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This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio explores the roots of the Christmas celebration. She brings in guest Alice Ross, a distinguished culinary historian who recreated the recipes for a modern version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Dinner". Alice brings us through history, explaining where countless Christmas food traditions come from. This program has been sponsored by Heritage Foods USA. Music provided by Pamela Royal.

Image from AliceRoss.com

"Even though we think of turkey as an American bird, it was brought over to Europe and propagated there." [20:15]

-- Alice Ross on A Taste of the Past


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This week A Taste of The Past investigates the rise in popularity and power of TV cooking shows. Host Linda Pelaccio looks into the origins that have resulted in today's obsession with food TV, with hundreds of shows on a multitude of dedicated food and cooking networks, they find the catalyst in the impossibly original and witty Julia Child. With the help of NYU Cinema Studies professor Dana Polan, who has written a book about the subject, discover how Julia transformed America's views of home cooking and made us enamored of French cuisine. From her refusal to use any product placement to harnessing the power of PBS, learn about this food icon and the food media empire she help give birth to. This episode is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.


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Did you know that gangsters controlled nearly all of the food distribution in Depression-era New York City? This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio invites Andy Coe to talk about racketeering in New York City food history. Learn how something as innocent as an egg cream was the cause of major crime. Find out what products were controlled by specific gangsters, and how the food rackets weren't eliminated from the Big Apple until the days of Giuliani! Learn about Murder Inc., and how competition was dealt with in the 1940s. Calling all fans of The Godfather: you don't want to miss this installment of A Taste of the Past! This program has been sponsored by The Heritage Meat Shop. Music has been provided by SNOWMINE.

"Today we have supermarkets and bodegas, and the food appears on the shelves and we don't really know where it comes from... Back then, food distribution was much more spread out." [7:45]

-- Andy Coe on A Taste of the Past


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