Oct
05
2010
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Why is Egypt such a good resource for vegan and vegetarian recipes?

egyptian vegetarian coptic churchFor centuries after the closing of the last Pagan Egyptian temple and the coming of Islam, Greco-Roman Egypt was absorbed as part of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and was Eastern Orthodox (Coptic Orthodox) Christian.  All branches of early Christianity, Eastern and Western developed a system of ‘fasting’ on certain days of the week and [more...]

Oct
25
2009
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Is corned beef and cabbage really Irish?

Happy St. Patrick's Day - courtesy mccun934 - CC-BYIs corned beef and cabbage really Irish? Well, the short answer is that corned beef and cabbage is about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs. The dish was actually invented in the United States in the mid 1800's, though it was developed by Irish immigrants. Since cattle were used for milk rather than meat in [more...]

Mar
11
2009
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When was iced tea invented?

Iced tea in a goblet - as served in the 1870s. (photo by kankan - CC-BY)“Iced tea is now coming into use in the hot summer months; but this is an eccentric innovation, not likely very soon to become a common custom” This opinion appeared in 1869, in the not very far-seeing Herald of Health, published in New York. Iced tea was known in the 1860s as a warm weather [more...]

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Jan
18
2009
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What foods really are All American (New World)?

17 lbs of Perfection - courtesy davitydave - CC-BYWell, there are many foods which are considered all American, such as apple pie and chop suey.  However, it turns out they are not. But just what foods really are ‘all American?’  By all American, I mean those which came from the New World and are now part of the entire world’s diet. You may [more...]

Jan
18
2009
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Is the pancake another ‘all American’ dish?

I love pancakes - courtesy R Stanek - CC-BYWhile it is true, the pancake is more common in the Western World, and considered an art form by many in the United States, pancakes can be found on griddles in Indonesia, Syria, Egypt, France and China.  Actually, just name a country and some version will be there. Pancakes are one of the original convenience [more...]

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Jan
10
2009
1

How American is apple pie?

home made apple pie - courtesy cotaroba - CC-BYMost of us have heard the old line, “As American as apple pie.” But, just how American is it? Actually, known recipes for this favorite stuffed pastry date back to the European Middle Ages, long before there was an America.  And since the ancient Romans and Greeks were noted growers of apples, it would be [more...]

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Jan
08
2009
1

Is chop suey really a Chinese dish?

Pekin Cafe Chop Suey, San Diego (United States) - courtesy meiburgin - CC-BYChop suey is made of small pieces of meat, chicken or shrimp which is stir-fried with celery, onions, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, mushrooms and/or other vegetables, and served over rice, frequently with soy sauce.  It can also be prepared as a vegetarian dish, minus the meat. Many informative resources confirm that chop suey is actually [more...]

Jan
07
2009
1

What is garum?

Meal Preparation Wall Fragment Julio Claudian Period - courtesy Joe Geranio - CC-BYGourmet cooking is not just restricted to the modern world.  The art of cooking reached an advanced state, even during prehistoric eras, and recipes were already highly developed when the written word first began. One of the most popular sauces and seasonings in the ancient Roman world was garum ( liquamen ).  And like many [more...]

Jan
04
2009
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What are the origins of pizza?

Lovely, lovely pizza - courtesy flickr.com - CC-BYWell, forget that Italian thing. We need to go way, way, back to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and even ancient Israel. The ancients baked a flat bread which they topped with olive oil and spices, even meats and vegetables at times. When the Persian Empire was at its height, it is said that the soldiers of [more...]

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Jan
03
2009
3

Did Marco Polo really introduce pasta to Italy?

seafood and pasta - courtesy flickr.com, creative commons licenseWell, the short answer is “no”—Marco Polo didn’t introduce pasta to Italy. Pasta is a worldwide comfort food that most of us take for granted. The origins of pasta are as tangled as spaghetti on the plate. It is true that Marco Polo mentioned in his memoirs that in some Chinese provinces the Christians (and [more...]

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