A New Yuan Shipwreck

A shipwreck dating from the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 ACE), has recently been analyzed by a team of archaeologists from the Shandong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in China. The ship was found at a construction site in Heze City in 2010, and has been under study since that time. The ship itself was of wooden construction and measured over 21 meters long (over … Read more

Back in Black

I’ve been away. A long time as a wandering, mendicant scholar – or something like that. But now I’m back, and trying to get back to the blog and to the next volume of The Silk Road Gourmet. But good plans always get foiled by real life, so bear with me. While I’ve been away, I’ve found scholarly papers that have new Ancient Mesopotamian recipes … Read more

Eggs with Shrimp and Pidan

One of the agreeable and delicious ways to enjoy pidan is with eggs. Some recipes use pidan along with salted eggs or salted egg yolks with or without fresh chicken or duck eggs to make custards or other egg dishes. This recipe, however, couples pidan with regular chicken or duck eggs and a bit of shrimp and spring onions for a tasty and mild dish. … Read more

Cold Tofu with Pidan

One of my favorite ways to enjoy 1000-year eggs is as part of a cold-tofu salad. This presentation of pidan is enjoyed all over China this way as well as in Taiwan, Japan and Korea. It is served as an appetizer or as part of a meal with many dishes eaten at the same time. For western cooks, it is simple to make, exotic, nutritious … Read more

Cool as Cucumber Kimchi

With temperatures warming up again and summer on its way. Cucumber kimchi is a wonderful, light recipe for picnics, snacks and light meals. Easy to make, unlike many kimchi recipes, cucumbers can be enjoyed right after preparation, or it can be allowed to ferment for a short period before eating it. To learn more about kimchi, and also find a great recipe for cucumber kimchi, … Read more

Homemade 1000-Year Eggs Unveiled

We harvested the 1000-year eggs and are finally getting around to preparing and eating some of the crop. The color is right, and a few of them have the pine-patterning that their Chinese name suggests on their dark, amber-colored flesh. They taste good, but are MUCH milder than some of the Pidan I’ve had in China. They are also missing the strong ammonia-like scent that … Read more

Pomegranate Symbolism for Spring

Pomegranates have been used as symbols to conjure everything from lust and sexual abandon, to fertility and prosperity, to blood and national identity, and even, as in Persephone’s case, death and rebirth. Pomegranates have been with us since the beginnings of civilization and their image has meanings that span the entirety of human existence. Read more about pomegranates on Zester Daily – HERE.

A Review of the Viking Cookbook, An Early Meal

Raiders… conquerors… fierce in battle and strong in family. These are the images that the world has of Vikings. We know where they lived, and to some degree how they made a living. We know which gods they worshipped and how. Yet the bulk of our knowledge consists of broad brush strokes that omit the nuances of everyday life. The Vikings recorded many things, from … Read more

Areni Winemaking – Ancient and Modern

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia. Many unique and noteworthy artifacts have been found in the cave, including leather shoes; fine linen fabric, woven reed mats, and pottery vessels of different styles and periods. In addition, preserved within the cave is also the site of the world’s oldest known winery. When the archaeologists studying the site announced … Read more

Curry Through Foreign Eyes 5 – Japanese Curry

The next stop on our exploration of Indian Curry Through Foreign Eyes is Japan. Curry came to Japan by way of British sailors and merchants in the mid-19th Century. This happened sometime after Commodore Matthew Perry landed at Kurihama in 1853, and opened Japan to the world after centuries of isolation. The first recipe for curry in Japanese was published in 1872 by the renowned … Read more

Rice Omelets, Yōshoku, and A Little International Understanding

2014 began with our family hosting a Japanese college student for a brief homestay. A Facebook friend of mine had a daughter studying in the United States; she had some time on her hands over the Christmas break, and she decided to spend some of it with us. Despite the arctic cold front that hit the area and talk of, “polar vortexes,” moving through the … Read more

Making 1000 Year Eggs

So, as promised, I spent several hours yesterday making 1000 Year Eggs. That is, I coated a dozen and a half duck eggs with caustic mud, rolled and pressed them in rice chaff, and set them aside to dry. Later I placed them in a soil-lined ceramic crock and will let them sit for three to three-and-a-half months, before checking to see if I did … Read more

Culinary History Mystery 6 – Tomato Eggs

Tomato Eggs is a home-cooked Chinese dish that reminds students, travelers, and those living abroad of home. Just a whiff of this cooking and folks will tell tales of sitting in or near the kitchen as a kid as a parent made this dish – and how good it tasted! it is simple, elegant, and savory, and less than 10 – 15 minutes from wok … Read more

Interview in Ancient History Encyclopedia

A very cool thing happened a couple of days ago: I was interviewed by James Wiener of Ancient History Encyclopedia. The focus of the interview was largely my work on ancient cuisines, but there is some discussion of the Silk Road cuisine and recipe reconstruction as well. Take a peek! Reconstructing Cuisines and Recipes from the Ancient World The reconstruction of ancient recipes challenges experimental … Read more