Where do the recipes you make today come from? Where did they originate? At what point did someone first decide to combina the combination of ingredients that defined a new dish? Did that cook feel the same sort of pride that we do at creating something new and delicious for his or her family?
I’m sure that they did.
What would it have felt like to sit around an ultra-formal afternoon tea and sandwich table of the late 1800′s or early 20th century. Did the formality of the affair diminish the social aspect, or enhance it? Would you even recognize most of the food at the table?
You might be surprised.
Turning through the pages of a vintage cookbook is more than reading a list of ingredients and methods. In many cases it’s a look back into history. You find tips and suggestions about homemaking, where to find the best meats, how to bargain with shop owners and tips on etiquette of the time. Many of these things is unrelated to cooking, but offers insight into the daily lives of those cooks.
Why is it that some recipes that were extremely popular in these older books are no longer in fashion. Is it jut that tastes have changed? Are the ingredients no longer easily available, or is it something else?
In some cases, the flow of time has lost these recipes. Dishes our great-grandparents and their parents held dear. In other cases, modern ingredients and ready-made packaged foods have overshadowed, or worse, made a mockery of these foods. (Think potted or deviled meats. These are wonderful if made at home, but horrific from a tin.)
The time has come to bring these recipes back. To relive those times in our culinary past. For that reason, we have re-launched the Retro Recipe Challenge with one mission.
To Revive our culinary history, one recipe at a time.
These recipes need to be adapted. They need to be interpreted. They need to be updated. Otherwise they are doomed to be forgotten.
I, for one, am not going to let that happen.
For the first Retro Recipe Challenge, I thought it would be appropriate to start with a book that most cooks (At least American cooks) will be familiar with. The challenge for August 15th, to recreate a recipe from the Boston Cooking School Cookbook by legendary cooking instructor Fannie Merritt Farmer.
Details for this challenge, along with links to two separate editions of the book (free) can be found on the Retro Recipe Challenge blog.
We hope to have you join us on this journey. You’re sure to learn a lot, have some fun and most importantly, show the world that our culinary past is tied directly to its future.
Are you up to the challenge? Sign up now!