So 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.
“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.