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102 votes
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What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Many babies were indeed fed mashed food, typically of cooked vegetables and fruits. While it's true that not all foods can be prepared like this, keep in mind that pre-modern families rarely have ...
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97 votes
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What is the origin of 3 meals a day?

In "Millennium From Religion to Revolution: How Civilization Has Changed Over a Thousand Years"*, Mortimer explains the origin of 3 meals a day: As for mealtimes, few people in northern Europe ate ...
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90 votes

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

I live in Thailand, and I wondered about the same. I asked this question to several Thais with some knowledge in history. Chili peppers come from the Americas. That's correct. They are imported into ...
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73 votes
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Is it true that "All spicy food is from Latin America"?

While it is true that most hot spices originated in the Americas, spicy food was evident in most ancient civilizations and originated from many different regions of the world. There is both physical ...
66 votes
Accepted

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

Let's look at the walnut, since it's been cultivated for a long time. If you start with the seed, it will take you 10 years (roughly) to have a tree mature enough to produce fruit, assuming you plant ...
64 votes
Accepted

How did they cook on ancient ships?

That's a good question. As far as we know, most ancient voyages didn't venture that far from land. Ships like the Bronze Age Uluburun and Cape Gelidonya shipwrcks are thought to have been coastal ...
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64 votes
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Did the Romans eat breakfast?

It seems the issue may be with generalizing 'Romans' as single entity and not as a group which changed through time. Johnston in The Private Life of the Romans goes into the changes seen in the Roman ...
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63 votes
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Is rye bread Turkish?

Q Is rye bread Turkish? Are Swedes Africans? If you find the 'African Swedes' question senseless, then you see the level of absurdity the ad is playing on. If you answer 'Swedes are Africans' in the ...
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55 votes
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How did people put down a drinking horn?

In short, either when it was empty or it had a stand. Drinking horns were used by many different cultures on different continents (Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe e.t.c.) and in different time ...
50 votes
Accepted

Were there luxury restaurants in East Germany?

Yes, there was 'luxury' in gastronomical areas in East-Germany. This yes comes with a slight caveat: that was more rare than in the West and also in a 'reduced amount', often catering to international ...
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49 votes
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Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

There wasn't a lack of food in the UK, not in the sense that people weren't getting enough to eat or were suffering malnutrition. What there was is a lack of variety of food. Anything which was ...
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49 votes

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

Mustard, horseradish, ginger and cumin all grow in the old world and are by most definitions spicy.
49 votes
Accepted

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

There is quite some strange quotation mixing up the interpretation. My version of that book reads: An ancient L.A.C. had been trying to fill his lighter from a large petrol tin. He does it by tilting ...
  • 78.4k
48 votes

What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Mother's milk, overlapping with more solid food, was typically a major part of a baby's diet for much longer than we now think of in many western countries, where starting weaning at a few months and ...
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46 votes
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Why did early attempts to transport milk to London by rail meet with 'much criticism'?

The Agrarian History of England and Wales E. J. T. Collins, Joan Thirsk Cambridge University Press, 2000 page 993: Retailers complained that railway milk was not as fresh as town milk, and a ...
44 votes

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

Answer to question as originally posted: This is more of a language use problem, in several ways. The first comment is correct in stating that capsaicin containing dishes (these are the "hot, spicy")...
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43 votes
Accepted

When and why did garum disappear?

Short Answer Garum production and consumption declined because increasing instability in the late Western Empire disrupted production and trade (and not just of garum). Further, a key ingredient - ...
42 votes
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What is the significance of barley as opposed to wheat in Ancient Rome?

If any cohorts gave way in battle, he (Augustus) decimated them, and fed the rest on barley. (Suetonius, Life of Augustus, 24.2) More confirmation for the practice, not necessarily always in ...
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41 votes

Is rye bread Turkish?

Well rye itself (the grain) appears to have first been domesticated in Anatolia, around 6,500 BC. So of course Neolithic people there (modern Turkey) would have been the first to make rye bread.* As ...
  • 111k
36 votes

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

As Keith points out, versatility and yield are a major factor. So is storage. Grains can be stored for months longer than root vegetables and still be edible (potatoes and such go off much quicker, ...
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35 votes
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Why do old kitchen stoves have circular openings in the upper surface?

I have no reference other than personal use and observation, having once lived many years in rural areas where virtually everyone used wood stoves. Yes, you may remove the appropriate sized plate and ...
34 votes
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Why wouldn't the South make salt from seawater during the American Civil War?

Its not quite that simple. Since the process typically relies on evaporating out water from pools, it turns out you either need a somewhat reliably sunny climate to do this, or you have to set up a ...
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33 votes

What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Methods for making fruit and vegetable purees existed long before the modern electric blender. A mechanical food mill is usable on most cooked fruits and vegetables with very good results. I don't ...
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28 votes

Why didn't cheese spoil when it was given as rations to soldiers?

First and foremost, for an army recommendations and even regulations would be always conditional on availability; if there was not enough cheese available or if cheese had gone bad then simply cheese ...
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28 votes
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Did ancient or medieval people know about underground rivers/lakes?

Awareness of (and habitation alongside) underground rivers dates back many thousands of years. Cave systems with rivers, providing a ready supply of one life's essentials, were shelters from both the ...
21 votes
Accepted

When was tofu invented? Was it specifically for vegetarian consumption from the beginning?

Tofu's origins are not conclusively known. The leading theory, however, is that it was invented during the Western Han Dynasty by Liu An, the king of Huai Nan. The earliest known reference to this is ...
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21 votes
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When Adam Smith discusses "corn" to what crop does he refer?

The word corn, Wiktionary tells us, can mean: (Britain) The main cereal plant grown for its grain in a given region, such as oats in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and wheat or barley in England ...
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21 votes

How did they cook on ancient ships?

Rations on ships during the age of exploration were typically of a type that would require little or no cooking. They included things like "hardtack" (unleavened bread), and salted meat, that could be ...
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21 votes

Why do old kitchen stoves have circular openings in the upper surface?

You take out the rings so that the bottom of the pot is heated by the air from the fire. If you put the pot directly on the metal, you can only transfer heat by conduction, but to get efficient heat ...
19 votes

What is the origin of 3 meals a day?

Wondering if it's like this in all cultures currently, and if not, how variable it is Well, it certainly isn't like that in all cultures. In Spain we have 5 meals: Desayuno Similar to breakfast. 7-...
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