Tag Archives: Food History

How One Woman Helped End Lunch Counter Segregation in the Nation’s Capital

Thompson’s restaurant once served up fast, cheap meals—everything from smoked boiled tongue to cold salmon sandwiches. Today, there’s nothing in downtown D.C. to show that the then-popular restaurant chain even had a location at 725 14th Street Northwest in the 1950s. The space is now filled by a CVS drug store. Across the street, there’s an upscale barbershop, and on the corner at the intersection of 14th and New York Avenue, a Starbucks is currently under construction.

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British Monks Discovered a Curry Recipe in a 200-Year-Old Cookbook

As a dish, the spicy, saucy stew now called curry has deep roots. Archaeologists have uncovered dishware dating back more than 4,500 years in the town of Farmana (a two-hour drive west of Delhi, India, today), covered in the remains of ancient proto-curries made from ingredients like ginger, garlic and turmeric, which are all still used today in curries around the world. Over thousands of years, the stew evolved as trade brought new ingredients and cooking traditions to spice up the meal: Muslim traders introduced meat into curry sometime around the year 1,000, and later, Indians began incorporating cloves imported from Southeast Asia into the meal, Andrew Lawler writes for Slate. But it wasn’t until the Portuguese began colonizing India that the spicy dish began to become popular in Europe. Recently, a group of British monks stumbled across a 200-year-old cookbook in their library that, among other things, includes a recipe for chicken curry.

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How Food Became Religion in Peru’s Capital City

The first time I went out to eat in Lima, it was in secret. It was the start of the 1980s, and Peru was in the midst of a civil war. There were blackouts and curfews—and very few people went out after dark. At the time, I was four years old, and my only friend was a man who worked as a sort of assistant to my father, who was raising four of us alone and needed the help. The man’s name was Santos. Santos was about 30, and he had a huge appetite. Like millions of other Peruvians who’d fled the violence unfolding in the countryside, we’d recently migrated to Lima from a town deep in the Andes. We all missed home. But at night it was Santos who always seemed most heartbroken. When I asked him why, he said that he no longer savored his food.

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