Entries by Mark Gresge

Soup

Soup Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and […]

American Buffet

American buffet Buffet-style entertaining caught on in America during the Great Depression. At home it required little or no maid service and enabled the hostess to present a splendid table. Restaurants studied this trend and capitalized on it. The Prix fixe dining option was not a new concept. Neither was all-you-can-eat. Colonial taverns, grand passenger […]

Belgian Waffles

Belgian waffles Remember the Belgian waffles served at the New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965? Thick, chewy, hot and delicious. Who knew? Waffles could be the perfect dessert! “The one food delicacy sure to survive the closing, this weekend, of the New York World’s Fair is the Belgian waffle. It is due to join the international […]

Soup or Stew?

Soup or stew? What is the difference between soup and stew? On the most basic level there is no absolute difference. Like ancient pottage, both soup and stew descend from economical, easy, healthy, forgiving, and locally sourced family feeds. Throughout time, these two interrelated menu items converge and diverge. Modern American cultural context does, however, […]

Cats Head Biscuits!!

Cathead biscuits Huge as a cat’s head, served up hot with with Sawmill Gravy. An Appalchian down-home favorite! “There, in the Blackstone kitchen, Berry’s grand chefs, Vernie and Floyd Nabors, turned out Sunday morning biscuits that melted in one’s mouth. Particularly if you opened one up and added fresh butter along with the generous portion […]

Baking Soda

Baking soda & powder According to the food historians, baking soda [bicarbonate of soda] dates back to ancient civilization. It was not until the mid-19th century, however, that it was regularly used by English and American cooks. The most comprehensive discussion of the history of this topic may be found in English Bread and Yeast […]

Sugarplums

Sugarplums Sugarplums belong to the comfit family, a confection traditionally composed of tiny sugar-coated seeds. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word sugarplum thusly: “A small round or oval sweetmeat, made of boiled sugared and variously flavoured and coloured; a comfit.” The earliest mention of this particular food is 1668. The term also has another […]

Candy Cane!

WHAT ABOUT THE CANDY CANE? The origin of the candy cane is an interesting study of food lore and legend. It is easy to find information on this topic in books and on the Internet. The most popular story is the one about the German choirmaster who handed these out to his young singers in […]

Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies Cakes of all shapes and sizes (including smaller items such as cookies) have been part of festive holiday rituals long before Christmas. Ancient cooks prepared sweet baked goods to mark significant occasions. Many of these recipes and ingredients (cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds, dried fruits etc.) were introduced to Europe in the Middle […]

Bring us some Figgie Pudding!!

Christmas pudding (aka plum pudding) Christmas pudding dates back to Medieval times. Traditionally made on Stir up Sunday, this special dessert contains charms symbolizing good luck for the New Year. Hard sauce was introduced in the 19th century. How old is the tradition? “Christmas pudding, the rich culimation of a long process of development of […]