Allotments seem to be a peculiarly British phenomenon. Small parcels of land, divided into smaller still plots, furnished often with a shed and make-shift cold frames, greenhouses and what have you, where, in time-honoured tradition, old men in baggy corduroys and cardigans go to smoke a pipe and gaze out on serried ranks of cabbages, leeks and potatoes. But they … Read More
A couple of weeks ago I was at the 2nd annual Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food, and a very interesting meeting it was too. The topic was Food, Hunger and Conflict, a reminder that food and control of the food supply can be both a weapon in human conflicts and a natural source of conflict. Talks ranged widely, … Read More
One of the things I find most frustrating in agricultural research is that, despite the subject matter, it often bears little relationship to the fundamental facts of life. Too often, we hear all sorts of extravagant claims being made that a bit of more analytical thought would show were somewhat less than likely to work out. No names, no pack … Read More
Having started this autumn to do little trailers for upcoming shows, I thought it would be an interesting way to prevent absolute silence over the holidays to adapt that format and revisit some of 2014’s episodes. Some of these mini-episodes represent a reworking of the original in much cut-down form. Others are stories that for one reason or another had … Read More
The domestication of the turkey probably first took place around 2000 years ago in south central Mexico, possibly for their feathers and ritual value rather than their meat. Their rise to the top of the American festive table came much later, not with the Pilgrims but with Charles Wampler, whose efforts to promote turkey raising started Rockingham County, Virginia, on … Read More
There’s a thin line between protecting the authenticity of a fine traditional food and preventing the kinds of living changes that allowed it to survive long enough to become traditional. Zack Nowak, a food historian, looked at the rules governing the manufacture of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP cheese and the cheese’s actual history. The rules say you can’t, but could you make an equally good parmesan somewhere else?
Extracted from the original episode broadcast after the 2nd Perugia Food Conference.
Music by podington bear.
Of all the turkey’s misnomers, the official Linnaean name from 1758 must qualify as the wrongest: Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo. It crosses Greek roots with Latin to mean “guinea-fowl chicken-peacock chicken-peacock”. Wrong on five counts, but typical. The only thing the turkey’s namers have got right consistently is that the bird is not-from-here.Continue reading