Did you know…

Coffee Plant

Coco plant

That an African goat herder is said to have discovered coffee after noticing that his goats became extremely energetic upon nibbling on some red berries from a mysterious bush? He, of course, quickly tried some himself and began spreading his newly found feel-good plant to the populous.

Thank you Ethiopian goat herder, or I wouldn’t be able to make my favorite coffee BBQ sauce for my chili rubbed ribs, or one of my all-time favorite Italian treats – Tiramisu, or just have that plain ‘ol cup of delicious coffee that always has me looking forward to the next morning.

Did you know…

Toll House CookiesThat chocolate chip cookies were invented by mistake in the 1930’s at the Toll House Inn?

Upon learning that she was out of baker’s chocolate for her chocolate cookies, Ruth Wakefield, owner and cook of the hotel, chopped up some Nestle semi-sweet chocolate and mixed it into the batter.

To her surprise, and to the delight of generations to come, the chocolate bits held their shape and chocolate chip cookies were born.

For the last decade, I have been trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and after many, many, MANY trials, Chris and I agree that the secret is highest quality ingredients and mixing everything the old fashioned way… by hand with a wooden spoon. Definitely one of my top guilty pleasures!

Thank you… to the Fourth Earl of Sandwich for being too lazy to get up from his card game and instead requesting that thinly sliced meet be placed between two slices of bread so he could easily eat while playing. Thanks to him, I’m able to enjoy peppered turkey and melted brie with fig jam panini, or roasted beef with caramelized onion and whole grain mustard on a toasted wheat roll.

Hotel Tatin todayThank you… to the Tatin sisters who ran the now historic Hotel Tatin for accidentally overcooking apples meant for a tart and in a desperate panic to salvage the dessert placing the batter over them, inventing one of the most scrumptious desserts… The Tarte Tatin, or upside down cake. Apples were the original fruit ingredient and are melt in your mouth delicious! But so are plums, cranberries and one of my faves.. pineapple with rum – makes you feel like you’re on vacation in the caribbean with every bite.

Random Foodstory Tidbits

And a special shout out to…

Freshly ground black pepper, thank you for changing world history by making food taste SO good that European explorers were sent to find a faster route to get to you in the West Indies, accidentally stumbling upon America.

Everything has a story.

What I love about food history, is that the stories can be not only shared, but also cooked and tasted. They can connect us to the people and times where they are from by using our senses. So much can be learned about a culture and its history through it’s culinary customs, flavors and cooking styles… Why do Italians use so much oil, while the French butter? How did Sushi originate and why specifically in Japan? What is it about certain recipes that they’ve withstood centuries of gastronomical change and are still being served in modern day restaurants? Aside from the social and historical significance, food has influenced every aspect of humanity since the dawn of time. We look the way we do because nature ensured that our bodies evolved to be able to procure various types of food. And learning to cook food, was a crucial part of our brain evolution, which quickly grew in size and elevated our species to new heights.

So many fascinating food facts to learn!

So with every recipe post I include the “Foodstory”, a paragraph or two about any interesting historic or scientific tidbits associated with the dish. Whether it’s an anecdote of how the preparation came to be, the discovery or evolution of a particular ingredient, or simply why the food became popular, these bits of knowledge are so much fun to learn! They make for great conversation starters at the dinner table and they help you remember a recipe, making you a better cook.

I hope you’ll join me in my curiosity to learn about food history and science, and if you have any corrections or new information to add to any of my Foodstories, I would love to hear from you.

Now let’s get cooking and learning! 🙂

Jenya