Questions tagged [food]

Any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth. Questions with this tag should be about the historical practices of growing, preparing, and eating food, or about the historical origins of modern foods.

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When and how did Britons' (and offshoots like Americans) aversion to eating some parts of animals/fish (e.g. head/organs/blood/feet) begin?

Britons (and their offshoots the Americans and others) are today averse to eating some parts of animals/fish (e.g. head/organs/blood/feet). For example, chicken feet were worthless in the US until c. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Has a food taster ever thwarted an assassination attempt?

Important people have been known to employ food tasters to avoid assassination by poisoning. The linked Wikipedia article mentions that Claudius, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, and Vladimir Putin all ...
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26 votes
2 answers
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Were there luxury restaurants in East Germany?

I was recently reading the excellent book Mac B, Kid Spy: Mac Saves the World by Mac Barnett. It is set in 1989, and Mac crosses the Berlin Wall to infiltrate the Television Tower in East Berlin. I ...
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10 votes
2 answers
317 views

What would have been on the menu in an Ancient Egyptian tavern?

Public dining places It appears that there were public dining places in Ancient Egypt. A menu from one of them has been found, dating back to 6th Century BC. On this menu was cereal, wild fowl, and ...
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1 vote
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What was the reason Jesus allowed Christians to eat pork? [closed]

Pork prohibitions date back to ancient Mesopotamia where for some cults consumption of pork was banned. Many people speculate if the bans against pork was to protect against trichinosis, which turns ...
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25 votes
5 answers
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Why do old kitchen stoves have circular openings in the upper surface?

As a sidenote to this question: Why do European 19th century kitchen stoves for solid fuels often have circular openings on top? Is the heating more effective if there is no additional metal between ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Where/when does the wok start to differentiate itself from pot-style cooking vessels?

I can understand how basic pottery imitating gourds can lead to "cauldron" style hanging pots, and on to the modern shapes used predominantly in the west. Similar for the flat cooking ...
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29 votes
6 answers
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Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

I was looking through a list of foodstuffs and noticed that nuts have far more energy content, fat content and protein content than cereals (relative to their mass). They don't seem to be especially ...
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2 votes
1 answer
295 views

Was garlic an Egyptian deity, based on Pliny the Elder's "Natural History" (Book XIX, Ch 32)?

What historical evidence can validate Pliny the Elder's "Natural History" (Book XIX, Chapter 32) claim that - Egyptians worshiped garlic as a deity ? "Garlic and onions are invoked by ...
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37 votes
2 answers
7k views

When and why did garum disappear?

Garum or liquamen was, apparently, extremely popular in classical Rome, consumed by rich and poor on a daily basis, almost on par with bread. It was also known to other Mediterranean civilizations. ...
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3 answers
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How did people boil water before metal pots? [duplicate]

How did ancient peoples boil water or cook rice before somebody figured out how to make metal pots? Another way to ask this is: how would you cook rice if you found yourself stranded in the wilderness ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage?

Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage? Years ago, I saw this in Terry Jones' Medieval Lives episode 1 ( at 14:00). Jones explains pottage and then says there was an instant type of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
374 views

Insect consumption in late middle-ages in the Northern Europe

Were insects consumed in the Northern Europe in the late Middle Ages by the rural population? It seems natural to use any available source of food during a famine, but in order to get substantial ...
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5 votes
1 answer
375 views

What's going on with this graph of wheat prices in "Civilization and Capitalism"?

I've been reading through Fernand Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century Vol I: The Structures of Everyday Life. On page 135, there's a graph of the price of a quintal of wheat in ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Why do certain foods (i.e. wheat and rice) dominate our carbohydrate intake? [closed]

Today most human consume wheat, rice, and to a less extent potato as the main carbohydrate source, even though there are other carbohydrate sources too (corn, barley, tapioca, etc). Why is that so? ...
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How did cannibals in Jamestown obtain bodies for food? [closed]

This article said that it was probably because of lack of food (In the Jamestown Colony), but if it was then why didn't the teenager be cared for or left alone instead of being eaten. How did the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why do biscuits depict ships?

I have noticed that several brands of biscuits have ships on them and have wondered why that is. A friend suggested that this is for historical reasons but I couldn't find any evidence of that. Where ...
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Are there records of soldiers opinions of canned food in WWI?

While reading the Wikipedia article on canning, I came across the following statement (with no citation). Throughout the war, British soldiers generally subsisted on low-quality canned foodstuffs, ...
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10 votes
1 answer
432 views

When was it first noticed that airplane passengers really seemed to like tomato juice?

There is this observation/theory that during flights, people really like to drink much more tomato juice than while on the ground. "A small study" (as Wikipedia calls it) from 2015 tries to ...
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30 votes
2 answers
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What is the significance of barley as opposed to wheat in Ancient Rome?

Recently, I was reading about the Roman Army's use of decimation, and the Wikipedia article repeatedly mentions that after the application of this punishment, soldiers would have their wheat rations ...
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4 votes
0 answers
170 views

Where can I find a historic recipe for red cherry-onion jam?

A while back, I had duck with red cherry-onion jam at a medieval restaurant. Allegedly, it was a historic recipe, originally prepared in 1445 for the wedding of one of René d’Anjou’s daughters. As for ...
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2 votes
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242 views

Why are milk and beer the only food item that are still measured in imperial units? [closed]

Apologies if this is in the wrong stack site, I couldn't think of a more appropriate place for it. I live in the UK. We're known for having mostly switched to the metric system except for a few ...
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2 votes
0 answers
112 views

Did the Japanese use native Camellia species before Camellia sinensis was introduced from China?

According to Wikipedia the first known references to tea occured in the 9th century, when Buddhist monks introduced tea, a drink made from Camellia sinensis to Japan. The Camellia variety sinensis is ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How was sugar consumed by industrial revolution workers?

I seen several times the claim than sugar was an essential nutrient for industrial revolution workers (for example this blog) and even that sugar availability made possible the industrial revolution, ...
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1 answer
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Were ice buckets used to chill wine in Victorian England?

Any quick answer as to whether they were used in the Victorian era (in the comments) would be deeply appreciated (I need a quick answer). So when did this form of wine chilling come about?
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26 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is rye bread Turkish?

Scandinavian airline SAS released a controversial advertising video titled What is truly Scandinavian? It claims that many things considered traditional in Scandinavian countries are actually ...
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4 votes
0 answers
230 views

What are some primary sources for Chinese restaurants?

I am currently working on a research paper on the history and development of Americanized Chinese food and restaurants, but finding primary sources has been a challenge. I currently have a few ...
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7 votes
1 answer
593 views

Which early Imperial Roman writer said this about grains?

I definitively although vaguely recall a quote by a (first century AD?) Roman that asserts more or less that civilised Romans use wheat in baking, whereas Germans/Celts (I forget which) would use rye (...
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4 votes
0 answers
269 views

Was lobster considered a poor man's food in the Georgian era?

Many years ago I took a tour through a restored Georgian-era house in Dublin (best €2 I spent that summer). This included some pretty good explanations on the everyday life and customs in that period, ...
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4 votes
0 answers
206 views

How did Indian diets change after arrival of Muslim kings?

I would like to know how did the diets of people changed due to the new kingdoms that came in and took over the Indian Subcontinent. Was it earlier more vegetarian due to religious reasons and shifted ...
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

How exactly were beer/bread made in Ancient Egypt?

I'm writing a novel set in large part in Ancient Egypt and am incorporating many tasks of everyday living into the narrative. The one I'm stuck on is the making of bread and beer (which were ...
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6 votes
1 answer
716 views

Why did sailing ships so often employ Chinese cooks?

During the age of sail, it was common for Western ships to employ Chinese cooks. I don't have any numbers except that there are pages and pages of relevant results from search queries including "...
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2 votes
3 answers
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What is the real origin of the stereotype that associates fried chickens with African Americans?

I knew for a long time very vaguely that there were some connections between fried chickens and African Americans. And it started by listening this product of the celebrity Key & Peele. And he ( ...
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0 votes
2 answers
289 views

Does any culture have a native food that is objectively bad? [closed]

This is more of an anthropology question. Lots of different cultures have many different cuisines based on the animals and plants available. Is there any culture that developed anywhere and lasted ...
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5 votes
1 answer
669 views

How was nut milk made before blenders?

I didn't find any info online. I'd imagine it was made by grinding up the nut, then mixing it with water. But how would they strain it then? Cloth was all hand made back when almond milk was first ...
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2 votes
2 answers
310 views

What is the impact of history on food habits in India?

I have observed (although I cannot substantiate it with any complete research data as such, except for a few articles) that, an average Indian diet, especially in the rural parts of India generally ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Why did the ancient Romans kill deer so often? [closed]

I've heard that they killed deer for tools and food,but why always deer? they also killed other animals, but why deer most of the time? was there some sort of benefit? many books say," they do it for ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is there a ig-Nobel prize dinner? [closed]

I know that there’s a Nobel prize dinner & that there’s the ig-Nobel prize for making you laugh and then think: my question is this, is there a ig-Nobel prize dinner? I figured that it would be ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

When did we stop diluting wine?

In ancient Rome, wine was drunk diluted with water, as discussed in this question. When did it become common practice not to dilute wine, but to drink it as is? I tried to look, and found nothing ...
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1 vote
3 answers
754 views

Was pie crust originally meant for throwing away in England?

I'm trying to find the sources on youtube (last part about the English making a pie crust for throwing away) Also would that be a sin of gluttony in wasting food?
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49 votes
5 answers
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What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Modern baby foods are commonly made using various strengths of blender, but what was used before then? I assume something like a potato masher, but that would only work for a few foods. So what was ...
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1 vote
1 answer
159 views

How did production of grain change with Hellenistic Egypt coming under Roman rule?

As far as I know Egypt, under the Ptolemies, became famous in Hellenistic world for vast agricultural production due to the strict and harsh administration installed there by Greeks. Still I wonder - ...
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13 votes
4 answers
4k views

What was the staple food of the natives of South East Asia before rice?

According to Wikipedia, history of rice, rice was first brought to South East Asia region across the caravan routes of the central Asian steppes. Now many of the subcontinental people of South East ...
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6 votes
2 answers
741 views

Why did the price of eggs in Britain increase much more than for other basic foods during WWI?

At the beginning of WWI, Britain was only about 40% self-sufficient in food, a major problem given the tonnage of ships sunk by German submarines. Unsurprisingly, food prices rose. In First World War ...
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21 votes
3 answers
9k views

What was the liquor that was based on petrol which was produced in the USSR during the Second World War?

I have a 1971 Spanish edition of the book "Stuka Pilot" by Hans-Ulrich Rudel where he recounts his memories of war. In the second chapter, in which he talks about the first combats of "Operation ...
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8 votes
2 answers
488 views

What is Caucasian pepper?

In Peter Martyr's De orbe novo decades (Decades of the New World, 1511–25), he thrice compares axi to something he calls Caucasian pepper. The following excerpts are from the 1912 MacNutt English ...
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71 votes
7 answers
23k views

Is it true that "All spicy food is from Latin America"?

Nancy Qian, economist who has studied the Columbian Exchange (2018): There really was no spicy food in the world before the Columbian Exchange. Denver Nicks, author of Hot Sauce Nation (2016): ...
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1 vote
2 answers
231 views

The diversity of human eating utensils

In English we have specific words for the main eating utensils: Fork Knife Spoon These are specifically what we place into our hands for eating. I am not too aware of what it is like currently in ...
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97 votes
6 answers
24k views

What is the origin of 3 meals a day?

Wondering if there is an origin of the "3 meals a day" concept. For example, in English we have specific words for them: Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. But we have a few more for other meals in the day (...
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14 votes
3 answers
1k views

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

It is commonly believed that winter during that age was a period of starvation, with very limited means of procuring food. If the above is true, what did the commoners (peasants, serfs, etc) have to ...
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