*Apologies in advance, this is a very long post. I promise that future posts won’t be this long*
For the handful of you readers who took the time to come check out this blog, take a sigh of relief, I am back! And as promised, I’m going to bring some actual substance to today’s blog post. Substance you say? Indeed, I do! But first, let’s take a moment to talk about brunch. And yes, before you start to fret that I am wasting your time with my whimsical musings, I am going somewhere with this.
One of the perks of living in a rather foodie part of Long Island is the various foods options available to a rag-tag group of friends when the tummy starts to grumble. Yesterday, me and my two close friends from high school decided to meet up for a meal. While brunch was proposed we took a little bit of time trying to work out where we wanted to go. Ok, we took a lot of time tying to figure it out. However, due to our rather limited budget and the splendors of coupons, we were eventually able to narrow down our choice to the one and only, Sweet Mama’s. For you Long, this wonderful place is located in Northport and is definitely worth the drive if you are fond of classic American breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods. It’s that sort of mom and pop place that feels like you are walking into a close friend or relatives dining room. How’s the food? Um, amazing. Check out yesterday’s lunch/brunch menu.
While all those specials looked absolutely scrumptious, my friends and I opted for items off the menu. Here is a run down of what we had: four waters, one hot chocolate, two french toasts made from croissants with strawberries, blueberries, and copious amounts of cream cheese and butter, one side of home fries, one side of bacon, one Mediterranean wrap, with feta, olives, lettuce, and tomatoes, along with coleslaw, one order of potato pancakes (with sour cream), and onewith three spoons. Not bad for three girls with a $5 coupon.
As my friends and I munched away on our yummy noms I kept thinking to myself, “Why is french toast so good?” Well for starters, it just is, plain and simple. But seriously, the fact that the combination of bread with butter, and an egg mixture can produce such a heavenly meal is a testament to why food is good. Especially when you are down for experimenting with flavors and different food stuff. But if you are like me, still new to world of cooking and a bit cautious to get fancy with the spices and what-not, we can thankfully turn to the wonderful resource that is a cookbook. I’m not sure about you guys but I thank my stars that the act of writing down a recipe complete with measurements, cooking temps, and instructions is a popular trend within our modern society. But for those of you who don’t know, this trend is only a few centuries old. “Really?” you ask, “tell us more”. Okay 🙂 Time to show-off my research skills. Prepare to be amazed!
The Abridged History of Cookbooks (part one)
The modern cookbook is just that, a modern invention. While the recording of recipes can be traced back to the time of Egyptian kings, these documentations were often reserved for the tomb walls of kings and the wealthy. In regards to early European cookbooks, these were hand-written manuscripts, and their circulation was limited to those who could both afford and read them. This was a tradition adapted from, you probably guessed it, the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, their culinary records were not done in the style typically expected. In fact, one of the earliest accounts was recorded within a poem. Can you picture Shakespeare writing a sonnet titled “Ode to French Onion Soup”? Me either. On a rather cool note, these early ‘cookbooks’ provide wonderful insight to the food culture and its relationship to society during the age of antiquity. One book of note, De re Coquinaria (Of Culinary Matters) by Marcus Gavius Apicius, was written in Rome around the first century. Split into ten volumes, each tome featured recipes and culinary advice such as how to best store perishable foods. With over four hundred different recipes, “Apicius is careful to specify ingredients, though without quantities and often in random order” (Willian & Cherniavsky 14).
For the sake of length, I’ll pick up on my history of cookbooks section next time. We have a lot of history to get through and I’d hate to bore you.
If you are curious about Apicius and his masterpiece, do a little research online or at your local library. You can actually find translated copies of his recipes in case you are feeling like challenging yourself. Oh and before I forget, my mother’s friends have recruited me to do some baking next week. The selected recipe: Orange Berry Muffins. I will post the recipe next time as well.
Ps. Here is one of my cute kitties. Say hello to Cody.
Link to Sweet Mama’s: http://www.sweetmamaskitchen.net/ordereze/default.aspx
Sitwell, William. “A History of Cookbooks.” We Love This Book. N.p.,26 June 2012. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://www.welovethisbook.com/features/history-cookbooks>.
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.