Martha Bradley’s The British Housewife (1756) has long fascinated me, for all her detail and precise instructions. And, most of all, for her emphasis on local foods, long before Alice Waters or Michael Pollan were gleams in the eye of God. Of course, the other point I want to make here is this: the English were quite […]Read more "Greens and Roots in Season, or, Martha’s Local Foods (18th century) Cookbook"
(Note: 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 provides an intriguing 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 […]Read more "Ats Jaar: Possible Origins of the Practice of Pickling in the Antebellum American South"
Today is the 20th anniversary of M.F.K. Fisher’s death, so in tribute and at the request of her friend Leo Racicot, I am reposting this, something I wrote last year after attending Barbara Wheaton’s “Reading Historic Cookbooks” seminar at Harvard. Sometimes words, both spoken and written, take on terrible power. Use the wrong word and, […]Read more "Parsleyed Ham and Kitchen Breezes: The Letters of M. F. K. Fisher and Julia Child"
Cabbage soup and gruel are our food. (Shchi da kasha, pishche nashe.) ~~Russian peasant proverb Trying to ferret out tidbits about Russian food history can be tough going. Aside from the language barrier, anyone interested in Russian culinary history suffers from a major weakness: there is a terrible lack of written material contemporaneous with Forme […]Read more "From Mother Russia with Love: The Domostroi"
Like many women, and quite a few men, I learned to cook some five or six basic dishes from my mother. And even then, it was all oral. Nothing written. Nevertheless, as a modern person, I guess, I desired to know and understand much more about cooking and cuisine and began to accumulate books on […]Read more "The Biggest Food Revolution Ever: The Printed Cookbook?"