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

Culinary History Mystery #5 – A Loaf of Leavened Mesopotamian Bread

Something wonderful and unexpected happened yesterday. After a long day of tromping around historical archaeology sites in St. Mary’s City with the family, I arrived home to find a long-expected, but immediately unanticipated e-mail from a fellow food lover in England. Cid is a purveyor of fine foods and an expert breadmaker. Some time ago, I asked her to help me solve a historical food … Read more

An Assyrian Banquet

Imagine for a moment you are at a royal banquet. It is an Assyrian royal banquet in the seventh century BCE. It is a large dining hall in the palace at Nineveh draped with fabric and decorated for the celebration. Smoke and incense perfume the room. Music fills the air. Quiet pieces have harps, lyres or lutes and perhaps pipes accompanying singers or poets and … Read more

The Origins of Tea in Burma . . .

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river . . . And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China . . . I grew up hearing Leonard Cohen croon these words over and over. Telling perhaps about my age and background, but important as an introduction to the history of tea as well. As a global drink, … Read more

The Changing Landscape of Mesopotamian Flavors

I’m at it again – questioning the assumptions and conclusions Jean Bottero made when examining the Old Babylonian culinary tablets from Yale University. Is it some manic spirit that grabs me each Spring and forces me back into the ancient Near East or is it just that it is an activity that grabs my attention from time to time? Whatever the cause, those of you … Read more

Culinary History Mysteries #2 – Ice Cream!

Triple digit temperatures have hit the Central Atlantic once again, leaving locals and visitors alike to find any way they can to keep the mercury down.  Some become shut-ins moving between their air-conditioned homes to their air-conditioned cars to their air-conditioned jobs and back again; some take to the beaches, lakes and pools to swim and soak the heat away; still others turn to cold … Read more

Culinary History Mysteries #1: Salt-Baked Fish

My friend and colleague in cyberspace, Chef Miles Collins provided the inspiration for this post by blogging about Salt-Baked Fish – a dish he was prepping for the menu of a family of restaurants in Spain. The restaurants serve up Spanish and related Mediterranean specialties with emphasis on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Miles post describes in nice detail how encasing a whole prepared fish … Read more