Medieval England: Medicine as Food, Food as Medicine

Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food. ~Hippocrates Food and medicine, always intertwined in the human  imagination. Because – obviously – the earliest English settlers brought their food habits and medicinal beliefs with them to what is now the United States, I relish books that provide background to the English way…

Reflections on a Green-Grape Tart

Sugary milky sweetness, that first delicious taste, imprints itself on a baby’s tiny tongue, and seals forever a great love. From the very beginning of life, then, a yearning for that nectar haunts us forever and never leaves us in peace. This primal urge for sweetness led to the scourge of slavery and fuels the…

Preserved Lemons: The New French Staple?

Meats preserved in wine become dry and nourishing: they dry out because of the wine; they are nourishing because of the flesh. Preserve din vinegar, they ferment less, because of the vinegar, and are quite nourishing. Meats preserved in salt are less nourishing, as salt deprives them of moisture, but they become lean, dry out,…

Is Cooking Necessary?*

No, it’s not. That’s your immediate answer, isn’t it? After all, you’ve got more important things to do, don’t you? Or do you? You can live your life without cooking. You can go to your nearest grocery store and bypass all the technology and knowledge that took your ancestors centuries to refine. You can buy…

Ats Jaar: A Little Taste of Southeast Asia in the Antebellum South

(I am going to be discussing pickling and the English influence on that practice in my next several posts. This is an old post that I think is an interesting introduction to this subject.) A little prickle of recognition, a sense of déjà vu — that’s what happened when I turned to page 86 of…