Velveeta and Wonder Bread: Cooking at the Pompeii of America

In my 16-year-old mind, the 4-mile trail to Ozette might as well have been the 2500-mile-long Route 66. My thoughts pivoted between the stone-heavy backpack slamming against my hips and the sweat running into my eyes, blinding me with salt and transforming me into a bull’s eye for scores of kamikaze deer flies. Finally, I … More Velveeta and Wonder Bread: Cooking at the Pompeii of America

No Thanks to Marco Polo: An Encyclopedia of Italy’s Pasta Shapes

Marco Polo returned to Italy from his Chinese travels in 1296. The myth, legend, what have you, credits him with introducing pasta into Italy’s culinary repertoire. But Marco Polo did NOT bring pasta to Italy. And 73-year-old Italian author Oretta Zanini de Vita wants you to know that, immediately, upfront and center. Zanini de Vita … More No Thanks to Marco Polo: An Encyclopedia of Italy’s Pasta Shapes

Food in Medieval England: Diet and Nutrition

Food in Medieval England: Diet and Nutrition (Medieval History and Archaeology), by C. M. Woolgar, Dale Serjeantson, and Tony Waldron (paperback, 2009) In the unending quest to find models for culinary historiography, here’s another fairly up-to-date addition to the growing list: This book draws on the latest research across different disciplines to present the most … More Food in Medieval England: Diet and Nutrition

Fish in the Diets of Early Modern Humans in China 40,000 Years Ago — Direct Evidence

According to Science Daily, Freshwater fish are an important part of the diet of many peoples around the world, but it has been unclear when fish became an important part of the year-round diet for early humans. A new study by an international team of researchers, including Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts … More Fish in the Diets of Early Modern Humans in China 40,000 Years Ago — Direct Evidence

Bioarchaeology and Paleopathology in Culinary History

(I’m dedicating this post to my mother, Barbara A. Purdy, a great archaeologist, whose passion for “old stuff” rubbed off on me, I guess.) A brief foray into the world of Sicilian mummies proved once more that food writers can learn a lot from silent “interviewees.” The trick lies, of course, in understanding unspoken language … More Bioarchaeology and Paleopathology in Culinary History