Welcome to Historic Kitchen!

Did you bring your onion goggles? Phew. You’re all set. I hope you’re hungry!

What is Historic Kitchen, you may ask?

Well, in this project we’ll be meandering along through time, touching upon both food and culinary history. There’s a difference?! Why yes. The former includes foodways and social practices, while the latter encompasses ingredients, preparation, and the like. I research historic recipes and then subject myself to them. Sometimes I find delicious masterpieces! Other times I spend a week de-fumigating my apartment from “eu de anchovy”. Throughout it all I glimpse new facets of the kitchens, tables, experiences, politics, societies, and lives of various peoples throughout history.

Generally, I feature primary source recipes which other talented food historians have already adapted to the modern kitchen. “That isn’t authentic!” You might say. Well, I have plenty to say about that! But in a nutshell, I use the difference between the two recipes – the original and its adaptation – as a wonderful place to explore continuity and change in historic foodways. In the future I hope to try my hand at creating my own adaptations, or making unadapted recipes (as soon as Amazon carries stone hearths and sugarloaves…) but at present I rely upon the hard work of Food & Culinary Historians. Because golly, that’s difficult.

For a selection of cookbooks that I draw my recipes from, please see my Bibliography.

Historic Kitchen was originally a column published between May 2015 and April 2016 on Musings MMSt Blogspot. The original eleven posts were distributed over three seasons: GrecoRoman, Medieval & Renaissance Europe, and 18th-20th c. Canada. I have transferred those posts onto this website for searchability, though I have retained all (okay, most) of the original text. As a result, some of the references to timing in those posts refer to their original publication schedule, not their post date on this website. I apologize if there is any confusion.

Spoon Clock new knife

I encourage you to use and share these recipes! Please always remember to attribute the primary source, the recipe book which adapts it, and my own interpretive text, as necessary.