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Food History & Recipe Origins

The Origins of the Names of the World's Favorite Recipes

(2014 eBook EDITION)

ALBERT JACK

Albert Jack PUBLISHING

COPYRIGHT PAGE

FOOD HISTORY & RECIPE ORIGINS

The Origins of the Names of the World's Favorite Recipes

(2014 eBook EDITION)

COPYRIGHT © OCTOBER 2104 ALBERT JACK

COVER DESIGN: ALBERT JACK

EBOOK PRODUCTION: Albert Jack PUBLISHING

ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED TO THE AUTHOR. NO PART OF THIS EBOOK MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF BRIEF QUOTATIONS EMBODIED IN CRITICAL ARTICLES OR REVIEWS.

THIS IS LARGELY A WORK OF NON-FICTION ALTHOUGH THE AUTHOR COULD NOT RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO BE CREATIVE WITH HISTORICAL DETAIL WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

EXTRACTS ARE FROM THE BEST SELLING BOOK – WHAT CAESAR DID FOR MY SALAD

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About the Author

Albert Jack is a writer and historian. His first book, Red Herrings and White Elephants explored the origins of well-known idioms and phrases and became an international bestseller in 2004. It was serialised by the Sunday Times and remained in their bestseller list for sixteen straight months. He followed this up with a series of bestsellers including Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Caesar did for My Salad.

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world’s great stories, Albert has become an expert in explaining the unexplained, enriching millions of dinner table conversations and ending bar room disputes the world over. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio programmes worldwide. Albert lives somewhere between Guildford in England and Cape Town in South Africa.

Other Books By Albert Jack

Red Herrings and White Elephants

Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep

Phantom Hitchhikers

Loch Ness Monsters and other Mysteries Solved

Pop Goes the Weasel

The Old Dog and Duck

What Caesar did for My Salad

It’s a Wonderful Word

Albert Jack – Part 1

Albert Jack – Part 2

The Jam: Sounds from the Street

Want To Be a Writer? Then Do it Properly

The President’s Brain is Missing

New World Order

9/11 Conspiracy

They Laughed at Galileo

The Greatest Generation

Including;

Introduction

1 – The Name is Benedict – Eggs Benedict

2 – The Surreal History of Breakfast Cereal

3 – Did a Satanist Really Invent the Sandwich?

4 – The Secret to a Nice Cup of Tea

5 – In Honour of Tarts, Buns, Biscuits and Cakes

6 – Make Mine a Double

7 – Taking the Lid off Tapas

8 – In The Soup

9 – What Did Caesar (and others) Do for my Salad?

10 – Soul Margery – A La Jim Diamond

11 – That’s a Bit Fishy

12 – Saucy & Spicy Stuff

13 – Kleftiko – A Stolen Lamb

14 – Steak Tartar – The Original Fast Food

15 – Spaghetti Carbonara – Food for the Charcoal Men.

16 – Margherita – The Queen of Pizza

17 – Pavlova – Queen of the Dance

18 – Dame Nellie Melba – The Peachy Diva

19 – Port Salut – The Port of Salvation

20 – Oysters Rockefeller

Introduction

Food is just as entitled to a proper history as castles, wars, kings, queens, art, literature and the bubonic plague. But the book world is now so saturated by celebrity chefs trying to show the working man how to rub garlic on a ciabatta or break lime leaves over a piece of raw fish that we’ve lost sight of the really interesting stories behind the recipes we all know and love.

And, whilst I don’t ride around London on a scooter with my mates or swear at incompetent sous chefs for a living, nor do I know one end of a pork loin from its elbow, I do love history and I do love food. And the history behind our favourite dishes is fascinating, surprising and overlooked – from the Buddha’s obsession with porridge to the dying playwright Moliere dosing himself with Parmesan rather than medicine (it didn’t work) and so I wanted to find out more.

But rather than just retelling the tales of how civilizations developed cooking techniques millennia ago, I wanted to know the stories about the people behind the food we eat every day. For example, who was Margherita, and why was the world’s most famous pizza named after her? And while everybody loves Crêpes Suzette but do they know that Suzette was the mistress of an earlier hard-living Prince of Wales and how the dish was named after her?

And what about the notorious Earl of Sandwich and how he came up with our favourite snack to avoid losing at cards? We’ve all enjoyed Peach Melba at some point, or spread some butter on a piece of Melba Toast, so wouldn’t it be a great idea to tell the story of the megalomaniac singer, Dame Nellie Melba, for whom these dishes were created.

And once I’d started my research, the discoveries started flooding in. Why do we call our favourite Greek lamb dish after a bunch of thieving nomads (Kleftiko)? Who were the Tartar warriors and why do we name raw steak after them?

Or what about all those cakes and buns, Eccles, Bakewell, Lamington, Battenberg, Garibaldi and the Anzacs. There are the salads in the shape of Caesar and Cobb and the fish and soups have plenty of history of their own. And don’t forget the sauces such as Béarnaise, Mayonnaise, the one from the House of Parliament and that one from the Thousand Islands? There are all in here, and many more.

Pavlova, for example. We may all know about the Russian ballerina and do we know about the century old argument between the Australians and New Zealanders over who invented it. Well, that particular question is answered here.

So, dear reader, a cook book this is not. But while the chefs of the world will learn little about recipes here, they might enjoy the stories of how their everyday tools of the trade, salt and pepper, once transformed the world and how some of the other great events in history put whatever it is you are having for dinner tonight upon your plates.

There wasn’t room for every dish I wanted to cover in this edition – but you never know there might always be a second sitting…

Albert Jack

‘The Name’s Benedict, Eggs Benedict’

The world’s favourite brunch dish, eggs Benedict comprises an English muffin cut in two, each half topped with ham, a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise sauce. Various Benedicts claim to have invented it. In 1942, the New Yorker published an interview with one Lemuel Benedict, a retired New York stockbroker, who told the story of his breakfast one day at the Waldorf Hotel back in 1894.

Unimpressed by the menu and with a thumping hangover, he asked for ‘buttered toast, poached eggs, crispy bacon and a hooker of hollandaise.' According to Benedict, the maître d’, Oscar Tschirky (see also Thousand Island dressing and Waldorf salad), was so taken with the dish that he immediately included it on the hotel menu, replacing the toast with a muffin and the bacon with ham.

But this is disputed by a letter sent to The New York Times in September 1967 by Edward P. Montgomery, who suggested the dish was in fact the idea of Commodore E. C. Benedict, a yachtsman and retired banker, who died at the age of eighty-six in 1920. Montgomery insisted he had the original recipe, which he included in his letter, saying it had been given to his uncle, a close friend of the Commodore.

Publication of this letter prompted further claim, this time from Mabel C. Butler of Massachusetts, in which she insisted that the ‘true story’ behind the original recipe was ‘well known to the relations of Mrs Le Grand Benedict,' of whom she was one. (Relation that is)

According to Mabel Butler, when the Benedicts lived in New York City, at the turn of the century, their habit was to dine regularly at Delmonico’s Restaurant. One morning Mrs Benedict complained that the menu had become too familiar and suggested more variety. As she was a regular customer, the head chef asked the good lady what she had in mind, to which she replied: ‘I would like poached eggs on toasted English muffins with a thin slice of ham, hollandaise sauce and a truffle on top.’

Each tale was firmly believed by its narrator and but it is equally likely that all three were referring to a dish that had been around for a lot longer, probably going by a different name. What is certain is that printed recipes for the eggs Benedict were beginning to appear from the turn of the century.

In Eggs, and How to Use Them, published in 1898 and subtitled ‘A Guide for the Preparation of Eggs in Over Five Hundred Different Styles,' the reader is encouraged to ‘split and toast some small muffins; put on each a nice round slice of broiled ham, and on the ham the poached egg; then pour over some creamy Hollandaise sauce.'

Meanwhile, in 1900, the Connecticut Magazine printed a similar recipe, suggesting readers should ‘Broil a thin slice of cold-boiled ham … toast a slice of bread and butter it and moisten with a little water; lay the ham on it and upon that a poached egg.'

However, it turns out that this all-American dish could well have been European in origin. Elizabeth David, in French Provincial Cooking (1960), refers to a traditional French dish called oeufs à la bénédictine and consisting of puréed fish and potatoes on fried bread with a poached egg on top.

So maybe eggs Benedict was originally a sort of full French breakfast