Foodie Ramblings: Masterchef

Finishing off a long weekend with mom by marathoning Masterchef USA while flipping through the Masterchef cookbook we checked out of the library. Talk about a great find! You see, mom and I have been big fans of the show since its first season, and we always enjoy seeing what the contests cook during each episode. Come Wednesday nights, you can always find us sitting in the den watching intently. Actually, I think my mom is more excited about having the cookbook than I am; if that’s possible. She keeps pointing out and bookmarking recipes. Clearly, we’re going to be spending some quality time with this cookbook for the next two weeks.

You know, I’ve noticed a change in my mom’s attitude towards food lately. She probably won’t admit it, but I think is starting to become something of a foodie herself. Give me time, I’ll get her to join the dark side eventually.




What Being a Foodie Means to Me

cool-cartoon-1089012Let’s just get this out of the way now and agree, food is great. For some, food is seen as a necessity for survival. For others, food creates an experience in which family, friends, and even strangers can come together to share culture, religion, politics, and stories. Over all, the possibilities with food are seemingly endless, in both a preparation and execution fashion. But about the people who are eating this said food? They vary just as much as the food does. From ages to gender, and everything in between, the list goes on. The same can be said for their food preferences. Some of them couldn’t care less what’s on the plate, they’ll eat just about anything. Others, will throw a fit if their meal doesn’t meet their specifications. Some know what they like and will try, on occasion, to be adventurous, to experience something new. Others will stick to what they know; its the familiar stuff that makes them happy. Considering such a variation of food eaters out there, where exactly do people who identify as foodies come in? In fact, what is a foodie?

According to the ever-reliable, a foodie is:

A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation.

Yea, that sounds about right. Foodies are people who have apparently taken their love of food to the next level. These are the people who will geek out at the sign of a sale at of cookery or bake-ware on or at William & Sonoma. These are the people who will always have a camera on them whenever they go anywhere related to food, be it a strawberry field, farmer’s market, or restaurant. Basically, foodies are those who fall in the grey area between interest and obsession. Think trekies but for the food world.

So what exactly does this have to do with me? Well, since having my foodie awakening back in 2010, I’ve learned much regarding gastronomy and the culinary world. Prior to 2010, I was one of those people who simply ate food without thinking much about what I was putting into my mouth. Today, I try and stay on top of what is going on in the food world regarding flavor trends, social issues, and what not. While my friends are busy scrolling through Tumblr, I’m searching the web for new food blogs and recipes. Being a foodie is more than just a past time or a hobby, it has become a part of who I am. Not only do I love food, I appreciate it. For me at least, that’s the core of what being a foodie is all about. Appreciation.

One final note before signing off today. While I love being me, what I love about being a foodie is that I am not the only one. There is an ever growing population of us! Foodies United should totally become a thing, whether a website or some form of national/international club or organization. I know that I would join. Would you?

Till next time,


History of Cookbooks pt. 2

*Considering how lengthy my last post was when I included my history section, I have decided to dedicate a separate post to it entirely. That way, I won’t have to fight with my inner voice that screams at me when things are getting to lengthy*

For today’s segment, I’m going to give a brief overview of four of the first ever printed cookbooks, all originated in the fifteenth century.

1). De honesta voluptate et valetudine (Of Honest Indulgence and Good Health) is considered to be the first ever printed cookbook, published in 1474 Italy. Written by Bartolomeo Sacchi, he combined methodologies towards achieving good health along with recipes from other works. According to authors Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky “The recipes in De honesta have an artisanal rather than an intellectual bent, reflecting the new scientific philosophy of the humanist era” (49).

Like other cookbooks printed during this century, these books were relatively plain in appearance; there was definitely no celebrity chef’s picture plastered on the cover. Additionally, the average reader of these books were often ones of wealth or nobility. For that reason, they paint a clear picture of what life was like for those with affluent backgrounds, especially during times of feasts and banquets.

2). While the first printed cookbook originated from Italy, the second on my overview comes from Germany. Kuchenmeisterei (Mastery of the Kitchen) was published in 1485. While De honesta was written for a targeted audience, the author of Kuchenmeisterei had a broader audience in mind: “For princely households, prosperous city-dwellers, for  wealthy cloisters, and for master chefs in the taverns and inns of the nobility and their families” (Willan & Cherniavsky 50). A rather short volume, the book is divided into sections, such as dishes for fasting-days (soups, fruit preserves, and fish) meats, game, and finally, side dishes.

3). The list would not be complete without something French. Published in Paris, in 1486, Le Viandier (The Victualler) captured the essence of culinary traditions during the medieval era. Influenced by older manuscript from the fourteenth century, Le Viandier was extremely popular during its time, even getting a re-print in the nineteenth century. As for recipes. it is rumored that they originated from the author, Taillevent, himself. The remaining recipes are more contemporary, reflecting the culinary trends of the century. Another thing that is interesting to note  is that the recipes “Reflect the fact that table implements were sparse” with purees and porridge appearing frequently throughout (Willan & Cherniavsky54).

Additionally, the presence of spices too is an interesting trend. Heavily used in preparation, spices represented both signs of wealth as well as a new means of trade. Light and portable, they could be traded for other goods. Strangely, the popularity of spices would wane, barely being featured in European cooking during the sixteenth century.

4). The English cookbook, Boke of Cokery (1500) complete today’s list. Published in London, the book featured both recipes from the medieval era and more contemporary, English recipes and techniques. As the case with the other books mentioned here, the printed version of the Boke of Cokery was based off earlier texts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that much about the Boke of Cokery, though a bit of online research brought me here:

While I can’t totally tell if this is the same cookbook since the title is different, overall, this is a really  cool website. With translated manuscripts and cookbooks, articles, term glossary, and much much more, you could spend hours reading up on per-modernity cooking. If you have some time, check it out. There are tons of translated recipes there so if you’re planning a Renaissance themed dinner party, this would be an excellent source.

That’s all for now though I can assure you the next installment will be coming soon. I will admit that I am still figuring out how I want to present this whole history thing so please bear with me. I promise to iron out the kinks over time.


Till then,


Work Cited

Willan, Anne, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin. The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook. Berkeley: University of California, 2012. Print.