Morel Tales: The Culture of Mushrooming

Presented by Gary Fine, PhD

Please read notice carefully for this Monday evening event at the
Niles Historical and Cultural Center

Drawing on the observations of three years spent in the company of dedicated amateur mushroomers and professional mycologists. Gary Alan Fine explores the ways in which Americans attempt to give meaning to the natural world, while providing an eye-opening look inside the cultures they construct around its study and appreciation. Continue reading

Whoever Said the English Can’t Cook? Cookbooks from 1300 to 1700 Prove Otherwise!

Presented by Sarah Peters Kernan, PhD

The early centuries of cookbook production in England were filled with a dazzling variety of manuscript and printed texts. “Cookeries” from 1300 to 1700 ranged from basic, undecorated texts to lavishly illustrated cookbooks. In her extensive research, Sarah Peters Kernan, PhD, has examined numerous manuscripts and printed cookeries in libraries across the United States and Europe. Continue reading

American Food has a History You Wouldn’t Believe!

Presented by Bruce Kraig, PhD
Author, President Emeritus, Culinary Historians of Chicago
CELEBRATING OUR 25TH YEAR—

On New Year’s Day 1836, President Andrew Jackson received a momentous culinary gift, a humongous cheese, 2 feet thick, 11 feet in circumference, and weighing 1400 pounds. It was created in the summer of 1835 by Col. Thomas S. Meacham, a prosperous dairy farmer with lands near Lake Ontario north of Syracuse New York. The mammoth cheese was sent by boat along the Erie Canal on to Washington. It was a public sensation. James Fenimore Cooper wrote of the same area of New York only two generations before as a wilderness that only gradually was being transformed.

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Constructions of Taste in Francisco Martínez Montiño’s 1611 Cookbook

Presented by Carolyn Nadeau, PhD

Drawing from concrete data on the recipes and their primary and secondary ingredients in Montiño’s 1611 court cookbook, Arte de cocina, pastelería, vizcochería y conservería [The art of cooking, pie making, pastry making and preserving], this essay examines concepts of taste as presented in this culinary artifact. Data analysis of close to 5,000 individual references to ingredients allows today’s scholars and gastronomes to gain access to what was being prepared in the royal kitchens and to establish for the first time the culinary scaffolding for what was eaten at court in early seventeenth-century Spain. Continue reading