When Your Biscuits Are Like Rocks: Including Imperfection in Historical Interpretation

Canada Part 2: 19th c. Ontario Cooking featuring Immigrants from the Isles

Selected Recipes
New Cock-a-Leekie Soup
“Excellent Hot Tea Cakes”
“Cranberry Pie”

If you’ve ever watched “Chopped: Canada”, you can sympathize with me when I say that I would be first on the chopping block. Do I cook with enthusiasm? Heck yes! Bravery? You betcha! Skill? Eh….in time, I tell myself, in time.Many times over this Historic Kitchen project I have looked askance at my final product….doubting that I have made it correctly. I would bet good money that my attempt at Patina of Pears would make even the dour Cato the Elder roll over laughing. The difficulty with creating recipes of unfamiliar dishes is that you have no ideaif you are wrong, or how you are wrong. Just that unpleasant niggling sensation that something must be different….since “there is no way this thing should be so jiggly/…neon…/crunchy/[insert questionable adjective here]!”Read More »

Taste, The Final Frontier: Can Museums Recreate the Flavours of History?

Selected Classical Recipes
Athenian Cabbage – The Classical Cookbook
Parthian Chicken – The Classical Cookbook
Lentils with Chestnuts – A Taste of History

GrecoRoman Pt 5.

Museums today are exploring different methods of display that incorporate senses other than sight and allow visitors to experience knowledge in new ways. It is not uncommon to see exhibits featuring soundscapes and opportunities for touch. Though growing as an interpretive tool, smell is still fairly rare.

But what about taste?Read More »

But What If We Don’t Like It? Cooking Roman Staples and the Dilemma of Authenticity

Selected Classical Recipes
Layered Cheesecake – The Classical Cookbook
Fish in Coriander Crust – The Classical Cookbook
Nut Cake – Roman Cookery

GrecoRoman Pt 5.

When making the array of ‘Roman staples’ (of which many didn’t make it into the post), I encountered a problem. I frequently didn’t like them. However, I’d bought the ingredients, I was hungry, I was darn well going to eat them.

I have been lucky to have so much choice in selecting recipes. I could have easily chosen only items I know I would like. But I forced myself to step outside my boundaries -and heavily resisted the inclination to adjust the recipes to my taste. Making food I like wasn’t the point (but was usually an added benefit). The point was seeing if I could learn something new about the Greeks and Romans through their food. But how much can you learn if it isn’t authentic?Read More »