This article, by celebrated chef James Beard (1903 – 1985), walks us through the history of Champagne as only a true lover of food and wine can do:
"Not until around 1670 was a way discovered to imprison those tantalizing bubbles in every bottle, and keep the bottle from exploding. Credit for inventing sparkling Champagne is attributed, inaccurately perhaps, to a Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon...It is said that as an old, blind man, Dom Perignon could sniff a glass of Champagne, sip it, swish it about his mouth, and then unfailingly say from what hillside the grapes had come..."
Here is an article from GENTRY MAGAZINE on the delightful day and high expectations of a French cognac taster:
"This is how it works: each morning, from about ten o'clock until lunch, at one, the taster receives in his office those farmers and distillers who have come to offer him samples of their cognac. The taster has eaten only a very small breakfast hours before. His stomach is practically empty...The taster never fills the glass with cognac, for that way the bouquet is lost . Instead, he pours in the cognac until the glass is one-third or at most half filled. Then he turns the glass so that the cognac is twirled in the glass and it's vapors mix even more with the air of the glass..."
A fascinating read.
In this admirable effort to briefly tell the history of ice cream, the authors of this three page narrative begin in the year 62 A.D., pointing out that the Roman Emperor Nero had gone on record declaring his fondness for frozen delicacies, but, as you will read, what he was consuming was in actuality something more along the lines of a "snow-cone"; but it is good to know that the market was very much in place at such an early moment in time. Jumping ahead some 1,200 years, we learn that Marco Polo had returned from China with a frozen tasty treat:
"People tried it out, and something like our sherbet was soon served in many parts of Europe, eventually being improved upon by the addition of milk to resemble ice cream."
The trivia truly begins to flow from that point and we learn that George Washington was really quite fond of the stuff, and how ice cream sundaes and Eskimo Pies came into the world.
A refreshing read.
Forty-three years after the bloody end of the American Civil War, this reminiscence by a Southern officer appeared in print recalling the important roll that corn played during those days as it had throughout all American history:
"During the war I commanded the 1st Arkansas Regiment, consisting of twelve hundred men, and during the four years we never saw a piece of bread that contained a grain of wheat flower. We lived entirely on plain corn bread, and my men were strong and kept the best of health...."
Told in this three page article is the story concerning the rise of the global pepper trade and the subsequent spread of that spice throughout the kitchens of the world:
"Although Americans use more than one third of the world's annual supply of nearly 90,000,000 pounds, it has been estimated that the average American family shakes only 7.1 ounces into their food a year. The balance is used by the makers of baked and canned goods, and meat-packing houses."
In 1956 the editors of CORONET Magazine saw fit to print this three page history of the Brazil nut; a fruit that has been popular in much of Europe for centuries but seldom known by the Brazilians or their neighbors:
"The Brazil nut is the world's most fabulous nut, fabulous in the manner of its growth, its gathering, its distribution and the perils associated with bringing it out of the Amazon jungle where it thrives."
"The nut has been consistently exported to Great Britain, Germany and other European countries since 1633. After W.W. II, a large share of the annual crop was shipped to the United States, as well, where the raw nuts were shelled and reshipped throughout the world."