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Four Pounds Flour

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There are thousands of cooking blogs -- each week, we bring you highlights from the best. On tap: a blog that mines food history for dishes worth reheating today.

About Four Pounds Flour

Once upon a time, the history of food was sequestered to the annals of academia, never to see a pot or pan or make its way onto our modern day tables. Amanda's late Recipe Redux column in The New York Times Magazine worked to change that reality, but the papers of Elizabeth David? An original copy of Francois de la Varenne's Le cuisinier francois? In a library ... somewhere.

Four Pounds Flour is the non-scholar's answer to this very predicament. Conducting what Sarah Lohman (its founder) dubs "Historic Gastronomy", here is where the bits and bobs of food history reside. "You can create something that looks, smells, and tastes just like it did hundreds of years in the past," Lohman writes. "And that’s the next best thing to time travel: it lets you understand a little bit about another way of life." Historic fusion food is the fruit of her projects and workshops -- what they ate then through the lens of what we cook now. 

Tomato Soup Cake  Tomato Soup Cake  

"Sometimes delicious, occasionally disastrous" -- no surprise that a certain degree of primal risk is involved in embarking upon, say, a week of eating like a turn-of-the-century tenament family -- Four Pounds Flour features numerous write-ups of Lohman's culinary reenactments in her Long Island City kitchen. Lohman bakes the likes of Tomato Soup Cake à la MFK Fisher and her Grandma's Coconut Cake, always including the requisite stained recipe from which she worked. We cannot get enough of these marked up and often obscure classics.

Tap into your inner food dork and obsess over these graphs of the evolution of tastes over time (who knew the popularity of vanilla outpaced that of rosewater so speedily?). Better yet, you can learn to make waffles over an open flame or mix gin cocktails from the 1880s at her upcoming events.

Reading Rainbow taught us to "take a look, it's in a book!"; they clearly hadn't attempted 19th century chestnut ice cream. For that, we're happy to have the internet -- and Four Pounds Flour. Citizens of 2011, watch and learn.

Four Pounds Flour

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Comments (8)


over 4 years ago mcs3000

LOVE it!


over 4 years ago Emiko

What a wonderful find, thanks for sharing this blog. "Historic gastronomy" is exactly what I am into, though an Italian version (I test and publish the results of 19th century Italian recipes on my blog). Let me know if any of the events find their way to Italy, I'll be there!


over 4 years ago Bevi

I love this site.


over 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

So, so cool. I keep thinking I wish I had gone into food history instead of food policy. This looks like the perfect way to get my fix! Thanks for sharing!


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

What a great site! And yeah for rose water revival, Sasha!!


over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The minute I saw this, I thought of you. I was hoping you'd find this post and that it would be of help to your in your new project. It's beautiful!


over 4 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Love this idea! I saw her graph of the popularity of vanilla versus rose water.. so interesting. Let's bring rose water back. :)


over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Speaking of which, does anyone have a good source for Iranian rosewater?