So here we are. Despite my insistence that I do not care about the history of food, my first post here finds me trumpeting a site dedicated to the history of food. Recently I've found myself spending many a late night on The Food Timeline learning about the history of certain dishes and brands. For example, did you know that Vodka Sauce, the most amazing tomato based sauce in the world (in my opinon), has only been around for a few decades? Or that Gennaro Lombardi, a Neapolitan immigrant, started the first New York Pizzeria in 1905? If you didn't know that, don't feel bad. No need to get down on yourself. And if you did....well, stop lying.
The site is not a run-of-the-mill timeline, however. The site's author, Lynne Olver, is a reference librarian by trade and has contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. She was even named the 2002 Morris County Librarian of the Year by the New York Times. That's the paper of record!
Seriously though, check out the site. Some of the entries link to other pages but a good deal are written by Olver. The fact that she bases her articles on a broad range of documented sources and she acknowledges gaps and disputes in the record makes the history major in me giddy with excitement.
When researching tiramisu a month or two ago, I was surprised to find that, far from being a traditional Italian classic, it was actually invented in the 70s in Italy, and instantly inundated American fancy menus. It's funny how off our perceptions of "traditional" foods can be.
Posted by: Barzelay at July 4, 2006 2:51 AM
I was also thrown for a loop when I found out about the origins of tiramisu. Up until two nights ago I just sort of assumed that all food considered "italian" was created during one amazing culinary jam session in the 1400s headed by Leonardo Da Vinci and Amerigo Vespucci.
Posted by: Adam Rugg at July 4, 2006 3:09 AM
Prior to that, Italians got chinese delivery every night.
Posted by: Barzelay at July 4, 2006 3:53 AM