Lebanese street corner bakeries

The manóushé is the quintessential Lebanese breakfast. Named for the Arabic word na’sh which refers to the way the fingertips of the baker “engrave” the dough, the manóushé is indeed engraved upon our collective memories as Lebanese. The smell of manóushé bi-zatar in the morning catapults a Lebanese person back in time to a lively…

Journey to the heart of Turkish Cuisine

People are always eating and drinking around the clock in Istanbul: grabbing chewy sesame-crusted simit (bagels) on every street corner, sipping refreshing freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice, small glasses of sweetened tea or thick mastic-flavored Turkish coffee on their way to work, stopping at hole-in-the-wall döner and köfte joints for a quick snack or slurping bowls of chickpea and…

Bread and Salt

Bread, called nan in Persian, is the staple food of Iran in all regions except around the Caspian, where rice supplants it. Nan is a Persian word first used in Achaemenid Iran (550-330 BCE), from which all other languages borrowed it. In Iran, bread and salt are treated with great respect. The main Persian breads are flat breads but…

Persian Tea

Tea was discovered about 5000 years ago in China. In the early 17th century, tea was introduced to England and its Chinese name, tay, changed to the English name tea. In England, tea was brewed in china teapots. The English believed that a drop of milk in the teapot would prevent it from breaking and thus…

Armenian Sweet Bread (Nan-e gisu)

Makes 3 loaves Preparation time: 20 minutes plus rising time overnight Cooking time: 35-40 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 package or 1 tablespoon dry yeast 1/4th cup warm water 3 eggs 1.5 cups sugar 1 tablespoon honey 2 tsp ground mahlab 1 cup whole milk 1 cup melted, unsalted butter or Oil 4.5-5.5 cups cake flour, sifted with…

An Omelette is Born

In 1835, during the Carlist uprising in Spain, the rebels laid seige to Bilbao. One day during the siege, the Carlist commander, General Tomas de Zumalacarregui y de Imaz, was passing a farmhouse and demanded that the farmer’s wife prepare him something to eat. All the woman had were some eggs, a potato and an…

The confused discovery of chilli. Or was it?

  The United Salad of America By Act of Congress, the phrase E pluribus unum (Latin for ‘out of many, one’) was adopted as one of the mottos on the seal of the infant USA. The phrase derives from one used in ‘Moretum’, a Latin poem attributed to Virgil (70-19 BC): It manus in gyrum;…

The World’s Most Expensive Salad

  Heinz Tomato Ketchup : 57 varieties. Not really. While riding in an elevated train in New York, H.J.Heinz was struck by a shoe shop sign declaring that it offered ’21 styles’. He was thus inspired to come up with the slogan ’57 varieties’ for his own company – even though at that stage it…

Let Them Eat Salmon…

In Old Mortality, Sir Walter Scott’s 1816 novel set at the time of the Covenanter Rising of 1679, the author describes how salmon was not always regarded as a luxury: A large boiled salmon would now-a-days have indicated a more liberal housekeeping; but at that period, salmon was caught in such plenty in the considerable rivers of…

Once upon a potato…

Food history is SO much fun! I love reading about eating habits of people in the past or even things like how people considered certain things like potatoes and tomatoes poisonous and hence, inedible at some point. There are tons of food history books and there are some I recommend which you can see at the…