Tagged: Food History

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The Reuben: A Saturday Tradition

The Reuben has several key characteristics so far as we can determine: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, all on rye bread. Variations do exist and we were interested to learn that there is one called “The Rachel” which involves substituting pastrami for the corned beef and coleslaw for the sauerkraut.

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Ancient Grains: Cooking with Traditional Cereals

Historians have documented the development of basic architecture, tools and weapons as well as an emergence of agriculture and the reliance upon the foods grown in cultivated fields to as far back as 9,000 B.C.E. Cereals, grasses and grains were among the first crops to be harvested and prepared, usually by grinding them into meal and cooking them over a fire. Grains were also ground into flour for bread or fermented and brewed into beer.

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Caviar: A Luxurious Taste of History

Champagne. Cheese. Cake. Caviar. So many goodies start with the letter “C” – and many of them are quite luxurious foodstuffs. Caviar is one of the most luxurious of all. At the extreme, caviar has been packaged in solid gold tins and sold at secret auction to the highest bidder.

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Heirloom Varieties: The Apples of Our Ancestors

Crisp autumnal air. The sweet smell of leaves. Dashes of yellows and oranges and reds and browns. A quintessential New England fall. And nothing says fall to me like apples and apple picking. As a produce buyer here at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, what really gets my motor going is the sheer variety of apples available today. With the help of seed savers and the grace of a handful of dedicated growers, like Zeke Goodband of Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, there are a plethora of heirloom apples available.

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The Origins of Gorgonzola: Dolce and Piccante

Lombardy is a part of Italy that is home to many well-known cheeses: Taleggio, Mascarpone, Provolone, Grana Padano and Gorgonzola. What is interesting to me is that such a wide variety of styles are represented – be it washed-rind, blue, cooked or fresh. Perhaps this is the result of the fact that cheesemaking has a long history in the region. Indeed, Gorgonzola is one of the oldest blue cheeses in the world.

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Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen: Zum Wohl!

Paulaner Brauerei (Brewery) first opened its doors in 1634, the same year that the citizens of Boston purchased (for 30 pounds!) the land that became Boston Common. To me, their Oktoberfest beer is what I expect the festival to taste like, especially when you drink it with some roasted or grilled game meats. Balance means different things on different continents, and thus, the balance of this beer is between malt and grain, without much to offer in the way of hops, which is very true to the Märzen style.

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A Classic Goat Cheese: Sainte-Maure

Sainte-Maures have been made for over 1,000 years and the cheeses made in the Touraine region (known as Sainte-Maure de Touraine) are particularly well known and were granted AOC status in 1990. Touraine was broken up across different communes when French government departments were reorganized and, as a result, the geographical area of the appellation includes the department of Indre-et-Loire and the neighboring cantons of Loir-et-Cher, Indre and Vienne.

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What Exactly Are Double and Triple-Crème Cheeses?

The terms “double-crème” and “triple-crème” are bandied about a lot in cheese shops. While most folks have a general idea of what they mean in terms of texture (creamy, spreadable!) and flavor (buttery, lactic!) for a cheese, these terms actually have very specific meanings.

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Visions of Sugar Ameixas: When Is a Plum Not a Plum?

Elvas plums, also known as Greengage plums, have been grown and candied for preservation for centuries in the Upper Alentejo region of Portugal. Greenish in color, these plums are prized in many countries for their rich, sweet flavor.

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Herbal History: Basil

Basil is a fragrant and delicious addition to family meals. In addition, it has a long history and is easy to cultivate at home!

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Time for Tomatoes!

Tomato season is just kicking off here in New England – a sign that we are in the mid to late stages of summer. Technically a fruit, tomatoes are treated as a vegetable for cooking purposes. There exist more than 5,000 varieties globally and we are increasingly seeing heirloom tomatoes available at markets here in New England.