SERTARUL CU GANDURI

02/12/2018

Michael Krondl – „The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice” – 3


Venetians not only tried to dress like the Byzantines, they aped their eating habits, too. Not that every Eastern culinary innovation was immediately embraced. The imported fork, for example, was initially demonized as “an instrument of the devil.” When the doge’s son Giovanni Orseolo returned from Constantinople around 1004 with his Byzantine bride, Maria, she immediately elicited gossip not least because of the highly suspect implements in her trousseau. “She did not touch food with her hands,” wrote a scandalized reporter years after the event, “but the food was cut up into small pieces by her servants and she would pick up these tidbits, tasting them using a golden fork with two tines.”

The city at the gates of the Bosporus had always been a magnet for people from across eastern Europe and western Asia. A Western Crusader described Constantinople’s melting pot in 1096: “Greeks, Bulgarians…Italians, Venetians, Romanians [the contemporary term for mainland Greece], Dacians [from today’s Romania], English, Amalfitans, even Turks; many heathen peoples, Jews and proselytes, Cretans, Arabs and people of all nations come together here.” Not surprisingly, the local culture was inflected by all these foreign accents and the city’s cuisine seasoned by flavors from across the empire.

05/03/2016

Anne Applebaum – „From a Polish Country House Kitchen” (2)

Filed under: Culinar-literar,FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 18:01
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Polish Country House   – Highlight Loc. 1454-56 : When all twenty-seven European foreign ministers met for a celebratory dinner in a fabulous villa in the Old Town of Gdansk, the Polish hosts served tiny cabbage rolls, stuffed with buckwheat kasha, as a first course.

– Highlight Loc. 1757-60 : Danielle’s husband, David, had a great-grandfather, Louis Hirschowitz, who ate the same meal for dinner every day throughout his adult life: boiled chicken with a potato and celery. He lived to be ninety-seven years old, kept every hair on his head, and retained all of his faculties to the very end. When it was occasionally suggested to him that he try to eat something different, he would reply, “If it was any good, I would have tried it already.”

– Highlight Loc. 2306-10 : It is no surprise that the word pierogi appears in half a dozen Slavic languages. Wrapping meat, cheese, or fruit inside pasta dough and then dropping the resulting dumpling in a pot of boiling water seems to be one of the oldest ideas in Slavic cooking. And not only Slavic: Pierogi are also made throughout the Baltic states, eastern and southeastern Europe, Germany, and central Asia, though sometimes they go by different names. History has not recorded the nationality of the original inventor, but in the broader scheme of things, they are clearly related to Chinese dumplings—think wontons—and Jewish kreplach and Italian tortellini as well.   Polish2

– Highlight Loc. 2687-91 : Things that are called “Lithuanian” in Polish cooking often involve honey (note the recipe for Spicy Lithuanian Vodka on page 276). The Lithuanians were famous beekeepers, and before the Polish king Jagiełło helped convert them to Christianity in 1387, the Lithuanians had a bee goddess. Poland was once the imperial power in Lithuania, and in the eastern part of the country, it’s hard to say where Polish customs end and Lithuanian customs begin. Elaborately carved beehives, for example, are a feature of both the Polish and Lithuanian landscape.

Polish 3   – Highlight Loc. 2769-73 : Poppy-seed cakes are ubiquitous in Poland, and are a traditional part of both Polish and Jewish (and indeed Central European) cooking. The most famous Polish poppyseed cake is the makowiec, which is eaten with special gusto at Christmas. The most famous Jewish poppy-seed cake is probably the traditional hamantaschen, the triangular pastry that is eaten at Purim. Since the former is tricky to cook at home, and the latter often come out hard and dry, we’ve decided, instead, to include a recipe for poppy-seed torte, which is perfectly straightforward and equally delicious.
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