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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4
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1answer
245 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 (...
4
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0answers
130 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 ...
15
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1answer
296 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 ...
3
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0answers
195 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, ...
14
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4answers
18k views

When Adam Smith discusses “corn” to what crop does he refer?

In "The Wealth Of Nations", Adam Smith discusses the price of corn in ancient times. Apparently, books such as "Chronicon Preciosum: or An Account of English Money, the Price of Corn and Other ...
48
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5answers
16k views

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 ...
50
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5answers
13k views

How did they cook on ancient ships?

In ancient times, ships would often be at sea for extended periods of time. During this time, I'm assuming they must have done some form of cooking, otherwise they would have just eaten cold, pre-...
4
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0answers
152 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 ...
6
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1answer
542 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 "...
3
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3answers
279 views

What was special about ground foods for sacrificial meals?

To avoid repetition, I use 'pabulum' to mean food products ground for sacrificial meals. [Etymonline:] [...] immolare "to sacrifice," originally "to sprinkle with sacrificial meal," from ...
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3answers
365 views

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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2answers
200 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 ...
7
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2answers
1k views

When was the restaurant “invented” in Europe?

First of all, let me clarify that I am not talking about inns which were located on the roads between major cities; I am talking about real restaurants inside the cities. I gave this some thought and ...
20
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2answers
3k views

When and how did classic “Italian” cuisine come to be?

Most people can recognize "Italian" food. Pasta, tomatoes, basil, etc. But many of the plants used in Italian food, didn't actually originate in Italy. Or even anywhere in the Old World. The ...
5
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1answer
581 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 ...
2
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2answers
163 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 ...
12
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1answer
385 views

Are species introduced to England and Wales by the Romans still found near Roman settlements?

Anecdotally, it seems as though species of fauna and flora introduced to England and Wales during the Roman occupation are still more likely to be found near Roman settlements. Obviously, some ...
12
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7answers
2k views

Was there a Japanese Exchange, à la Columbian Exchange?

After the European (re-)discovery of the Americas, there was a widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, human populations, communicable diseases, technology and ideas between the Americas and ...
4
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1answer
260 views

How is historical “average calorie consumption” data from eighty years ago estimated?

I read an article in a German news magazine today about the German post-war "hunger winters" of 1946-48. The article cites very detailed statistics about average calorie consumption in Germany in ...
13
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4answers
5k views

How did corn become the most produced crop in the world?

This article has corn listed as the most important crop produced in the world. For some reason I feel like rice, or wheat is the more logical choice. So what were the conditions, and events, that led ...
24
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4answers
9k views

Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

Why was there lack of food during the WW2 in the UK? I understand the lack of food in the countries occupied by Germans, as they recruited a lot of agricultural products for their war machinery. But ...
-4
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1answer
169 views

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 ...
16
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8answers
21k views

How did societies adapt to using alcohol to make water safer?

I've heard that there were two common methods to disinfecting water in the past: boiling water or turning it into alcohol. Presumably, those in the East relied on boiling water, while those in the ...
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1answer
70 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 ...
18
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5answers
3k views

When did the English and Americans realize that vegetables were healthy?

I've recently come across two quotes in very unrelated sources implying that for centuries, the English and their colonial offspring did not appreciate the role of vegetables in a healthy diet. From "...
7
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1answer
392 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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3answers
459 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?
12
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3answers
1k views

Why did the dominance of maize last so long in North America?

In North America the native corn, maize, was the dominant grain and flour and an important mainstay in the diet. At first it was obviously the only available grain crop, with Old World cereals such as ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Why didn't Japan adopt western utensils?

Why didn't Japan adopt the widespread use of western style utensils during its periods of westernization? For contrast Thailand seems to have done this during its efforts to westernize. Without ...
1
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1answer
123 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 - ...
12
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3answers
3k 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 ...
4
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1answer
270 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 ...
8
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2answers
929 views

Was “the modern cocktail” intended to mask the foul taste of Prohibition-era liquor?

I have long suspected that what we know today as a "cocktail" was invented to mask the taste of bad liquor. Indeed I've found several unsupported assertions to this effect online, generally pointing ...
89
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6answers
20k 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 (...
21
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3answers
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 ...
7
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2answers
253 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 ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Which fruits and vegetables did Chinese migrants introduce to Australia during the gold rush?

The gold rush in Australia saw many Chinese migrate to the country, with the Chinese population in Australia reaching around 40000 in the 1860s. Many brought with them vegetable seeds to grow near ...
72
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7answers
19k 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): ...
5
votes
4answers
442 views

Was there ever an occurrence of diplomatic communication using food?

Is there an example in history where two leaders, or even just foreign travelers, who could not understand each other's spoken language, communicated by food? I am not talking about very specific ...
10
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2answers
595 views

How widespread was the consumption of rabbit meat by the poor in Medieval and Early-Modern Britain?

The Romans raised rabbits as livestock in Spain in the 2nd century BC and later brought them to Britain. French monks are believed to have domesticated them in the 5th century AD for their meat and ...
7
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3answers
7k views

Did ancient/medieval Indians produce and consume alcohol?

Are there any references to ancient or medieval Indians consuming (and producing) alcohol? And if so, what kind of alcohol was produced (i.e. wine, beer, whiskey, etc.)?
7
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2answers
924 views

What is the first documented eating disorder?

My question is, what is the first verified eating disorder in which the person desired to be thin- ex. bulimia, anorexia, etc. Basically what I'm asking- when did people begin to see thin as beautiful ...
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2answers
166 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 ...
11
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2answers
495 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) had to ...
2
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0answers
135 views

Looking for source(s) on cuisine and humorism theory for how they've changed over time

Just to preface: no, I do not believe in humorism. I was watching a show a few years ago where the hosts ate food from different time periods. They remarked how pork and applesauce were an odd ...
9
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2answers
376 views

How and why buttermilk was added to English medieval butter?

My question engages in the history of butter. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I will give it a try. I read an old Jewish text (Sharei Dura 78) dated to the 13th century that ...
24
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3answers
8k views

Which cultures did *not* produce alcohol?

I've been reading Harold McGee's fascinating On Food and Cooking, and the chapter on alcohol has some interesting historical notes. He describes the widely varied and creative methods used in various ...
32
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3answers
3k views

How did people put down a drinking horn?

It's easy to put down a glass. You just put it on the table. It won't spill unless somebody tips it over. How did people put a full drinking horn on the table? Did they have some sort of thingy to ...
3
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1answer
251 views

When was the potato introduced to Mexico?

There are wild potatoes in Mexico, but eating potatoes are generally cultivars imported from the Andes. They became popular elsewhere after Europeans with sailing ships took them around the world. ...
4
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3answers
207 views

Six bulls for ship's provisions

The Ortega family at Rancho Refugio did a brisk business in clandestine trade with visiting ships. According to Katherine Plummer, in March of 1815, the Forester stopped there and loaded firewood, ...