#FoodFriday Links (#1)

I’m taking this week off from a feature blog post while I try to work on processing some culinary and cocktail-related collections and/or additions that I’ve been hoarding in my office. However, it is #FoodFriday, so I wanted to share something–like these links!

  • Back in January, we talked about The Gentleman’s Companion and a bit about the “Papa Doble” (aka the “Hemingway Daiquiri”). You can read that post here. Just this week, NPR featured an article about the man behind the Papa Doble, bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert. If you’re interested in learning about the “Cocktail King of Cuba,” I recommend the article, which you can read here.
  • In March, we acquired a collection of more than 2,000 pieces of culinary ephemera, mostly trade cards and postcards, but some other items and formats, too. It was all collected by one person, Dr. Alice Ross, and it’s a great collection to get lost in! I just put up a finding aid this morning.  I hope to revisit it and add more detail in the future, but for now, you can read about the collection in the finding aid.

Food in the News: More Election Cakes! (#5)

All that time I spent writing about “Election Cake” last week, then NPR went and did it for me over the weekend! You can check out their piece “A History Of Election Cake And Why Bakers Want To #MakeAmericaCakeAgain” online, complete with the audio. On the other hand, maybe this means “What’s Cookin'” is staying ahead in the food news game!




Food in the News: Terroir (#4)

Late last week, NPR’s blog, The Salt ran a story about wine and terroir. “Terroir” is one of those beverage buzzwords that you might or might not have heard and might or might not know. The article, “Demystifying Terroir: Maybe It’s the Microbes Making Magic in Your Wine” offers a good background on the word and the concept as it relates to wine.  The general idea is that grapes and a wine, as a result, are influenced by a number of environmental and soil factors from the slope of a hill, the angle of sunlight on the plants, the amount of rainfall, and more. The article looks more specifically that even the local fungi and microbes may have an effect on the taste of a wine, too. However, it isn’t just wine that is influenced by the oh-so-subtle-factors of plant-based alcohols–think about the soil beneath hops that contribute to a beer or the elevation of the land on which agave grows before it becomes part of a tequila.

The idea of “terroir,” though, doesn’t stop there. At the local cheese festival here in Blacksburg two weeks ago, there was a talk/tasting on wine and cheese pairings. (And, since I’m often to be found where there’s one of those ingredients, you can bet I was there for both!) It certainly wasn’t surprising that the word came up, but it was fascinating to hear how much one of the experts had to say about the terroir of cheese and how much the locality in which it was produced can effect the food itself. While there’s an argument for consistency in a food product (whatever it is), there’s an argument for individuality, local influence, and terroir of a food, too. Just something to consider next time you’re in the farmers’ market, the co-op, or at a local farm.

Food in the News (#3): Food Fraud!

NPR’s The Salt featured a story this weekend on food fraud, how it’s “found out,” and just what it’s worth. If you’re curious, you can check out the article (or have a listen) to “Is There Wood Pulp In That Parmesan? How Scientists Sniff Out Food Fraud.”

Adulteration of food is nothing new and it’s a topic that’s come up among researchers using our collection. We have a number of publications that address adulteration (and regulation) of food, drinks, and in our History of the American Cocktail Collection, even the liquor trade! So, if you’d like to learn more, drop on by!

New Blog Post from NPR

I’m working on a feature post for this week, but in the meantime, The Salt, NPR’s food-related blog, posted a story yesterday that touches on some of the themes I talked about last week: the Civil War, food supplies, and coffee. It also talks about cookbooks published during the Civil War (or lack thereof). You might want to check out “Slavery, Famine And The Politics Of Pie: What Civil War Recipes Reveal” while you’re waiting on me.

Food Blog Round-Up

It’s your loyal archivist/blogger Kira here. I’m out of the office for part of the week, so I’m going to cheat on this week’s post.  Rather than feature an item from the collection (don’t worry, we’ll be back to normal next week!), I thought I’d do a quick blog round-up.  Because when I’m not working or writing blog posts, I’m reading them. Some blogs I follow are news related, some culture related, and some are just plain fun. There are lots of individuals interested in food culture and history who find creative ways to blog on the internet. So, if you’re looking for a one-time read, or a new blog to follow, here are a few from my feed reader you might want to check out:

  • NPR’s food blog, The Salt, mixes food news, food culture, and usually, on Mondays, some pretty hilarious mockery of sandwiches (I can relate!).
  • Interested in Southern food culture? The Southern Foodways Alliance blog focuses on food projects, people, trends, and events.
  • We aren’t the only library with a food blog either! La Cocina Historica focuses on the Mexican Cookbook Collection at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Food as a Lens is the work of a history/foodways professor who writes about food traditions from around the country.
  • 1972: The Retro WW Experiment. Retro Mimi recreates 1970s Weight Watchers recipes in her own kitchen and shares her adventures along the way. Some of what she makes might look VERY familiar to recipes you’ve seen here!
  • The Mid-Century Menu. Blogger Retro Ruth has a project that makes me wish for more time in the day! Each Wednesday, she posts her experiences making a mid-20th century recipe at home. On Fridays, she’s now testing out vintage cocktail recipes, too.

These are just a few examples. There are many, many more food blogs out there and you can find them with the click of a mouse. If you follow a food blog you think I should know about, leave a note in the comments below! I’m always on the lookout for a new read.

Happy reading!