Author: Amanda Herbert

New Work Forum: On Food Economies in Cevasco’s Violent Appetites

By Juneisy Q. Hawkins Within the field of Food History one of the most common approaches is to study recipes, meal-sharing, single-commodity histories, etc. What those themes often have in common is that they concentrate on plenty, on what happened when people had food. Carla Cevasco is one of the…

New Work Forum: On Food and Identity in Cevasco’s Violent Appetites

By Peggy Brunache The American folklore that the generosity of Indigenous people saved the English pilgrims in the 1620s may be erroneous, but it is irrevocably tied to the Thanksgiving dinner tradition, a central plank of American identity and culture. Carla Cevasco’s Violent Appetites: Hunger in the Early Northeast is…

A Snake Oil from Tenth Century al-Andalus

Leonie Rau Historians of medicine might know him as Abulcasis, the ‘Father of Surgery,’ but Andalusian physician Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf Ibn al-‘Abbās al-Zahrāwī (936–1013) wrote about much more than the inner workings of the human body. As Katarzyna Gromek has explored in her post on “Treating winter ailments – recreating…

Lime: An Ancient Molecular Ingredient

Utku Can Topçu [1] Lime or limestone (an abundant sedimentary rock) has found great use in construction throughout history. The usage of lime in construction dates back to some of the world’s earliest settlements. Even though some experts estimate the usage of lime in mortar started at least 10,000 years…

Revisiting Christopher Heaney’s How to Make an Inca Mummy

In this last “revisiting” post in our August 2020 series, we return to a piece by Christopher Heaney in 2016 to learn about sixteenth-century Europeans and their use of the dead in medical recipes. Practitioners believed that preserved bodies were powerful ingredients — but as Heaney shows, whether these bodies…

Waste Not Want Not: Leftovers – the Afterlives of Early Modern Food

By Amanda E. Herbert As part of Before “Farm to Table”: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures project, a $1.5 million Mellon initiative in collaborative research at the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library, I’ll be working on a new book, Leftovers: the Afterlives of Early Modern Food. In this…

Cooking with Others, Learning with our Bodies

by Fabio Parasecoli I am not a chef. I am just a moderately proficient homecook (you can check what I cook on my Instagram account @fparasecoli) I have not been to culinary school (although maybe… at some point…). I have never gone through any kind of formal process to learn about…

January 2020: a Taste of “Before ‘Farm to Table’” Part II

Dear Recipes Project community, Happy 2020! This month we’ll mark the new year by highlighting some discoveries from the Before “Farm to Table”: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures project, a Mellon initiative in collaborative research at the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Several of this month’s posts…

January 2020: a Taste of “Before ‘Farm to Table’” Part I

Dear Recipes Project community, Happy 2020! This month we’ll mark the new year by highlighting some discoveries from the Before “Farm to Table”: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures project, a Mellon initiative in collaborative research at the Folger Institute of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Several of this…

Milk Punch: A Drink that Keeps ‘Years by Sea or Land’

Milk punch is further clarified when it is run through a fine-weave cloth. We used a flour sack dish towel here, but several layers of cheesecloth would also be fine.  By Emily Beck and Nicole LaBouff From the summer of 2018 through the early spring of 2019, we were collaborators…

Stockfish and the Texture of Trust in the Early Modern Period

By Jack B. Bouchard “Stockvisch muss man bleüwen – One must beat stockfish” declared Balthasar Staindl in the first line of a lengthy entry on cooking cod in his 1544 Kochbuch.[1] Wielding a blunt instrument, the sixteenth century cook was meant to hammer away at the flesh of a desiccated,…

Making Musk Julep: Sugar Coating a Bitter Medicine

By Susan Brandt Popular eighteenth-century pharmacopoeias often included animal-based substances such as musk, which might seem nauseating to the modern palate. In The New Dispensatory Containing the Theory and Practice of Pharmacy (London, 1753), William Lewis describes musk or moschus as “a grumus substance like clotted blood, found in a little…

The Pressure Cooker was Not an Instant Success

By Jennifer Egloff “What’s in your Pot tonight?” This question is often asked on Facebook pages dedicated to the Instant Pot and other electronic pressure cookers.  While many people know that the pressure cooker existed prior to becoming trendy during the past few years, it may come as a surprise…

Colonizing Condiments: A (Very) Short History of Ketchup

ByAmanda E. Herbert Today we imagine ketchup as the ultimate modern American food (and it is true that we like to put ketchup on…well, a lot of things).  But ketchup’s origins are found in Asia, and its adaptation into the thing that resembles our thick, modern-day ketchup began in early…
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