In this episode, we continue our look at the gradual emergence of Middle English from the linguistic rubble left in the wake of the Norman Conquest. English remained fractured and broken, and foreign influences continued to come in. We explore the changing language of the Peterborough Chronicle. We also examine how a merchant’s failed attempt to buy some eggs shaped the history of the English language.
Tagged with “food” (205)
This week Sue Lawley’s castaway is the award-winning cookery writer Claudia Roden whose Book of Middle Eastern Food revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East. Her Book of Jewish Food has been described as ‘the richest and most sensuous encyclopaedia of Jewish life ever set in print’. She chooses eight records to take with her to the mythical island.
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the chef Heston Blumenthal. He is one of only three chefs working in Britain today to be awarded three Michelin stars and last year his restaurant, The Fat Duck, was named the best in the world by a panel of 5,000 food experts.
His speedy rise to the top of his profession is little short of extraordinary. He has only ever spent a week in a professional kitchen and taught himself classical French cookery. He became fascinated by the science of cooking and has become the Willy Wonka of modern cuisine - dishes he’s created include mango and douglas fir puree, salmon poached with liquorice and, most famously, snail porridge. But he acknowledges his success has been largely due too to his wife’s support and now wants to change the balance of his life towards spending more time with his young family.
A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just about everything.
Chef Michael Solomonov sees his mission as connecting people to the food of his homeland. "That, to me, is my life’s work," he says. Solomonov’s new cookbook is Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
Aleks Krotoski explores whether or not the digital world is changing food culture.
Food is a universal necessity, human brains light up more for food than any other experience, so it’s little wonder that food culture has exploded online. Social media is festooned with pictures, recipes, cooking videos and we can’t seem to ever get enough.
But, is the digital world doing more than getting our mouths watering? Could technology be changing the very way we taste?
In this episode, Aleks Krotoski explores how food trends develop and shape our culture and spread on social media, as well as exploring new tech that may change the way we eat - from 3D printed delights, to Chef Watson who creates recipes in the cloud, and even how we might manipulate our brains to change how we perceive flavour.
How do our assumptions about people affect our assumptions about their food? And how do their assumptions about our food affect how we feel about ourselves? What happens when chefs cook a cuisine they weren’t born into? And what happens when there’s a backlash? Our friend Dan Pashman, host of WNYC Studio’s The Sporkful, has launched a special series of episodes called "Other People’s Food," which aims to explore exactly these questions. Dan talks with Brooke about the project so far.
That sink is where Rachel Roddy, an English woman in Rome, prepares meals to share with her partner Vincenzo, their young son Luca, and a horde of appreciative readers of her website and, now, her first book.
Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, features the sink on its front cover. That probably makes it one of the most famous sinks in Rome. So naturally when Rachel and I got home from our meeting in the new Testaccio market, it was the first thing I wanted to see. And photograph. Our conversation ranged widely, from book titles and domain names to the links between the food of Rome and the food of Manchester. And although she says she’s a romantic and prone to nostalgia, it is also clearly the case that Rachel Roddy loves learning about food and cooking, loves sharing what she’s learned, and loves telling stories. Simple ingredients, for a satisfying cookbook and website.
A couple of other links. Rachel mentioned her friend Fabrizia Lanza and the farm and cooking school she runs in Sicily. Here’s what Rachel wrote recently about a wonderful idea called Cook the Farm. If you decide to follow the link, do give yourself time to pursue Rachel down all her intriguing rabbit holes.
Karima Moyer-Nocchi is an American woman who teaches at the University of Siena. When she had been here almost 25 years she developed something of an obsession. On the one hand, she watched “a bewildering decline in the quality and craftsmanship of Italian food together with a skyrocketing deification of it”. On the other, “in a vicious circle, the decline stimulated the explosion of the gastronomic nostaliga industry, which in turn, hastened the very process it claimed to quell”.
This is not something you would notice. The modern idea is that Italian cuisine has always been more-or-less what it is, and that if there were a difference between social classes, it was more about how often they ate certain dishes, or the quality of the ingredients, than about what they actually ate. As Karima Moyer-Nocchi discovered, that rose-tinted view is at odds with what actually went on.
In an attempt to make sense of the changes, Moyer-Nocchi turned to women, now aged 90 and more, who had grown up under fascism and who, perhaps, could shed light on the recent history of Italian food. She gently coaxed their memories of food from them, and created a book that is part oral history, part academic history, and that puts the current mania for Italian cuisine in perspective. There’s no way we could cover it all in one interview, but I think you can get some idea of how things have changed, mostly for the better, and also how little one knows about the real history of food in Italy.
The book is Chewing the Fat: An Oral History of Italian Foodways from Fascism to Dolce Vita, and in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that if you follow that link straight to Amazon and buy it, I get a teeny reward.
The banner image, from a photograph by Henri Roger-Viollet (I think), shows Mussolini taking part in the first wheat threshing in Latina in 1932, a temporary victory in the Battle for Wheat. The podcast cover image is from a photograph by Mario Giacomelli.
In another episode about food in Fascist Italy, I talked to Ruth Lo about the festa dell’uva
How do we learn to eat? It may seem like an obvious question, but it’s actually quite a complicated process. Who decided that mushed-up vegetables were the perfect first food—and has that always been the case? What makes us like some foods and hate others—and can we change? Join us to discover the back story behind the invention of baby food, as well as the latest science on flavor preferences and tips for how to transform dislikes into likes.
As parents know, mealtimes with toddlers can often be a war zone. Meanwhile, the diet of many American adults resembles a kiddie menu—fries, pizza, chicken tenders, and burgers. In this episode, we’re joined by NYU food historian Amy Bentley, whose new book tells the surprising story of how the development of canning, the discovery of vitamins, and the medicalization of motherhood came together to create an entirely new product: commercial baby food. It caught on quickly—but how did being raised on sweet, salty, smooth gloop end up affecting a generation of eaters? Meanwhile, British food writer Bee Wilson shares a wealth of surprising research into how we develop food likes and dislikes, busting pervasive myths and questioning conventional wisdom in the process. Finally, we reveal the magical technique that can help expand the palates of toddlers and adults alike. (It really works!)
There’s plenty for parents, kids, and all the rest of us in this new episode, including the science of flavor imprinting, the age of social indifference, and the unexpected connection between the Cold War and the Gerber baby. Listen now!
Freddie and Alice
Episode Notes FIRST BITE: HOW WE LEARN TO EAT
Bee Wilson’s latest book is a must-read—she covers all the permutations of how we learn and re-learn how to eat throughout our lives with her typical insight and humor. She’s also our first repeat guest: check out her star turn on our first ever episode, The Golden Spoon.
INVENTING BABY FOOD: TASTE, HEALTH, AND THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF THE AMERICAN DIET
Amy Bentley is professor in the department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, and co-founder of Nicky’s favorite gathering, the Experimental Cuisine Collective. Her fascinating book won the 2015 Association for the Study of Food and Society Book Award.
Annie Gray is a food historian whose research focuses on the history of food and dining in Britain from around 1600 to the present day. She’s author of a forthcoming book about the royal kitchens of nineteenth-century Britain, titled A Greedy Queen.
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