Where can I learn about man's interaction with new ingredients?
March 6, 2013 6:02 PM Subscribe
What was Italian food like before the tomato?
When coffee houses started popping up in Europe what establishments lost business as a result?
Did Marco Polo really bring noodles to Europe from China?
Where can I find the answer to all these questions and more?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 87 users marked this as a favorite
I'm looking for layman-friendly resources, like a popular non-fiction book, blog or PBS special on how cultures reacted to new ingredients. So like the tomato example, what were Italians putting on their pasta before the tomato? And if Marco Polo brought the noodle to Italy from China*, what were they eating before that? How long did it take for the tomato to become an accepted ingredient in Italian cooking?
Or the chili pepper was apparently brought to India by the Portuguese. So what were Indians using to spice their food before that? Black pepper? Something else? Did they even eat spicy food?
More modernly, were there any food fads that took over the Soviet Bloc once their markets opened up to the rest of the world? Given the frosty relations between Russia and Japan is sushi even popular in Russia?
While not exactly questions that keep me up at night, I would definitely get a kick out of learning more about these kinds of things in an easily digestible format that is more organized than me randomly searching through Wikipedia.
*Apparently an untruth I learned at some point in my childhood, but it serves well as an example.