Feeding the beast: Two books explore my favorite hobby — eating

ate.jpegSo here are two terms I have never heard before: “culinary historian” and “historical gastronomist.” They both sound like the same thing, but what do I know? I’ll tell you what I know: If I saw this job when I was taking aptitude tests in high school I would have been on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich. It sounds like fun and, hey, eating is involved.

I recently read “What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women & The Food That Tells Their Stories” by culinary historian Laura Shapiro, and “Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine” by historical gastronomist Sarah Lohman and have been yapping about them nonstop ever since.

flavors.jpeg“Come on,” I said at holiday gatherings, about one drink shy of completely embarrassing myself. “Guess the eight flavors.” And when we weren’t playing that game, I was discoursing on all the bizarreness that was Hitler’s lover Eva Braun and Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown’s pathetic slavishness to staying thin.

There are certain family members who have stopped taking my calls.

Continue reading “Feeding the beast: Two books explore my favorite hobby — eating”

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‘Salt Sugar Fat’ will make you rethink what you put in your mouth

As someone who can’t eat dairy—one test, years ago indicated I wasn’t lactose intolerant and not allergic to milk, yet my body can tolerate only a token amount before I have to race to the bathroom—I actually get angry when I go out to eat.

salt sugar fatMy wife and I scrounge up the cash, choose a restaurant and feed the kids, only to end up challenged by a menu on which most items have cheese or dairy as a key ingredient. “Why do they have to bury everything under cheese?” I whine to my long-suffering wife. She’s sympathetic, but she’s also heard it all before: “Why do people need cheese stuffed into their pizza crust?” I shout at the television. “Can the average Pizza Hut customer discern the delicate interplay of the five carefully selected cheeses on their revolting-looking Five-Cheese Pizza?” I ask in response to a radio commercial. “The Pioneer Woman put an entire brick of cream cheese into her freaking mashed potatoes!” I tell my children at the dinner table to let them know the horrors that face them when they leave the loving bosom of home. Continue reading “‘Salt Sugar Fat’ will make you rethink what you put in your mouth”