people she met in these areas who are keeping some of the world’s oldest food traditions alive.
Artist, writer, and accomplished cook Rob Chirico talks about growing up with an Italian mother who would rather be anywhere but the kitchen. In fact, he wrote an entire book about it, "Not My Mother's Kitchen." In today's discussion Rob gives Italian-American cooking its deserved place as a cuisine separate from classic Italian and explains why.
Since ancient times Chinese cuisine has been a reflection of cultural triumph and struggle. From political battles and famines to a proliferation of gastronomic arts, food has been embedded in the national psyche and evidenced in its eight great cuisines. The Chinese authors of China, The Cookbook describe the background and evolution of their country's culinary culture.
Cakes in America aren't just about sugar, flour, and frosting. They have a deep, rich history that developed as our country grew. Cakes in some form or other have been around for millennia and were brought to America by the early settlers, primarily the English, Dutch and German. Author and cake historian Anne Byrn traces American cakes chronologically from dark, dense gingerbread and Martha Washington Great Cake to the modern California cakes of orange and olive oil.
In 1765 Richard Hennessy created the eponymous Cognac. Today, Maurice Hennessy, 8th generation, joins us to tell the story. And Kara Newman talks about the Negroni and other cocktail history from her new book, Shake, Stir, Sip.
Restaurants in America are as diverse as our population, and they speak volumes about our society according to Professor Paul Freedman, Author of Ten Restaurants That Changed America. From Delmonico's to Howard Johnson's, Freedman discusses the ten restaurants he profiles and tells how they had a sociological as well as gastronomical impact on our country.
Elissa Altman, James Beard Award-winning writer of the blog and book, Poor Man’s Feast sits down with Linda to talk about food and memories and writing her latest memoir, Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw. So many of life's events are intrinsically tied to smells, tastes, or a particular meal and Elissa explains how she weaves it all into her writing.