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Untitled
What foods were historical figures like Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo Da Vinci eating during their lifetimes? On this week's episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio chats with Tori Avey- author and food writer- and the editor and curator of TheHistoryKitchen.com! Tori, who also serves as the chair for the IACP Food History Section, became interested in history through her grandparents, and was always fascinated by the kitchen. Hear how Tori combined her two loves by researching Jewish cuisine, and how that research fueled TheHistoryKitchen.com. Later, hear Linda and Tori talk about the importance of referencing primary sources in culinary history. Follow the recipe below to bake one of Emily Dickinson's favorite cakes! This program has been sponsored by White Oak Pastures. Thanks to Four Lincolns for today's music.

"It's really important that the research be solid on the site. I have open comments; I want readers to be able to interact with the content." [9:45]

"One of the things that really fascinates me is connecting to a historical person and seeing what they were eating or cooking." [12:50]

-- Tori Avey on A Taste of the Past

-------------------------------------

Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

2 cups flour

1 tsp cream of tartar + 1/2 tsp baking soda OR 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and cream of tartar + baking soda OR baking powder. I used my antique sifter to get in the "Emily Dickinson" mood.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together till the mixture is light and fluffy, and the sugar is well incorporated into the butter. I did this by hand, the old fashioned way, like Emily Dickinson would have. It took several minutes. You can do it much faster with an electric mixer.

Mix in the eggs, then the milk.

Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir till just incorporated. A thick batter will form. Do not overmix.

Fold in the shredded coconut. If your shredded coconut is dry (not fresh), rehydrate it with a little warm water and drain well before mixing it into the batter. Again, don't overmix.

Spread the batter into a small loaf pan.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes on the middle rack of your oven till cooked through and golden brown around the edges. Test with a skewer or toothpick for doneness in a few places-- if the toothpick comes out clean (no wet batter sticking to it), it's done.

The cake is not overly sweet, which was perfect for me (I don't like my desserts too sweet). If you want to sweeten it up, use a bit more sugar, or use sweetened coconut instead of regular coconut. Enjoy!


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On today's episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is talking about Jewish Italian food, or Cucina Ebraica, with a panel of experts. Jayne Cohen is a food writer and cookbook author involved with preserving the culinary roots of Jewish cooking. Her most recent cookbook is entitled Around the Passover Table and Cooking for Jewish New Year. Cara De Silva is a food historian who writes about food and culture, and has authored In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin- a book featuring recipes from women in a Nazi concentration camp. Alessandra Rovati is a Jewish Italian food writer who also authors the blog Dinner in Venice. Tune in to hear how and when Jewish people immigrated to Italy, and how the various neighborhoods where they resided influenced their cooking. Learn why Jewish cuisine helped to popularize certain vegetables in Italian food, such as the tomato and the eggplant. What substitutes were used by Jews in the pork-heavy Italian diet? Hear about how ethnic tradition and cultural food survives through holiday meals. What Jewish foods have become part of everyday Italian cuisine? This program has been sponsored by Route 11 Potato Chips.

"The number of things that went into making Italian Jewish cuisine... created a cuisine of incredible variety- even though it was all Jewish in some way. There were also issues whether or not some of these dishes came to be associated with Jews- and that was sometime the case- but most of these dishes were brought by Jewish people." [6:50]

"There has been fusion since there have been borders!" [15:00]

-- Cara De Silva on A Taste of the Past

"One thing that is notable about Jewish Italian cuisine is that it was influenced by so many immigrants, sort of like Jewish food in the United States." [11:20]

-- Jayne Cohen on A Taste of the Past


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On today's episode of A Taste of the Past, host Linda Pelaccio welcomes Anya Von Bremzen, author, journalist, food writer, and contributing editor of Travel + Leisure magazine, into the studio for a talk about food, and the history of traditional Soviet dishes. Anya also talks about her latest book, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing. In the book, Anya tells the gripping story of three Soviet generations—masterfully capturing the strange mix of idealism, cynicism, longing, and terror that defined Soviet life. On the show, Anya and Linda also welcome Anya's mother, Larisa Frumkina, as she speaks about food history, Russian literature, and various traditional dishes. Tune-in for a truly interesting episode into the history of the USSR and the Russian dishes. This program has been sponsored by Heritage Foods USA.

"Bread was something was almost always available. It was something almost sacred."

-- Anya Von Bremzen on A Taste of the Past

"For me, food history starts with Russian literature."

-- Larisa Frumkina on A Taste of the Past


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