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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16
votes
5answers
11k views

Why are the Portuguese so obsessed with salted codfish?

Portugal nowadays catches only a small amount of codfish annually but imports huge amounts (especially from Norway), sometimes already salted, sometimes not. Salted cod or bacalhau is a very common ...
16
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the main diet of pre-agricultural Asians?

The modern Asian diet is based mostly around rice. Was rice a major part of the paleolithic Asian diet? Did they know how to process and eat rice before agriculture? Aside from meats, what were other ...
7
votes
2answers
333 views

Why have wheat and rice been consumed in different forms?

Historically, wheat has been ground into bread, while rice has been boiled and consumed in "granular" form. Corn has been consumed both ways, "on the cob," and in corn bread. Why is that?
41
votes
7answers
38k views

Why did Greeks and Romans dilute their wine?

I’ve gathered that ancient Greeks and Romans watered their wine heavily, up to 90% water. Roman-era Talmudic sources speak of wine not being fit to drink until it had been watered (although mixtures ...
13
votes
3answers
405 views

Which is the first culinary book ever written?

I strongly believe that food is a fundamental part of a country's tradition, so which is the first culinary book ever written?
6
votes
2answers
645 views

What was the main food source in old California?

What was the main food source in California during the Spanish and Mexican periods? I'm expecting it was either corn or wheat, but I don't know which.
9
votes
1answer
228 views

What are Kottabos players holding in their left hand?

What are these Kottabos players holding in their left hand? It is seen in a lot of similar pictures. It is as if the player refills the kylix from it. Is it a skyphos? Any info on this?
18
votes
4answers
3k views

How was beer production affected by the war during WW2?

How did the war affect beer production during World War II? This is a follow-up question to this question at Seasoned Advice, which is gathering interesting food-science answers but which are are ...
24
votes
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Evidence of diets that were exclusively vegetarian

What evidence, provided by archaeological anthropology, is there in regards to diets that were exclusively vegetarian by choice from Ancient history (4th millennium BC) to Classical antiquity (5th ...
13
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
475 views

What factors led to the US government issuing nutrition guidelines in 1916?

This timeline from the Washington Post says that the United States Department of Agriculture issued its first food guidelines in 1916 for children, and then did one in 1920 for adults. My question is, ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

How did people react to Cavendish bananas when they first replaced the Gros Michel strain?

I was reading that the bananas we eat today (Cavendish) weren't particularly popular until the 50s, when the more popular Gros Michel variety was virtually wiped out by a nasty disease. Apparently ...
20
votes
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
votes
1answer
895 views

What was the reason why Americas didn't take to buckwheat as a crop?

Buckwheat is a very useful crop, resulting in healthful food. It was (and is) extremely popular is Eurasia (especially Russia and China). However, despite the fact that - as per Wiki - it was one of ...
45
votes
3answers
5k views

What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

I know that wheat, barley, rye, onions, lettuce-like plants and turnips were common but how common were other things like meat or cheese? I've heard the "plowman's lunch" was a concoction of the dairy ...
12
votes
1answer
644 views

Was the Granny Smith Apple the first green skinned apple widely propagated?

In my hometown (Eastwood NSW, Australia) we annually celebrate the Granny Smith Apple, which is assumed by many to be the first green apple widely propagated. How true is it that it was the first ...