In a general sense, every person who blogs on food is blogging food history. A rather remarkable record exists of our current times free of most of the constraints which limited real-time documentation of foodways in past times – today’s blogs document both high-end and lower-end dining. What’s blogged today is what is actually on the tables across the world of everyone who has access to a computer and the internet and who is literate enough to create a blog. Oral histories – served up on a plate!
Aside from food bloggers who write of the foods they cook (or the places they have dined) there are bloggers who delve into the topic of food history. What a wonderful way to look upon times past! Food is so close to us in our daily lives – reading of the history of it can conjure up a picture of “the way things used to be” with such intimacy – moreso for me than do stories of historic wars or political conflicts. In some way the history of food makes the past personal and know-able, whereas the stories of historic wars blend the past pretty much into one big mass of sameness with not too much different but the names of the people and the tactics they undertook. Chacun sa gout. I, remember what hits my tongue . . . the smell of garlic rising from around the corner of the next street, the crisp bits of breadcrumb upon the tablecloth, the essence of soy sauce, or chicken stock, or steak grilling in undertones as one walks by a window, the pots or pans and fires and electric coils or charcoal briquets, the bamboo steamers so soft and light, the firm grassiness of a black eggplant in a pile of firm grassy black eggplants capped with their elfin stem of bitter green. I like to know how others have experienced this, in past times. So much the same, so much different. So much to know.
Several of my favorite bloggers-of-food-history are already linked to in the sidebar, but happily today I have another to add: Gherkins and Tomatoes is a fairly new entry into this group – and I love it. I hope you do too.
The history of food always must touch upon the mysteries of food, and of the people (all of us) who eat and what we eat – for so very many reasons, and not only just to fill the tummy.
It’s always about more than just filling the tummy. Ask anyone who makes a meal.