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.
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.
"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.