The Delicious History Podcast Project


Greetings, Food History Lovers!

It was a year ago that I first started this blog. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I’ve be fortunate enough to find that there are quite a few people out there who are interested in the tasty world of Food History. I now want to take the next step in sharing my food related historical tidbits with the world by creating a companion podcast to go with the website. I think it will be an fantastic way to build a larger following, as well as prove how fun and delicious history can be. Who doesn’t love a little food and humour with their education

Now here’s the tricky part. Thanks to a recent redundancy, I need your help you make this dream a reality. Podcasts need equipment, software, media hosting, artwork, and music – all of which need to be paid for. Because I can’t rely on the kindness of retailers to simply give me the resources I need, I’m hoping that some of my beloved readers can help me to get Delicious History onto the internet airwaves.The best part about pledging to the Delicious History Podcast Project is that every donation entitles you to a reward. That’s right, if we hit our target you not only get Delicious History in your earbuds, you also get a BONUS PRIZE. What’s not to love?

So if you love food, history or my good self, please help get Delicious History into an iTunes store near you! If you also wouldn’t mind reblogging or sharing the project with your friends and other fellow history lovers, I’d be eternally grateful.

Simply follow the link below for more info or to make a pledge –

Delicious History Podcast Project

Thank you in advance for supporting Delicious History and for making this first year in the blogosphere truly amazing.

What does German Chocolate Cake, French Toast and White Russians Have in Common?


Hello food history lovers!

Today I intend to answer a question that has been plaguing mankind since the dawn of time. A question that perplexed the likes of Gallileo, Socrates and Plato. A question of such magnitude, that I almost fear answering it.

What does German Chocolate Cake, French Toast and White Russians have in common?

Three seemingly unrelated consumables. All delicious. All fairing from different corners of the Earth. What could possibly link them?

The answer?

None of them were invented in the countries that grace their names.

Are you terribly shocked and appalled? That’s a natural reaction. I’ll give you a moment to fetch your smelling salts…

Recovered? Excellent. Let us then move onto the exploration of the origins of these three individuals and how each of them acquired their incredibly misleading names.

 

This, in actual fact, needs to get in me immediately

German Chocolate Cake

The roots of this rich and delicious mistress can be traced back to 1852 when an American by the name of Sam German developed a brand of dark baking chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company. The product, German’s Sweet Chocolate, was named after him.

In 1957, the original recipe for ‘German’s Chocolate Cake’ was sent into a Dallas newspaper by a local homemaker. The recipe utilized German’s dark baking chocolate, and it became quite popular. General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers across the country. Sales of Baker’s Chocolate is said to have increased by 73% and the cake itself became a national staple. The possessive form, ‘German’s’, was dropped in subsequent publications, which resulted in it being referred to as ‘German Chocolate Cake’. The outcome? The false impression of a German origin for the dessert.

Nom nom, French Toast

French Toast

French toast existed long before France was established as a country. The exact origins of French Toast are unknown, but it’s unsurprising that humans developed the recipe quickly, given that it is traditionally made out of stale bread. Bread has been a staple of most cultures since food preparation first began. Coupling this with a rejection of food wastage (which is really only something that is acceptable in modern society), it’s unsurprising that man had to find a way to make stale bread palatable.

The earliest reference to doing this dates back to 4th century Rome, in a cookbook attributed to Apicius. This style of toast was called Pan Dulcis. The Romans would take the bread and soak it in a milk and egg mixture, and then cook it, typically frying it in oil or butter.

This practice of cooking stale bread became common throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In fact, the name for French Toast in France is “pain perdu”, which literally means “lost bread”. There are some that still insist that French Toast  originated in France, however, it’s interesting to note that before the French called it “pain perdu”, they called it “pain a la Romaine” (Roman bread).

So why is this clever concoction attributed to the French? One theory is that it’s reminiscent of French cooking before the invention of proper refrigeration. It’s said that many of their rich, heavy and creamy sauces were created to hide the fact that the meat or fish in the dish was, or was very nearly off.

Me thinks this would go quite well with the German Chocolate Cake

White Russians

This origin story is quite short, and most definitely sweet.

The White Russian is the sister cocktail of the Black Russian – a drink concocted from vodka and coffee liqueur. Both initially appeared in 1949 and were invented Belgium Bartender  Gustave Tops. Black Russians transform into White Russians with the simple addition of cream. Neither drink is Russian in origin, but were named due to vodka being the primary ingredient. It is unclear which drink preceded the other.

 

 

BOOM! That’s the sound of knowledge bombs blowing up everywhere. I do love a good debunking, so I naturally loved writing this post. In closing I pose this question – Do you know of any other food names that are misleading or outright incorrect? I’d love to hear about them.

Was the Champagne Coupe Modelled on Marie Antoinette’s Breasts?


Oh la la, what a titillating title!

Yes, that did just happen.

How are you my lovelies? Good? Good.

Welcome to another exciting Delicious History blog post – now with 100% more boob references! Yeah, I know what my readers want.

Well, let’s dive right in shall we?

On more than one occasion I’ve heard people spout a rather interesting historical tidbit – that the traditional champagne coupe was based upon one of Marie Antoinette’s breasts. Fascinating, no? For those of you who were wondering, it’s supposedly the left. No, I haven’t the slightest idea why anyone would know that.

I’ve always thought that this was an amusing little historical tidbit and never bothered to look further into it.

Got Champagne?

Recently, I was at a dinner where this sordid little piece of information was dropped into the conversation. Perhaps it’s my impending and frankly, indecent, descent into my late twenties, but for some reason I felt a lot more skeptical about it this time. A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions – it’s little more than a historical rumour. I showed my findings around the dinner table immediately because I’m That Guy.

First of all, Marie Antoinette is only one of the lucky ladies whose breasts have been attributed with the coupe. Other rumoured possibilities are:

Madame de Pompadour – The mistress of Louis XV and almost companion of Doctor Who.

Empress Josephine – The mistress-turned-wife of Napoleon. I guess whoever started this rumour found rotting teeth to be incredibly sexy.

Helen of Troy – She had the face that launched a thousand ships, and supposedly the breasts that launched countless rich housewives into alcoholism.

Unfortunately, none of these women had anything to do with the creation of the coupe. They weren’t even born in the same century or country of origin.The coupe was invented in 1663 by an Englishman who, as far as we know, didn’t model it on any part of the human anatomy.

The champagne coupe and champagne flute. It would be a cause for concern if the latter was modelled on someone’s breasts.

Although the true origin story of the coupe is far more dull than its rumoured counterpart, there is some redemption! It has been confirmed by historians that several ceramic milk bowls that were commissioned by Marie Antoinette herself were indeed modelled on her breasts. In fact, the queen had these made as part of her ‘Pleasure Dairy.’ This was located at her personal hamlet at Versailles where the queen and her ladies in waiting would dress up as milk maids (or shepherdesses according to some sources) and spend their days frolicking and partaking in rural tasks such as milking cows and churning butter. Delightful!

Although it may be disappointing that such a fascinating historical rumour has been debunked, at least something was molded from the famous French Queen’s breasts, right? Besides, I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the existence of the milk bowls amusing, in a highly immature way of course.

See you all next time!