The Food Timeline--history notes: muffins to yogurt (2023)

Macaroni & cheese

Who invented macaroni & cheese? No one knows for sure, although the food historians generallycredit the ancient Greeks and Romans for coming up with the idea of combining these two foods.The origin of pasta/noodles/macaroni is a matter of culinary controversy (AncientRome? Etruscans? China? Korea?). According to the Oxford Companionto Food, Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (page 159) "Cheese is oneof the oldest of made foods, dating backto the prehistoric beginnings of herding. As with all fermented products, it seems likely that thediscovery of cheese was accidental..."

We do know that medieval macaroni dishes (lasagnes & raviolis) were made with cheese andsweetened with nuts and spices (The Medieval Cookbook, Maggie Black, Lasagne withcheese (pages 90-91). These would have tasted quite different from the mac and cheese we eattoday. Colonial American cookbooks contained recipes for macaroni and cheese in the Englishtradition:

"Despite the many varieties, the most common name for pasta in later Medieval Italy seems tohave been macaroni', although this now means the round as contrasted with the flat kind. Thefourteenth century English Forme of Cury gives a recipes for macrows (an anglicized plural) thatunquestionably produces a flat result; the recipes even recommends serving it strewn with morselsof butter, and with grated cheese on the side. In its native land it does not seem to have beenregarded as a very high-class food; in the sixteenth century

"Cheese is the earliest condiment for pasta of which we have documentation. Even before theearliest recipes were written, cheese with pasta was the delight of the bon vivants of the MiddleAges...Present in all the medieval collections of recipes that feature pasta, grated cheese was oftenmixed with spices..."These tortelli must be yellow and strongly spiced, serve them in bowls withplenty of pepper and grated cheese...Although it was abandoned by the elite beginning in theseventeenth century, the mixture of cheese and spices continued in popular use. Pasta was servedwith a carpet of well-aged grated cheese in taverns frequented by Pere Labat in the turn of theeighteenth century."
---Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food, Silvano Serventi & Francoise Sabban [ColumbiaUniversity Press:New York] 2000 (p. 258-9)

"...we can establish the venerableness of the dish we call macaroni cheese from the followingrecipe which must have been introduced from Italy... into the court cookery of Richard II[1367-1400]. Macrows. Take and make a thin foil of dough, and carve it in pieces, and cast themonboiling water, and seeth it well. Take cheese, and grate it, and butter, cast beneath, and above asfor losenges, and serve it forth.' It was apparently not made in England during the next fewhundred years, but it returned from Italy in the eighteenth century...when Elizabeth Raffaldpublished a very good recipe entitled "To dress macaroni with Parmesan cheese."
---Food and Drink in Britain: From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson(p. 252)

Compare and contrast the following M & C recipes from different time periods:

[1390]
A modern redactionof the original Forme of Cury recipe.

[15th century]
"Roman noodles
Blend meal which has which has been separated from chaff with water in the best way. When ithas been blended, spread it out on a board and roll it with a rounded and oblong piece of woodsuch as bakers are accustomed to use in such a trade. Then when it has been drawn out to thewidth of a finger, cut it. It is so long you would call it a fillet. It ought to be cooked in rich andcontinuallly boiling broth, but it, at the time, it must be cooked in water, put in butter and salt.When it is cooked, it ought to be put in a pan with cheese, butter, sugar, and sweet spices."
---De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine [On Right Pleasure and Good Health], Platina,Book VII, recipe 43, translated by Mary Ella Milham, Italy 15th century (p. 329)

[1769]
"To dress Macaroni with Parmesan Cheese
Boil four ounces of macaroni till it be quite tender and lay it on a sieve to drain. Then put it in atossing pan with about a gill of good cream, a lump of butter rolled in flour, boil it five minutes.Pour it on a plate, lay all over it parmesan cheese toasted. Send to to the table on a water plate,for it soon goes cold."
---The Experience Engish Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald, introduction by RoyShipperbottom [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1997 (p. 144)

[1824]
"Boil as much macaroni as will fill your dish, in milk and water till quite tender, drain it on a sieve,sprinkle a little salt over it, put a layer in your dish, then cheese and butter as in the polenta, andbake it in the same manner."
---The Virginia House-Wife, Mary Randolph, 1824 (p. 100)

[1847]
"Maccaroni with cheese...Simmer quarter of a pound of maccaroni in a quart of milk, until thepipes are well swelled and tender; then butter a pudding dish, put in a layer of maccaroni; strew itplentifully with grated cheese and bits of butter; then another layer of maccaroni, alternately, untilthe dish is full, then cheese being last; then put over the whole bits of butter, or melt the butterand put it over; then put it into a moderate oven until it is nicely browned. Serve hot. The cheesefor this purpose should be cut and allowed to become dry beore it is grated Pineapple, or oldEnglish or Parmesean, should be used. The milk in which the maccaroni is steeped must also beadded, if not all absorbed.
---Mrs. Crowen's American Ladies' Cookery Book, Mrs. T. J. Crowen, 1847 (p. 427)

[1908]
"Baked macaroni...Break up half a pound of macaroni in two-inch lengths, and simmer it as forboiled macaroni, drain it well; have ready grated half pound of good rich cheese, not too old;butter a baking dish, one that will do to serve it in, divide the cheese in half, put one portion in thedish, scattering it evenly over the bottom, pour in the macaroni, arrange it smoothly, and put overit the remaining half of the cheese, sprinkle it plentifully with salt, and pour over it a largecoffeecup of cream and milk mixed; bake it three-quarters of an hour; it should be a nice brownon top."
--The Economical Cook Book, Sara T. Paul, 1908 (p. 138)

[1915]
"English Style Macaroni...Cook one cup Larkin Short-Cut Macaroni in boiling salted water untiltender. Rinse with cold water. Make a sauce by melting three tablespoons butter in adouble-boiler. Add three tablespoons flour. When bubbling add one and one-half cups sweet milk.Stirconstantly until thickened, add two thirds cup grated cheese or four ounces cheese thinly sliced.Stir until melted. Add one-half teaspoon salt and a little pepper. Mix together sauce andMacaroni, reheat in kettle or put into baking dish and bake about twenty minutes untilbrown....Mrs. I. F. Knee, Omana, Nebr."
---Larkin Housewives Cook Book, Larkin Company [Larkin Co.:Philadelphia] 1915 (p.54)
[NOTE: This recipe instructs the cook to make a cheese sauce rather than simply using gratedcheese.]

Horn & Hardart'smacaroni & cheese

Kraft confirms itsmacaroni & cheese dinner product was introduced in 1937. What about the details?

"Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner is introduced nationally in yellow boxes (soon changed to blue)by National Dairy Products, which has adopted the idea of one of its St. Louis salesmen tocombine grated American cheese with Tenderoni Macaroni."---The Food Chronology, James Trager [Henry Holt:New York] 1995 (p.37)

"Kraft was the first to introduce an instant macaroni and cheese dinner. The year was 1937 andsoon Kraft, during commercial breaks in the Kraft Music Hall radio program, was promisingAmerican cooks that a Kraft Dinner was "A meal for four in nine minutes for an everyday price of19 cents. In 1937 alone, eight million Kraft Dinners were sold, but their popularity soared tenfoldduringWorld War II because they were not only good meat substitutes but also required just one rationcoupon. "Don't hurry, puff and wheeze," Kraft Dinner commercials now urged. "There's a maindish that's a breeze.""
---The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, JeanAnderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 180)

"In 1937, the Kraft Food Company which had introduced processed cheese to the world in 1915,released its macaroni and cheese package, known to the world as "Kraft Dinner." As Americaslowly emerged from the Depression, it became the housewife's friend--a nourishing one-pot mealthat could be easily prepared..."
---American Dish: 100 Recipes from Ten Delicious Decades, Merrill Shindler [Angel CityPress:Santa Monica] 1996 (p. 61)

Here is Kraft's own recipe for macaroni & cheese, circa 1938:

(Video) Learn English! Topic: Food

Macaroni American
1 cup elbow macaroni
1/2 Kraft American
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of cayenne
Buttered crumbs

Cook macaroni in boiling salted water; drain. Melt the cheese over low heat in top of a doubleboiler. Gradually add the milk, stirring well after each addition of milk. Add seasonings. Placemacaroni in a casserole and pour the sauce over it, carefully mixing with a fork. Cover withcrumbs, or with additional grated cheese. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, 15 minutes.Spaghetti, noodles or rice may be substituted for the macaroni."
---Favorite Recipes from Mary Dahnke's File, Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corporation [1938](p. 19). There is a picture of the yellow & blue Kraft Dinner box on the second to last page of thisbooklet.

Recommended reading:"Kraft Cheese," Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands, Volume 1:Consumable Products,JaniceJorgensen Editor [St. James Press:Detroit] 1994

Related dishes: Fettuccine Alfredo & Pasta Primavera.

Pasta Primavera
Food historians generally agree modern primavera recipes, as we Americans know them today, originated in New York City during the late 1970s. Several articles in the New York Times confirm this was a period when several upscale chefs endeavored to redefine "Italian Cusine." Said cuisine drew on traditional "Old World" peasant recipes. They were typically composed of fresh vegetables and lighter sauces. Italian food historians confirm the phrase "primavera" in the gastonomic sense, simply means "springtime." In the Italy this term is applied to several dishes incorporating fresh young vegetables.

"Pasta primavera. Few people... would disagree that this is America's grandest contribution to the pasta repertoire. And as often happens with truly great recipes, it came about quite by chance. In the late 70s. Here's what Ella Elvin, former food editor of New York's Daily News, had to say about it in the February 1, 1978 paper: Pasta Primavera is a specialty of Le Cirque at 58 E. 65th St. Sirio Macconi, co-owner, says it came onto his menu rather obliquely. He and friends had once had a few fun days of cooking wild boar and lobster in Canada, when his wife served pasta with briefly cooked fresh vegetables. 'It is something we do a lot in Italy," says Sirio, 'but on this occasion it tasted spectacularly good to everyone, and then we tried it as an item for friends here at the restaurant. When Paul Bocuse came, we suggested it as an appetizer and he said: 'I want it as the main course. ' It's a matter of using fresh vegetables that are in season'...The pasta is topped with spoonfuls of both vegetable sauces and pepper is ground over the top."
---The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 191)

"Another cream pasta dish that was all the rage in the Seventies was pasta primavera. Craig Claiborne called it "by far the most talked-about dish in Manhattan" in 1977. And while this dish was wholly American, it was Italian in feel, and it was rich and creamy. There is no questions that pasta primavera was invented in New York, at Le Cirque restaurant. But whether it was first made by Le Cirque owner, Sirio Maccioni, when he decided to add vegetables to his Alfredo sauce, or by Le Cirque cofoudner Jean Vergnes in conjuction with Le Cirque chef Jean-Louis Todeschini after Vergnes tasted a pasta with vegetables made by friend and cookbook writer Ed Giobbi, is still a matter of debate...This pasta dish held on to its popularity through the Eighties..."
---Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads, Sylvia Lovegren [MacMillan:New York] 1995 (p. 323)

"No one denies that there has been a revolution in French food: it is less rich, with fresh ingredients put together in new and different ways. In the last five years heavy sauces have become light and classics such as canard a l'orange and beef Wellington have given way to rare duck breasts and medallions of beef with cranberries. Since New Yorkers probably eat as much Italian food as French, are they finding similar changes in Italian cooking?...Those [new] dishes...are typical of the meals in some of the stylish, sleeky appointed and usually expensive Italian restaurants that have become a fixture of New York. So different is the food form the Italian cooking so long familiar to most of us that there is talk of an Italian nouvelle cuisine...Whether there is such a thing is open to debate...There are some fad dishes...and certainly there is a trend toward lightness. But most of them feel that the foundation of the "new" dishes is as old as the Etruscan hills. "They take old peasant dishes and give them new names,"...The influence of New York's new Italian cooking extends beyond Italian restaurants. Fresh pasta or osso buco, risotto, or fetuccini with truffles often appear on the menus of Le Cirque, Odeon, the Four Seasons and the Palace. Onece a successful dish appears in one restaurant, it turns up on menus everywhere. Take pasta primavera. "James Beard called one day and said, 'Alfredo [Viazzi] , I'm afaid your past primavera is all over town!" ...[Viazzi] takes credit for introducing the dish to New York, although he says it is acutally peasant fare brought up to date. However, Siro Maccioni of Le Circ says that he invented his version seven years ago at a party when he ran out of other ingredients and had to make do with the spring vegetables that garnish the pasta. Perhaps all roads to lead to Rome. Italian chefs like to create dishes on the spur of the moment, and often cook special things for a favorite customer. This can be a mixed blessing."
---"Is There a New Italian Cuisine?" Moira Hodgson, New York Times, September 30, 1981 (p. C1)

[1987]
"New York City Style Pasta Primavera
Mayor Edward Koch, New York City

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 lb. snow peas (trimmed)
1/4 lb. mushrooms (washed and sliced)
8 asaparagus tips
1 small zucchini (washed and sliced)
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 cup good chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
parmesan cheese.4-6 servings
Melt 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan. Add mushrooms and zucchini, toss until coated. Add asparagus and snow peas. Toss overhigh heat but do not brown. Add garlic and white wine. Cook pasta in boiling water wehn you add white wine to mixture. Cook for 30 seconds to reduce slightly. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and simmer for 1 minutes. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Add vegetable mixture to pasta. Toss over heat. Add more parmesan to taste. Serve very hot in a bowl that will holdpasta and sauce."
---The Mayor's Cookbook: The Farvorite Recipes of over 300 Mayors Across the U.S.A., United States Conference of Mayors,Thomas L. McClimon editor [Acropolis Books Ltd.:Washington DC] 1987 (p. 42)
Related dish: Fettuccini alfredo

Ravioli
Pasta (in many different shapes and sizes) is an ancient food. It was enjoyed by many peoples inmany cultures. Stuffed pasta (ravioli, wonton, kreplach) is likewise a food shared by manycultures andcuisines. Food historians generally agree that stuffed pastas (and related recipes such aslasagna) were probably introduced in Medieval times. Cookbooks confirm European and MiddleEastern medieval pasta dishes could have been sweet (filled with cheese, honey, nuts, andcinnamon) or savoury (filled with meat, pepper, and saffron). Asian wontons were typicallysteamed or fried and were served with local vegetables.
Tomato sauce was not served with pastaproducts in Medievaltimes. Tomatoes are a "newworld" food and were introduced to Europe in the late 15th century by explorers. About pasta.

"Ravioli: the archtypal stuffed pasta of the western world, can be presumed to be Italian inorigin but had started to appear as far away as England by the 14th century (when the Forme ofCury gave a recipe for rauioles), and was known in the south of France in medieval times. Sofar as Italy is concerned, the earliest records of ravioli seem to be in some of the 140,000preserved letters of Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Prato in the 14th century. They aredescribed as being stuffed with pounded pork, eggs, cheese, parsley, and sugar; while in Lent afilling of herbs, cheese, and spices was used. There were both sweet and savoury kinds..."
---The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford]1999 (p. 655)

"The small, stuffed Italian shapes such as a ravioli and tortellini (both attested from the middle ofthe thirteenth century) also had parallels elsewhere, including China (won ton), Russia (pel'meni),Tibet (momo), and in the Jewish kitchen, (kreplachs). It has been suggested that some of theforms may have originated in the Near East and been transmitted in an arc from there, whichwould certainly be consistent with the general historical pattern."
---Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers Press:New York] 1988 (p. 236)

"The history of ravioli is quite old. Leaving aside for the moment as to whether the CentralAsian manti can be considered a ravioli, the earliest evidence we have of ravioli in theMediterranean is found in the statutes of the Cathedral of Nice in 1233, which report of crosetesui rafiole', a ravioli pie..."
---A Mediterranean Feast, Clifford A. Wright [William Morrow:New York] 1999 (p. 298)

"According to the sixteenth-century Italian historians, we owe pasta stuffed with chopped meator herbs, cheese or even fish to a peasant woman of Cernusco called Libista...The ravioli of thefourteenth-century cookery books were usually deep-fried, like fritters...in its early days ravioligenerally meant a stuffing made of meat, cheese, eggs and herbs wrapped in dough, a dish likemodern canneloni...one of the oldest recipes of the kind [1481], for tortelli' in the Assissimanner'. These tortelli' do not even use a dough wrapping for the stuffing; the instructions aresimply to roll the chopped meat mixture in flour. This coating of flour, having absorved the fatfrom the chopped meat, would have coagulated slightly in the hot broth into which the tortelliwere put to be cooked...Raviolo were eaten at banquets too, and were clearly very popular inPrato. They were not served alone, but as a garnish to a torta made of several layers of pastryfilled with chicken fried in oil, garlic sausage, ravioli stuffed wtih ham, almonds, and dates. Pastrylid covered the whole torta, and it was cooked in the embers."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble Books:New York]1992(p. 193)

"Ravioli. The world may derive form the Latin rabiola...whos shape was imitated in the ravioli, orfrom ravolgere (to wrap). The city of Cremona claims to have created ravioli. But Genoa claimsthem, too, insisting the word actually dates to their dialect word for the pasta, rabiole, whichmeans "something of little value" and supposedly came from the practice of thrifty sailors whostuffed any and all leftovers into pasta to be used for another meal."
---Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink, John Mariani [Broadway Books:New York] 1998(p. 213)

15th century Italian Ravioli recipe
"Ravioli. Get a pound and a half of old cheese and a little new creamy cheese, and a pound ofporkbelly or loin of veal that should be boiled until well cooked, then grind it up well; get wellground fragrant herbs, pepper, cloves, ginger and saffron, adding in a well ground breast ofcapon, and mix in all of this together; make a thin dough and wrap nut-sized amounts of themixture in it; set these ravioli to cook in the fat broth of a capon or of some other good meat,with a little saffron, and let them boil for half an hour; then dish them out, garnishing them with amixture of grated chreese and good spices."
---The Neapolitan Recipe Collection, Cuoco Napoletano [Martino], Critical edition andEnglish translation by Terence Scully [University of Michigan Press:Ann Arbor] 2000 (p.177)
[NOTE: This book contains the original Latin text. If you need this ask your librarian can helpyou obtain a copy.]

Related foods? Toasted ravioli (St. Louis), Jewish Kreplach & Chinese Wontons.

Spaghetti & meatballs
Who invented spaghetti & meatballs? The answer to this question depends upon how strictly youwant to define these two foods. Both pasta and meatballs [ground meat mixed with cereal/spicefillers, also known as sausage or forcemeat] date back to ancient times. They were foods thatevolved independently across many cultures and cuisines. Meat filled lasagne and ravioli werequite popular in Medieval Europe, although they were not served with tomatoes at this time.
Tomato sauce was introduced in the 18th century.

About spaghetti
Pasta, in many forms, has been around for thousands of years. In the beginning, ancients rolledpasta by hand into long, flat shapes, similar to modern lasagne. Other shapes becamepossible/popular as technology advanced. Vermicelli and other long noodles were made in ancientdays, though evidence from old cook books suggests they were thicker than the products we eattoday. Very thin spaghettis (including angel hair, capellini) were first introduced in the 19thcentury because they required more sophisticated machines than the pasta presses used in ThomasJefferson's day for production. Naples, Italy is generally acknowledged for its long tradition ofspaghetti making.

Food historians generally agree that the pasta we know today as spaghetti is a relatively newinvention, dating back to the early 19th century. Spaghetti served with meat in tomato sauce mostlikely originated in Naples. Late 19th and early 20th century American cook booksoften refer to recipes for spaghetti and meat sauce as Neapolitan spaghetti. The meats used inthese recipes are usually ham, sausage and bacon (traditional Italian fare). Recipes for spaghettiand [ground beef] meatballs begin to show up in American cookbooks during World War II.

(Video) A Brief History of Australian food

"Spaghetti...commonly said to account for more than two-thirds of the whole annual consumptionof pasta, is certainly its most popular form...but by no means the oldest. Indeed, until theintroduction of extrusion presses, and especially of the powerful machines which were introducedin the latter part of the 19th century...its production was a laborious business. Macaroni, tubularand hollow, was easier to make without modern machinery, and its name was sometimes used in ageneric way for pasta...The names of the Italian spaghetti dishes which are now known worldwideare of relatively recent birth. It might be thought that spaghetti and tomato sauce, perhaps thesimplest combination, would go a long way back. However, the first documented tomato saucefor pasta appears in Ippolito Cavalcanti's Cucina teorico pratica of 1839..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p.740)

"1819--In the Dizionario della Lingua Italiana by Nicol Tommaseo and Bernardo Bellini, theterm spaghetto, "singolare maschile diminutivo di SPAGO" (masculine, singular diminutive forSPAGO) includes the entry, "Minestra di spaghetti: che sono paste della grossezza di un piccolospago e lunghe, come i sopraccapellini" (spaghetti soup: pasta, the thickness of a small twine andlong)."
Professional Pasta [NOTE: site no longer connects, 4 April 2009]

"Spaghetti was first produced on a large scale in Naples in 1800, with the aid of wooden screwpresses, and the long strings were hung out to dry in the sun. The dough was kneaded by handuntil 1830, when a mechanical kneading trough was invented and widely adopted throughoutItaly..."
---Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati [Harper Row:New York]1987 (p. 406)

Spaghetti in America
Many colonial American cookbooks contain recipes for macaroni. Although recipes for
sauce were also included, none of these books combined these two ingredients. Tomato [akatomata sauce] recipes listed in these books were intended for meat, soup or a served as a sidedish. Macaroni recipes called for cheese or white sauce. Beginning about the 1880's, Americancookbooks began including recipes for spaghetti, some combined with tomato sauce and meat.

"Pasta came to America with the early Spanish settlers. In the USA the first notable introductionwas due to Thomas Jefferson...However, it was really the massive late 19th-century immigrationfrom Italy, and especially from Naples, which made pasta popualr in the USA. Consequently, N.American ways of preparing pasta are essentially derived from Italian ones, although displayingvariations such as spagehtti with meatballs."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p.581)
[NOTE: this book offers much more information on the history of pasta]

"Spaghetti...became as "naturalized" as did any Italian-American between the end of thenineteenth century and the beginning of World War II. It became a repast first accepted bynonconformists...New York's Little Italy, where spaghetti dinner was cheap, filling, and redolentof good flavours not to be found elsewhere...American "bohemians" joined Italians in preparingspaghetti in their own kitchens, buying the pasta from immigrant grocers..."
---American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones, 2nd ed.[Vintage Books:NewYork] 1981 (p. 151-2)

"In the beginning (around the turn of the century) Italian-America restaurants did not servemeatballs with their spaghetti. These were added to satisfy Amerca's hunger for red meat."
---American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, JeanAnderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997(p. 183)

Spaghetti recipes through time
...note many similar recipes printed in these books still called for macaroni or vermicelli

[1884] Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln
--Spaghetti: boil, serve with cream, or tomato sauce, cheese, and crumbs (p. 309)

[1902] With a Saucepan over the Sea, Adelaide Keen
--Spaghetti (prevailing method all over Italy): chopped ham, onion, stewed tomatoes (p. 144)
--Spaghetti (Amalfi): casserole with Parmesean cheese, hard boiled egg yolks & puff paste (p.145)

[1912] Simple Italian Cookery, Antonia Isola
--Spaghetti with tunny-fish: tuna fish & tomato sauce (p. 12)

[1922]"Meat balls and spaghetti
A meal that will 'hit the spot' on a cool fall or winter day. Boil 1 package American Beauty Spaghetti until tender(almost 15 minutes). Break 3/8 pound of dry bread into small pieces and put into 3/4 cup hot water, allow bread to soften, then squeezeout water. Put 1/2 pound chuck beef, 1/4 pound shoulder pork and 2 slices onion thru a meat chopper. Mix with bread, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 pound grated cheese. Form into balls. Fry balls inolive oil. Serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce."
---display ad, Amerian Beauty Macaroni Products, The Hutchinson News [Kansas], Ocboter 27, 1922 (p. 10)

[1924] Mrs. Allen on Cooking, Ida Baily Allen
--Spaghetti Italian: ground bacon/salt pork, mushrooms, onions in the tomato sauce (p. 178)
--Escalloped spaghetti, tomato, and cheese: spaghetti casserole, no meat (p. 179)

[1944] Good Housekeeping Cook Book
--Neapolitan spaghetti with meat balls: ground beef meatballs (p. 388)
--Genoese spaghetti: cubed steak, mushrooms & onions (p. 386)

Commercial production
Food historians tell us that the technology for mass-producing pasta and canned tomato productsexisted in the middle of the 19th century. Primary evidence (cookbooks, food advertisements)confirms spaghetti was prepared and consumed by the American public in the late 1800s and early20th century. "Global penetration" of many Italian food products occured at this time becausethat's when people from this country immigrated in large numbers to other parts of the world,most notably America. This explains why many of our American pasta/tomato sauce companieswere founded in the beginning decades of the 20th century. Pizza has a similar history.

Tomato paste/sauce manufacturers
[1918]: Contadina

About canned spaghetti products
The earliest print references we find (so far) for USA canned spaghetti products are from the 1910s. This popular product wassold over the years by many companies under different brandnames; some using creative formats.

[1913]
"Heinz Spaghetti, 15 cents."---display ad, Washington Post, December 23, 1913 (p. 5)

[1922]
US Patent & Trademark database with registration #0399825 for a product line under thebrand name PLEE-ZING, which offered a canned prepared spaghetti products (with and without meatballs) in December, 1922.

[1965]
Campbell's Spaghettios were introduced October 19, 1965, U. S. Patent and TrademarkOffice, registration #72247002.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Our survey of mid-20th century Italian-American cookbooks identifies several recipes approximating Spaghetti (linguine,noodles, pasta) "alla Carbonara." The closest modern recipe in this creamy-cheesy-egg yolk genre is
FettucciniAlfredo, a USA celebrity endorsed favorite from the 1920s. The primary difference between Alfredo and Carbonara is the latterfeatures bacon or related cured pork product. Curiously (by today's standards), early recipes do not address the origin of the name. We wonder: was that because everyone back then "knew" what the name meant? Presumably, the appelation "carbonara"was selected for a reason.

What's in a name?
"Carbonara, alla. "Charcoal style." A Roman pasta preparation usually made with spaghtettisauce with cream, pancetta, pecorino, and parmigiano onto which a raw egg is dropped andcooked by the heat of the pasta itself. It is then tossed and served with plenty of black pepper.The origin of the name has never been established. Some believe it refers to black spaghetti madewith squid ink by Roman cooks in the seafood market, others to a 19th -century radical groupcalled I Carbonari. Still others believe it was a dish created by the coal miners on the mountainsbetwen Abruzzo and Lazio. Of the name may simply describe the look of the cooked bits ofpancetta in the preparation."---The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink, John Mariani [Broadway Books:New York] 1998(p. 61)

"A short while ago an acquaintance told us an amusing story about the origins of spaghetti carbonara, which meansspaghetti charcoal-burner-style. It had to do with an American soldier aksing for an egg noodle dish in Italy during WorldWar II. The waiter did not wholly comprehend his request and had the chef prepare him a noodle dish with raw eggs. It still left theorigin of the name corbonara unexplained. Now a letter from a reader in Manhattan to contradict the egg noodle history plusan explanation of the name: 'The legend I grew up on was that the dish was created by Garibaldi's troops during the war for Italy's unification in the 1850s, the Risorgimento. Lacking the pther means for cooking, the soldiers prepared their spaghettiover a charcoal fire, hence the name carbonara. Nicholas SA. Osgan of New YOrk has proposed an interesting association ofrecipe names: 'I don't know why spaghetti carbobara is called carbonara either. Except that, all carbonara dishes, carbonade doeboeuf Flamand, cargbonade de boeuf Provencal, have one common ingredient--a lot of sauteed onions,w hich is the one theing you leftout of your spaghetti recipe.' The relation --if any--of carbonara to carbonnades (or carbonades) is something to ponder at a later date. On the other hand, I have never encountered a dish for spaghetti carbonara nor a recipe for it that included onions in large or small amounts. Carbonnades a la flamande, of course, to require almost a smuch weight in onions a s in meat. Carbonnadesin the style of Nimes (France) is a stew made with lamb or mutton, and onions, in small quantity, are among the ingredients. Theyare not predominant, however. A Manhattan reader offers her great-trandmother's theory on the name's origin plus her great-grandmother'srecipe: She writes, 'According to my great-grandmother, who is 92 years young and an authority on most things Italian, linguinealla carbonara refers to both a secret society that at one time tried to overthrow the Italian government and to men who work with coal."
---"De Gustibus: Cooking Up True Story of Spaghetti Carbonara," Craig Claiborne, New York Times, June 13, 1977 (p. 48)[NOTE: Article includes recipe from the 92 year old Italian grandmother. Let us know if you want it.]

The earliest (Italian-American) recipe we find for Spaghetti Carbonara was published in 1957. The source may surprise you:Lettitia Baldrige (aka "Miss Manners"). Ms. Baldridge traveled in powerful circles both domestically and abroad. Famous for teaching political protocol and mentoring social etiquette,Ms. Baldridge's credentials were impeccable. We have no doubt her recipe, shared below, is authentic.

[1957]
"Recipes and reunions were among the topics dicussed by Miss Lettia Baldridge of New York City...Under the topic of reunions, MissBaldridge, an active member of the American Committee on Italian Migration, discussed the implementation of new legistlation recently passed by Congress which permits the reunion of families in America. As a result of the committee's work, 20,000 Italians over andabove the quota, will enter the country this year. On the lighter side, it was the recipe for Spaghetti ala Carbonara that TishBaldridge passed on to John. It was during her three years as secretary to Clare Booth Luce, former United States ambassador to Italy,that Tish acquired many Italian recipes. Made by the Italian women early in the morning, it is heaped into their husbands; lunchpails and still hot, makes a hearty mid-day meal for the working man. Here's the recipe:

"Spaghetti Ala Carbonara
1 package of regular spaghetti, added in large kettle of vigourously boiling salted water.
Srir constantly with wooden spoon for about eight minutes until the spaghetti is soft.
Drain spaghetti thoroughly and return to kettle. Add:
4 raw eggs
1 heaping cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 pieces of bacon, with grease, fried and broken into pieces.
1/8 cup of butter
Lots of freshly grated pepper. Stir and simmer over very low heat for just a few minutes, enough to heat through. Serve while piping hot."
---"Recipes and Reunions," Post Standard [Syracuse NY], November 2, 1957 (p. 5)

[1962]
The earliest recipe we find for this dish printed in a USA cookbook is from 1962. The dish (by name, method, ingredients) is absent from Pellegrino Artusi's ItalianCook Book [1945], Maria Lo Pinto'sArt of Italian Cooking [1953] and Ada Boni's Talisman Italian Cook Book [1955, sponsored by Ronzoni to promote products].

"Spaghetti all Carbonara
Spaghetti with ham-egg sauce
3 slices bacon, cut julienne
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup julienne-cut prosciutto
2 egg yolks
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained
Brown the bacon in the butter; mix in the ham until lightly browned.
Beat the egg yolks, then stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. Toss the hot spaghetti with bacon mixture, then immediately with the eggyolk mixture. Serve quickly sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
Serves: 4-6."
---The Pleasures of Italian Cooking, Romeo Salta [Macmillan:New York] 1962 (p. 78)

Peaches
Origin & diffusion
"Wild peach trees still grow in China, the original home of the peach...Well before the 10th century BC (somesuggest much earlier) improved varieties were being cultivated. Peaches are easily raised from seed, and cultivationspread westwards through areas with suitable climate, such as Kashmir, to Persia. It flourished there so well that itcame to be regarded as a native Persian fruit...In classical antiquity Theophrastus (c. 370-c. 288 BC) was the firstwriter to mention the peach. Despite the clear lack of evidence, it is widely assumed that it was Alexander the Greatwho brought it to Greece from Persia. Pliny (1st century AD) mentioned half a dozen types, e.g. the peaches of Gaul(France) and the Asiatic ones, and declared the fruit to be particularly wholesome. Generally, it seems to have beenthe Romans who spread the peach further north and west. Much later, in the 16th century, it was the Spaniards whotook it to America. The 16th century used also to be thought of as the the time when the peach reached England.However...there is much evidence, including the supply of two peach trees in the Tower of London in 1275 and areference by Chaucer (1372), to show that it was being grown there much earlier...But it seems that peach-growingwas discontinued for a time, and that it was in the 16th century that the fruit was reintroduced from France and theNetherlands."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 588)

"The peach was the object of a sort of cult in China, where for poets, sculptors and painters it was a symbol ofimmortality, despite the fact that it grows on a short-lived tree...Friends gave each other peaches, real or inporcelain, to attest to their affection. The veneration accorded the peach no doubt arose from its ancient andpeculiary Chinese character, for it is believed to have originated in China, where it is called tao. Chinese writingscontain references to the peach dating form 2000 B.C. (Dubious) and from the fifth century B.C. (trustworthy),including some from the works of Confucious, at least three centuries before we hear of this fruit from anywhereelse. Peach trees are found growing wild in China, and I think nowhere else...Chinese world-peach trees are apt to begnarled and squat, their fruit is small and the pit large, but the flesh is exquisite in flavor. Chinese peach trees breedfrom seed, which is not the case for peach trees anywhere else in the world, justifying the belief that all peachesexcept those of China are hybrids, and therefore probably alien to the areas in which they are found. It was longthought that the peach originated in Persia (where it does not grow wild), and indeed its scientific name is Prunuspersica, because it was from Persia that the ancient Romans imported the fruit, and from the Romans that we firsthear about it. They could not have known that Persia had acquired it, across a good deal of intervening territory,from China, a country whose existence they did not suspect...The Romans could not have known about the peach atthe beginning of the second century B.C., for if they had, Cato would certainly have mentioned it; and though theAsian Army brought back many new foods from the East when it returned to Italy in 185 B.C. it is doubtful that thepeach was among them. Pliny wrote about it in the first century A.D., called it the Persian apple...and said that theRomans had imported it from Persia for the first time only shortly before--apparently by a very indirect route, for headded that the trees were first planted in Egypt (where we never hear of them again) and then on the island ofRhodes, but bore not fruit in either place...The peach seems never to have achieved a foothold in ancient Grecce,but in Rome several varieties were developed...The peach was not common in Rome either, for Pliny says it washard to grown in Italy, so the Romans imported it from Persia, which made it expensive."
---Food: An Authoritative and Visual History and Dictionary of Foods of the World, Waverly Root[Smithmark:New York] 1980 (p. 327)

China
"Domestication of the peach (t'ao) is usually placed in temperate China, with most authorities favoring northernand/or western China, especially its hill and mountain regions, including Tibet...The ancient Chinese looked to thewest as the home of the peach, and specifically the K'un-lun Shan, those ranges of Central Asia...Whatever theexact time and place of its domestication, the peach has been known in China since great antiquity, wieth remainsfound in archeological sites in Chekaing that may date as early as the fourth or fifth millennium B.C....Today thepeach is a typical crop of northern China...The peach tree has been surrounded with greater mysticism in China thanany other plant, cherished for its delicious fruit and beautiful flowers, important in symbolism and ritual, andfrequently mentioned in literature and depicted in art...Because of this...the peach deserves first place in any list ofclassical Chinese fruits. The traditional Chinese viewed the peach as symbolic of long life and immortality, andvarious dieties and illustrious persons of the past are depicted as carrying the shou-t'ao, "peach ofimmortality."...The Chinese also considered peach wood...protective against evil spirits, who held the peach in awe.In ancient China, peach-wood bows were used to shoot arrows in every direction in an effort to dispel evil...Inmodern China, little mysticism is associated with the peach, but on New Year's Eve people sometimes suspended apeach spray over their gates, and used peach brances to sprinkle water on the ground around the house as protectionagainst evil spirits."
---Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, Frederick J. Simoons [CRC Press:Boca Raton FL] 1991 (p.217-8)

India
"Peach. Prunus persica developed from the same ancestral materials as the cherry, plum, apricot and almond; thediversions occurred somewhere in eastern China, wherre the peach was developed. Xuan Zang pointed out theChinese origin of the peach during his travels in India in the early seventh century AD, and stated that it was thenbeing brought into India from Kashmir. The Sanskrit name chinani reflects this origin. The Mughals made efforts togrow this semitropical fruit in the country, and by the time of Akbar, according to the Ain-i-Akbari, peaches...are tobe found everywhere', while its grafting on plum trees was also being explored."
---A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food, K.T. Achaya [Oxford University Press:Delhi] 1998 (p. 180-1)

Peaches in the New World
"The Romans introduced the fruit [peach] to Europe, and the Spaniards introduced it to the new world. In fact,peaches were growing so widely in eastern North America by the time of the American Revoultion that manyassumed the fruit to be an American native."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge UniverstiyPress:Cambridge] 2001, Volume Two (p. 1830)

How were peaches used in early America?
Directions for Cookery/Eliza Leslie [Philadelphia] 1840, lists these peach recipes:
Peach sauce
Peach leaves (flavoring)
Peach kernels (substitute for almonds or bitter almonds, flavoring)
Pickled peaches & Peach pickles (Cling or Free Stones)
Preserved peaches
Peaches for common use
Brandy peaches
Peach marmalade
Peach jelly
Dried peaches
Peach leather
Peach pie
Peach custard
Peach-water (flavoring)
Peach filling (for jelly cake)
Peach cordial
Peach mangoes

Related fruit? Apricots.

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Pears in syrup
Food historians trace the practice of cooking pears in syrup to Ancient Rome and Greece. It continued to be favorite of Medieval cooks. This was an expensive dish, gracing the tables of the wealthy.

"The flavor of cooked pears is often improved by the addition of, e.g., red wine, almonds or vanilla."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 590)

The Romans ate pears, like apples, both raw and cooked. The less exquisite fruits were made into perry, or into pear vinegar...The Byzantines feasted on pears in jelly, pear preserves, pears cooked in wine or in ocxymel (a syrup of vinegar and honey). The Roman spread the cultivation of the pear."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, translated by Anthea Bell [Barnes & Noble Books:New York] 1992 (p. 637)

"Pears in Greek-Wine Syrup. Pears in Syrup. Take pears and peel them thoroughly. Take good red wine and some mulberries [blackberries] or sandalwood, and put in the pears, and when they are done remove them. Make a syrup of Greek wine or vernage with white powder, or white sugar and powdered ginger, and put the pears in it. Boil briefly and serve...During this period, "vernage"--vernaccia in Italian--was produced in the southeastern Mediterrean, on the Tyrrhenian isalnds and in Liguria. Today it is one of the best known wines of Sardinia. It is made in sweet versions that can, like Tokay, attain 15 or 16 percent alcohol, and in dry versions. It is similar in flavor to sherry. This vernaccia should not be confused with Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a dry white wine made...of a different but identically named grape...Wild berries, early-season pears and good wine, all simmered together; then cook pears, translucent and glazed in sweet wine syrup, mounded in a pyramid: this is a lordly dessert. Bright red, amber and dark red merge as the fruit is glazed. Here hue is as important as aroma and flavor, and the blackberries are used more for their color than for their taste; indeed, the recipe offers the alternative of sandalweed, a common medieval "artificial" coloring."
---The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy, Odile Redon et al [University of Chicago Press:Chicago] 1998 (p. 213)
[NOTE: This book contains a modernized recipe.]

"Pears in Syrup.
This paragraph on preparing pears in a honey syrup appears among a number of similar directions for fruits and vegetables in a "recipe" whose general theme is the preserving, or rather conserving, of these fruits and vegetables. The Menagier assimilates pears and turnips; except that turnips should be "peeled" and pears should not, he indicates an identical treatment for such. The variety of pear known in the Menagier's day as poires d'angoisse were probably rather hard when ripe, a good cooking pear. A few pages after writing this recipe, the author copies another one for pears cooked in a waterless pot--likely a clay baking pot similar to those available today. These pears he garnishes with fennel seeds cooked in red wine."
---Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations, D. Eleanor Scully and Terence Scully [University of Michigan Press:Ann Arbor MI] 1995. This scholarly work contains a wealth of information regarding the foods, recipes, and dining customs of Medieval France.(P. 291)
[NOTES: (1) "The Menagier" is a 14th century French cookbook. (2)Scully's book contains both original recipe and modern adaptation of the recipe noted above.]

Pepper
Black (and white) pepper comes from the dried, unripe fruit of the Piper nigrum plant. It is atropical plant, native to the East Indies. In ancient times, pepper was prized both as a medicineand food flavoring. Symbolically,pepper was a sign of wealth; practically, pepper was offered as payment and gifts. Inearly times, to receive a gift of pepper was a great honor. Pepper is also connected withsome traditional Christmas foods dating back to Medieval times. Why? Cooks throughtime saved their most precious commodities for the holidays. Northern Europeanpepperkor and peppernut cookies are of this tradition. Gingerbread and lebkuchen werealso made with pepper in these early days.
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Black, white, green & pink pepper

"Peppercorns come in three colours. Unripe, they are 'green'--and green peppercorns began to enjoy considerable popularityfrom the early 1970s, for the combination of heat, aroma, and soft crunchiness that they brought to sauces, terrines, etc. Pickedslightly underripe, dried, and sold without their husks removed, they are 'black'. And fully ripe and dehusked they are 'white'. None of these,incidentally, should be confused with the so-called 'pink peppercorn', for which there was a brief fashion in the early1980s; this superficially resembles the true peppercorn, but is in fact related to poison ivy."
---An A to Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 250)

"Peppercorn--piper nigrum is a vine--native to the East Indies...The Greeks and Romans accepted peppercorns as a tribute, and thespice was certainly the basis for much of the "lure of the east" that impelled first the Portuguese and then other European explorers around Africa toard the fabled Spice Islands."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge]2000, Volume Two (p. 1832)
[According to this source, pepper originated in prehistoric India.]

"Pepper became known in classical Greece around 400 BC; it is first mentioned by the comic playwrights Antiphanes,Eubulus and Alexis and in a Hippocratic text. Dilphius of Siphnos, recommending pepper with scallops in the early thirdcentury BC, provdes the oldest positive evidence of the use of pepper as a condiment...Pepper was the quintessential spice of theIndian Ocean trade in Roman times. It was for pepper, more than any other single product, that Roman gold and silver coins wereexported to India; pepper, when it reached Rome, was stockpiled as another kind of currency in the treasury an in the horreapiperatoria 'pepper warehouses' built by Domitian. But it was for use as well as for storing. For those who could afford thiscostly exotic, pepper is called for no fewer than 452 times in the recipes of Apicus."
---Fodo in the Ancietn World From A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 254-255)

"As several Sanskrit texts show, the use of pepper by the peoples of India goes farther back thanthat of any other spice. The various forms of its name in the European languages, apart fromSpanish...are from an Aryan vocable, pippeli, originating in the valley of the Ganges. TheAryans were the first exporters of wild pepper from the tropical forests of the Indiansubcontinent. Unlike cinnamon and indeed all other spices, pepper was used in foods in Europeas soon as it was introduced, around the sixth or fifth century BC, although Hippocrates, the firstEuropean writer to describe it, mentions it as a medicament rather than a culinaryingredient...Like all spices, pepper was credited with health-giving properties,especially as adigestive, an aperient, to induce sneezing, and-most important of all-as an aphrodesiac. Its rapidrise to favour is unprecedented among spices. Pliny expresses his surprise at the fact six centurieslater in Book XII of his Natural History; its only pleasing quality is its 'pungency', it is boughtby weight like gold or silver'...The pepper the Romans like so much was 'long pepper', whereaswe now use round pepper, which became popular in the twelfth century and had replaced longpepper by the fourteenth..."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble:New York] 1992 (p.491)

"Pepper, more than any other spice, being stronger and more abundant than the others, came tobe seen as a symbol of power and virility, quantities reflected in its powerful and aggressiveflavour. The symbolic factor rated high, since in huge amounts, which could hardly all have beenconsumed, would have been bound to go stale. In the same way, pepper, described as a useful'rent or due, was included among the sources presented to overlords in the Middle Ages, but it wasgenerally specified separately, as a true determinant of workd of the act of vassalage. A Frenchproverb says that something is "cher comme poiver," expensive as pepper. Pepper was oftenmentioned in dowries and as part of ransoms and fines. These symbolical meanings meet in thepepper in the Christmas 'tax' imposed by Archbishops Bertrand and Rostaing de Noves."
---ibid (p. 493)

"There are numerous references to pepper by classical authors. Pliny (1st Century AD) describesblack pepper minutely, complaining about the price and noting that white pepper cost almosttwice as much as black. Pepper was a precious and expensive substance for the Romans...By theMiddle Ages, pepper had assumed great importance in Europe where it was used by the rich as aseasoning, and also a preservative...The earliest reference to the pepper trade in England is in thestatutes of Ethelred (978-1016) where it was enacted that Esterlings' bringing their ships toBillingsgate should pay a toll at Christmas and at Easter plus 10lb of pepper. The first mention ofthe Guild of Pepperers, one of the oldest guilds in the City of London, is from 1180...Pepper hasbeen one of the most important commodities of the spice trade. In Antwerp in the mid-16thcentury...the price of pepper served as a barometer for European business in general..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 595)

About pepper mills
"Pepper mill...In the 1880s Americans, used to using pepper shakers at the table, seemed to findthe French use of pepper mills a novel good idea, for flavor and to avoid adulterated packagedground pepper. This was about 1880. Many styles of carved or turned hardwood mills wereoffered in the 1920s...Pepper mill, brass (sometimes copper & brass) cylinder with domed top,longish, slightly bent crank handle in top, very common form. Actually started out sometime inthe early 19th C. As a coffee mill, from Persia/Turkey. Usually has decorative bands around partof body...At some point in the 20th C., people either started using them as pepper mills, ormaking similar ones for that use."
---300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, Linda Campbell Franklin, 5th ed.[Krause Publications:IolaWI] (p. 92)

Ground pepper in America:
"Pepper was available in the United States in the colonial period, but it was only after the American Revolution that the UnitedStates became a player in the global pepper trade. This trade began in 1793 when Jonathan Carnes, a Salem, Massachusetts,sea captain, set sail for the East Indies. He was successful in finding pepper, but on his way home his ship was wrecked offBermuda. He sailed to the Indies in 1795 on a new ship...and returned with his hold full of peppercorns--which he sold at a 700 percent profit. Others followed and Salem became the pepper port of note in the new United States...In the early nineteenth century some regarded pepper as a cause of insanity. Pepper in any case was shunned by food purists, who thought that the spice should be avoided or, at least, used in moderation. By the past-Civil Warperiod, pepper was considered more acceptable, but it was still to be avoided by children or by those who already had a "sound digestion" and did not need condiments."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 2 (p. 254)

About fresh ground pepper served in American restaurants
Our survey of newspapers and magazines indicates the practice of offering freshly ground pepper (at table) to restaurant patronsbegan sometime in late 1980s. It climaxed in the mid-1990s. By the late '90s, it was *old.* We're not finding any particular chef/restaurant/culture/cuisine credited for thisinnovation. Indeed, print sources confirm offerings are all over the map...from upscale European restaurants to chain eateries cateringto trendy youthful crowds.

"Black, white and green peppercorns are readily available in the United States and are best purchased as whole peppercorns. Unfortunately, the most common way pepper is sold in this country is in the ground state. Whole peppercorns will stay fresh for a long time, but ground pepper quickly loses both its aroma and its flavor. Bottled ground white pepper can even start to taste rancid.Using fresh ground pepper is not just a fad started by smart restaurateurs who wanted to improve their salad presentations. Freshly ground pepper can mean the difference between an ordinary dish and an extraordinary one. When a recipe calls for freshly ground pepper, it means pepper ground from a mill by the cook as it is needed. And one of the easiest ways to improve your cooking is to buy whole peppercorns and a pepper mill."
---"Pepper Puts Dishes on More Flavorful Ground," JeanMarie Brownson, Chicago Tribune, Feb 22, 1987 (p. 18)

"If fresh-gound pepper and grated cheese are offered at one table, we will be sure they are offered to all."
---"Today's Special: Advice for Restauranteurs," Patricia Brooks, New York Times, January 2, 1994 (p. CN12)

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"'Fresh ground pepper' I liked it better when there was just a simple pepper shaker on a table. Then someone came up with the idea of 'fresh ground pepper,' for which there seems to be only one pepper grinder in the entire restaurant. The waiter asks if we would like some as though we are being tempted with saffron or beluga caviar. Once the waiter starts grinding, I've been tempted not to tell him when to stop, just to see how far he would go. Give us either a pepper grinder for each table or give us back the shaker. Incidentally, a bit of semantics: What the waiters are really offering us is 'pepper that is freshly ground,' although we are not sure how fresh the pepper is that is being ground. It just doesn't seem worth the trouble."
---"Disappearing dishes and other pet peeves," Errol Laborde, New Orleans Magazine, September 1995, (p. 9)

Additional information: Spice Encyclopedia & A Modern Herbal

Recommended reading: Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices/Andrew Dalby

FAQs

What is the history of muffins? ›

The first English muffin was actually made in New York in the 19th Century. After coming to America, a baker named Samuel Bath Thomas opened up a bakery in modern day Chelsea where he created an item he called the “toaster crumpet” and sold in his store.

When was the first muffin made? ›

The type of muffin we enjoy is a decidedly American treat and can be traced back to the mid 1800's. The first written recipes of American style muffins began to appear during the middle of the 19th century when pearlash was discovered. Muffins often contain fruit, nuts and spices.

When did muffins become popular? ›

Muffins were most popular during the 19th century, when muffin men traversed the town streets at teatime, ringing their bells.

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