Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl: An Encyclopedia

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Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl: An Encyclopedia

Table of contents :
Preface List of Entries Guide to Related Topics The Encyclopedia General Bibliography About the Editors and Contributors

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Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl AN ENCYCLOPEDIA


Edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan

GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut • London

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl : an encyclopedia / edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–313–33957–8 (set : alk. paper) ISBN 978–0–313–33958–5 (v. 1 : alk. paper) ISBN 978–0–313–33959–2 (v. 2 : alk. paper) 1. Entertaining—History—Encyclopedias. 2. Cookery, International—History— Encyclopedias. 3. Food habits—History—Encyclopedias. I. Adamson, Melitta Weiss. II. Segan, Francine. TX731.E5824 2008 641.3003—dc22 2008030543 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2008 by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 20080305043 ISBN: 978–0–313–33957–8 (set) 978–0–313–33958–5 (vol. 1) 978–0–313–33959–2 (vol. 2) First published in 2008 Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.greenwood.com Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The publisher has done its best to make sure the instructions and /or recipes in this book are correct. However, users should apply judgment and experience when preparing recipes, especially parents and teachers working with young people. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the outcome of any recipe included in this volume.


List of Entries


Guide to Related Topics



The Encyclopedia: A– G





About the Editors and Contributors




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List of Entries

American Frontier Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Anniversary Parties Antipasto Aztec Entertaining Baby Shower Bachelor Party Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Barbeque Barn Raising Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Beeton, Isabella Betty Crocker Birthdays Blair House Block Party Book Clubs Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of Brazil Bridal Shower

Brunch Buffet Cake and Candles Catering Celtic Feasting Chafing Dish Champagne Cheese Course, History of Childhood in South India Children’s Birthday Parties Chinese Banquets Chinese New Year Chocolate Chopsticks Christmas Civil War Cocktails Coffeehouses in London Coffee Klatches Colonial America Colonial Mexico Cookbooks, History of


List of Entries

Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining Cordials and Liqueurs Cruise Ships Day of the Dead Debutante Balls Deepavali, Festival of Lights Dessert Dim Sum Dinner Parties Doilies and Coasters Door County Fish Boil Dutch Treat Easter Edible Centerpieces Egypt Etiquette Books Fast Food, History of Finger Bowls Food Network Fourth of July France Funeral Food Garden Party Halloween Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Inca India Invitations Italy Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Juneteenth Kaiseki Ryori Kentucky Derby Kitchen Staff Dress Kwanzaa La Quinceanera Luau Mardi Gras Masquerade

Medieval Mesta, Perle New Year’s Eve Parisian Cafés Party Favors Party Planners Philippine Fiestas Potluck Suppers Progressive Dinner Parties Prohibition Renaissance Rent Parties Restaurants Russia Saints’ Days Serving Platters Singles Soul Food St. Patrick’s Day Stewart, Martha Sub-Saharan Africa Sugaring Off Party Super Bowl Parties Table Service, French versus Russian Table Settings Tapas Taverns Tea Tearooms in America Thanksgiving Theme Parties Toasts Tupperware Party Valentine’s Day Wedding Receptions Wine World War II Zakuski

Guide to Related Topics



Chopsticks Doilies and Coasters Edible Centerpieces Finger Bowls Invitations Kitchen Staff Dress Party Favors Serving Platters Table Settings Toasts

Anniversary Parties Baby Shower Bachelor Party Bar / Bat Mitzvah Birthdays Bridal Shower Children’s Birthday Parties Debutante Balls Juneteenth Kentucky Derby La Quinceanera Theme Parties Wedding Receptions

Beverages Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Champagne Cocktails Cordials and Liqueurs Prohibition Taverns Tea Tearooms in America Wine

Countries and Customs Brazil Childhood in South India Chinese Banquets Chinese New Year Colonial America Colonial Mexico


Guide to Related Topics

Deepavali, Festival of Lights Door County Fish Boil Dutch Treat Egypt France India Italy Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Kaiseki Ryori Philippine Fiestas Russia Sub-Saharan Africa Table Service, French vs. Russian Tea Zakuski

Bar / Bat Mitzvah Birthdays Bridal Shower Thanksgiving Wedding Receptions



Antipasto Cheese Course, History of Dessert Dim Sum Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Kaiseki Ryori Potluck Suppers Table Service, French versus Russian Tapas Tea

Antipasto Cakes and Candles Cheese Course, History of Chocolate Dim Sum Fast Food, History of Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Soul Food Tapas

Festivals Deepavali, Festival of Lights Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Luau Mardi Gras Masquerade Rent Parties Sugaring Off Party

Histories Domestic Occasions Barbeque Barn Raising Blair House Book Clubs Brunch Chafing Dish Coffee Klatches Dinner Parties Funeral Food Garden Party Potluck Suppers Progressive Dinners Singles Tupperware Party

American Frontier Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Aztec Entertaining Celtic Feasting Civil War Colonial America Colonial Mexico Cruise Ships Inca India Medieval Prohibition Renaissance World War II Holidays

Families Anniversary Parties Baby Shower

Chinese New Year Christmas Day of the Dead

Guide to Related Topics Easter Fourth of July Halloween Kwanzaa New Year’s Eve Saints’ Days St. Patrick’s Day Thanksgiving Valentine’s Day

Food Network Party Planners Public Places

Beeton, Isabella Mesta, Perle Party Planners Stewart, Martha

Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Block Party Coffee Houses in London Cruise Ships Dutch Treat Fast Food, History of Parisian Cafés Rent Parties Restaurants Taverns Tearooms in America


Serving Styles

Betty Crocker Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of Cookbooks, History of Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining Etiquette Books

Buffet Catering Chafing Dish Potluck Suppers Table Service, French versus Russian



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Throughout history humans have enjoyed dining and entertainment with family, friends, and strangers, in the privacy of their homes or in public places. They have interrupted their daily routines by celebrating religious or secular holidays, or such personal rites of passage as birth, coming-of-age, marriage, and death. Food plays a central role in all these activities. It is the most basic human need, but as the study of entertaining practices shows, food is much more than a means for survival. Imbued with symbolic meaning since the beginning of human history, food defines our individual selves. Not just what we eat, but how we eat it has traditionally determined our membership in a group, and our status and power within that group. The structures and rules we have built around our use of food make it a form of communication not dissimilar from language. And like language, food is a shared experience. The goal of this encyclopedia is to present to a general reader the dining and entertaining practices and traditions of cultures from around the world from ancient times to the present, at festivals and family events. The work has an anthropological perspective in that it seeks to explain the links between a culture’s political, economic, religious, or social circumstances and its method of dining and entertaining, with ample space being devoted to popular culture. The encyclopedia is arranged alphabetically from A to Z. Its 120 entries range in length from several hundred to over 5,000 words. They



were written by 64 contributors who are all experts in their respective fields. The encyclopedia has a worldwide focus and offers the following special features: a Guide to Related Topics, cross-references in the entries whenever appropriate, a list of printed and /or digital sources for each entry to facilitate further research on the topic, and sidebars to 22 entries. The two-volume set is also richly illustrated and provides an extensive general bibliography for further study. The individual entries cover cultures as diverse as Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, Italy, or Russia; popular customs found in cultures from around the world, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan or Deepavali in India; time periods from antiquity to the present; dining-related objects such as chopsticks, finger bowls, or serving platters; a variety of foods, beverages, and courses that figure prominently in entertaining; domestic entertaining from barbeque to coffee klatch and Tupperware party; family celebrations such as birthdays, baby and bridal showers or bar / bat mitzvahs; holidays and festivals from Christmas to Kwanzaa to Sugaring Off Parties; entertaining in public places from the beer garden to the Parisian café; the role of the media in entertaining; as well as famous hostesses. Given the wide range and multifaceted nature of the topic of entertaining through world history, an effort was made to include as much material as is possible in a two-volume format. The encyclopedia is intended to provide a stepping stone for readers interested to delve deeper into the rich and fascinating world of entertaining. The alphabetical arrangement of the work makes it easy to retrieve information on a particular subject, but the encyclopedia also invites browsing. With the help of the Guide to Related Topics, the cross-references, illustrations, and bibliographic information, it furthermore provides the user with a powerful tool for larger research projects on any of the many aspects connected with entertaining, a topic everybody can relate to in their daily lives. By widening the view from North America to the world, it is hoped that the encyclopedia contributes in its own small way to our understanding and appreciation of world cultures with their many similarities and differences. Multiculturalism and mobility are the hallmarks of our age, and the more culturally literate we are the better we can understand our fellow humans with whom we share the planet. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The realization of this project would not have been possible without the efforts of its many contributors and the enthusiastic support of the editorial staff at Greenwood Press. Special thanks go to Lindsay Claire, Senior Development Editor, who managed to keep the publication of the encyclopedia on track. She was not only a model of efficiency but an absolute pleasure to work with.

Melitta Weiss Adamson

A American Frontier In the early nineteenth century the new American republic underwent extraordinary transformations in every aspect of its life. Not least of these was the transformation in American ideals about who Americans themselves were and the new society that they were creating: a democratic republic inhabited and run by people with equal rights and opportunities. Such ideals, whether realized or not, flowed through the rules and practices of hospitality. Whether in lodging or dining, nowhere than on the new frontiers were democratic notions better seen and remarked upon by both visitors to the newly established United States and by Americans themselves. AMERICANS ON THE MOVE In 1794, Moreau de Saint-Méry, a French jurist of Santo Dominican birth who lived in the new United States for a few years observed, “One is astonished at the rapidity with which Americans have formed settlements in the interior. . . . He emigrates, especially if he be a northerner, to go South or West, to the backwoods of the United States on the Ohio, disposing of his property, selling the house, the wagon, the horse, the dog, anything that will fetch a price” (Moreau de Saint-Méry 1947).


American Frontier

Americans were on the move as the nation’s population soared, mainly through immigration but also high birth rates. Census figures for 1790 give 3,918,000, living mainly along the eastern seaboard. Thirty years later it had risen to 10,086,000, and by 1840 it was 17,018,000. By the latter date 800,000 were foreign born. The West—west of the Allegheny Mountains, the Northwest Territories—beckoned. Land was abundant, cheap, and increasingly cleared of American Indians. The new state of Illinois, for example, had 55,211 white inhabitants in 1820 and 476,183 by 1840, but disease, war, and removal to areas west of the Mississippi River reduced tribes of the Illinois Confederacy to almost zero. To accommodate hunger for land and, as Moreau says, a ravening desire for money (all visitors from abroad noted Americans’ avarice as a central feature of their lives), America became the world’s center for innovations in transportation. Water and roads provided the first links to the gleaming west. The Ohio River, flowing from Pittsburgh provided a main highway to the Mississippi River and along it rose cities such as Wheeling, West Virginia, and Cincinnati, Ohio, in addition to numerous towns and villages. Families such as Abraham Lincoln’s followed the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana and Illinois, living in crude backwoods settlements with cooking and hospitality to match. As a young man Abraham Lincoln floated a flatboat down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and returned by steamboat. By then, the 1820s, steamboats were plying U.S. rivers and lakes in large numbers. Dangerous as they were—explosions, fires and consequent fatalities were common—these new boats carried many passengers, all of whom needed feeding, hence the rise of America’s first floating restaurants, catering to Americans’ peculiar dining habits. Steamboats were not wholly responsible for the most important construction feat of the period: the Erie Canal. Funded by the state of New York and finished in 1825, the 364 mile–long canal linked Lake Erie (at Buffalo) to New York City via the Hudson River. The canal brought goods from the Midwest and, in return, sent people from the east. If not for the canal, Chicago would not have developed into a major metropolis. Crudely made, rutted, mud and dust filled, roads were always a problem. Means of transport were either horseback, wagons (including Conestogas), and coaches, the latter two hardly knowing the comfort of cushioning springs. If ever the interior of the continent were to be developed, decent roads were necessary. The first federally funded road building project, the National Road (US Route 40 today) began at Cumberland, Maryland, in 1815, and reached Vandalia, Illinois, by the early 1830s. Thus was the Midwest opened further to settlement. Along the National Road route and many other new roadways, taverns, inns, hotels, hamlets, and towns sprang up. All, to one extent or another, catered to travelers, and a literature describing their journeys developed. The railroad was another—and one of the most amazing to contemporaries—aspect of the transportation revolution. From the first, the Baltimore

American Frontier and Ohio Railroad (B & O) in 1830, rails spread like spider webs across the country. Naturally, eating places and watering holes appeared at every stop: what may be the first lunch counter appeared at the Chicago rail terminus in the early 1850s. At railway stations, as along roads, rivers, and canals, hospitality and entertaining took on distinctly democratic American styles. HOSPITALITY ON THE ROAD AND IN NEW SETTLEMENTS Charles Woodmason, an Anglican minister, provided the earliest accounts of back country hospitality and culinary customs in rural North Carolina. His 1768 journal describing his efforts to civilize the Scotch–Irish Presbyterians of the region is a classic of dark humor, irony, and satire—a fascination with horrors. “These people eat twice a day only,” he said, “as for tea they know it not . . . neither beef nor mutton nor beer, or anything better than water.” In the back settlements people had stronger drink; Bourbon whiskey, distilled from the ubiquitous corn, rather than Scotch barley, was the common table drink. “Even little children were served whiskey at table, with a little sugar to sweeten its bitter taste” (Woodmason 1953). Wooden trenchers and wooden mugs, accompanied by hunting or scalping knives and big spoons, provided table settings; tables themselves were rough wooden trestles. There were only two meals a day, breakfast and midday. Even so Woodmason claimed that the food “and their Provisions I could not touch—All the Cookery of these People being exceeding filthy, and most execrable.” On one occasion he recalled: In this plight wet to the skin [I] rode to and fro till night came, when got to Cabbin of a poor Old Dutch Woman, who inform’d me that I was got into the Waxaw Distric among a tribe of Presbyterians . . . She had no Refreshments. Not a grain of Corn for the Horse, nor the least Subsistance. We left the Horse to shift for himself and to feed on the twigs and Bushes—Her Son was from home—She dry’d my Cloaths, and I sat up all Night by the Fire, quite tired and spent, having nor made what could be called a Meal for some days—Nothing but Indian Corn Meal to be had Bacon and Eggs in some Places—No Butter, Rice, or Milk—As for Tea and Coffee they know it not. These people are all from Ireland, and live wholly on Butter, Milk, Clabber and what in England is given to the Hogs and Dogs. (34)

This fare and the rough digs are reminiscent of many, but not all, travel stories from this time period. Bed and board in public hostelries varied greatly; stable, settled towns offered better accommodations. Bernhard Karl, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, a German traveler to Utica, New York, in 1826 was pleased by his stay at Shepherds Hotel, which he described as tidy and cheap. The food served tells another story familiar to visitors of the time: Breakfast is announced a half hour after rising time. The table is set in the dining room and laden with beefsteak, mutton, a chicken or other roasted



American Frontier

fowl, fish, and boiled potatoes, generally of good quality. The waiters, or, in some places, the waitresses, pass around tea or coffee. Since the Americans are usually reticent people, such a meal passes very quickly and silently. Dinner is normally served at two in the afternoon and tea at seven. The table is then set as at breakfast, with the addition of stews and pastry. Wine is never drunk at meals. On the table are water and whiskey which mixed are considered the healthiest drink in the summer. Everyone must reach for what he likes, since the food is never passed around. There are no napkins; the tablecloths must fill their place. Apart from the spoons, there is no silverware on the tables. The two-pronged forks and the knives are made of steel with handles of staghorn. A praiseworthy usage absolves the traveler of the necessity of tipping at his departure. (157)

Travelers with any sophistication—Europeans, especially—noted Americans’ lack of interest in fine dining, leisurely eating, and good dinner conversation. Rather, Americans ate fast, drank lots of hard liquor, smoked and spit tobacco (spittoons were fixtures in all public places), and wanted copious quantities of food. The main difference between the poor and wealthier appears to have been the latter, in the amount of food consumed. That most modern Americans today consume large quantities of cheap food shows the so-called progress of gastronomic democracy. In 1810 Margaret Van Horn Dwight left her home in New Haven, Connecticut, to find a new home in the new town of Warren, Ohio (along with a new hometown, she also found a husband and had 13 children). As described in her journal, the hospitality she received during the six-week long trek by wagon and by foot was abysmal. It makes one wonder why anyone would have chosen to undertake such a journey. Here is a description of what she experienced in West Chester, Pennsylvania: I should even rather drink clear rum out of the wooden bottle after the deacon has drank & wip’d it over with his hand, than to stay here another night (The house is very small & very dirty—it serves for a tavern, a store, & I should imagine hog’s pen stable & every thing else—The air is so impure I have scarcely been able to swallow since I enter’d the house—The landlady is a fat, dirty, ugly looking creature, yet I must confess very obliging—She has a very suspicious countenance & I am very afraid of her—She seems to be master, as well as mistress & storekeeper, & from the great noise she has been making directly under me for this half hour, I suspect she has been “stoning the raisins & watering the rum”—All the evening there has been a store full of noisy drunken fellows. (7–8)

Down the road, the hosts were more pleasant but the surroundings were no better: The house by day light looks worse then ever—every kind of thing in the room where they live—a chicken half pick’d hangs over the door—& pots, kettles, dirty dishes, potatoe barrels—& every thing else—& the old woman—it is beyond my power to describe her—but she & her husband & both very kind & obliging—it is as much as a body’s life is worth to go near them. The air has already had a medicinal effect upon me—I feel as if I had

American Frontier taken an emetic—& should stay till night I most certainly be oblig’d to take to my bed, & that would be certain death—I did not think that I could eat in the house—but I did not dare refuse. (64)

After slogging over the Alleghenies, through almost impassible streams and mud-clogged roads, and having to listen to lewd and blaspheming “Dutchmen” teamsters, Margaret, cold and tired, reached the promised land, a town much more pleasant than she had expected. The town was able to provide her with a good cup of lady-like tea. If travel overland was rough, all that was to change with steamboats and railroads. Steamboat accommodations and food ranged from crude to luxurious. Of the latter, an Ole Munch Raeder, Norwegian visitor crossing the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Milwaukee in 1847 observed: On the Great Lakes there is only one means of travel, for immigrants as well as for others, and that is the steamship. The elegance of such a ship is quite remarkable. The vessel is equipped in every possible way for the convenience of the passengers; there is, for example, a barber shop. There is also a band. (205)

Raeder liked America, Americans, and even American pigs, which he praised for their fecundity and garbage-cleaning ( by consuming it) habits. Other visitors were not so pleased. In 1827 Frances (Fannie) Trollope, an English author and mother of renowned author Anthony Trollope, came to America to seek a better life in Cincinnati, Ohio. Embarking on a grand ship, she soon discovered a carpet made filthy with spittle and wrote: “Let no one who wishes to receive agreeable impressions of American manners, commence their travels in a Mississippi steam boat; for myself, it is with all sincerity I declare, that I would infinitely prefer sharing the apartment of a party of well conditioned pigs to the being confined to its cabin.” Food was often not much better, hard venison and peach-sauce, and “hung beef, ‘chipped up’ raw being staples” (12–13). Charles Dickens was as famous on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean as he was at home in England. The demand to see him in the flesh was so great that in 1842 he did a tour, making a huge sum of money (needed to support his 10 children). His impressions of his adoring fans, as published in Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes for General Circulation, chilled their enthusiasm. Boarding the Messenger bound for Cincinnati he found that “at each [meal], there are a great many small dishes and plates upon the table, with very little in them; so that although there is every appearance of a mighty ‘spread,’ there is seldom really more than a joint: except for those who fancy slices of beet-root, shreds of dried beef, complicated entanglements of yellow pickle; maize, Indian corn, apple-sauce, and pumpkin” (170). Dickens further described the eating habits of Americans: Some people fancy all these little dainties together (and sweet preserves beside), by way of relish to their roast pig. They are generally those dyspeptic ladies and gentlemen who eat unheard-of quantities of hot corn bread (almost as good for the digestion as a kneaded pin-cushion), for



American Frontier

breakfast, and for supper. Those who do not observe this custom, and who help themselves several times instead, usually suck their knives and forks meditatively, until they have decided what to take next: then pull them out of their mouths: put them in the dish; help themselves; and fall to work again. At dinner, there is nothing to drink upon the table, but great jugs full of cold water. Nobody says anything, at any meal, to anybody. All the passengers are very dismal, and seem to have tremendous secrets weighing on their minds. There is no conversation, no laughter, no cheerfulness, no sociality, except in spitting; and that is done in silent fellowship round the stove, when the meal is over. Every man sits down, dull and languid; swallows his fare as if breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, were necessities of nature never to be coupled with recreation or enjoyment; and having bolted his food in a gloomy silence, bolts himself, in the same state. But for these animal observances, you might suppose the whole male portion of the company to be the melancholy ghosts of departed book-keepers, who had fallen dead at the desk: such is their weary air of business and calculation. Undertakers on duty would be sprightly beside them; and a collation of funeral-baked meats, in comparison with these meals, would be a sparkling festivity. (170)

Travelers on antebellum railroads could not expect better bed and board than early road voyagers. Train travel was slow (15 miles per hour in the 1830s), seats were hard, and in warm weather open windows allowed in all manner of cinders and smoke from the locomotive, plus dust that covered passengers from head to toe. Dining cars were not even thought about until the later 1860s, so passengers got snacks from vendors when trains stopped at stations (to take on water and fuel). In 1848, railroads from Chicago to Galena in the western part of Illinois had sheds at depots where passengers could buy food. Long trips necessitated overnight stays in hostelries where the food varied. For instance, in 1857, Stephen Sharply wrote about a trip on the Erie Railroad to Cleveland, then onto New York for his sister’s wedding. He described stopping in Oswego, New York, at the American Hotel for what he hoped would be a good dinner and a good night’s rest: “They served me at the American with a little hard nubbin of steak, whether beef, or venison, or mutton, I cannot say. And the Irish maid who served it in a long, cold ball accepted to think that I was coming the genteel strongly to be eating warm meat at that hour” (3). At least he did not have to share a bed with more than one fellow traveler, as was often the case in the nineteenth century. In the morning Sharply breakfasted upon the remains of that steak. But most of the passengers were less irritated than they might have been due to the liberal amounts of brandy with which they were fortified. Virtually every travel account by foreigners and many Americans mention how much liquor Americans drank everywhere but in church, and in the back country, people sometimes even drank in church. Charles Dickens did not return to the United States for another 20 years and Fanny Trollope never looked back once she returned to her native England. Both, along with many of their social class, disliked the rough,

Ancient Greece unschooled, masculine-egalitarian, avaricious culture that they found in the new United States. Such ideas, taken by contemporaries as embodying democracy itself, were borne out in hospitality. One frontier town was a model for hospitality: Chicago. In 1833, the year it was incorporated as a town, Chicago consisted of 200 people and about 40 buildings. Among them was the Sauganash Tavern, a two-story clapboard hotel-dance-halltavern operated by a colorful character named Mark Beaubien, who said, “I play de fiddle like the devil and keep hotel like hell.” Every night was dance night as Beaubien fiddled dance tunes for guests—Yankees, French-Canadians, Southerners, Potawatomis—all men without benefit of class and regardless of origin. Beaubien charged 50 cents a night for a space on the floor and a blanket, along with food and lots of whisky. Food was mainly game all year round but also included local beans, corn, fruit, and fish. The proprietor’s most celebrated lines about his restaurant service was: “I eats 50 people for dinner every day, by gar” (Hurlbut 332). Charles Dickens might have created a character like Beaubien, but Dickens wouldn’t have wanted to dine with him. Further Reading: Bernhard Karl, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Reise . . . durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825–1826. . . . Cited in Handlin, Oscar, ed. This Was America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1949; Dickens, Charles. American Notes for General Circulation. New York: Penguin Classics, 1991 [1842]; Dwight, Margaret Van Horn. Ed Max Farrand. A Journey to Ohio in 1810. Reprint. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991 [1912]; Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed Four British Folkways in America. New York. Oxford University Press, 1989; Hurlbut, Henry H. Chicago Antiquities, Comprising Original Items and Relations, Letters, Extracts, and Notes Pertaining to Early Chicago Embellished with Views, Portraits, Autographs, Etc. Chicago: Printed for the author, 1881; Moreau de Saint-Méry, Meredec. Ed. Kenneth and Anna M. Roberts. Moreau de Saint-Méry’s American Journey, 1793–1789. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1947; Raeder, Ole Munch. Trans and Ed. Gunnar J. Malmin. America in the Forties, the Letters of Ole Munch Raeder. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1929; “Three Days on the Erie Road,” Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1857, p. 3; Trollope, Frances M. Domestic Manners of the Americans. Ed John Lauritz Larson. St. James, NY: Brandywine Press, 1993 [1831]; Woodmason, Charles. Ed. Richard Hooker. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953.

Bruce Kraig

Ancient Greece Archaic Greece was a collection of sovereign states in the classical Aegean. The Greeks included those living in the Balkan peninsula and also those settled in Asia Minor, southern Italy, southern France, and numerous Aegean islands. What bound them together were a common language, religious beliefs, and kinship. Those who lived outside these areas were



Ancient Greece

regarded as “barbarians.” As in the case of the Romans, Greeks outside the Balkan peninsula assimilated some traits of their neighbors but many kept to the accustomed ways of their ancestors. In the Balkan peninsula the Greeks never formed a nation or a country as a united whole until they were conquered first by Macedonia and then by Rome. Within the Balkan peninsula the land was divided into city-states, of which the greatest were Athens, Sparta, and Thebes. Each city-state was determined to remain independent and was usually ruled by an elite group, but it was probably Sparta that had the most individual lifestyle and customs. During the Archaic Age (c. 630–480 B.C.) Athens suffered drought that led to uprisings, but these uprisings were put down by the lawgiver Solon, who also prevented famine by forbidding the export of corn and agricultural products. Only olive oil could be exported because there was a surplus of it. His tactics succeeded, and he also created the development of a city elite, which controlled many Greek states over several generations, thus ensuring stability. This stability enabled the Greeks to defeat the attack of the Persians in the fifth century B.C., and after the first Peloponnesian War, the stability led to the rise of the Athenian statesman Pericles. Pericles created an empire of states, dominated by Athens. Starting in 446 B.C., the age of Pericles lasted for 30 years, during which time the population of Athens and of other states was adequately fed. During the historic period of Greek history, the food eaten would obviously vary from area to area, but there seem to have been certain common foods and food products. When basic foods were available they provided great variety, especially for Athenians. A minor cereal in Greece was millet. The major cereals were einkorn and emmer (both are ancient varieties of wheat), and barley, the latter being both the two-row and six-row variety. The Phoenicians imported durum wheat into Greece. All these grains could be used to thicken stews, make a pottage or, more often, ground into flour. From the flour a large variety of breads and cakes were made. The Athenians were able to import more wheat than other cities, thus allowing them to have a preference for white bread (artos). Both wheat bread and flat, barley, griddle cakes (maza) could be easily obtained from city bakers or, as in country areas, be baked on flat stones. Poorer people subsisted on maza, which often served as a plate similar to the bread trencher of the medieval period. City bakers produced a variety of bread and pastries. In households, dough was put under a pot on which hot ashes were piled thus causing the dough to rise. Much of the bread, however, was unleavened, producing flat breads, although froth from beer could be used as a raising agent. Some wealthy households had their own specialized bakers. Cappadocian bakers were considered the best. Phoenician bakers would provide leavened bread as they worked with yeast or a yeast substitute. Bread was a staple to accompany opson, a variety of relishes—olive oil, onions, sheep or goat’s milk cheese, garlic, eggs, fish, smoked or pickled in brine, and, more rarely, tiny pieces of meat. Not all of these would be eaten at one meal. One product, trachanas made of boiled milk and coarsely ground millet, dried

Ancient Greece in sheets in the sun and then stored in tightly sealed jars was probably part of the diet. Other basic foods especially for the poorer elements of society were pulses. Many were gathered from the wild before being cultivated, such as vetch, peas, and lupines. Beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas were useful because they could be dried and stored as well as being used fresh. Chickpeas if roasted or eaten very young could be eaten as a dessert. Classical writers commented on the fact that they could cause intestinal gas but this downside was thought to be balanced out by their high nutritional value. Beans and peas could be added to meat stews; lentils, in particular, were used to make a filling stew or could be served on their own. Vegetables were plentiful and were often preferred to meat. These included cabbages, carrots, artichokes, chicory, onions and garlic, lettuce, leeks, celery, cucumber, and spinach. Both leaves and roots of beets and turnips were eaten. A wild form of asparagus was available. Herbs could enhance cooking of dishes. Thyme, dill, sage, basil, mint, rue, and hyssop were gathered from the wild or cultivated in gardens. Mushrooms and nettles were available in the wild. Some foods were used only by the poor: including fat hen, fennel, wild chervil, wild spinach, hoary mustard, and nightshade, all of which were mostly gathered rather than cultivated. The ancient Greeks enjoyed a wide variety of fruits, including grapes, figs, pomegranates, medlars, quinces, apples, and pears. Fruits were regarded more as appetizers at a meal than as dessert ingredients, although myrtle berries were an exception to this. Together with nuts fruits were regarded with pleasure at the end of a symposium. Apples may have been brought from Anatolia or Iraq, although wild, and presumably small and sour apples, were known in Greece. Other fruits included the wild and cultivated plum, cherries, watermelon and the musk melon, probably imported from western Asia, and a variety of berries. Dried figs and dates were imported from Anatolia, and their leaves were used as a wrapping for meat dishes. Medlars were eaten when they were so ripe that they were almost rotting. Nuts included almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and sweet chestnuts. Lentisk nuts, which were also chewed to cleanse the breath, and terebinth nuts are less known today but were popular with the ancient Greeks. Both the trees have tender shoots, which can be pickled before being eaten. Pine kernels were often used both as dessert and as an ingredient in cooking. Dairy products were rare apart from being made into cheese. Cheese, probably made from sheep and goat’s milk, was eaten throughout Greece. It was not eaten alone but with honey, figs, and olives. It could also be incorporated into bread baking. Oxygala, however, a form of yogurt, was eaten and sometimes mixed with honey. Ancient Greek and Roman cuisine did not rely on non-cultured milk products, which can be explained in part because without refrigeration milk becomes sour very quickly and hence was difficult to transport to more urban areas. Non-cultured milk products were, however, a regular part of the diet of shepherds and peasants who kept sheep and goats. The Greeks, similar to the Romans, regarded milk



Ancient Greece

drinking as a feature of the barbarians, (the Greeks referred sneeringly to the Thracians as “Butter-eaters”). This might be due to the climatic fact that there was a line beyond which olive trees could not be grown. The southern European regions relied on olives and olive oil for cooking and other purposes whereas the northern areas were compelled to rely on milk products for their fats. Honey was the natural sweetener and preservative, and beekeeping, an admired skill, was a major occupation in Greece. The Greeks knew how plants from which the bees gathered pollen could flavor honey. Attic honey was flavored by thyme. Honey from Mount Hymettus was highly prized and was supplied to markets mainly in the form of honeycombs. In Athens it was eaten smeared on flat cakes. Mead produced by the fermentation of diluted honey was produced in Lydia. Meat was expensive. The killing of a kid, for example, meant a loss of a mature goat, which would produce milk and cheese; suckling pig was also considered a luxury. Athenaeus (c. A.D. 200), an Egyptian Greek author of the Deipnosophistae, a tale of 16 men dining together in Rome and discussing a broad variety of subjects including food, in commenting on Greek meals, wrote that goat’s meat was for slaves but wild boar meat should be kept for oneself and a friend. Butter and cheese made from sheep and goat’s milk was more appreciated than cow’s milk. Beef was more of a rarity because oxen were sacrificial animals. When they were slaughtered at religious festivals the meat would be distributed amongst those gathered to worship the deity. Dogs and asses were sometimes eaten. Whether this was a regular occurrence or done in times of famine is not certain. Meat was sometimes eaten in the form of sausages, of which the Greeks were inordinately fond. Animals such as hares, wild boars, wild goats, deer, and birds were hunted for food. Birds were best served spit roasted with cheese and oil sprinkled over them, perhaps eaten more of a snack than a full meal. These included domesticated fowls and geese as well as game birds—grouse, mallards, pigeons, and pheasants. Very few birds were safe from the culinary attentions of the ancient Greeks. Small birds of every variety including thrushes, blackbirds, chaffinches, sparrows, and larks were sold in markets. The eggs of these birds were also appreciated, either hard or soft-boiled. Both yolks and whites were used in preparing dishes. Most ancient Greek communities had some means of access to the sea so that fish was relatively cheap and plentiful. All types of fish were eaten including tunny, grey mullet, conger eel, dogfish, angel shark, and swordfish. Mackerel, mullet, and sturgeon could be imported from the Black Sea, the last more of a delicacy than a regular meal. Eels from Lake Kopaïs provided a more expensive dish; meals, which included this delicacy, were an example of conspicuous consumption. The Athenians despised small fish preferring to eat larger fish such as turbot and bream. The annual migration of tunny provided ample opportunities for catching large quantities of this fish, and it was eaten fresh and salted. Some of the smallest fish, however, were served as a fry called aphye, which could include squid and crabs.

Ancient Greece Shellfish was also abundant in coastal regions. Even cuttlefish could make a good meal. Oysters were particularly prized as they were by the Romans and were eaten in great quantities. Liquamen, the fish sauce, which was prized by the Romans, seems to have been devised in Bithynia, as a profitable way of making use of small fish, which might otherwise have been discarded. From there it spread to Greece, but it was the Romans who exploited and made use of it in so many of their dishes, as indicated by the recipes in the Roman cookery book of Apicius. Wild olive trees have been known in Greece from Neolithic times, but the first cultivated olives, with the intention of pressing olive oil, were grown in Crete and soon spread throughout Greece. The trees were prized because the goddess Athena was reputed to have raised an olive tree on the Acropolis in a contest with the god Poseidon for dominance of the land. Olive oil, which came in a variety of tastes, was most important for cooking, as a marinade and as a dip for bread. Wine was equally important. Grape pips are known from 4500 B.C. but this may indicate dried or fresh fruit and may not be connected with viticulture. Cultivation of vines appears to have been started about 2000 B.C. at Mytos in Crete. Evidence of wine-lees and grape pips was found in jars at Mycenae. Vineyards were usually small and the property of aristocratic producers until Solon encouraged the peasantry to plant vines. The Greek philosopher Theophrastus of Eresus (370–287 B.C.), who wrote on a wide variety of subjects, in his De Causis Plantarum (On Plant Physiology), explained the quality of soils and discussed the best conditions for planting, grafting techniques, and pruning methods. He advised that in hot climates grapes should be sprinkled with soil to shelter them from the sun. Harvesting took place in September. At first as elsewhere slaves treaded the grapes in a huge vat, but in the sixth century B.C. the Greeks invented the screw and the beam presses, which allowed more efficient extraction of the juice. Wine was then transferred to jars ( pithoi) or amphorae for transportation. The handles would be stamped with the merchant’s name and perhaps names of local officials who could guarantee the quality of the wine. The smaller the jar, the more expensive and the higher the quality of the vintage. Pig and goat wineskins were also used as containers. In his play Cyclops, Euripides made Odysseus put wine into wineskins to ply the Cyclops Polyphemos and make him drunk. The climate of Greece allowed harvests producing wine of even quality, unlike the more variable climate of northern Italy and Gaul. The Greeks added water to their wine, a feature that was also characteristic of the Romans. Different areas produced a variety of wines. Some areas added seawater to the wine; some added herbs and flavorings. Theophrastus noted that the mixing of aromatic Heracala wine with the salty Erythraean wine produced a strongly tasting wine. On the island of Thasos wine was mixed with honey to produce a sweet taste, and the result was regarded as a fine wine as were those of Lesbos, Lemnos, and Rhodes. Cheapest wines were akin in taste to vinegar but this was acceptable to Greek tastes as also was fresh



Ancient Greece

grape juice. The best wines were left to mature. The poet Homer said that Odysseus’s strong room contained jars of old sweet-tasting wine, packed in rows along the wall. The Greek wine trade soon developed into a huge industry and was almost a monopoly until the second century B.C. when the Romans invaded Greece. As wine production expanded throughout the Roman Empire, prices dropped, and the Greek wine trade became a part of the Roman economy. The Greeks had a thriving agricultural economy, which on the whole provided them with ample food and drink. As with most other civilizations meals were determined by daylight hours. For both breakfast and lunch Greek eating habits remained simple. Breakfast was the breaking of the fast after a night’s sleep taken soon after sunrise; lunch (deipnon) might be a main meal or one that provided some nourishment, as a break from work. The evening meal was the time for relaxation and later became more elaborate, becoming the main meal (deipnon). This became the preliminary to the symposium, which was the time for entertainment, feasting, and wine drinking. For the Greeks the symposium was the ideal form of entertainment and drinking. This followed the main evening meal and became an all-male, aristocratic, social drinking party. The aim of these gatherings was to share pleasure, release tension, forget the cares of the outside world, and promote good

Red-figured Attic terracotta bell-crater from the fourth century B.C. Depiction of a symposium: guests are drinking from rhytons, while a girl plays the flute. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource, NY.

Ancient Greece fellowship. Vase paintings of women enjoying a symposium do exist, but these are probably indications of male fantasies. Women were present at the symposium as musicians, entertainers, loving companions, and even as attendants who looked after men who could not hold their wine. There were also betrothal symposia, usually held in the spring, at which eligible bachelors discussed the relative merits of girls who might become their brides with the girls’ fathers or brothers. The girls were not present but their marriage prospects would have been considered beforehand. On the island of Delos, an important festival to Apollo was held in May where games and sacrifices were followed by symposia at which suitors were chosen and girls betrothed. Alexander the Great, in what might be considered a parody of this, took with him a large tent that could hold over a hundred couches, which he used for lavish symposia and other entertainments, including the one when he forced his troops to marry Persian women. A symposiarch, or organizer, was in charge of arranging a carefully chosen guest list and then controlling the symposium while it occurred. A guest could ask to bring a friend, but he might just turn up with one and there were always gatecrashers seeking a free drinking session. The organizer, who kept a strict watch on the proceedings, would have no hesitation in expelling a guest who became objectionable. He controlled the pace of drinking and the entertainment and for this would have to have a commanding presence. According to Plutarch, who wrote a series of dialogues and questions in the first century A.D., including some which explained the symposia, the same spirit was required in marshalling a line of battle as in presiding at a symposium. The formalities of the symposium had to be strictly observed. Symposia usually took place in a square or oblong private dining room (andron), which opened directly onto the street or a courtyard, yet provided an intimate drinking place. The floor was usually composed of an elaborate mosaic or a design of pebbles. A small raised platform ran round the walls, and this seemed to have supported one side of the couches, usually 7, 9, or 11, which lined the walls. Guests reclined on these, one or two persons to a couch, and in front of each couch was a table. The custom of reclining on couches seems to have been adopted from the Near East, where the custom had been a royal prerogative. In Greece, it developed as early as the seventh century B.C. Youths aged 18 and over were deemed capable of attending a symposium and had the right to recline. There was an art in reclining. In Aristophanes’s play The Wasps a sophisticated young man, Bdelykleon, exasperatedly instructs his father, Philokleon, in the method of reclining and rearrangement of the legs. Reclining at meals set elite society apart from the lower classes and slaves. In Macedonia, for example, no man was allowed to recline until he had shown his prowess by capturing or killing a wild boar without the aid of nets. Before entering the room guests had to remove shoes and have their feet washed. Garlands of flowers might be offered as crowns or necklaces. The guests could then take their places. The chief guest sat on the first couch



Ancient Greece

to the right of the entrance next to the host. To begin the symposium the host sprinkled wine on the floor and the guests commended themselves to each other in a fixed order. Refreshments and drinking vessels were placed on low tables and at the beginning three toasts were made. The first might be to the Olympian Gods, the second to the Heroes, and the third to Zeus Soter. The symposiarch then decreed what should be the ratio of wine to water and the speed of drinking. Water and wine were mixed in a ratio of 1:3, 1:5, and 2:3. Because the wine was not drunk at full strength, large quantities could be drunk. To drink wine undiluted was considered the action of a barbarian. Athenaeus (Deipnosophistae 436 e–f ) said that King Cleomenes of Sparta urged on by Scythian envoys drank wine undiluted and as a result in a fit of madness slashed himself to death with a knife. In his book The Laws, the Greek philosopher Plato thought that no one under the age of 18 should drink as it might inflame his high spirits. From 18 to 40, wine should be drunk in moderation. After 40, a man could drink as much as he liked to revive his youthful spirit and forget everyday worries. Wine was carried from storage to the symposium in decorated amphorae where it could be chilled in a psykter, a vessel with a rounded body, a short neck, and a high foot; the psykter could be placed in a large krater filled with cold water. The water was carried in a bronze or pottery two-handled hydria. Wine and water were mixed in a large krater, placed in the centre of the room. The krater was usually an elaborately decorated piece for it was the focal point and symbol of the symposium. The elaborate imagery expressed on the kraters often displayed events and experiences occurring at symposia. It was not unusual for revelers to drink three full kraters each evening. Liquid was drawn from the krater by a ladle ( kyathos) and placed in a shallow two-handled pottery drinking bowl ( kylix) or a two-handled cup (skyphos) of gold or silver. The aim of the symposium, however, was not drinking for its own sake; the aim of the symposium was to promote discussion on any subject. The symposium as described in Plato’s Symposium, for example, was concerned with defining the meaning of love. Athenaeus (Deipnosophistae 188 c–f ) said that Homer’s account of the symposium of Menalaus had young men proposing questions to each other as though they were in the company of learned men so they could hold civilized conversations. Plutarch in his Banquet of the Sages said that men did not attend symposia like vases to be filled but to speak seriously or to jest, and to hear and deliver speeches as the occasion required, especially if the participants are to take pleasure in conversing among themselves. Not everyone enjoyed symposia. Plutarch (A.D. 50–129), a priest at Delphi for 30 years, in his Moralia (2.2.147e) said that Pericles consistently declined invitations; he made one exception—the wedding feast of his cousin—and he even left that when libations were being poured at the beginning. Evenings ended with music, poetry, recitations, and playing games. A myrtle wreath was passed from one man to another until the host decreed

Ancient Greece a stop. The last man to hold the wreath had to recite or sing. A drinker might balance a wine cup on one arm or in the crook of an elbow and then attempt to pour wine into this cup from a cup held in his other hand. The aim here was obviously to balance the first cup successfully, and success might depend on the amount of wine consumed. Kottabos entailed throwing drops of wine at a metal disc placed on top of a column. Below was a larger disc. A guest hooked a kylix round the index finger of his right hand and spun it round in the air. Drops of wine would be flung out with the aim of knocking the disc off the column to hit the larger disc and make a great noise. Both accuracy and elegance with handling the kylix were taken into consideration. The prizes offered were simple—eggs, fruit, sweets, a pair of sandals, a cup, and cake. Other entertainments were less decorous. Courtesans, who had been well trained for their roles, played instruments, danced, or otherwise entertained the guests. Youths also took provided entertainment, many from distinguished families, probably as an introduction to the symposia. The Greek historian Xenophon (c. 428–354 B.C.) recorded that once two dancers acted a love scene between Ariadne and Dionysus so realistically that the subsequent embarrassment made the symposium end quickly. Even worse could happen if things got out of hand. Guests were reported to vomit and dance drunkenly through the streets and to crash other symposia, resulting in fights. Athenaeus reported that at Agrigentum in Sicily, some young men so overindulged with liquor that they imagined they were sailing in a trireme in a bad storm, tossed all the furniture and bedding out of the house to lighten the presumed ship. A crowd gathered outside and began to run off with this supposed jetsam. Even then the revelers did not stop but poured out of the house to cause mayhem in the street. Next day when still only half sober they were questioned by the magistrates and explained that they had only been trying to save themselves and the ship. The magistrates, probably remembering bouts of drinking when they had been young men, pardoned the revelers but said they must never drink so much again and this was promised. From then on, however, the house where the festivities had occurred was known as The Trireme. An even greater disaster occurred when Alexander, inflamed at a symposium by a passionate speech of a hataera (courtesan) by the name of Thais, led his companions on a drunken revel and set fire to the palace of Xerxes at Persepolis. In Plato’s Protagoras Socrates deplored this kind of behavior saying that where the drinkers are worthy and cultured men there will be no dancing or music or even dancing girls. These men would enjoy their own company without any frivolity, using the occasion to speak and listen in turn to each other. Yet in Xenophon’s version of a symposium, Socrates loved watching dancing girls and even tried to copy their movements. Symposia also might be places for plotting, for men were off their guard. Plutarch in his Parallel Lives (1.9.8) said that when Pelopidas, the Theban general, and his companions wished to get rid of the tyrants at Thebes, they proposed to carry out this action at a symposium. They wore



Ancient Greece

women’s clothing over their armor and garlands of pine and fir to hide their faces. The symposium was so popular that it was adopted by the Romans but never to the same popularity possibly because the Romans preferred to have a banquet where food and drink were consumed together, rather than be kept just for social drinking. For the Greeks it was a male and elite pleasure, part of their cultural importance. One Greek state, however, had a completely different lifestyle that was based upon communal living and harsher societal rules in which the symposium had no part. This was Sparta. Spartan men ate one large meal a day in dining groups or messes (syssitia) of 15. Syssitia were compulsory and designed by the state to promote the Spartan ideology of hard living and male bonding amongst equals, although the men were divided by age and by their social status, which was determined by their martial prowess. Boys were separated from their mothers at the age of seven so that they could be included in their own separate messes. Admission to the mess was by lot. When a candidate was proposed, each Spartan in that particular mess took a piece of bread and put it into a bowl. If he had screwed up the bread, this meant he disapproved of the candidate, and a majority of screwed up pieces meant that the candidate would be rejected and excluded from that mess. He had to wait until he had proved himself either in warfare or by excelling in martial exercises before he could be presented again. Wine was permitted but any Spartan who became drunk or indulged in riotous behavior was immediately excluded from his mess. Unlike meals taken elsewhere in Greece, the men did not recline on couches but sat on hard wooden benches. Their main food consisted of barley bread, cheese, wine, figs, and the infamous black broth, a basic pork stew consisting of pork, pigs’ blood, and vinegar. This black broth seems to have acquired some reputation that only the Spartans could eat it. The Greek historian and philosopher Plutarch commented that a certain king of Pontus hired a Laconian cook to make this broth. When the king tasted it, he spat it out whereupon the cook said, “King, this soup should only be taken after a dip in the Eurotas,” a remark that seemingly indicates that the Spartans were in the habit of taking a bath before a meal. Athenaeus said that a Sybarite, after dining in a Spartan mess, remarked that it was reasonable for the Spartans to be the bravest of men since any sensible man would choose to die ten thousand deaths than have to eat such a wretched diet again. The food was not provided entirely by the state. A man had to bring to his mess each month a bushel of barley, eight gallons of wine, five pounds of cheese, two and half pounds of figs, together with opson, the relishes which could be made from meat, fish, and vegetables. When any person made a sacrifice to the gods it was expected that he would send a portion to his mess. Olive oil was provided by the state, and the Spartans ate barley cake soaked in olive oil. Calculations of the food provided have assumed that there were large surpluses, especially of wine. Some food must have been passed to the women, who kept houses for their men. Each Spartan warrior had a helot (a free laborer), who served him and could be called on to

Ancient Greece support him in times of war. Food and drink were given to the helots, and they were encouraged to drink as much as possible, including wine from the first pressing so that they would reel through the streets vomiting and making obscene gestures. Their drunken behavior would act as a warning to Spartan warriors both to show what could happen if they drank wine not mixed with water and also to remind them of their general behavior. In Crete men also sat to eat and ate their meals in common, with younger men serving the older ones. Sons sat on the floor by their fathers’ chairs and were served half the food of the father. All the food was served plain without any sauces. A separate table was allotted to strangers and foreigners. The Greek philosopher Plato admired this type of meal as being ideal for equality in a state although he preferred the Greek symposia for encouraging free discussion amongst equals. The symposium, however, never entirely lived up to Plato’s ideals. Once Greek freedom had collapsed under the Macedonian conquest in the fourth century B.C., the symposium became, if it had not been before, little more than a vacuous session of drinking and talking shop. In 359 B.C. Philip II became King of Macedon. He quickly saw that the Persian wars had weakened the grip of both Athens and Sparta on the Greek City states and accepted an invitation from the Thessalians to come to their aid and take over control of the sanctuary of Delphi. He found himself in opposition to Athens and defeated her in 338 B.C. at Chaeronea in central Greece. He did not destroy Athens; rather he preferred to create a federation with himself at its head so that he could lead an expedition to defeat the revived Persian Empire. Before this could happen, Philip was murdered in 336 B.C. His son, Alexander, then aged 20, intended to finish what his father had begun. He moved swiftly to defeat the Persians in three great victories. After the third in 331 B.C., the Persian King, Darius, was murdered, which left Alexander to press on with expeditions to Bactria and India. Here his troops refused to go any further. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 B.C. leaving an empire stretching from the Adriatic in the west to the Ganges in the east. In 12 years he had extended the boundaries of the Greek world far beyond what anyone could have imagined. He had destroyed the Persian Empire, burnt the great city of Persepolis and founded at least 70 cities called Alexandria, although the one in Egypt was to become his main legacy. Alexander had spread Greek culture throughout his empire. In many areas the influence of Greek culture was superficial, and local customs continued to exist. Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. left a vacuum, and his generals fought amongst themselves to establish their own territorial rights. Eventually three kingdoms were created. Macedonia, in the north, was formed under the Antigonid dynasty. In the south, Egypt was ruled by the Ptolomies, and in the east, Turkey, central Asia, Babylonia, and Syria were ruled by the Seleucids. These newly formed kingdoms were to face a more tenacious enemy. By 280 B.C. Roman armies were expanding into Greece. Several of the advances were the result of an appeal by a king or chieftain for help against an enemy, which only led to them succumbing to Rome.



Ancient Rome

Further Reading: Dalby, Andrew. Siren Feasts. A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece. London and New York: Routledge, 1995; Davidson, James N. Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens. New York: Harper Collins, 1997; Flacelière, Robert. Daily Life in Greece at the Time of Pericles. London: Phoenix Press, 2002; Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece and Rome. Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999; Jasny, N. The Wheats of Classical Antiquity. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1944; Lissarrague, François. The Aesthetics of the Greek Banquet: Images of Wine and Ritual. Translated by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987; Murray, Oswyn. Early Greece. 2nd ed. London: Fontana, 1993; Slater, William J, ed. Dining in a Classical Context. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991; Xenophon. Symposium. Translation and commentary by Anthony J. Bowen. Warminster, England: Aris and Philips, 1998.

Joan P. Alcock

Ancient Rome On the whole the eating habits of ordinary Romans were sensible and abstemious. Quite obvious these habits changed throughout the long history of the Republic and the Empire and when the Romans conquered other areas and peoples. In the hotter parts of the Roman world most people ate frugally during the day and especially if they needed to keep their wits about them; in the colder areas more food might be necessary. Eating was also governed by when work could be done during the day. Most of the working class rose with the sun and went to bed with the sun, as lighting in the evening was so poor. In wealthier households, evening banquets and feasts were held, sometimes as part of political propaganda, to win support for political parties, and as a way for patrons to reward clients. In theory and probably in practice the Romans ate three meals a day. During the day, food was necessary to sustain the body, to provide energy, and to satisfy hunger. Breakfast (ientaculum) was the breaking of the nightly fast, food being taken as soon as a person got up, and therefore was little more than a piece of bread washed down with water and possibly wine. Lunch (prandium), which could be eaten any time between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. according to when breakfast had been taken, was a snack meal— vegetables, fruit, bread, and a drink. The main aim was restorative. The evening meal (cena) usually consisted of three courses. The first (gustatio) was a taster—something like prepared vegetables, shellfish, and eggs. The main course (primae mensae) was roast, boiled, or braised meats, poultry, sausages, rissoles, and vegetables, flavored with herbs, spices, and liquamen, the ubiquitous Roman fish sauce. The last course (secundae mensae) consisted of desserts—small pastries, puddings made with pulses, egg dishes, fruit, and even more shellfish and oysters. Snails were especially popular as were dormice stuffed with spices. This last course could be a time for more luxurious eating and soft foods, for the softer the food—such as eels and

Ancient Rome fish—the more this indicated the wealth of the host. Yet there might be a danger in this food because the softness often verged on putrefaction, which could cause at the least an upset stomach and at its most virulent, death. Wine was the main beverage, though both beer and wine were drunk in the northern parts of the empire and in army camps. Wine could accompany all the courses but more abstemious Romans kept the custom of adding water to wine. The Romans expressed themselves as being shocked by the Celtic habit of drinking wine undiluted, but diluted wine allowed some Romans to drink more than might be normally expected. Drunkenness often accompanied a feast given by an emperor but ordinary households disapproved of drunkenness. The poet Martial was caustic about Sextilanus who drank twice the allowance of wine allotted and did not dilute it with water. Heavy drinking can lead to health problems, and cases of gout have been found in some skeletal remains of ancient Romans. Drinking vessels could be of glass, pewter, or silver. Drinking cups made of silver were highly prized because they indicated the high social status of the host. Excavations have revealed the silver treasures of the House of Menander at Pompeii and of the Villa della Pisanella at Boscoreale. Most of the silver consisted of drinking cups, some in pairs others in sets of four, intricately decorated, presumably chosen in accordance with the host’s taste as well as with regard to providing something for the guests to talk about, especially with admiration. Not all Romans had three meals a day. Poorer people existed on bread or pottages made from grains and pulses, fortified by pieces of meat or fish to give some protein. Bread was usually unleavened and baked in a crock over the fire but the dough might be given some raising agent such as froth from beer, sour grape juice, or sour dough left over from a previous unbaked batch. Bread was enriched by honey or cheese (placed in the middle); it was sprinkled with poppy or sesame seeds or enriched with fruit. In towns people bought bread from bakeries, which ground their own grain in a donkey mill and sieved the flour carefully, so that the bread produced was less gritty than that ground in the home rotary quern. Simple though the meals were, for dinner, some attempt was made to provide something extra, such as meat or fish, and vegetables grown in the adjoining garden. Dinner in wealthier households was the time for relaxation when friends joined the family gathering and were entertained. The poet Martial (ca. A.D. 40–103), a Spaniard who lived in Rome and wrote a book of Epigrams, invited his friends to dine at the ninth hour but the meal could be taken at any time after 4 P.M. Dinner, like a feast, was essential in binding together the family or the community. Dining together implied similar social status. Entertainment after the meal was expected. This could consist of singers, dancers, and reciters. The contents of a grave at Colchester (England) included four reclining figures, obviously the diners, and five other standing figures reading from a scroll, presumably the entertainers. Athletes might also be hired. A torn bikini, found in a well in London (England), may have been the remains of one or two garments covering a dancing female athlete



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who entertained appreciative guests. Hosts might entertain guests—not always very successfully. Seneca knew a freedman Calvisius Sabinus who paid his slaves to memorize the works of Hesiod and Homer, but he bored the guests by repeating half-forgotten lines learned from the slaves. The physical layout of spaces that are used for dining affect ability for communication as well as indicate relationships within a society. Hence, the couch and the position of the diners were very important. The Roman historian Livy (History 39.6) indicated that a number of foreign customs came to Rome from Asia Minor, and that the triumph of the Roman General Gnaeus Manlius Vulso in 187 B.C. over the Galatians intensified this custom when he brought booty back to Rome; luxuries such as couches, precious hangings, furniture, gold and silver vessels, and even cooks who specialized in a variety of culinary activities. The couches seem to have been the first triclinia couches to be used in Rome, but the custom of reclining almost certainly came from Greece. There were usually three couches, one placed on each of three sides of a small table. Each couch had places for three people, although couches placed in a semicircle were not unknown. The fourth side was left free for the slaves to place food on the table or to allow guests to watch any entertainment. Larger banquets and feasts would replicate this arrangement. The middle couch (summus) was for the most important guests; the middle place (imus in medio) was reserved for the guest of honor. The next important guest was placed at the nearest corner to the middle table on the righthand table. If a consul or an important dignitary was present, who might have to receive an urgent message, he sat to the right of the important guest so that he could easily be reached. The host sat next to him at the corner of the left-hand table ready to issue orders to servants. Presumably this arrangement, which meant that a diner was placed diagonally, almost in the lap of his neighbor, was part of a networking society. The Romans adopted the custom of reclining while eating from the practice of symposium, in which men in Ancient Greece gathered together to eat, drink, and talk, while reclining on couches. It’s possible that the Romans developed this custom around the third century B.C., when they came into contact with the Greeks of southern Italy, although the Etruscans had also adopted the custom. Adult males stretched out on couches, leaning on their left elbows and eating with their right hands. Boys might recline when they assumed the toga virilis, the toga of manhood, usually by the age of 16 or 17 but the privilege also implied that, as they had reached full citizenship, they had to restrain their teenage passions and submit to guidance in the rules of dining. Plutarch in his Moralia (679e – 680b) attempted to answer a question about the possible squashing together of diners on couches. He suggested that diners first lay flat on their stomachs to allow the right hand to reach for the food. When they had taken the food, they lay on their sides to give their neighbors more room. Probably people were so used to this way of dining that they thought nothing to it. If there were any discomfort, it would be worth it for a good meal.

Ancient Rome Slaves were permitted to recline during the festival of Saturnalia when roles were reversed and slaves were masters for that festival. Columella (active A.D. 60 – 65), who wrote a treatise on farming, De Re Rustica, advised that a bailiff should encourage farm workers to take meals with him in his house, but he should not recline except on feast days. Reclining meant total relaxation of the body. Sitting—a posture halfway between lying and standing—is only semi-relaxing. The Roman statesman and moralist Cato (234–149 B.C.) showed his stoicism by sitting at table and reclining only to sleep. Martial despised Maximus Syriscus not only for dissipating his fortune of 10 million sesterces but also for sitting on tavern stools and not reclining while he ate and talked. Lucian, a second-century A.D. prose essayist, was positive that the ability to imbibe while reclining distinguished a man from a beast and a gentleman from a slave. It is possible that Lucian included barbarians in this for on tombstones found in the northern empire people are portrayed sitting in chairs or on stools round tables on which a meal is laid. This seems to have been a custom adopted by Romano-Gallic or Romano-British people. Dining was the prerogative of social equals. Freeborn Romans did not dine with slaves. Slaves served guests. Slaves approached guests with bowls of water and napkins as soon as the guests entered the room and between courses; in an extravagant gesture slaves could offer the guests wine for washing. They could serve the food, press the guests to food and drink, anoint their feet, and spread coverlets. By the late empire handsome youths with long flowing hair were preferred, especially to pour out wine, and these “luckless boys,” as Seneca (Epistolae Morales 95.24, 47.5–8) said, had to “suffer shameful treatment” after a banquet was over. He also mentioned slaves standing silently while their masters dined: “When we recline at a banquet, one slave mops up the disgorged food, another crouches beneath the table and gathers the leftovers of the drunken guests. Another carves priceless game birds, and this is his only job.” At the end of the meal slaves had the right to consume leftover food and drink if they still had the stomach for this. A mosaic, now in the Vatican Museums and dated to the second century A.D. shows food debris lying on the ground—fish and chicken bones, seafood shells, lobster claws, fruits, and nuts at which a mouse is gnawing. Most guests dropped food on the floor expecting the slave to clear the debris; dregs of wine and vomit would not be unexpected. The sordid debris portrayed was probably depicted to amuse the guests but it was a reminder to the slaves that they must clean the floor after a meal or be punished. All slaves served their master warily as they did not know what could happen to them if they did not. Minor punishments were given for dropping a cup or spilling food; more brutal punishments were not unknown. One slave at a dinner given by the Emperor Caligula stole a silver plate. He had his hands cut off and was forced to parade among the guests with a placard round his neck proclaiming his offense. Emperors, in a custom copied by the wealthy, used a slave called a vocatur to watch the guests



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for their behavior. Unseemly behavior would ensure that they were not invited again. This man also checked what the guests were eating so that he could tell the emperor which food was liked by a guest so that he could be served it again or even which food he disliked so that he could be humiliated and forced to eat it next time. A vocatur was in charge of issuing invitations and allocating place sittings. This laid him open to bribery. One wealthy provincial secured an invitation to one of Caligula’s dinners by paying a vocatur 2,000 gold pieces. Such moneys made certain slaves very wealthy allowing them to progress in their careers, buying their freedom, and becoming freedmen. The majority were men, although women servants or slaves wearing long dresses appear in banqueting scenes on sarcophagi. A tombstone of M. Ulpius Phaedimus, who died in Rome aged 28, and was a freedman of Trajan, records his career. He began as a server of drinks, moved on to become a tricliniarch, an organizer of feasts, before being chosen to carve roasts and fowls for state banquets. In the early days of the Republic the Romans had a pride in self-reliance and frugality; eating and drinking was on a small or frugal scale. After the conquest of Sicily in 241 B.C., the Romans could indulge in the more exotic tastes of the Near Eastern regions. Public dinners now became fashionable. The term epulum, given to a Roman feast, was first a meal associated with some religious function such as the Ludi Romani, which included a feast in honor of Jupiter. In time its religious connotation diminished, and the term became associated with any opulent meal provided by a man, and occasionally by a woman, for friends or for the public. Another public feast, called a convivium, in its simplest form was based on the symposium of the Greeks although it could follow the symposium pattern. It was a meal for friends, held outside a household, and was intended both to express a relationship between equals as well as be an opportunity for patrons to entertain clients and show off their wealth. Freedmen and slaves were not admitted but they could eat together in guild (collegium) dinners. Joining a guild protected these men, who had no family ties, provided like company for entertainment, and ensured that they would be given a decent funeral with the correct rites. In Gabii, decurions and members of the priestly college of the Severi Augustales banqueted in public on their separate triclinia. Collegia buildings have been identified at Pompeii and Ostia. One building at Ostia founded in the reign of Hadrian seems to have been the collegium of the carpenters ( fabri tignuarii). A central court, surrounded by rooms, is extended by a wing containing four triclinia with masonry couches, was almost certainly the dining area. A story by the historian Livy shows both the power of a guild and a guild’s overall love of the good things in life. In 312 B.C. the censors forbid the guild of flute players from holding these regular feasts, probably because they were too rowdy. The guild promptly went on strike and decamped to Tibur. The Romans tried to entice them back, to no avail, but the Tibertines knew the weakness of the members. They plied the players with drink until

Ancient Rome they were intoxicated and fell asleep, packed them into carts, and sent them back to Rome. The flute players congregated in the Forum, but their appalling hangovers soon drove them home. Cicero wrote that Cato the Elder praised the early Romans for choosing the term convivium (con-vivere) to describe the relaxing and reclining of friends at feasts as it implies “a communion of life which is a better designation than that of the Greeks who call it sometimes a drinking together (symposium) or an eating together (syndeipon).” Cicero said that he enjoyed even an afternoon banquet—that is, one that began early and cut short business days—possibly the modern equivalent of the long lunch. In time the terms epulum and convivium both eventually came to mean large public feasts in a variety of contexts, for feeding and entertaining many more people than simply friends of the host. Some Romans might invite guests after a public feast to come to their own home. The Roman general Sulla (c. 138–78 B.C.) often followed a dinner with a drinking party in his own house where dancers and musicians entertained the guests. Women and children did not take part in dinners but women sometimes were allowed to join the convivium and could recline on couches together, although this was unusual. They could give elaborate dinner parties and even feasts for other women. There was still a gender problem. In 7 B.C. Livia, the wife of Augustus, wanted to entertain both senators and the wives of senators together but her son Tiberius objected, as this might be considered unseemly. She had to entertain the wives while her son Tiberius entertained the senators at a dinner in the portico of Livia. Unexpected guests posed another kind of problem. In 45 B.C. Cicero wrote to Atticus (Letters to Atticus 13.5 [353]) that he had been asked to entertain Julius Caesar after he had stopped overnight at Philippus place on his route from Pozzuoli. Unfortunately this included all Caesar’s retinue, who had to be put in three dining rooms. Caesar also brought with him 2,000 soldiers, although Cicero probably did not have to feed these men. Caesar had a bath, oiled his body, and came to dinner. As he was “following a course of emetics,” he was able to partake of “a fine well appointed meal” and he indicated that he had dined well. Cicero provided his guests with all they had wanted and boasted that “I showed that I knew how to live.” He added wryly that “they were not the kind of person to whom one says, ‘Do come again when you are next in the neighbourhood.’ Once is enough.” He added hastily, “it was a visit or should I call it a billeting, which was troublesome to me but not disagreeable.” Private banquets became notorious for their ostentation in entertainment. In the first century B.C., the soldier and administrator Lucius Lucullus’s extravagance became notorious. Once when Caesar and Pompey met him in the forum, Lucullus invited them to dinner. They said they would dine with him that day, but they would not allow him to give notice to his servants, hoping that he would be forced to give them a simple meal. Lucullus outwitted them, for he merely told his servants he would dine with



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them “in Apollo.” Each of his dining rooms had fixed allowance for dinners and in Apollo was served the most costly of foods. A banquet was therefore ready when the two guests came to dine. Such extravagance was satirized by one of the most famous accounts of a banquet. Titus Petronius, the presumed author of the Satyricon, who lived a life of notorious idleness, was attached to Nero’s court, probably in the 60s A.D. The Roman historian Tacitus records that when Petronius fell out of favor with the emperor in A.D. 66, he attempted to commit suicide by slitting his veins. He then bound them up, talked with his friends, had a good dinner, and slept for a while so that his death should appear natural, then resigned himself to death. His major work, The Satyricon, is a satirical work that records an extravagant, vulgar banquet given by Trimalchio, with its seven courses of 62 items, some served with Falernian wine said to be a hundred years old. Tricks included the outpouring of sausages and blood puddings when a pig’s belly was slit, and out of a boar’s slit belly, thrushes flew and were caught by fowlers and then cooked for the guests. Public feasts and banquets, often on a lavish scale, were intended to be a public affirmation of power and wealth. They were held by magistrates before elections and by family members to commiserate deaths or to celebrate birthdays. Status mattered. Cocceia Vera from Cura allocated money for a feast to be held in public on her birthday; the guests were arranged strictly in order of status. Decurions were placed on 10 triclinia, seviri were seated on two or more, and so on, thus reflecting the social spectrum. According to an inscription in Corfinium, a donor left a legacy to set up a carefully delineated fund for both the city council and the populace with the interest to provide a feast to remember him on the anniversary of his birthday. Decurions and their children got 30 sesterces each for a feast where they reclined. The Severi Augustales got 20 sesterces each and the plebeians 8 sesterces each for a dinner. The different choice of words indicates the different ranks of society. Only the decurions reclined; the rest sat. The seating arrangements indicate the privileged setting and the reinforcement of a social hierarchy. Generals held feasts for their troops after battles, senators fed their clients, and decurions and aediles entertained fellow citizens or their peers or gave public banquets to secure votes. Distinguished citizens also provided feasts for the populace. To take part in the festivities was to acknowledge, whether consciously or not, the superior power of the provider as well as the achievement of a collective identity. The three-day festival of the Arval Brethren, a high status brotherhood in Rome, made sacrificial offerings to the Dea Diva. After a libation had been made to the deity, the president of the brethren ate, followed by other members in order of status. On the third day slaves and freedmen were allowed to eat, but they were provided with good white bread instead of meat. In Rome generals and senators were expected to provide feasts. In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar gave a feast with 22,000 dining couches. Allowing three people to a couch, this would mean 66,000 people were feasted.

Ancient Rome Crassus in 70 B.C. held a feast for 10,000 tables of people after a sacrifice to Hercules and gave each person an additional allowance of grain for three months. In 74 B.C. Lucullus drove King Mithridates out of Bithynia and accounting this a triumph he gave a banquet for the senate and provided sacrificial feasts for the people, which included 1,000,000 jars of Greek wine, probably equivalent to four million liters. Such generosity was not confined to the elite. An inscription at Ostia records that P. Lucilius Gamala gave a feast on 217 dining couches, and on two occasions provided a lunch (prandium) for the coloni. C. Iunius Priscus at Arles gave two days of shows and a wild beast hunt for the citizens, a feast for the decurions on 13 triclinia and another on 34 biclinia for the advocates and other officials. Much of this feasting was linked to fierce competition for both public and private support. Emperors thought that this entertainment was a vital necessity to maintain power. Claudius entertained hundreds of guests and even went so far as to pass an edict allowing flatulence at banquets after he learned that one of his guests was acutely uncomfortable due to modesty. Domitian felt the need to provide entertainments in the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus. One of his most memorable feasts, given in the Coliseum on the Kalends of December A.D. 84, was recorded by the Latin poet Publius Statius. First, slaves handed out white napkins to the crowd. Then fruits were given—plums from Damascus, dates from Pontus and Palestine, figs from Asia Minor, and apples and pears from Amorica—all luxurious items. Pastries included some in the shape of human figures. Flamingoes, pheasants, and guinea fowl were tossed into the crowd for people to take home. Wine flowed freely, and the crowd was entertained by troops of dancing Lydian ladies and Syrians, and by gladiatorial fights, that included several by pigmies. The Emperor Caligula’s banquets were welcomed for their opulence but feared for what could happen, as he loved playing cruel jokes, especially reversal of roles where senators were stripped of their togas and dressed as slaves, then made to wait at table. On one occasion in A.D. 40, Caligula suddenly burst out laughing. The two consuls present nervously asked the reason for his mirth. Caligula replied that this was because he had just thought he could have had their throats slit before they had finished the meal. Both private and public dining was clearly appreciated, especially the latter. The first-century A.D. compiler of anecdotes, Valerius Maximus (Facta et Dictu Memorabilia 7.5), noted the hypocrisy: “For while the people approved of private frugality, publicly they set more store by an handsome show.” Seneca argued that the Roman people loathed private luxury, especially extravagant banquets, but they loved public splendor and expected some share in it. Cicero claimed that Cato the Elder disapproved of feasts, not surprisingly indicating that feasts could be seen as bribery to promote goodwill by providing food. Not all political intentions got results. Quintus Aelius Tubero was asked by his cousin Quintus Fabius Maximus to organize a funerary banquet for the people of Rome on the death of his uncle, Scipio Aemilius. Tubero, however, was a stoic who disapproved of extravagant



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entertainment. He therefore covered the couches with shabby goatskins and served food in poor Samian ware, which was declared by the people to be more appropriate for the death of Diogenes the Cynic than to honor the death of the mighty Africanus. The result was that Tubero was defeated when he stood for the office of praetor in the next election. The Romans extended the concept of feasting to the world of the dead. There were three aspects to this: meals provided for the dead and the mourners, meals provided to sustain the dead in the tomb, and food necessary to sustain the dead on the journey to the afterlife and in the afterlife. This applied both to burials and cremations. The funerary cult was based as much on fear as on piety, for it was believed that the dead were prone to resentment, even vengeance, if they felt they were neglected. To forestall this, the correct rites had to be carried out. In these rites food played an important part. Once the deceased had been cremated or placed in the tomb, a libation of wine to the Manes (spirits of the dead) was poured out. Offerings of food were taken at the tomb to be eaten in a funerary meal (silicernium) by members of the family. Sometimes poor strangers waited close to the tombs to partake of the feast after the mourners had departed, even though this was considered sacrilege. The period of mourning included purification ceremonies and meals, sometimes elaborate, eaten at the graveside, nine days after the funeral and then on personal anniversaries, such as birthdays, and annual festivals when the dead were commemorated. These celebrations had a dual purpose, ensuring that memories of the dead survived in the minds of friends and relations, and reassuring the dead that they were not forgotten by inclusion in the refreshment provided. Often money would be left in a will for the necessary food and drink—bread, cakes, meat, fruit, and wine. The Parentalia, held February 13 to 21, was the feast of parents and kinsfolk, when the dead were appeased by feasts and food offerings, including a family meal eaten at the grave. The Parentalia ended in the public festival of the Feralia, when the Manes (the spirits of the dead) were honored. The Lemuria, held on May 9, 11, and 13, was when hungry ghosts, the Lemures and the more dangerous Larvae (malevolent ghosts and evil spirits of the dead), gathered round the house. Meals were prepared for the ghosts. At midnight, the head of the family washed his hands in clean water and threw away black beans, while keeping his face averted, saying nine times: “These I cast, with these I redeem me and mine.” As he made his way out of the house, touching water on his route, the ghosts were believed to pick up and eat the beans. On anniversaries, relations and friends ate commemorative meals at the tomb, with a share provided for the dead person. The fact that it was not eaten did not mean that the dead spirit was not partaking of its share; it would be nourished either within its bones or its ashes. To prepare such meals, kitchens were sometimes provided at mausolea so that the food might be as elaborate as when eaten by the deceased when alive. Kitchens can be seen attached to certain tombs at Isola Sacra, the cemetery attached to Ostia,

Ancient Rome

Tombstone of Druisius with the representation of a funeral banquet, A.D. 80. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

the port of Rome. These tombs present the appearance of the dwellings of a well-to-do bourgeoisie. Meals shared at the tomb with the dead might not be enough to satisfy them. The tomb was the home for the dead, where they would expect all that they had had in life and food replenished their energies. Nourishment was provided by food placed within the tomb at the moment of interment or on the funeral pyre. Future nourishment from the human world came in the forms of food placed in tombs, and libations and burnt offerings at the tomb. These burnt offerings liberated the spirit of the food so that it passed to the dead. Libations could be delivered through pipes. For poorer people this meant the mouth of a flagon protruding above the ground



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serving both as a grave marker and an entrance for liquid nourishment. These can still be seen in situ at the Isola Sacra cemetery at Ostia. The funerary feast seems to have extended throughout the empire. In the catacombs of Kom el-Shuqqafa at Alexandria, Egypt, dating from the second century A.D., the dead were interred in a vast necropolis, reached by a spiral staircase, descending to a depth of 35 meters. A triclinium with three stone benches was provided, where meals could be eaten before the dead persons underwent the ritual Egyptian custom of evisceration and mummification, the processes of which are graphically represented on the wall of the principal tomb. When the catacombs were first excavated, wine amphora and tableware were found on a central wooden table in the triclinium. The premise of a tomb as an eternal home was constant in the Roman world. Trimalchio declared the importance of decorating one’s tomb carefully: “It is wrong to look after the house in which you live and to neglect the house in which you will stay much longer” (Petronius, Satyricon 71). Containers for ashes were placed in urns shaped as houses. The elaborate tombs at Ostia and those south of Rome, along the Via Latina near to its convergence with the Via Appia Nuova, are large square buildings, which take the form of rectangular houses. Some of the buildings have an underground burial chamber surmounted by a two-story building. Funerary gardens were also created round tombs where meals could be eaten. Trimalchio, who would have expected a funerary banquet on a grand scale, when giving directions for his future tomb, said that he would like to have an orchard with “various kinds of fruit growing round my ashes and plenty of vines” (Petronius, Satyricon 71). This concept can be seen in the Roman belief that the Elysium Fields were regarded as an idyllic landscape with abundant flowers and heavenly banquets. Some tombstones show the Totenmahl or funerary banquet. The deceased lies on a couch, holding out a cup as if to toast the living. A small three-legged table is in front, on which rests food. Such tombstones were popular in the Rhineland and Eastern Gaul. On one of the finest tombstones at Cologne, Germany, Gaius Julius Maternus, veteran of Legion I Minervia, reclines on a high-backed couch, with a pet dog at his feet. He raises a cup in his right hand and holds a serviette in his left. A meal of fruit and bread is set on a three-legged table covered with a fringed cloth. A banquet indeed for those who are about to enter the afterlife. Servants stand to left and right to wait on him. His wife, Maria Marcellina, seated in her basket chair, holds a bowl with more fruit. The dead expected to be nourished by these meals. Even so, none could escape the implacable reality that the pleasures of eating and drinking were ephemeral. Titus Flaminius, soldier of Legion XIV Gemina, on his tombstone in Britain at Wroxeter, Shropshire, was uncompromising: “I did my service and now I am here. Read this and be either more or less fortunate in your lifetime. The gods prohibit you from the wine-grape and water when you enter Tartarus” (Collingwood and Wright no 292).

Anniversary Parties Further Reading: Alcock, Joan P. “The Funerary Meal in the Cult of the Dead in Classical Roman Religion.” In Harlan Walker (ed). The Meal: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Totnes, England: Prospect Book, 2001, pp. 31– 41; Aldrete, Gregory S: The Roman City: Rome, Pompeii, and Ostia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004; Apicius. The Roman Cookery Book: A Critical Translation of the Art of Cooking by Apicus for Use in the Study and in the Kitchen. Translated by Barbara Flower and Elisabeth Rosenbaum. London: George Harrop & Co., 1961; Brun, J. P., and A. Tchernia. Le Vin Romain Antique. Grenoble, France: Glénat, 1999; Collingwood, R. G., and R.R.P. Wright (eds.). The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965; Donahue, John F. The Roman Community at Table during the Principate. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004; Dunbabin, Katherine. The Roman Banquet: Images of Conviviality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini. A Taste of Ancient Rome. Translated by Anna Herklotz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992; Gold, Barbara K., and John F. Donahue (eds.). Roman Dining: A Special Issue of American Journal of Philology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005; McGovern, Patrick E., J. Fleming, and S. H. Katz (eds.). The Origins and Ancient History of Wine. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Gordon and Breach, 1996; Meiggs, Ronald. Roman Ostia. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972; Nielsen, H. S., and I. Nielsen (eds.). Meals in a Social Context: Aspects of the Communal Meal in the Hellenistic and Roman World. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1998; Petronius.: The Satyricon. Translated by J. P. Sullivan. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1965; Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Translated by Robert Graves. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1957; Toynbee, J.M.C. Death and Burial in the Roman World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1971.

Joan P. Alcock

Anniversary Parties Anthropologists believe that early marriage was characterized by the capture of young women while out gathering food for their tribes or clans. Since tribes and clans were groups of extended family, a woman’s friends were often siblings, cousins, and other kin. A woman would be seized by a man from another tribe or clan who was assisted by his kinsmen while the other young women ran back to the village to get help from their fathers, brothers, and other male family members. Meanwhile the young woman and her captor would be in hiding until the search for her was terminated and, according to legend, the bride would be presented with a ring composed of braided grass that denoted her “taken” status. This period of hiding out usually lasted 30 days or one full cycle of the moon during which the new couple drank wine with honey and, at the end, the new bride was usually with child. From this initial explanation one can see the origins of brides, grooms, the bridal party, and the wedding band, in addition to the honeymoon. In time, this form of marriage by capture was replaced with a form of bartering for wives. Men and their brothers would approach fathers with



Anniversary Parties

daughters from neighboring clans or tribes to negotiate the exchange of goods for a bride. The price a groom would pay to the father of a woman to make her his wife was called bridewealth or wed and is considered the root from which the term wedding originates. This exchange of goods or wealth was to serve as compensation for the father who was losing a household worker rather than gaining a son-in-law; it is hypothesized that this concept of the father having to give up the labor contribution of his daughter is the origin of the term “giving away the bride.” Bartering for wives grew into the formation of alliances between fathers and leaders to create very large extended families that often chose to intermarry if they were aristocratic in an effort to create stronger blood ties to the crown, or enlarging and fortifying kingdoms. Bridewealth was complemented by the concept of the dowry, where fathers gave money to grooms to help financially support their daughters in married life. These dowries included everything from monetary gifts to tracts of land, and sometimes even the right to collect taxes from those that resided on the property. As brides became the property of their husbands these gifts also fell under his jurisdiction. These arranged marriages were often tactical maneuvers orchestrated by the aristocracy and confirmed by the church in an effort to legitimize them, as well as to curb some of the more flagrant behavior. As a result it was more likely that the anniversary honoring a ruler’s reign would be celebrated, instead of the marriage that may have helped to ensure his throne. The engagement ring is Western culture’s modern tie to bridewealth. It serves not only as a token of affection but puts forth an offer of marriage. The acceptance of the engagement ring begins the cycle of preparations to enter married life with its responsibilities and future duties of family. Bridewealth is a rarely practiced custom in scattered parts of the world, and the dowry system, though still practiced in many places, has also begun to diminish. Originally, the dowry included a financial arrangement between the bride’s father and her groom, while also including the items in the trousseau or hope chest, prepared by the bride. The groom provided daily care and the home in which they would dwell while the bride was responsible for daily housekeeping, raising of the children, and the décor of the home. Home décor items included bed linens, towels, and so forth, that were embellished with needlework featuring flowers, monograms, and other artistic elements attesting to the proficiency of decorative fine arts. In parts of the Middle East and Asia there is a complex system of laws codifying the ritual or limiting its practice, but there are groups that still use dowries. The social codes dictating the behavior of the medieval upper class did not pertain to those below them. Slaves were forbidden to marry but merchants, workers, and other lower class citizens were equally encouraged by economic necessity to marry. However, the nature of these unions differed greatly compared to their aristocratic cousins. Some historians suggest that the idea of a love match originated during the lower classes at this time. In time, this romantic notion swept through all classes and became an essential component leading to the celebration of the wedding anniversary.


Anniversary Parties The first anniversary of a Anniversary Milestones and couple’s wedding is celebrated by consuming the top layer of their Anniversary American British wedding cake. In addition, there 1 paper cotton is also the ceremonial exchange of 2 cotton paper gifts. These gifts change with each year and have been modernized to 3 leather leather reflect the availability and useful4 linen, silk fruit, flowers ness of the items. The first anniver5 wood wood sary is traditionally celebrated with the gift of paper in America while 6 iron sugar the British equivalent is cotton and 7 wool, copper wool, copper modern gift givers offer clocks. 8 bronze bronze, pottery Traditionally, certain anniver9 pottery pottery, willow saries have been recognized as being milestones and are accom10 tin, aluminum tin panied by parties to honor the 11 steel steel occasion. The silver and golden 12 silk linen, silk anniversaries, the 25th and 50th respectively, are often cause for 13 lace lace children to fete their parents’ mar14 ivory ivory ital achievements. In cases such as 15 crystal crystal these, the parties can run the spectrum to simply enjoying cake and 20 china china coffee to something much more 25 silver silver lavish like a catered meal with 30 pearl pearl dancing or other forms of entertainment. Like the bridal shower 35 coral, jade coral and bachelor party that welcomed 40 ruby ruby the couple into matrimonial life, 45 sapphire sapphire this celebration should be a gift 50 gold gold honoring their achievement. According to some Germanic 55 emerald emerald traditions, anniversaries are cele60 diamond diamond brated more often. Because so 65 blue sapphire blue sapphire many Westerners are divorcing and remarrying, celebrations may occur 70 platinum platinum at earlier intervals, such as at 5, 10, or 75 diamond diamond 15 years. These celebrations, as well 80 oak oak as the yearly ones, can be as simple or elaborate as the couple likes. For some, this may be dinner at home or an evening out to a favorite restaurant and the exchange of gifts. Further Reading: Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of Love. New York: Random House, 1994; Metrick, Sydney Barbara. I Do: A Guide to Creating Your Own

Gifts Modern clocks china crystal appliances silverware wooden desk item linens, lace leather diamond jewelry pearls textiles, furs gold watches platinum sterling silver diamond jade ruby sapphire gold emerald diamond blue sapphire platinum diamond oak



Unique Wedding Ceremony. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1992; Packham, Jo. Wedding Parties & Showers: Planning Memorable Celebrations. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1993; Waggoner, Susan. I Do! I Do! From the Veil to the Vows: How Classic Wedding Traditions Came to Be. New York: Rizzoli, 2002; Wallace, Carol McD. All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.

Alexa Reynolds Johnson

Antipasto Antipasto is the singular form of the less often used, plural term antipasti. It literally means before (anti) the meal ( pasto). Antipasto is considered the Italian equivalent of the appetizer course and defined as an assortment of hot or cold dishes served at the beginning of the meal. Despite the modern assumption of its similarity to American appetizers and French hors d’oeuvres, traditional antipasto has a much more complex purpose, as the actual intent of the dish is to heighten the anticipation for the meal to come, stimulate the palate without overwhelming it, and aid digestion. The term antipasto first appeared in the sixteenth century in the writings of Domenico Romoli, a gastronomic writer. Originally, antipasto was served specifically for gustato, or digestion, but it evolved to include all first course dishes. Antipasto arose from the menu crisis of a new bourgeois class. The aristocracy had a very complicated order to their meals serving very specific entremets following or preceding certain main dishes such as roasts. The bourgeois wanted to maintain the digestive functions of the upper-class feasts but needed to simplify them. From the nineteenth century on they altered the order of their menus and, following in the steps of the trattorie, finally decided on the three-course outline that is still used today. While there was some struggle to assign certain dishes to a specific course, antipasto developed easily, as any palate-stimulating dish was assigned to the new course. As the three-course bourgeois meal cemented itself, the idea of

An antipasto display at a wedding in Italy. Larry St. Pierre/Shutterstock.

Antipasto keeping the appetite alert and aiding digestion remained the only common threads connecting the gastronomic habits of both classes. Antipasto and hors d’oeuvres first became synonymous in the nineteenth century when international chefs tired of the strict boundaries of palate stimulations. Upscale French restaurants replaced the lighter Italianbased fare with more costly assortments of oysters, caviar, foie gras, and heavier hot morsels such as beignets, tartlets, fondue, and croquettes. Like appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, antipasto is served before the main meal, as the first course. Additionally, the number of dishes served has fluctuated throughout history. In past centuries, a spread of numerous dishes would normally be served, whereas now one sees smaller, more individual portions. Antipasto dishes always include seasonal ingredients and very simple flavors. The minimalism of the dishes entails very little preparation as most of them are served in the form in which they are purchased. Marinades and dressings consist of simple oils, vinegars, and other acids such as lemon juice; the addition of salt and herbs is also welcome; however, intense spice and bold flavors should be reserved for the main course because they damage the palate, making the following courses seem bland. Moreover, heavy dishes inhibit digestion, rather than promote it, and cause fullness too early in the meal. Drinks may be paired with antipasto, but along the same lines as the food served, they should be light and complement the food while not disturbing the palate; usually white wines are appropriate, as well as bitters such as Campari and Lillet or vermouths. The varieties of food offered in antipasto have a fairly vast range including everything from vegetables to seafood, and can range in temperature from cold to room temperature to hot. While the dressings are confined to oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and herbs, a selection of antipasto can be quite assorted. A high vegetable ratio, usually half of the dishes, is common for the antipasto course because it is an easy way to keep the course light. The other half of the course should be split between seafood, meat, and hot dishes. Salads can include a mélange of vegetables, seafood, or meats, and can be served chilled or lukewarm (legumes or greens are tossed with cooked meat, fish, other vegetables, or starches). Vegetable dishes simply consist of, among others, such traditional ingredients as artichokes and fennel, usually served with pepper and oil. Mushrooms are served with oils and a few drops of lemon juice, and truffles are shaved over other antipasto, such as cheeses, to add and intensify the flavor. Cooked beans are made into salads or served over biscuits or small toasts. Bruschetta are round toasts, usually made from day-old or stale bread, brushed with olive oil, garlic, and pepper, topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, seafood, or cheese. Fish and seafood are also very common in antipasto spreads. The Italian coastline offers a rich array of fish that are not substantial enough for main dishes but that make excellent first course dishes. Fish carpaccio and crudo dishes such as tuna crudo (raw tuna) are common. Bottarga, air-dried tuna or millet roe, is also popular. Seafood salads include a medley of marinated



Aztec Entertaining

shellfish and mollusks including shrimp, squid (seppie, calamaretti, totani, moscardini), mussels, clams, sea truffles, oysters, crabs, scallops, and lobster. Another well-known antipasto category is salumi, salted and cured meat, mostly pork. Since Italy is so well known for cured meats like prosciutto di parma and Genoan salami, and such delicacies can simply be sliced and served on a platter (termed affettato misto), salumi is a very popular appetizer even outside of Italy. Other meats that can be included in the affettato misto are soppressata, speck, bresaola, coppa, and testa. They can also be dressed with oil and vinegar, or served with fruit such as the internationally famous dishes of prosciutto with melon or figs. Hot antipasto, because they are traditionally rather unusual, are less often seen among antipasto spreads, but are no less welcome. They are comforting in cold weather and can be part of lunch or dinner. They must be kept simple and maintain the qualities of cold and room temperature dishes. Hot dishes can include crostini (little toasts). Crostini are synonymous with bruschetta, but tend to be associated with the warm varieties; toppings include cheese, anchovies, cooked shellfish, or, more traditionally, chicken liver sauce. Small pizzas, or pizzette, also fall into this category, but to remain antipasto, they must be small and not too heavy. Fritelle are small fritters stuffed with various ingredients such as cured meats and cheese. Also, left over bits and pieces of meats, vegetables, and organ meats can be fried into small morsels. Although in the past 50 years, antipasto, appetizer, and hors d’oeuvre became completely interchangeable, traditional Italian antipasto are still served in Italy and in America, in many Italian restaurants and homes around the country. They are much appreciated at large parties, by the guests and hosts alike, as they require little preparation, can be made ahead of time, but are still tasty and easy to eat. They make the perfect first course for a host doubling as cook as they allow less time spent in the kitchen and more time spent with the guests. For a group of 10 or so a selection of 15 to 20 dishes of antipasto is appropriate; guests should always be allowed ample time, at least an hour, to enjoy the antipasto along with the company of the other guests. Further Reading: Bastianich, Lidia Matticchio, and Christopher Styler. Lidia’s Italian Table. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1998; Capatti, Alberto, and Massimo Montanari. Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003; David, Elizabeth. Italian Food. New York: Penguin Books, 1999; May, Tony. Italian Cuisine. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005; The Silver Spoon. New York: Phaidon Press, 2006.

Allison Green

Aztec Entertaining The foodstuff available to the Aztecs prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1519 consisted of the Mesoamerican trinity of corn, beans, and squash, with

Aztec Entertaining chili peppers for flavoring on the side. Meat came in the form of various birds, including turkeys; dogs; and the occasional deer. The Aztec diet was essentially a vegetarian one, with an astonishing variety of foods used in unique and creative ways. Although the Aztecs are known mostly for their practice of human sacrifice, research now indicates that—contrary to some of the disturbing accounts written by the early Spanish chroniclers like Fray Bernardino Sahagún and Bernal Díaz del Castillo and modern researchers like Michael Harner—human sacrifice was not meant to supply scarce protein to the protein-deficient Aztecs, but was rather a ritualized form of violence. Only certain priests and warriors ate human flesh in the form of ritualized cannibalism. Ritual feasts, royal banquets, and daily meals all carried different obligations and practices. Common to all three were the sources for the food: the huge market in Tenochtitlán, with much food grown in “floating gardens” called chinampas on Lake Xochimilco, and the tribute required of the outlying areas around the capital of Tenochtitlán. So rich was the food culture that ready-made foods like tamales and stews were available for people to buy and take home to eat. Corn was such an important food, so necessary for the physical survival of the people, that it underwrote much of culinary practice as well as religious practice. Nobles and poor peasants alike ate corn every day, in many guises. Atole, a sort of porridge more like a beverage made with ground corn, was a staple beverage, and tortillas were the “bread” of life. Feasts dedicated to the gods occurred monthly and special foods and meals were prepared to note the significance of each god. Most of the celebrations marked some aspect of the harvest. In the months before the harvest, wealthy nobles were required to share the surplus of their granaries with the poor by holding fiestas. Poor people stood in line for handfuls of tamales and atole. At the harvest itself, food offerings of fresh tortillas and chilies were made to the corn goddess, and the celebrants had to eat these foods at the feast. For the Lord of Rain and Thunder, the god Tlaloc, the Aztecs celebrated a special feast called the Great Vigil. In addition to an offering of the blood of a sacrificial victim, the Aztecs placed stews, chocolate, and tamales at the base of the statue of the god. Guards posted around the temple guarded the food from marauding enemies. Defilement of the meal was believed to bring terrible punishment to the Aztecs by the god. One of the most important feasts occurred every 52 years at the New Fire ceremony. This event meant that the cycle of the world would begin anew if the correct foods were offered to the gods in abundance. Some priests fasted for an entire year prior to this ceremony, others for 80 days, while the Aztec lords fasted for 8 days. Spanish accounts of the feasts enjoyed by the Aztec ruler Moctezuma emphasize the large number of dishes prepared for him. Daily meals included over 30 different dishes for him alone, with a thousand dishes concocted for his entourage. After a ritual washing of his hands by four maidens, Moctezuma ate alone behind a golden screen. Chronicler Bernal Díaz del



Aztec Entertaining

Page from the Codex Fejérvár y-Mayer. Top panel depicts the fortunes of the maize plant during the last two years of a four-year period. In the third year (right), Tlaloc is dominant and blesses the plant, which is shown as Chalchihuitlicue. In the final year (left), Xipe Totec rules the maize and the plant fails. Werner Forman / Art Resource, NY.

Castillo provided one of the more detailed renditions of what a daily meal for the Aztec ruler entailed. “Every day they cooked him fowl, wattled fowl, pheasants, native partridges, quail, domestic and wild ducks, deer, peccary, reed birds and doves and hares and rabbits,” and that was just the beginning. He ended his meals with a form of hot chocolate, made from ground cacao beans. As in many places in the Americas, Aztec banquets took place early in the morning. Presentation of the dishes was an important part of the dining experience. Cooks decorated tamales with seeds and beans, and tortillas were often baked in different shapes, including that of butterflies, an important animal for the Aztecs, since they believed that butterflies were the returned souls of warriors. Aztec nobles and upper-class people held banquets for various nonritualized occasions, and Fray Bernardino Sahagún left one of the most

Aztec Entertaining detailed descriptions of Aztec eating habits, including two accounts of banquets related to him by Aztec informers. One banquet was held for a baptism, and the other, given by a merchant, was a unique and costly occasion. The baptism banquet, not detailed in the account, probably featured toasted maize and beans with a sauce of chili, as well some meat and fish. Even here, the gods demanded their portion and each guest dropped a small amount of food on the ground for the god Tlaltecuhtli. Servers received the leftover food. Sahagún states that the men drank chocolate after the meal, while the women took atole. Sahagún’s comments about the use of alcohol are especially interesting. If guests were unhappy with the meal, etiquette required the host to hold another banquet the following day and in the meantime, the older people—both men and women—were served weak pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant. Allowed to imbibe as much as they wished, unlike the rest of the population, soon the inebriated older people would start singing and telling jokes and stories. The extraordinary banquet held by the merchant required intricate preparations, including special treatment for the chocolate to be served. The host recruited his friends and family members to assist him with all facets of the banquet, including serving and seating the guests. Tobacco use demanded special smoking tubes, the banquet area had to be purified by a priest with incense, and the men ate hallucinogenic mushrooms and retold their visions. The food served is not described in detail, but it was likely a meat stew with chili and tortillas. The next day, the leftovers appeared and it was a good omen if enough food was left, signifying prosperity for the host and his family. The common people ate much differently than did the Aztec lords and wealthy merchants. Celebrating the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli, similar to Easter, called for offerings of food and many of the poor could not offer more than stale tortillas and rank bitter sauces. The daily eating patterns of the poor included chili, salt, tortillas, and beans or other vegetables available made into stews. In his account of Aztec culture, Sahagún includes some of the short pithy lectures for children’s good behavior so characteristic of Aztec literature, warning children of the need to be moderate and prudent in all things related to eating and drinking, including ritual hand washing and cleanliness at meals. Further Reading: Coe, Sophie D. America’s First Cuisines. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994; Cortés, Hernán. Letters from Mexico. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001; Díaz del Castillo, Bernal. Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España. México: Nueva Mundo, 1943; Long-Solis, Janet, and Luis Alberto Vargas. Food Culture in Mexico. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005; Pilcher, Jeffrey M. Que Vivan Los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998; Rojas de Perdomo, Lucía. Cocina Prehispánica. Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia: Editorial Voluntad, SA, 1994; Sahagún, Bernardino de. General History of the Things of New Spain: Florentine Codex. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research. 1950.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen


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B Baby Shower It has long been the custom to present gifts to newborns, although the gifting usually took place after the child was born, commonly when the child was presented or was christened. In the late nineteenth century it became popular for new mothers to host a tea for friends a month or so after the birth of the child. Victorians discouraged visitors during the first weeks following delivery. Many obstetric texts of the period recommended nine days of complete bed rest for the new mother. This was particularly true for upper-class women, who were thought to be more delicate and more susceptible to post-partum complications. The length of time that a woman remained “a bed” after delivery varied with her constitution, personality, and economic situation. Victorians would never have hosted a party prior to the birth of the child. Pregnant women were expected to avoid the public view as much as possible. Women of the leisure class remained indoors during the latter months of their pregnancy. Infant mortality in the last decades of the nineteenth century ranged from 15.1 to 21.4 percent, and it was not until the early twentieth century that the infant mortality rate fell into to the single digits. In a time of such high infant mortality, families would never have presumed to celebrate prior to the birth.


Baby Shower

The traditional baby shower, where mothers-to-be are “showered” with presents for the awaited child, can be traced to the American post–World War II era. As soldiers returned home, women resumed traditional roles. Marriage and childbearing became cultural and career goals for most women in the decade immediately following the war. The surge in the birthrate that occurred in America in the postwar period has been dubbed the “baby boom,” and launched a child-centered culture that celebrated children. Advances in prenatal and neonatal care had reduced infant mortality rates to the point where celebration of a birth could be done in anticipation of the actual event. Baby showers are traditionally held only prior to the birth of the first child, but in recent years, smaller events, sometimes referred to as sprinkles, are held for subsequent childbirths as well. Originally only one shower would be given for an expectant mother. Now, some women receive several showers due to the fact that they may have a wider variety of friends, coworkers, and family than in the past. Each group may elect to give a smaller shower composed only of members from that group. Baby showers are also now given for mothers who are adopting a baby. Sometimes “Welcome Baby!” showers are held after the baby arrives when health issues exist or if key participants cannot attend the event prior to the birth. Showers are usually given a month or two prior to delivery while the mother-to-be is still comfortable and to anticipate unexpected early arrivals. Typically they are held in the afternoon. This harkens back to the Victorian teas for the new baby. Showers range from casual to very elegant events. They can be hosted in someone’s home or they can take place in a restaurant, country club, or community hall. Generally, they only last a few hours. Traditionally, showers are all female events but in more recent years couples showers have become acceptable. Sometimes the shower starts as an “all girl” event with the father-to-be arriving with the other men

A pregnant woman reacting with delight as she opens a baby shower gift. © Glenda Powers | Dreamstime.com.

Bachelor Party after all the traditional activities have concluded, but in time for the food. Originally, refreshment at showers was light, such as tea, small sandwiches, and cakes. Today refreshments range from informal finger food to full meals at restaurants. There usually is a cake honoring the mother-to-be. The focus of the baby shower is the opening and displaying of the gifts. Originally, many gifts were handmade. Women would knit or crochet sweaters, caps, booties, and blankets, or embroider coverlets and bibs for the new baby. While this handiwork is still done, many baby shower gifts are storebought. Common gifts range from clothing, toys, and disposable diapers to car seats, strollers, and baby furniture. Generally, guests receive a small party favor as a keepsake of the event. Many showers include playing games. Some are event-related adaptations of traditional wordplay, memory, and trivia games, such as baby name bingo where baby names replace the numbers on bingo cards or gift bingo where the cards contain the name of a gift and as each gift is opened guests mark their cards appropriately. A popular memory game displays the contents of a baby’s travel bag for two or more minutes, then covers the display and asks guests to make a list of the contents. Some games are more physical and involve relays or timed competitions, which may be individual or team. Contests may include hands-free passing of a baby bottle or undressing and redressing a baby doll. The clothespin game is also popular. When guests arrive, they receive a clothespin and are informed of the rules. If they say the word baby, the person who hears them takes their clothespin. This continues for the entire party. At the end of the event, the person with the most clothespins wins. The traditional colors for baby showers are pink and blue or other pastels. Nowadays, many mothers-to-be know the sex of their child so it is common for the decor to be all pink for a girl or blue for a boy. Symbols used in decoration include umbrellas, a play on the term shower, storks, such baby-related items as teddy bears, alphabet blocks, baby bottles, rattles, safety pins, and, of course, babies. Some baby showers are themed. Planners select a baby-related symbol such as teddy bears, rubber duckies, or Noah’s ark and use theme-related images on invitations, for table settings, and other decorations. Further Reading: Glendenning, Paula. The Baby Shower Book: Etiquette, Decorating, Games, Food. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 1960; Jenkins, Jennifer. The Everything Baby Shower Book: From Surprise Parties to Office Celebrations, How to Throw an Outstanding Event for the Mother-to-be. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 2000; Long, Becky, and Bruce Lansky. Themed Baby Showers: Mother Goose to Noah’s Ark. Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press, 2003; Wai, Joan. 100 + Baby Shower Games. Studio City, CA: The Brainstorm Company, 2005.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

Bachelor Party Anywhere from a few weeks prior to or on the night before the wedding ceremony, male guests gather to toast the groom on his upcoming nuptials



Bachelor Party

and the end to his days as a bachelor. Traditionally, this event is hosted by the best man with assistance from the groomsmen, and invitations to attend are issued not only to the groomsmen but also to the male family members of the bride and groom, as well as any male friends or family members that have offered emotional support to the groom during his days as a single man. Most modern bachelor parties involve dinner, drinks, and activities, such as cards, conversation, possibly cigars, and other behavior traditionally frowned upon by wives. Legend says the first bachelor parties took place among warriors from Sparta when groups of men would go out and drink a great deal with the soon-to-be married man, who would pledge his ongoing support and loyalty to his brothers in arms, despite his upcoming nuptials and the beginning of his life as a married man. As marriages became less about building alliances and power, the idea of a mutually accepted match based on love became more established and bachelor parties became more focused on the end of the groom’s days as a bachelor and on the beginning of his wife-to-be taking control over their finances. Bachelor parties continued to celebrate the end of a man’s bachelor days but as time went by also collected secret funds so the now married man could continue to have money to drink with his friends. With each drink poured at the bachelor party, the groom and his men toast the bride while collecting money for the future husband’s social drinking fund. The tradition of smashing the glass after toasting the bride occurred during this time and is based on the idea that the glass could serve no nobler function after such an event. These convivial and spirit-fueled celebrations may be considered the basis for the booze-fueled nights of debauchery often illustrated by movies and other popular culture. Since the later half of the twentieth century these celebrations of bachelorhood have come to include exotic dancers, strippers jumping out of faux cakes, and other highly elaborate forms of entertainment that are sometimes meant to chide and embarrass the groom. While these may be the ideas put forth by Hollywood, the majority of how-to books on the subject offer other thoughts. With more bachelor parties taking place weeks prior to the wedding ceremony and guests having more discretionary income, some parties travel to destination cities like Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, and so on. These bachelor weekends might incorporate golf, spa treatments, fine dining, and more opportunities for the men to get together and enjoy one another’s company. Some of the time can be used for visits to clubs while other guests choose more athletic pursuits like deep sea fishing, attending sporting events, or even gourmet events such as wine or scotch tastings led by a sommelier or spirit specialist. As a rule the only gifts exchanged are the other guests covering their own expenses and a portion of those for the groom-to-be. In the past decade female guests have been invited to bachelor parties. For some couples the bachelor and bachelorette parties have become an extension of the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception, thereby offering

Bachelor Party a less lascivious, alcohol-fueled night-of-no-regrets into an evening where families and friends spend more time talking and visiting together. While bachelor parties continue to be an American activity, their European counterpart, the stag party, also continues to flourish in the form of getaway weekends. The hen party, which evolved from the more traditional bridal or bridesmaid’s luncheon, is the European equivalent to the American bachelorette party. The bachelorette or hen party allows women a chance to get rowdy, dance, and have some fun at local pubs, clubs, or bars. It is important to note that some Asian cultures have a unique form of male bonding after the ceremony and honeymoon. Upon returning to the bride’s home in Korea, the men of her household ( brothers and cousins) begin rough housing the groom by playfully tackling and punching him until the bride or her parents come to his rescue. This introduction ceremony is called p’ye-back, and scholars have traced its origins to the tradition of marriage-by-capture. Anthropologists suggest that early grooms from rival tribes kidnapped women who were out foraging and were then beaten by men in her family when the couple was discovered. Another version of male bonding occurs in African and some Caribbean countries. This custom is called queh-queh and originated in Guyana. Troupes of drummers, dancers, and singers go to the homes of the bride and groom two or three days prior to the wedding with a big performance the night before the ceremony. During the singing and drumming, family members are remembered, stories from African history are retold, and songs are sung to prepare the couple for their wedding night. The ceremony is filled with heavy sexual overtones highlighting male sexual prowess and feminine attributes. Further Reading: Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of Love. New York: Random House, 1994; Bachelor Party. Directed by Neal Israel, starring Tom Hanks and Tawny Kitaen. Bachelor Party Productions, Aspect Radio Film and Twin Continental, distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 1984; Berardo, Felix M., and Hernan Vera. “The Groomal Shower: A Variation of the American Bridal Shower.” Family Relations, vol. 30, no. 3 (July 1981): 395–401; Costa, Shu Shu. Wild Geese and Tea: An Asian American Wedding Planner. New York: Riverhead Books, 1997; Cury, James Oliver. The Playboy Guide to Bachelor Parties: Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Groom’s Rite of Passage from Simple to Sinful. New York: Fireside, 2004; Greco, Gail. Shower Handbook: The Complete Guide to Planning the Perfect Party. Greensboro, NC: WallaceHomestead Book Company, 1988; Hopkins, Ginny. The Bride’s Book of Showers. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, 1993; Skidelsky, William. “Food.” New Statesman, vol. 16, issue 762 (2003): 56; Sturgis, Ingrid. The Nubian Wedding Book. New York: Crown Publishing, 1997; Wallace, Carol McD. All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding. New York: Penguin Books, 1993; Williams, Clover Nolan. “The Bachelor’s Transgression: Identity and Difference in the Bachelor Party.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 107, no. 423, Bodylore ( Winter 1994): 106–120.

Alexa Reynolds Johnson



Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah The Bar/ Bat Mitzvah ceremony is a Jewish religious ceremony held when a young man or woman reaches the age of adulthood. The word mitzvah is from Aramaic and means “commandment.” Bar is son and bat is daughter. Literally, Bar Mitzvah means “son of the commandment,” and Bat Mitzvah, “daughter of the commandment.” The terms are used both to indicate the ceremony of initiation and the child who has reached the age of commandment. Under Jewish law, children are not obligated to observe the commandments, although they are encouraged to do so and to learn what their obligations will be as adults. Adulthood is linked to showing signs of puberty. Boys are considered to have reached adulthood at the age of 13 years and one day. As girls mature earlier, the age for girls is 12 years and one day. The Bar/ Bat Mitzvah ceremony formally marks the assumption of the responsibility to follow the 613 laws of the Torah. The Bar/ Bat Mitzvah is morally responsible for his or her own actions. Among the privileges of the Bar Mitzvah is that he may be counted as one of the number of Jewish adults required for main public prayers. He may also lead the services and read from the Torah at the public reading in the synagogue. He can also own personal property and engage in most business and monetary transactions as a full adult. The young man or young woman becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah when they attain the proper age. No ceremony is required and, in fact, the ceremony is a relatively modern development. In its most basic form, the occasion is the Bar Mitzvah’s first aliyah, where the celebrant is called up to the Torah to recite a blessing over the weekly reading. Today, it is common

A young man at his Bar Mitzvah. Gordon Swanson /Shutterstock.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the Bar Mitzvah to learn the entire Haftarah, a chapter-length passage from the Torah, and recite it at the service in the traditional ritual chant. In some congregations the celebrant reads the entire weekly Torah portion and leads part of the services, or leads the congregation in certain important prayers. Being called up to read the Torah is symbolic of having reached maturity and is the first public demonstration of the celebrant’s new role as a full member of the community. Most congregational Hebrew schools offer special classes to prepare Bar/Bat Mitzvah students. Generally, the celebrant is also required to make a speech, which traditionally opens with the declaration, “Today I am a man.” The speech may be made after reading the Torah or it may be part of the celebratory feast, which takes place following the ceremony. Often this provides an occasion for the celebrant to thank his parents for their love and care and the guests for sharing in the celebration. In some denominations it is customary for the audience to commence singing loudly a short time after the speech has begun. This is done to shorten the length of the speech when the celebrant is nervous and would be embarrassed if he could not complete the speech due to stage fright. The father of the Bar Mitzvah recites a prayer of thanks for having been relieved of the burden of being responsible for the sins of the son. The Bat Mitzvah is a twentieth-century custom. Most Orthodox denominations reject the concept that women can read publicly from the Torah or lead prayer service. For them, the Bat Mitzvah is little more than a celebratory party. In non-Orthodox sects, a young woman’s Bat Mitzvah is celebrated in the same way as a young man’s. This egalitarian format did not gain any real support until after the 1960s. In more modern times it has become customary for a reception to follow the religious ceremony. Historically, the celebration was little more than a glass of schnapps and a piece of angel food cake, but today these celebrations can be quite elaborate, rivaling weddings with invitations, favors, entertainment, and food. “Mazel Tov” (congratulations) is the traditional toast. It is customary to give a gift to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah to commemorate the occasion and as a token of appreciation for the Torah speech. Traditionally, gifts have a religious or educational value. Religious items, writing implements, gift certificates, and savings bonds, which can be put toward the young person’s education, are popular. Recently, gifts of cash have become quite common. Monetary gifts are often given in multiples of 18. The Hebrew word for life is chai. The two Hebrew letters that make up the word are chet and yud, which in Gematria, the numerical value of Hebrew letters, equal 18. Giving money in multiples of $18 is symbolic of giving chai or life. These gifts are considered very auspicious. Many Bar Mitzvahs receive their first tallith or prayer shawl, which is used for the special day, from their parents. Some religious men celebrate a second Bar Mitzvah at age 83. The Torah identifies the average life span as 70 years. An 83-year-old can be considered as having reached 13 in a “second life.” Once a person is Bar Mitzvah, he remains so for the remainder of his life, but the occasion can be used




to reaffirm one’s commitment to Judaism. With more and more people remaining vital in later life, the practice is gaining increasing popularity in a number of different denominations. Further Reading: Lenernan, Helen, and Cantor Helen Lenernan, eds. Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basics: A Practical Family Guide and Coming of Age Together. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001; Marcus, Ivan G. The Jewish Life Cycle; Rites of Passage from Biblical Times to the Modern Age. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004; Olitsky, Kerry M. An Encyclopedia of American Synagogue Ritual. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000; Weinrib, Rabbi Yonah, and Rabbi Yaakov Salomon. The Bar Mitzvah Treasury. Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Illuminations, 2005; Weiss, Arnine. Becoming a Bar Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories. Scranton, PA: University of Scranton, 2005.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

Barbeque In the historical context, barbeques were commonly held in association with communal activities such as house and barn raisings, birthdays, weddings, funerals, holidays, church socials, and political rallies. Such gatherings—with all the trappings of singing, dancing, music, games, food, and beverages (some alcoholic)—were opportunities for community socialization and family interaction. Yet barbeque is more than just a few happy suburbanites or tailgating sports fans coming together around grilled meats and beer. No place on earth is more closely associated with the genuine concept of barbeque— no place summons to the mind the images of the traditional American community at play—than the nineteenth-century South. Barbeque developed into a regional symbol of Southern solidarity that is now cherished by many, regardless of race, class, or gender, often unburdened by the negative history of oppression and slavery in the American South. Nonetheless, as late as 1968, barbeque—this time serving as the nexus of a black–white racial dispute at a black-owned pork barbeque restaurant— played a role in the legislative history of the desegregation in the South. Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, siding with the majority of the court in Newman v. Piggy Park Enterprises (1968), noted that the rights of all citizens of the United States guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were to be accorded the highest priority if abridged by state or local laws. Today, good Southern-style barbeque draws fans from every class, race, and region. The quintessential ingredient in traditional Southern-style barbeque ( barbecue or Bar-B-Q, if you will ) was pork. Those who followed an alternative barbeque style utilizing beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb (as in Kentucky and parts of Texas or Virginia) have generally been considered outside the protocol of genuine Southern-style barbeque cooking. The characteristics of traditional barbeque were initially set down in the pre–Civil War decades

Barbeque and reaffirmed in the postwar period throughout the so-called Barbeque Belt, a region of the Southeast that includes (in whole or in part) all the states that joined the Confederacy in 1861. Those Americans outside this region might “grill” their meats and poultry in open pits or over charcoal briquettes; they might slather them in hot sauce and molasses; but they don’t barbeque (8 to 10 hours of slow cooking and basting) in the historical Southern style. It has been noted that “as long as there has been a South, and people who think of themselves as Southerners, food has been central to the region’s image, its personality, and its character” (Egerton 2). Despite intraregional differences and arguments over which type of barbeque is best, an old-fashioned pig-roasting remains symbolic of all the good things that were, and continue to be, uniquely Southern in the Barbeque Belt. Pork, somehow, is thought to embrace the humble historical origins of Southern foodways as does no other food. Southerners have maintained strong ties to pork barbeque and the traditional antebellum recipes associated with it as an expression of their unique heritage of gracious hospitality. Whether chopped, shredded, pulled, or slabbed, pork barbeque—served with sauce and side dishes of beans, corn, or other vegetables and breads—has become a Southern cultural icon.

A man prepares barbeque chicken at a street festival. © Mike Brake | Dreamstime.com.




Although its etymology is obscure, the term barbeque probably has West Indian origins. The preparation of pork barbeque is directly traceable—if not uniquely so—to a method of slowly cooking meats over hot coals in a deep pit dug in the ground. The West Indian name for this practice is barbacoa, and because the plantation slaves (many with Caribbean ancestry) oversaw the preparations for barbeque in the antebellum period, the terms are thought to derive from the same root. The cultural association of the old plantation South and the islands of the Caribbean cannot be overemphasized. Almost 100 years ago Gaillard Hunt, a historian of the early 1800s, noted, “In the North one found English manners; in the Middle region a thousand shades had colored English manners; [but] in the South the manners were those of the West-Indies” (30). Americans from each section of the United States were well aware of these distinctions and of their own regional loyalties, often to the point of being aggressively proud of them. From colonial times, pork was the most common meat consumed in the Southern diet. In the antebellum period, Southerners ate, on average, five pounds of pork for every pound of beef they consumed (Taylor 27). Ironically, a great deal of pork was raised and consumed in other regions of the United States as well, but relatively little pork was exported from any section of the country because it was a convenient and popular food. Moreover, beef consumption on a national level was not significant until railroads and refrigerated freight cars made their appearance in the 1870s. Thereafter, beef consumption became a craze in many of the cities of the Northeast and Midwest that were connected to the cattle markets by rail, while pork remained the so-called other white meat for most of the financially stressed South. Even in colonial times hogs were of great value because they reproduced themselves in large numbers and fed themselves in the brushwood. Unlike cattle, which needed pasture or fodder during most of the year as well as protection from predation and the elements, hogs could be set loose in the margins of the fields, in the woodlots, or even in the forests to fend for themselves. Most breeds of hog were capable of defending themselves against common forest predators. Children often collected vegetable refuse and acorns to entice the almost-wild hogs from the woods, and they periodically drove the beasts into the farmstead where they could be penned, fattened, and butchered in late autumn. Slaughtering became a time for celebration, and the neighbors might be invited to share in the work and in the largess. Pork was easily preserved by salting, soaking, and smoking, and it maintained its flavor and condition better than beef under the same conditions. It was a common practice among yeomen farmers and upper-class planters alike to sell their wood-smoked and honey-cured hams and sides of bacon as well as the surplus lard, chittlins (intestines and other internal organs), ears, feet, and other parts of the hog in order to make a little extra money. In 1856, the mistress of a Georgia plantation recorded selling 170 pounds of ham in town in a single transaction. Pork might be served three times a day in some households without engendering comment. Poorer families lived on a so-called hog and hominy

Barbeque diet of bacon or salt-pork, boiled greens, corn pone or grits sweetened with molasses, coffee, and little else. New York’s Knickerbocker Magazine reported that an inn in Georgetown, South Carolina, served “hog and hominy, and corn-cake for breakfast; waffles, hog and hominy for dinner; and hog, hominy, and corn-cake for supper.” However, the “hog” was not likely to be fresh pork. Salt-pork, cured ham, and bacon were the staple varieties during most of the year, but fresh pork was generally available during the harvest season or when an individual animal was slaughtered for a barbeque. Those unfamiliar with Southern cuisine erroneously attributed a diet heavy in pork products to a state of financial distress. On the contrary, food in the South was prepared for its taste and for the satisfaction it brought to the appetite and the palate. There were few in the South outside the plantation aristocracy who were intentionally making social, economic, or political statements through their dietary choices (Volo and Volo 230). The nullification crises of the 1820s and 1830s regarding state’s rights, and the secession crisis of the 1850s leading up to the Civil War saw an increase in sectionalism and Southern nationalism. The groundswell of secession made increased pork production an important component of the war effort, and many Southern families fattened a hog or two on corn cobs, cow peas, or scraps specifically for the Southern cause. Moreover, barbeques quickly became the focus of political rallies during these times of crisis, and the plantation owners used them as a tool for consensus-building among the non-slaveowning white population. The traditional Southern barbeque developed from gatherings like these, and the gatherings themselves have become emblematic of the Southern way of life as seen through the romantic eyes of many writers and the lenses of many cinematographers. Chief among these writers was Margaret Mitchell, who dedicated a large portion of her novel Gone With the Wind (1936) to the barbeque held at Twelve Oaks, the plantation of the dashing Ashley Wilkes. In this setting she developed her characters—especially the flirtatious and controlling Scarlet O’Hara and the ruthless and sophisticated Rhett Butler. Against the background of the barbeque, Mitchell laid the foundations for the rest of the novel. Mitchell’s novel was also made into a significant and influential motion picture in the magical cinemagraphic year of 1939, and the colorful celluloid scenes of communal merry-making helped to establish for many the characteristics of the Southern way of life that was lost in the winds of civil war. Gone With the Wind was—unknowingly perhaps—the culmination of an extended public relations crusade, begun during Reconstruction (1865–1877), that attempted to resurrect and repair the image which Southerners had of themselves. Although the false romanticism, portrayed in Mitchell’s work and the subsequent film, has largely passed out of modern Southern culture, barbeques still remain a vital part of Southern society, culture, and politics. While barbeques are generally representative of most things Southern, there are geographic differences in cooking methodology, saucing, and side dishes even among the most “Southern” of Barbeque Belt residents.



Barn Raising

State-by-state and town-by-town variations can be found, and local residents revel in and argue over the relative merits and details of their own recipes. Nonetheless, the common thread remains slow-cooked pork, while the differences are generally found in cooking styles, serving methods, sauces, and the use of side dishes. The coastal Atlantic regions of the South—the so-called tidewater regions—were the first to develop pork barbeque served with a simple vinegar-based sauce, cornbread, lemonade, and appropriate side dishes, but as barbeque moved west with the flow of settlement during the antebellum period these were supplanted by the sweet tomato sauces of Tennessee and Mississippi and the fiery red sauces of East Texas and Louisiana. In North Carolina, the meat was chopped or sliced and served with a peppery vinegar sauce, coleslaw, and hush puppies. In South Carolina and Georgia, the meat was also chopped or sliced, but it was served with a yellow mustard-based sauce, a light bread, and a hash made with rice. So-called pulled pork, initially found mostly in Tennessee and widely adopted in the Southern borderlands, was shredded by hand and served with a sauce flavored with pepper and molasses. The Alabama variety of pulled pork was developed later and was a good deal spicier. On the western border of the Barbeque Belt, as in Arkansas, Louisiana, and parts of Texas, the sauces varied and the pork was sometimes offered in slabs or on the ribs. Nonetheless, the baked beans, coleslaws, and potato salads were almost identical to those side dishes found in the East. Other sides included butter beans, creamed corn, collard greens, kale, and other slow-cooked vegetables. Barbeque is not just a meal that makes people feel good. It is a concept that “binds together the tastes of both the people in the big house and the poorest occupants of the back end of the broken-down barn” (Bass 314). It is a gathering, celebration, and manifestation of Southern-ness. Further Reading: Bass, S. Jonathan. “How ‘bout a Hand for the Hog: The Enduring Nature of the Swine as a Cultural Symbol of the South.” Southern Culture, Vol. 1, No. 3, (1995): 301–320; Egerton, John, Ann Bleidt Egerton, and Al Clayton. Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987; Hunt, Gaillard. As We Were, Life in America, 1814. Stockbridge, MA: Berkshire House Publishing, [1914] 1993; Taylor, Joel Gray. Eating, Drinking and Visiting in the Old South: An Informal American History. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982; Volo, Dorothy Denneen, and James M. Volo. Family Life in 19th-Century America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007.

James M. Volo

Barn Raising A barn raising party is an event at which a community gathers to join forces to build a barn in one day—a task that would otherwise be unmanageable by

Barn Raising


the individual members of that community. An important aspect of a barnraising event is socializing, celebration, and food. The traditional barn raising most commonly occurs in the Amish, Mennonite, and Pennsylvania Dutch communities in the Eastern states of North America. People in these communities are members of religious groups that originated in sixteenth-century Europe during the Protestant Reformation. These groups separated from the established state church and created their own rules about conservative mode of dress, method of worship; they held sacred their values of peace, love, and forgiveness. Because of religious persecution, in the 1700s these groups began to establish settlements in the United States, beginning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. These farm-centered communities isolated themselves from neighboring groups, creating self-supporting communities based on their dependence on mutual aid. It was during this time of early settlement that the greatest amount of barn raisings occurred, because each family farm needed a barn in order to function properly. A typical barn raising occurs after months of planning and preparation, including laying a foundation and cutting lumber. The entire community comes together at the farm to raise a timber-frame barn, usually in one day.

Amish workers raise a new barn near Tollesboro, Kentucky, 2007. The structure should be ready for use by nightfall. AP/Wide World Photo.


Barn Raising

The skills of every member of the community are utilized, bringing together between 100 and 200 workers. Older, more experienced men direct the construction, while younger men provide the labor. The women prepare food and provide beverages and—sometimes—first aid. Children also participate: the boys bringing tools and materials to the men; the girls helping with food preparation. Children watch the event carefully in order to learn their future roles as adults. After a morning of building, generally the wooden framework of the barn is in place. A long line of tables and church benches are brought in to seat the workers, or some may sit on quilts under the trees. The women serve an elaborate lunch including roasted meats and chicken, potatoes, casseroles, and lemonade. After lunch, construction work resumes until an afternoon snack break is taken for dessert, which may include pies, puddings, and doughnuts. By the end of the day, the barn is usually near being finished. The barn raising ultimately serves as a unifying event for the community. It is a sort of community-based insurance policy that individual families can depend upon in case of emergency. Today the greatest concentration of Amish and Mennonite communities in the United States is in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. To varying degrees, modern-day Amish and Mennonites reject modern technology, driving horse and buggies, refusing to use electricity or phones in their homes, dressing in their traditional manner, and worshipping in their own churches, as they have for centuries. Barn raisings still occur in these communities, mostly for newlywed couples establishing a working family farm or for families whose barns have burned or need replacement. Depending on how conservative a particular community is, a modern-day barn raising will appear much the same as it has for centuries. The men still build the wooden barns without the aid of modern construction equipment or electric tools, only their tool belts. The women cook and transport similar menus, preparing a feast without modern kitchen equipment, and transporting it by horse and buggy to the site. In less conservative communities, skilled workers may occasionally be brought in from outside the community to fulfill specific needs, and equipment such as cranes may be brought in to assist. The term barn raising has come to signify the sharing and pooling of work, unpaid, for the benefit of one or all. Modern-day examples of such shared effort in the United States are the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity, which assembles volunteers to build homes for lower-income families in the United States, and schools, which erect new buildings with the help of all members of the school community and call it a barn raising. Worldwide, there are examples of other cultures practicing the tradition of gathering the community for such events. The Finnish talkoot (work weekend ) is an example of a tradition of voluntary teamwork. The talkoot is an event in a traditional Finnish village at which villagers gather and work together toward a common goal. The Norwegian dugnad is an event at which people voluntarily pull together to help a member or members of

Beer Halls and Beer Gardens the community. Every fall there is a dugnad telethon, which raises money for disabled people in Norway. Both the talkoot and the dugnad have the effect of creating a strong sense of community, similar to barn raisings in North America. Further Reading: Adams, Marcia. Cooking from Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1988; Coleman, Bill. Amish Odyssey: Photographs. New York: Alfred Van Der Marck Editions. 1988; Showalter, Mary Emma. Mennonite Community Cookbook; Favorite Family Recipes. Philadelphia: J. C. Winston, 1950.

Tamara V. Bigelow

Beer Halls and Beer Gardens People have gathered in public places to drink beer since ancient times. In Germany, beer halls are more than just a place of entertainment: they are centuries-old institutions. The beer hall has long been a center of social life and often the largest meeting place in town. Some are called Keller or Bierkeller, a reflection of the practice during pre-refrigeration days of storing beer in cellars to keep it cool. Others go by the name Ratskeller (townhallcellar), a term dating back to when the local government stored beer in the cellars beneath city hall and sold it to citizens. Germany’s largest beer halls can accommodate as many as 5,000 drinkers. Some are buildings once occupied by breweries that long ago moved because they were fire hazards or because clean water was more available outside the city center. The most famous beer hall in the world is the Hofbräuhaus, or “royal court brewery,” which was established in Munich in 1579. Munich is also home to two other huge beer halls, the Löwenbräukeller and the Paulaner Keller, which offer traditional Bavarian food and entertainment. Beer halls can be found in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in other Continental countries such as Austria and the Czech Republic. U Fleku, one of a number of beer halls in downtown Prague, has stood for more than 500 years. It breaks tradition by serving a dark-colored house beer instead of golden-colored Czech-style lager. In the larger cities, huge establishments were built with high ceilings and filled with trees and plants in an effort to create the atmosphere of an outdoor park. This way even when it was too cold to drink outside, there remained a feeling of being in a garden. Although those establishments were covered and enclosed, they were commonly referred to as beer gardens rather than beer halls. The terms were used interchangeably, and still are today. In Germany, many establishments offer both a beer hall and a beer garden, and proprietors bring the beer barrels outdoors and tap them at the first sign of warm weather. Communal drinking had fallen out of favor in post–Revolutionary War America. It was not only unfashionable in that era for large groups of people



Beer Halls and Beer Gardens

The Court, Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany, c. 1890–1900. Library of Congress.

to drink socially, but many Americans then associated beer drinking with idleness. The German immigrants who arrived in America during the nineteenth century brought with them the tradition of communal beer drinking. In the towns where they settled, the Germans quickly built breweries and later, beer halls similar to those in which they drank back home. That was especially true in the part of America bounded by Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, where Germans settled by the millions, and breweries were as much a part of community life as churches, schools, and flour mills. The Germans believed that beer was best enjoyed with food, fresh air, and music. Like in Germany, when the weather permitted, immigrants gathered in beer gardens, outdoor venues that were planted with groves of trees and filled with rows of shared tables. A beer garden in Milwaukee, which opened in 1843, was typical, offering flowers, promenades, and a band. The success of these early beer gardens encouraged others, including many brewery owners, to open their own. Beer halls also could be found outside the Midwest, especially in major cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. By the end of the Civil War there were an estimated three to four thousand beer gardens in New York City alone. The Bowery in lower Manhattan was famous for the number of beer gardens as well as their size. Some were immense buildings capable of accommodating as many as 1,200 guests. Beer gardens also sprang up outside city centers and attracted visitors in search of a respite from urban noise and pollution. Most patrons were German, and the beer garden was part of their so-called Continental Sunday when people engaged

Beer Halls and Beer Gardens in sports, entertainment, and drinking as opposed to the Puritan tradition of reserving the Sabbath for prayer and rest. Many of the beer halls called themselves “gardens” and their decor attempted to replicate the outdoors, though they were in fact roofed and enclosed and open year-round. The larger beer halls, which were described as being of “Wagnerian dimensions,” offered entertainment as well as recreation such as billiards and bowling that appealed to young urban men who enjoyed a night on the town. Then, as now, young people were trendsetters, and they popularized lager beer in this country. Lager beer is a golden-colored, crisper- and cleaner-tasting, and less-potent beverage than the dark, rich English-style ales that Americans had consumed since colonial times. Today, lager accounts for the vast majority of the world’s beer consumption. Lager beer acquires its distinctive taste and alcoholic content from a strain of yeast that thrives at lower temperatures. As a result, the beer must be stored for a long period of time in a cool place (lager comes from the German verb lagern, which means “to store”). In the days before refrigeration, beer was stored in cellars beneath the beer garden, and the shade from the trees protected the beer from the warm temperatures above. Beer gardens became larger and more elaborate over the years. For example, Schnaider’s Garden, which opened in St. Louis in 1872, featured “wondrous lighting, an abundance of shade trees, countless rows of tables [and] . . . a King Gambrinus-adorned bandstand where the orchestra always seems to be playing a lilting Johann Strauss waltz.” By the century’s end, the largest beer gardens offered such entertainment as Wild West shows, dance halls, live animals, and lavish nighttime light displays. Schlitz Palm Gardens and Pabst Park in Milwaukee, which were popular gathering places at the turn of the century, are considered the forerunners of today’s theme parks. In an era when there were vast differences in wealth, beer gardens were democratizing institutions. The spirit of Gemütlichkeit, a word that signifies intimacy and comfort, was one of inclusiveness—all ages and sexes were welcome—as well as one that discouraged class distinctions. People from all walks of life had an opportunity to mix on an equal basis inside beer gardens. Author Ray Oldenburg called them an outstanding example of a successful “third place,” somewhere other than the home and the workplace where people could gather. Beer gardens kept costs low so that even people of modest means could take part often. A proprietor who overcharged his customers was held in as low regard as customers who engaged in drunkenness and fighting. In the United States, the beer hall was a stark contrast to so-called Irish bars, by which the Germans meant dark establishments that catered to an all-male clientele and were dominated by a bar where customers drank standing up. The Germans, by contrast, viewed drinking places as extensions of their homes. Their beer halls were well-lit establishments filled with large tables, which customers—including total strangers—shared. Sharing tables with strangers is still the custom in Germany. In a beer hall, it was not unusual to find three generations of the same family together. Many nonGermans also considered beer halls more wholesome than taverns because



Beer Halls and Beer Gardens

of the spirit of Gemütlichkeit that prevailed in beer halls. In addition to lager, beer halls served traditional food such as sausages, sauerkraut, Bismarck herring, rollmops, and Sauerbraten, or marinated pot roast. These foods remain staples of beer hall menus. An article in the December 1864 Illustrated London News noted that patrons of beer gardens were “chiefly well-to-do mechanics and tradespeople, who bring their wives, and children with them, and even the baby is sure to be treated with a modicum of the ruddy malt.” The presence of wives and children in beer gardens helped to curb drunkenness. Buying rounds of drinks was unheard of; the German custom was for each customer to pay for his or her own beer, which we now refer to as Dutch treat. Beverages stronger than beer were rarely served. Most importantly, disorderly behavior was not tolerated: it offended the Germans’ fondness for order, and was incompatible with the welcoming spirit of Gemütlichkeit. The Germans believed that informal socializing held their communities together. People who formed friendships over beer often joined in a wide range of voluntary organizations, such as gymnastic clubs and singing societies, that formed the basis of middle-class life in German cities and towns. Thanks to the Germans, many Americans made beer, rather than liquor, their beverage of choice. Beer halls flourished during America’s so-called golden age of brewing, the period from about 1870 until the onset of Prohibition, when Americans had a wide choice of both drinking establishments and styles of beer. However, Americans of native birth and the Protestant faith remained hostile to drinking and to the foreign cultures that embraced it. They were especially offended by the tradition of bringing children into beer halls and setting aside Sundays for recreation and drinking. The brewing industry responded to the forces of temperance during the Prohibition by promoting beer as a beverage of moderation and holding up the Germans as examples of responsible use of alcohol. Ultimately, they fought a losing battle. Anti-German sentiment during World War I proved to be a tipping point. Americans questioned the loyalty of German American beer barons, and the political climate swung toward prohibition of all alcohol. Even though the beer garden remains a fixture of social life in Germany, there are far fewer beer gardens in America now than there were before Prohibition. Nevertheless, the institution managed to survive Prohibition. For example, the Schaefer Center, an immense beer garden, was one of the top attractions of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Beer gardens that offer traditional food and entertainment still exist in many communities with German American populations. One of them, Blob’s Park in Jessup, Maryland, takes credit for having staged the nation’s first Oktoberfest celebration in 1947. Even today traditional beer halls still can be found, especially in cities in the Great Lakes region. In addition, some modern microbreweries, such as the Pennsylvania Brewing Company in Pittsburgh, offer modern versions of the German beer hall; and the Hofbräuhaus has opened smaller, somewhat Americanized versions of the original Munich landmark in the Cincinnati area and in Las Vegas.

Beeton, Isabella Further Reading: Anderson, Will. Beer, USA: 500 Years of America’s Beer Facts, Beer Folklore, Beer Photos, and Beer Fun. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan, Publishers, 1986; Baron, Stanley. Brewed in America: A History of Beer and Ale in the United States. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1975; Dornbusch, Horst. Prost! The Story of German Beer. Boulder, CO: Brewers Publications, 1997; Gabbacia, Donna R. We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998; Mariani, John. America Eats Out: An Illustrated History of Restaurants, Taverns, Coffee Shops, Speakeasies, and Other Establishments That Have Fed Us for 350 Years. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1991; Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. 3rd Edition. New York: Marlowe, 1999.

Paul Ruschmann

Beeton, Isabella Isabella Beeton, the remarkable author of the most comprehensive nineteenth-century book on entertaining, cooking, and household management, was a bright young wife and mother doing her part to make the family business a success. She was born Isabella Mary Mayson in Cheapside, London, on March 12, 1836, the oldest of four children. Her father, Benjamin Mayson, died at age 39 and her mother remarried and moved to Epson, adding four step-siblings and, in time, 13 more children to the family. Coming from a family of 21 children, Isabella must have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about organization at an early age. While still in her teens, Isabella was sent to school in Heidelberg, Germany, where she studied piano. Shortly after her return to the family home in Epson she visited London and met publisher Samuel Orchart Beeton. They married in July of 1856 and at the age of 21 she began producing articles about cooking, entertaining, domestic management, and embroidery as well as translating serialized French novels for his publications. From 1859 to1861, she wrote a monthly supplement to the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine: An Illustrated Journal Combining Practical Information, Instruction & Amusement and in October of 1861 the supplements were bound together and published as Beeton’s Book of Household Management; Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly, Wet, and Sick Nurses, Etc. Etc.—Also Sanitary, Medical & Legal Memoranda; with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort by Mrs. Isabella Beeton. In the preface to the book, Mrs. Beeton notes, “If I had known beforehand that this book would have cost me the labour which it has, I should never have been courageous enough to commence it.” She goes on to explain that she did so in order to help housewives compete with the “attractions” their husbands might otherwise find in “clubs, well-ordered taverns and dining-houses.”



Beeton, Isabella

During this time, in addition to her work on the publications and managing her household, Isabella Beeton gave birth to four sons. The first two, both named Samuel Orchart, died in infancy. The third, named Orchart, was born in 1863, and Mayson Moss was born in January of 1865. Within a week of his birth, Isabella died at the age of 28. Two years after her death, Samuel Beeton suffered financial problems and sold the copyrights to all his publications as well as to Isabella’s book. Starting in 1888 the new publisher made extensive revisions to the book and has continued to do so for over a century. Facsimile editions of the original are now available. Beeton’s Book of Household Management was not England’s first household management guide but it immediately became the most important; it sold more than 60,000 copies in the first year and nearly two million by 1868. The 1,112-page book is an all-inclusive collection of the latest information on everything a Victorian homemaker needed to know in order to successfully run a middle-class English household. Still in the process of organizing a new household herself, Mrs. Beeton had a talent for focusing on the most reliable and useful information. She skillfully selected, compiled, and edited material from many sources and presented it in a unique and appealing style that kept readers interested. Recipes were written in a modern, easy-to-use format said to have been borrowed from Eliza Acton. Each included a list of ingredients and a paragraph headed “Mode,” that

A color plate from Beeton’s Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton, 1859– 61. The Art Archive /John Meek.

Betty Crocker included clear instructions. Most included an estimate of the time required, the average cost, and a full-color engraving of the finished dish. In her preface Beeton notes that “for the matter of the recipes, I am indebted, in some measure, to the correspondents of the ‘Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine,’ who have obligingly placed at my disposal their formulae for many original preparations.” She goes on to credit “a large private circle,” “diligent study of the works of the best modern writers on cookery,” and “friends in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Germany” for assistance with the almost 900 pages of recipes. As with each subject, entertaining etiquette was covered in detail from planning (“a private dinner-party should consist of not less than the number of the Graces, or more than that of the Muses”); the arrival of guests; seating, food and wine service; dinner conversation; to good-byes. The section starts with a warning to the hostess. “Hospitality is a most excellent virtue; but care must be taken that the love of company, for its own sake, does not become a prevailing passion; for then the habit is no longer hospitality, but dissipation.” Beeton advises that “the mistress should remember that it is her duty to make her guests feel happy, comfortable, and quite at their ease,” and concludes that entertaining “gives a fillip to life” and makes “the quiet happy home of an English gentlewoman appear the more delightful and enjoyable.” Further Reading: Beeton, Isabella. Beeton’s Book of Household Management: A First Edition Facsimile. London: Jonathan Cape Limited, 1971; Beeton, Isabella. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. London: Ward, Lock & Company, 1888; Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999; Hughes, Kathryn. The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton: The First Domestic Goddess. New York: Anchor, 2007; Project Gutenberg eBook. The Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton, http://www.gutenberg. org /files /10136/10136.txt; Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical. The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, 1852–77, http://www.sciper.org / browse / ED_desc.html.

Joanne Lamb Hayes

Betty Crocker Often called “America’s First Lady of Food,” Betty Crocker has been one of the most successful and enduring food marketing icons of the last century. She was created in 1921 by the Washburn Crosby Company of Minneapolis (one of many regional milling companies that merged in 1928 to become the world’s largest miller, General Mills), and arrived on the scene ready to add a personal touch to the baking and entertaining advice the company offered to purchasers of their Gold Medal flour. A very successful promotional contest had increased the volume of the company’s consumer correspondence and company directors felt that a warm and friendly response from a single knowledgeable authority would promote



Betty Crocker

their product’s image better than responses from an ever-changing staff of individuals using their own names. Samuel Gale, the advertising manager of Washburn Crosby at that time, is credited with her creation. The popular nickname, Betty, was chosen for her first name, and her last name was inspired by the surname of William G. Crocker, a recently retired director of the company. A contest was held among the female employees for the most characteristic signature. Secretary Florence Lindeberg won the contest and to this day her Betty Crocker signature is used on all correspondence as well as on packaging. Supported by home economist Janette Kelley and the company’s Home Service Department, Betty Crocker was able to respond to the hundreds of homemakers who wrote to her each day, making each feel that they were receiving a personal note from a real woman. From the start, a large proportion of the correspondence dealt with entertaining. Women who were comfortable cooking for their families felt they needed help baking for special events. To offer hands-on help, the company created a series of cooking schools all across the country. In 1924, Betty became even more real with the introduction of her Friday morning radio show, later named the Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air, from Minneapolis radio station, WCCO. Marjorie Husted, the new Director of the Home Service Department, wrote the script for the first 10 years and was the voice of Betty for the Midwestern show. Before becoming a national broadcast, the show appeared in many other cities with a different actress as Betty in each location. During its 24-year run, the show became a lifeline for American women struggling to provide memorable celebrations as well as nutritious meals for their families as the country suffered the Great Depression and World War II. Betty Crocker became such a trusted friend and respected advisor in households nationwide that a 1945 Fortune magazine poll named her the second most famous woman in America after Eleanor Roosevelt. The radio show was followed by a television show, the Betty Crocker Magazine of the Air, starting in 1951. An actress, Adelaide Hawley, was the first to become Betty Crocker on television and was followed by several other actresses as the show continued through the 1950s. The Washburn Crosby Company was not new to publishing; in 1880 a 60-page version of Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide was published to promote the company’s flour. (The original, by Maria Parloa, one of the two first directors of the Boston Cooking School, was 430 pages. General Mills produced reproductions of the Washburn Crosby booklet in the 1970s.) After the arrival of Betty Crocker, the company increased their publishing activity and offered entertaining advice with small cookbooks and pamphlets such as Betty Crocker’s $25,000 Recipe Set Featuring Recipes From World Famous Chefs For Foods That Enchant Men and Betty Crocker’s 101 Delicious Bisquick Creations As Made And Served by Well-Known Gracious Hostesses, Famous Chefs, Distinguished Epicures and Smart Luminaries of Movieland, both produced in 1933. From 1941 to 1945, General Mills published a series of wartime booklets and the Betty Crocker Cook Book of

Betty Crocker


All-Purpose Baking to help homemakers cope with rationing and scarcity. As America recovered from more than a decade of hard times followed by the uncertainty of war, Betty Crocker supported the celebration with the 1947 introduction of their PartyCake line, the first double-layer butter cake mixes, and more importantly with the release of the comprehensive hardback Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (known as “Big Red” because of the color of its cover). When released in 1950, the book was an overnight success and has been revised periodically ever since. Its tenth edition was released in 2005 and has continued the tradition of providing the entertaining menus, recipes, serving suggestions, and kitchen tricks that hostesses count on. Through the years, Betty Crocker has continued to produce books focused on entertaining, with titles such as Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Entertaining (1959), Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook: A Wealth of Ideas For Today’s Entertaining (1967), Betty Crocker’s Dinner Parties: A Contemporary Guide to Easy Entertaining (1970), Betty Crocker’s Buffets: Menus, Recipes and Planning Tips for Easy and Successful Home Entertaining (1984), Betty Crocker’s Easy Entertaining (1992), Betty Crocker’s Entertaining Basics: Learning to Entertain with Confidence (2001), Betty Crocker Basics: How to Cook and Entertain with Confidence (2005). Many of these have been reprinted over the years and continue to appear on bookstore shelves. While Betty Crocker had previously appeared in product advertisements drawn by various artists, her first official portrait was commissioned in 1936. Inspired by the features of the General Mills Home Service De-

A Betty Crocker cake mix advertisement from 1952. © Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy.



partment staff, New York artist Neysa McMein created a quintessential 1930s homemaker, serious yet compassionate and quite properly dressed. The original 1936 portrait was revised in 1955, 1965, 1969, 1972, 1980, 1986, and 1996 to reflect the style of the era. The 1996 revision, commissioned to celebrate her 75th anniversary, is a watercolor by John Stuart Ingle based on a digital portrait that combined the faces of 75 American women chosen by General Mills to represent the racial diversity of their customers. Although the Betty Crocker red spoon and signature logo first used in 1954 has now replaced her portrait on most Betty Crocker products, she still represents the personal side of General Mills in marketing materials and in the many cookbooks that bear her name. Further Reading: Anderson, Jean. The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1997; Crocker, Betty. Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book. New York: McGraw Hill, 1961; General Mills. History of Betty Crocker. http://www.generalmills.com /corporate / company/ hist_betty.pdf; Marks, Susan. Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America’s First Lady of Food. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005; reprinted by University of Minnesota Press, 2007; Schenone, Laura. A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

Joanne Lamb Hayes

Birthdays There can be no doubt that birthdays are big in America and in many other parts of the world now. But that was not always true. Once calendars had been established by the Egyptians in around 4000 B.C., it made possible the annual observance of the birth day for those wealthy and powerful individuals for whom records were kept. The custom spread around the eastern Mediterranean, and Greeks and Romans adopted it. The Bible mentions that the Egyptian pharaoh’s birthday was observed, as was Herod’s birthday in the first century A.D. Romans stationed in Britain about the same time as Herod appear to have organized festive events around their birthdays by inviting friends. As the Roman Catholic Church began to keep records, the celebration of birthdays by others of wealth and position spread into Europe. Earlier, in those parts of the world where record keeping was less prevalent, individual birthdays were neither recorded nor observed. Today, modern technology has made birth–record keeping possible throughout most of the world, and birth dates are used as one means of identification for various governmental functions. Although almost every individual has a recorded birth date, it may not be observed or celebrated, if that has not been the custom of the community. This is still true in much of rural and village Africa although in urban areas, birthday celebrations are being adopted based on Western customs. In India,

Birthdays where the time and date of one’s birth are carefully recorded for future determination of one’s horoscope and auspicious dates for marriages, business ventures, or other important events, birthdays of children or adults, except among the urban affluent, are not celebrated with parties or other similar events, although on the birthday morning the child may be taken to the temple with a gift of rice or other food offering. Hindus living in the United States, however, are more likely to follow Western celebration traditions. In predominantly Catholic nations, where individuals frequently are given a saint’s name to assure their protection, the saint’s day, whenever that occurs during the calendar year, may be celebrated instead of the actual birthday. A typical celebration may include feasting for family members and friends. A particularly elaborately celebrated saint’s day is St. Joseph’s Day on March 19, in honor of Saint Joseph, the spouse of Mary, when an Italian American or Mexican American family may prepare a huge feast table and invite neighbors and friends to partake. Besides saints’ days, the major religions give even more importance to their founders’ birth dates: the birthday of Mohammed is a national holiday in Muslim nations and is observed by Muslims everywhere; Christmas is a religious and legal holiday in much of the Western hemisphere and Europe, and is observed among Christians elsewhere; and Buddhists celebrate the birthday of the Buddha. Today, many nations annually honor the birthdays of their past great leaders or current royalty with special events including parties, community gatherings, and parades. Such dates may be established as legal holidays if the honoree is no longer living. Over the years there have been many ways to observe or celebrate an individual’s birthday, with the goal of making the honoree feel special and conveying wishes for a long life. Less frequent in earlier times but occurring more often today, a party of some sort is part of the celebration of a birthday, sometimes regardless of the wishes of the honoree. A party may be impromptu and very simple or planned over a long period of time and elaborate. In either case it may or may not be a total surprise to the birthday person. The latter is especially true of children’s and young people’s birthdays. For adult birthday parties, the opportunity to socialize with friends and loved ones may be the primary purpose of the event. For children’s parties, depending on the age of the birthday child and guests, some form of entertainment usually is planned: games such as hitting a piñata containing small gifts or sweets for all the guests; a theme; entertainment such as a clown or a magician; or an interesting or exciting experience. Accompanying this late-twentieth-century expansion of parties has been the development of an entire industry engaged in the design, manufacture, and marketing of party supplies: paper and plastic dishes and utensils, party hats, favors, decorations, and other fanciful items. Also easily available are many books and magazine and newspaper articles that advise how to prepare for and conduct a successful birthday party, complete with suggested menus. These are usually written to help with entertaining young children but suggestions for adult parties




are plentiful, too. Some cookbooks and women’s magazines from the late nineteenth century onward have also included suggestions for celebrating the birthdays of such American leaders as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Food always plays an important role in any celebration. It may be just light refreshments, usually including a birthday cake, or it may be a full meal that includes favorites of the honoree. In the last 200 years, a birthday cake has assumed an increasingly important role in birthday party food, but occasionally the sweet part of the refreshments or meal does not include cake, but a pie or other foods favored by the birthday person. An early reference to a birthday party for a young girl appears in the family correspondence of Margaret Bayard Smith, an American, in a letter written to her sister in 1811. It described the special meal prepared for the attendees (about 20 adults and children), followed by a birthday cake and ice cream. The dinner was preceded by the gathering of flowers and greens to garland everyone. Garlanding was an early nineteenth-century custom to honor someone. It was mentioned by Louisa May Alcott, writing of being garlanded at her own childhood birthday celebration. Flowers other than garlands also are a traditional birthday gift. Gifts to the honoree are a part of the celebration, too. These may take many forms. Music as an appropriate gift has a long history. Composers have written music in honor of birthdays, whether for a reigning monarch or loved one, and our classical music has many well-known examples of specially composed music. In some cases, the music was played to awaken the honoree on the birthday morning. Original poems may be recited, ditties sung, or songs specially written to honor the birthday person may be performed. One song has become traditional and almost ubiquitous at American birthday celebrations: the “Happy Birthday” song, which usually accompanies the presentation and cutting of the birthday cake. The song was composed in 1893 as “Good Morning to All” by two kindergarten-teacher sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill. How the original words were changed is unknown although some sources attribute it to Tin Pan Alley. Since 1910, “Happy Birthday to You” has been sung at American birthday celebrations and now is reputed to be the most popular song ever, worldwide. At a party for a younger child, who has grown in height, knowledge, and abilities, the celebration likely will be more focused on those gains. So the singing of “Happy Birthday” may be followed by the child guests attempting to spank the birthday child, each administering one spank and finishing with a pinch, while saying, “And a pinch to grow an inch.” Although this custom is of obscure origin, its persistence may be somewhat due to the fact that it permits a mild expression of childish hostility. Another example of perhaps hidden hostility is the Spanish custom of pulling the honoree’s earlobes, once for each year. Birthday greeting cards are sent through the mail from those who can’t extend good wishes in person; cards can also be presented in person or used to accompany a gift. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press



that uses moveable type in the late 1400s led to an easy and relatively inexpensive means of printing. By the late nineteenth century, colorful greeting cards were being exchanged among friends at the Christmas and New Year holidays. This custom achieved wide popularity, and soon after, greeting cards were being produced for birthdays and now for almost every other possible occasion. A huge greeting card industry has developed, with birthday cards that target specific relationships, and may be religious in nature, saccharine, humorous, in bad taste, or mildly insulting. Because a birthday signifies the passage of time, it often involves such symbols as burning candles, once used to measure time, or special foods symbolic of long life. For example, among Chinese Americans, birthday foods may be buns, shaped and colored like peaches, with a sweet filling, or wheat noodles, stretched very long and served in soup. Some birthdays are more significant than others and are recognized as important rites of passage. Turning 13 (or 12 for a girl) is such a time for a young Jewish boy or girl because it’s the age when they rigorously prepare themselves for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, an important ceremony that will make them full participants in the religious life of the Jewish community. Following the successful completion of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah requirements, a celebratory party is held for the family’s relatives and friends. For a young girl in the Latino community, reaching the age of 15 years requires a special celebration, called la quinceanera. It’s usually an elaborate and costly occasion, with many members of the family’s community of friends and relatives involved in planning, participating in, and paying for it, and it serves as a signal that the honoree has reached womanhood. Both the Bar and Bat Mitzvah and la quinceanera indicate a comSweet Sixteen ing of age. Similarly, a debutante ball is given when a young female In American culture, the celebration of the 16th birthday is an debutante reaches the age of 18 to important rite of passage. In a country where adulthood is leindicate that she is now eligible to gally acknowledged at 18, the 16th birthday recognizes a young enter the adult social world. adult’s burgeoning maturity. Sweet sixteen celebrations have often inspired musicians and Among family and friends, filmmakers. Ray Orbinson, Chuck Berry, Billy Idol, and Hillary often extraordinary attention is Duff have all recorded songs with the theme of “sweet sixteen.” paid to birthdays at the ages of 50, The 1984 film Sixteen Candles, starring Molly Ringwald, remains 75, 80, or older, and special gatherpopular. ings are held. Senior citizens may Although sweet sixteen parties have traditionally been the receive a congratulatory letter from domain of girls, American boys are increasingly beginning to the president (if requested by a celebrate their 16th year with a party. Sweet sixteen celebrafriend or family member) starting tions range from simple family affairs to lavish extravaganzas. at age 80. A popular reality show on MTV, Super Sweet Sixteen, depicts the The invention of the camera expensive sweet sixteen parties of boys and girls where luxury in the nineteenth century meant cars, designer clothes, celebrity entertainment, and extravagant that many American celebravenues have replaced homemade cakes and parties at home. tory event are now recorded with Wanda Mann photographs taken by one or more


Blair House

of the participants, and birthday parties are certainly no exception. From a one-year-old’s first taste of frosting to an 80-year-old’s attempts to blow out what appears to be a cake on fire, all is preserved on film for posterity. Today’s digital cameras have resulted in a proliferation of such photos, and all the supplies and equipment to display and store them, yielding yet another recently developed industry. In the United States, the custom of celebrating birthdays is no longer limited to humans. Occasionally one receives an invitation for a birthday party, or notices a picture in the newspaper of a birthday party, for a family pet. When such occasions occur, invited guests may be similar pets and their owners, or family members and friends. There may be party hats for the honoree and guests, the usual kinds of pictures taken and, except for specially prepared food for the pets, the usual birthday party refreshments served. Further Reading: Cherkasky, Shirley. “Birthday Foods.” In Solomon Katz, Ed. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003; Ewen, David. All the Years of Popular Music. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall, 1977; Humphrey, Theodore C. “A Family Celebrates a Birthday: Of Life and Cakes.” In Theodore C. Humphrey and Lin T. Humphrey, Eds. “We Gather Together”: Food and Festival in American Life. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1991; Jernow, Liza. “Birthdays.” In Andrew Smith, Ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Vol. I. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Shirley Cherkasky

Blair House Since 1942, Blair House has been America’s most exclusive guest house. Located at 1651–1653 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, opposite the Executive Office Building of the White House, it welcomes visiting heads of state, select foreign dignitaries, and, on occasion, past, present, and future United States presidents and first ladies. The original house has had political connections since its construction in 1824. During the nearly 120 years that it was a private home, many important political guests were entertained there and decisions that would change the history of the United States were made in its rooms. Then in 1942, when 24-hour wartime activity made it impossible to continue to house official guests in the White House and Washington hotels were filled to capacity, moving into the townhouses across the street became the ideal solution. Stanley Woodward, chief of protocol for Franklin Roosevelt, arranged for the federal government to purchase Blair House and put it into service immediately. Finding it not large enough for America’s expanding guest list, the adjacent Lee House was purchased in 1943. In 1969 and 1970 the complex expanded into two 1860 townhouses on Jackson Place facing Lafayette Park. Today, under the jurisdiction of the Department of State, the expanded Blair House now elegantly hosts guests of the White House while they are in Washington. The four original town houses have kept their exterior appearance while the interior spaces have been combined

Blair House

The Blair House. © Christina Deridder | Dreamstime.com.

to make 70,000 square feet of living space, an area bigger than the White House itself. There are now 119 rooms including 14 guest bedrooms, 8 staff bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, 4 dining rooms, a kitchen, laundry, drycleaner, exercise room, flower shop, and hair salon. A specially trained 24-hour staff provides for the comfort and safety of guests, making every effort to see that they feel at home. When a visiting head-of-state is in residence the flag of the guest’s country flies over the Blair House. The original sand-colored limestone townhouse at 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue was built in 1824 for Joseph Lovell, first Surgeon General of the United States. Lovell also organized the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1830, Andrew Jackson invited Frankfort, Kentucky journalist Francis Preston Blair to move to Washington to become editor of the pro-administration paper, the Globe. Blair and his family moved to Washington and in 1837 moved into the house. Blair had written pro-Jackson articles before coming to Washington and was politically active immediately upon his arrival in the capital. When Jackson took office in 1829, his cabinet was divided by disagreements between Vice President John C. Calhoun and Secretary of State Martin Van Buren and was unable to make decisions. Jackson created an unofficial advisory group known as his “Kitchen Cabinet,” and Blair became one of its most influential members. This group functioned as the President’s cabinet until the 1831 resignation of Calhoun and Secretary of War H. John Eaton. Blair remained an influential consultant to Jackson and to Martin Van Buren, who followed Jackson as president. In 1834, Blair and John C. Rives started a second newspaper, the Congressional Globe. It first provided a synopsis of Congressional proceedings but soon took on the recording of all Congressional business. In 1873 it became the Congressional Record and is still in publication.



Blair House

When James K. Polk became president in 1845, Blair was forced to sell the Globe. He moved his family to Silver Springs and rented the Pennsylvania Avenue House first to secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, and then to Secretary of the Interior, Thomas Ewing. In 1850, Ewing’s daughter, Eleanor Boyle Ewing, married General William Tecumseh Sherman in a ceremony in Blair House. In 1852 the Blair family returned to the house and their oldest son Montgomery, a lawyer, returned to Washington and moved into the house. He would later become Postmaster General under Lincoln. In 1859, Blair built the adjacent townhouse, 1653 Pennsylvania Avenue, known as the Lee House, for his daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee. Blair supported Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 election and became a trusted friend and confidant. During his Presidency, Lincoln frequently crossed the street to sit in Blair’s study and discuss the day’s problems. In that room in 1861, at Lincoln’s request, Blair tried to convince Robert E. Lee to take command of the Union army. Lee refused and several days later accepted command of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The room is now known as the Lincoln Room. The Blair family continued to own the home until 1942, a total of 105 years. In May of 1942, the first White House guest to stay in Blair House was President Manuel Prado of Peru. The extensive list of world leaders entertained in the house includes General Charles de Gaulle (July 6 to 10, 1944), when he was leader of the Free French living in England; Chaim Weizmann, first president of Israel (May 24 and 25, 1948); Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of post-colonial India (December 19, 1956) with his daughter Indira Gandhi; and Queen Elizabeth II of the United

The Blair House in Washington, D.C., 1945. Library of Congress.

Blair House Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (May 14 to 17, 1991). In addition, the president-elect often stays in the house on the night preceding the inauguration. One of the busiest times in Blair House was the more than three-year residency of President Truman and his family. Shortly after the 1948 election, the Trumans noticed structural problems in the White House. The family moved across the street to what was then known as the Blair–Lee House, while extensive repairs were made to the White House. During this period, the house was referred to as the “Truman White House,” and many historical decisions were made in its rooms. Although the move complicated entertaining, Mrs. Truman was noted for her efficiency and adjusted to the situation by giving a series of small less-formal parties in order to include all the guests she would have entertained in one large party in the White House. The social highlight of the Truman residency at Blair House was entertaining Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain and Prince Philip. In his book about his years as White House Chef, Alonzo Fields gives the menu for the luncheon served on November 1, 1951 in the princess and prince’s honor. The meal started with canapés served with a choice of old fashioneds, martinis, or orange or tomato juice and went on to include honeydew melon, seminole, smothered pheasant, currant jelly, bread sauce, fried samp (cornmeal mush), broccoli with lemon drawn butter, baked stuffed tomatoes, rolls, green salad Roquefort cheese bowl with radish garnish and french dressing, toasted Triscuits, Stanley cream molds, and sponge drops, all accompanied by sparkling Burgundy. On this and most Trumanera menus, dessert was followed by nuts, fruits, candies, demitasse, cigars, cigarettes, and liqueurs. American traditions such as roast turkey, oyster dressing, sweet potatoes, and succotash appear on a number of the menus. The Lee Dining Room, which seats 22 people, was used for Cabinet meetings as well as for breakfasts, luncheons, and very small state dinners. (Large state dinners were held in Washington hotels.) Many of the things for which the Truman administration is best remembered happened around its large dining table. In 1948 the Marshall Plan was created in that room. In June of 1950, the decision to enter the Korean War was made in meetings there, and the decision in April of 1951 to relieve General Douglas MacArthur of his command in Korea came from this room. On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate President Truman by storming the front door of the Blair House but were stopped by White House police. Blair House was named to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966, and to the National Historic Landmarks program on October 25, 1973. Further Reading: Fields, Alonzo. My 21 Years in the White House. New York: CowardMcCann, 1961; http://www.blairhouse.org/; http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel /wash / dc25.htm; http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/what/blair/; Parents Magazine. The First Ladies Cook Book: Favorite Recipes of All the Presidents of the United States. New York: GMG Publishing, 1982.

Joanne Lamb Hayes



Block Party

Block Party A block party is a social gathering organized by residents of a specific street block or neighborhood, held in the street or nearby yard or park. It is an occasion for neighbors, longtime and new to the area, to share conversation over food and drink. Seasonal block parties may mark the beginning of long, hot summer days and many go on to become annual events. Block parties often foster connection within the larger community by celebrating ethnic and religious holidays and historical events. Some block parties raise funds for local public school programs, while others support the revitalization of a business district or focus on improving neighborhood environmental concerns. Whatever the occasion, block party planners are usually required to obtain city or municipal permits. In many urban areas, fire and police departments manage requests for road closures. Depending upon the number of participants, insurance coverage may be mandatory. As a courtesy, a petition is circulated door-to-door among residents to announce upcoming block party dates and activities. Block party–goers must comply with regulations for recycling and trash disposal and adhere to local noise ordinances. The block party by its very nature calls for outdoor cooking methods, and the grill is paramount. Menus feature popular items such as barbeque ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, sausage, and fish. Ethnic specialties are often a highlight, prepared by practiced neighborhood cooks. A bounty of side salads, condiments, and desserts are displayed on folding tables, and coolers are stocked with soda, lemonade, and beer and wine. Neighbors and friends casually arrange chairs and tables in the street, and others choose to sit on front porches or curbside. Committees appointed early in the party-planning process supervise children’s activities and coordinate music or live entertainment. In parts of the Caribbean, block parties take the form of lively street dance parties known as “jump ups.” The general populace and tourists alike dance to the beat of steel drum performers and feast on island specialties such as grilled fish and meat. Early block parties of the 1900s advertised skating and dance contests. The Harlem block party debuted around 1914 and was known for its active social scene and live jazz. Block parties also reflected the political climate of the times. Parties were held in support of candidates running for office and in celebration of the momentous end of World War II. Subsequent block parties worked to recruit volunteers for Civil Defense groups in the 1950s. Up until the 1960s, with the onset of the civil rights movement, block parties were often racially segregated by neighborhood. The block party as social occasion continues to thrive and has evolved into a viable grass roots effort with potential to initiate change on a neighborhood level and beyond. The national Night Out movement of the 1990s urged people to hold block parties throughout the community to ward off

Book Clubs crime and increase safety awareness. In college communities, block parties have become a means for students and residents to build consensus around potentially divisive issues. The virtual block party has appeared in densely populated urban areas in the form of shared online electronic calendars and bulletin boards. Given the reality that residents may not know one another, the virtual block party is an effective tool for sharing information and news pertaining to a very concise area defined by address. Block parties of the future are likely to remain rooted in community, one that allows residents to conduct business in the wider world and still maintain a sense of community wherever they live. Because people are able to stay connected with neighborhood issues, the impetus for social participation thrives, as does quality of life, and ultimately, sense of place. Further Reading: “Block Party tonight at St. Nicholas Rink.” Atlanta Constitution. August 14, 1908, p. 7, col. 2; Banks, Marcus. “Block Parties, Street Fairs, Street Festivals.” August 26, 2005. http://www.gothamgazette.com /article /com munitydevelopment /20060826/20/1543; Blackburn, Robert. “Block Dance,” The Magpie. January 1938, v. 22, n. 1, p. 66; Dobson, Charles. Community Building Activities, part 2–6. The Citizen’s Handbook. Vancouver Citizen’s Committee. http:www.vcn.bc.ca /citizens-handbook /2_06_block_parties.html; “Skating and dancing at Lake View Casino.” Frederick News-Maryland. September 22, 1908, p. 5; Gertz, Emily. “Neighbornode and Hyperlocal Networking.” August 13, 2005. http://worldchanging.com /archives /003297.html; “Krewe of Boo to hold block party, costume contest.” New Orleans City Business, October 26, 2007. City Business Staff Report; “Block Parties to Recruit CD Aides.” Los Angeles Times. January 8, 1956; “City Waves Flag and Cheers Wilson.” “War, Topic of Orators.” New York Times. July 6, 1915, p. 18; Prescott, Carlson. “Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party.” http://gochicago.about.com /od /eventsfestivalsholidays /p / block_party.htm; Project for Public Spaces. “Changing the World One Block at a Time.” http://www.pps.org /info /newsletter /august2007/one_block; Rollens, Patrick. “Block Parties and the Hyperlocal Urban Dweller.” WorldChanging Team. August 18, 2007; “St. Croix-Gros Islet ‘Jump ups . . .’ ” Food & Wine. 2006, p. 267; “The Best Block Party.” New Hampshire Business Review. June 8, 2007; “In Manhattan, it’s good when it’s the pits.” Restaurant Hospitality. July 2006, p. 30; Walljasper, Jay, et al. The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Placemaking. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishing, 2007; “Block Parties for Service Men Are Way to Boost Morale.” Washington Post. September 26, 1941; Weidemann, Liz. “Poway: $4.2 million later, Poway to hold block party.” San Diego Business Journal. June 18, 2007; Wood, Trina. “Campus builds a community bridge.” University Communications. October 12, 2007. http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu /dl_detail.lasso?id=9781.

Suzanne C. Weltman

Book Clubs In the United States, the first book clubs were formed in the early 1700s, and literary discussion groups date back even further in Europe. American



Book Clubs

book clubs originally were organized by individuals who wanted private printings of books and essays written by members of the group. One such group, which was formed in 1726 and is called The Junto, claims Benjamin Franklin among its founding members. The Junto was the basis for the first lending library, the Philadelphia Library, which later became the library at the University of Pennsylvania. Most book clubs do not have such an auspicious background and have left obscure historical footprints. Despite this fact, organized discussion groups have played a significant role in the social history of the United States. Two groups founded in 1868—The New England Woman’s Club and New York’s Sorosis—were major, documented organizations created in response to women’s exclusion from fraternal and professional organizations. These discussion groups connected women to the broader world, offered an umbrella organization under which new chapters were created, and provided a model upon which the modern women’s book club was built. In the early twentieth century, the living rooms, porches, and gardens where women met to talk about books became a safe place to discuss social issues. At the time, college was not an option for many women and these groups offered access to learning. The awareness and agitation created from the discussions initiated some of the first steps toward political reform and social activism on a variety of topics, including abolition and women’s suffrage. The legacy of social activism deepened over the years and played a significant role in cultural changes, particularly in the women’s rights movement. The consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s and 1970s were outcrops of these original clubs. As other outlets for women’s social activism evolved, reading groups became less concerned with political issues. New groups did not feel the same social mandate toward affecting change. In the 1980s book clubs became wildly popular, and with the increase in popularity the structure of clubs changed. The meetings became less formal and more social. In most modern groups no one is responsible for writing up formal notes. Meeting preparation, if any exists at all, usually consists of little more than a brief author biography and a few possible discussion questions. One event that cannot be overlooked in discussing the recent boom in the number of book groups was the formation of Oprah’s Book Club in 1996. Originally dismissed by critics and the literary elite, Oprah seems to have won over even the toughest pundits. A passionate reader and book lover, Oprah selects each title herself and has resisted the publishing industries’ overtures to market to her readers. Toni Morrison, Nobel-prize winning writer and author of several Oprah’s Book Club selections, credits Oprah with giving the novel back its life of being talked about. The book club “meets” on air once a month with Oprah, the author, and several viewers who are selected by writing to the show and requesting the chance to participate in the discussion. The shows

Book Clubs are usually taped at Oprah’s house and provide viewers with a conversation, as well as a glimpse into a book-club meeting: the table is covered with linen, china, and crystal; the food is elegant and looks delicious; and the location is serene and lush. Oprah models how to talk about books as well as how to host a book club. Book clubs are formed at the grass-root level through informal networks. Groups depend on word-of-mouth to recruit participants and have performed limited outreach to gain new members. This is beginning to change as Internet message boards and chat forums gain mainstream users. New groups are easy to form—it is as simple as asking a few friends and colleagues to get together to discuss a book, picking a time and a location, and creating a setting where people feel comfortable to talk. Once a few dedicated participants become involved, it is easy to increase membership by asking new people to join. Surrounded by technology meant to support connections, such as cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging, it is harder than ever before to keep up face-to-face relationships. This is part of the reason why many women active in book clubs feel that the in-person conversation is as important—if not more important—than reading the book. Book clubs meet on a regular basis, with each group forming its own method for selecting the date. A rule, such as meeting on the first Wednesday of the month or any day in the third week of the month, helps to keep the meetings consistent. It is also good to have a regular time of day in place. Establishing regular meeting times helps members avoid scheduling other commitments at the same time. Every book club must have a book to discuss for each meeting. Always selected in advance, the book can be picked in a number of ways, including choosing books that some members have already read; forming a list of potential books and having individuals read them to see if they are right for the group; selecting books that have won awards or are on best-seller lists; identifying a genre, author, or theme; or letting members take turns picking a book. Enough time has to be allotted between meetings to purchase and read the book. If a particularly long work is chosen, it may be a good idea to plan two sessions for the discussion or allow extra time between meetings. Some groups have a list of books prepared a few months in advance so members can schedule their reading. Sometimes the best discussions are not about the books that everyone loved. The debate about why members feel the way that they do is likely to stimulate talk about the writing style, plot, themes, and characters. Most often book groups rotate their meetings to the homes of different members, but groups can also arrange to meet in a local bar, restaurant, or community hall. The food and beverages vary depending on the time of the meeting and the group’s preferences, but a little something should always be served. Commonly, the host will offer a spread of light snacks and appetizers such as dips with vegetables and pita wedges, cheese and crackers,



Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of

nuts, chips, mixed olives, and cold cuts. Wine is usually served, but nonalcoholic beverages should also be available. Some groups try to incorporate the theme of the book being discussed into the food served. If particular dishes are mentioned in the story, this can be simply a matter of recreating those dishes. If there isn’t any specific food mentioned, tying the book to the menu may involve selecting food from the region where the book is set or picking dishes indicative of the time period of the story. Whatever the host decides to serve, the important thing is to create a comfortable setting that will encourage discussion of the book. With good food and wine, friends, and lively conversation, there is really nothing to stop a book-club meeting from becoming a favorite way to socialize and entertain. Further Reading: Farr, Cecilia Konchor. Reading Oprah: How Oprah’s Book Club Changed the Way America Reads. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005; Long, Elizabeth. Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003; Rooney, Kathleen. Reading With Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2005.

Erin G. Marrazzo

Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of “Man, it has been said, is a dining animal,” according to Isabella Beeton, the English author of The Book of Household Management, which was first published in 1861. Dining and entertaining occur for numerous reasons. Each host or hostess, town or principality has motives and reasons for opulent displays of food. At just about any time throughout history, banquets and feasts took place for many of the following reasons: raw displays of power and political domination; public relations; appeasement of the gods; cementing of social connections; celebration of good harvests; escape from everyday life, for example, saints’ days; sheer pleasure; and major life passages such as weddings, funerals, and the birth of children. With few exceptions, the people who held these opulent feasts and banquets throughout history were the elite of every society in which they occurred. They possessed the wealth and manpower, in the form of slaves or servants, to create a “court” or “palace” cuisine. Written accounts from many world cultures indicate that banquet-givers generally fall into the following categories: royalty, nobility, ecclesiastical dignitaries, politicians, and, later, wealthy merchants and traders. Thus these people were the audience for many of the earliest books on dining and entertaining, who used the books

Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of to instruct their armies of cooks on how to prepare food and carry out plans for extravaganzas of all sorts. Later, particularly in the nineteenth century, as women became more literate, and social and economic changes resulted in fewer household servants, books on dining and entertaining shifted to a focus on instructing women in the niceties of dining and entertaining on both grand and small scales. The first “works” on entertaining and dining were actually nothing more than words passed down from one cook to another. The oral tradition has held sway in the cooking world for most of history; not until the late nineteenth century or later did people begin to rely more on the written word than on word of mouth for cooking information. The earliest banquet-giver for whom a written record exists was Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.), in Assyria, who feted almost 70,000 people over a 10-day period. The menu was engraved on a sandstone block. The ancient Middle East witnessed a multitude of banquets like that of Ashurnasirpal II. Athenaeus’s fourth-century work, Deipnosophists, “The Learned Banquet,” was printed in Europe in 1514, and indicated that banqueting was common in Ancient Greece. The Greek philosopher Plato (c. 427–347 B.C.), in his Symposium, narrates the conversation at a banquet replete with drinking. He downplays the importance of food and cooking, stating that cooking is not an art; yet setting the Symposium at a banquet indicates clearly that banqueting was an important part of ancient Greek culture. The Greeks in turn influenced the Romans. Marcus Gavius Apicius was a Roman gourmet and epicure living around the first century A.D. Apicius, as he is often referred to, compiled two of the oldest and best preserved cookbooks, De Re Coquinaria (“The Art of Cooking”), also known as Artis Magiricae Libre X, and De condituris, which treated the preparation of sauces. De Re Coquinaria became available in printed form in Europe in 1498 and was translated for the first time into English in 1926 by Joseph Dommers Vehling. In his Natural History (X.133), Pliny said of him, “Apicius, the most gluttonous gorger of all spendthrifts, established the view that the flamingo’s tongue has a specially fine flavor.” Arab cookbook authors, influenced by both the Greeks and the Persians, produced some of the earliest treatises on cooking and entertaining; the intended audiences for these early cookbooks were princes and caliphs. In A.D. 377, Ibn al-Nadim mentioned a number of early Arab cookery books in his Fihrist, but all have been lost. Mas’u¯dõ¯, in his Murõ¯ j al-dhahab, mentions his own lost book—Akhba¯ r al-zama¯ n, which discusses the perfect gentleman and how to behave. He describes the book as “a sketch of culinary art indispensable to any man who shares his table.” In A.D. 400, Ibn Miskawayh, librarian and Buyid minister, penned a cookbook, indicating that high officials tended to involve themselves heavily in matters of food and drink. In Asia, the Mughals of India also produced handbooks for their ruling classes. Ain-I-Akbari, a manual similar to Machiavelli’s The Prince, contains



Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of

a chapter devoted to recipes. China’s Emperor T’ang of Shang Dynasty (sixteenth to eleventh century B.C.) appointed his chef, Yi Yin, as prime minister. Yin wrote the Annals of Master Lü, where he classified foodstuffs and applied flavoring techniques to them. Another important culinary work in China was Li chi, from the Chou period (1050–256 B.C.), containing information about how to behave at banquets, how to eat, and how to serve. The Important Things to Know About Eating and Drinking, by Huou, Kublai Khan’s (A.D. 1215–1294) master chef, focused on soups and included information pertaining to household management. In Japan, families like the Konoe, who served as sessho (regent) and kanpaku (chief adviser) to the emperor, kept manuscript cookbooks in the form of scrolls that date back around one thousand years. These scrolls still have not been translated into English. Although China and the Middle East produced a number of the earliest works touting the protocol of dining and entertaining for powerful people, Europe began to catch up with production of books with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press and moveable type. The first German cookbook, Küchenmeisterey, was published in 1485 in pamphlet form in Nuremberg. In what is now modern Italy, food and dining were considered to be worthy of recording, and some of the best records on dining emanate from that area. An early Italian manuscript cookbook by Maestro Martino, Libro de arte coquinaria, written in 1425, set the tone for many of the books that followed, in particular for De Honesta Voluptate, by Vatican librarian Bartolomeo Sacchi di Piadena, called Platina. His 1475 work contains sections on what to eat for various courses—his prescription for the third course: “A bit of very hard cheese is thought to seal the stomach and stop vapors from seeking the head and brain.” He also advised ending a meal with fruit and nuts, a very modern concept. Platina took approximately 250 recipes from Maestro Martino, amply illustrating a common trend that lasted for centuries, that of borrowing recipes. Giovanni de’Rosselli also pirated recipes from Martino when he published his Epulario in 1516. Epulario went through 26 editions, the last being published in Venice in 1682. An anonymous Italian manuscript cookbook dating to the end of the fifteenth century, Cuoco Napoltetano (The Neapolitan Recipe Collection), contains a number of opulent banquet menus. An example of the recipe collections, or “courtly dining guides,” produced for the managers of large noble, royal, and ecclesiastical households, The Neapolitan Recipe Collection is representative of many of the books produced by such writers as Cesare Evitascandalo (Dialogo del mastro di casa, 1598), Vincenzo Cervio (Trinciante, 1593), Antonio Frugoli (Practica e Scalcaria, 1638), Vittorio Lancelotti (Lo Scalco Prattico, 1627), Giovan Battista Rossetti (Dello Scalco, 1584), and Cristoforo da Messisbugo (Banchetti, composizioni di vivande et apparecchio generale, 1549). Messisbugo lists all the equipment and other non-food necessities to plan and carry out a large banquet for a noble house, based on Messisbugo’s experience as the steward for the Dukes of Este.

Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of The work of Bartolomeo Scappi, the1570 Opera di M. B. Scappi: Cuoco secreto di Pappa Pio Quinto (Private Cook of Pope Pius V), included the first printed picture of a fork. Scappi worked as a cook for Pope Pius V and included a sumptuous banquet served in four courses, with over 47 different dishes. Scappi’s work also included menus for a full year. In addition to advice on banquets, many of these books also linked dining with health and nutrition, a trend that grew particularly strong during the Renaissance. In England, manuscripts on dining for the royal courts and noble households first appeared with the oldest English cookbook, A Forme of Cury, written by Richard II’s master cooks in 1390 on a scroll that rolled up. This astonishing work mentions many spices and other exotic foodstuffs like whales, seals, and herons. The authors of Cury added that the book had the “approval and consent of the masters of medicine and of philosophy that dwelt in his (Richard II’s) court.” The first printed English cookbook, A Noble Boke of Festes Royalle and Cokery: A Boke for a Pryncis Housholde or any other Estates, appeared in 1500. Others followed; their audience were the noble class wealthy enough to afford them and read them. Boke on Kervynge de Wynken de Worde, about carving meat for banquets for noble feasts, was published in 1508. Thomas Dawson’s The Good Huswifes Jewell (1585) was written not just for nobility planning banquets but for gentlewomen in charge of day-to-day household tasks. One such housewife might have been Elinor Fettiplace, author of Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book: Elizabethan Country House Cooking, written in 1604, but not published until 1986. Fettiplace’s book presents a valuable picture of life during a time of political upheaval. And Gervase Markham, in his The English Hus-wife from 1615, inserts a chapter on banqueting, titled “Banqueting and made dishes with other conceits and secrets.” Hannah Wooley, in 1670, published the first successful cookbook written by a woman, The Queen-Like Closet. The French produced similar books on dining and entertaining, beginning with Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent’s Le Viandier (fourteenth century); he served as master cook for Charles V and Charles VI. The Ménagier de Paris was written over a two-year period (1392–1394) by a husband of somewhat advanced age for his young, inexperienced wife to assist her in her housekeeping as the mistress of a large, wealthy household. Traces of the recipes in Le Viandier and the Ménagier de Paris can be found in numerous later cookbooks, illustrating the spread of recipes and the massive pilfering of ideas that occurred. In his Memoirs, Olivier de la Marche—maître d’hotel (steward) and captain of the guards for Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, Dukes of Burgundy—recounts how he planned the Feast of the Pheasant in 1454 and Charles’s wedding feast for his marriage to Margaret of York in 1468. One of the most influential French courtly dining guides was kitchen steward Pierre François de la Varenne’s Le Cuisiner François (The French Cook), published in 1651 and dedicated to his patron, the Marquis d’Uxelles,



Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of

followed by numerous others, including François Massialot’s Le Cuisinier roial et bourgeois (1691), which was the first cookbook known to arrange recipes alphabetically. La Varenne’s work appears to be the first cookbook to record a number of techniques that made French cooking the standard in Europe and elsewhere for centuries to come. Early British authors borrowed heavily from the French. Many of the early French books were translated into English, such as Massialot’s Le Cuisinier roial et bourgeois as The Court and Country Cook (1702) and a version of La Varenne’s Le Cuisiner François as The French Cook (1653). And many English authors also wrote books with a noble audience in mind. Robert May’s The Accomplisht Cook, or the Art and Mystery of Cookery (1660), possibly the most important cookbook of its time, brought French influences into the English cooking repertoire. May cooked for many noble British families and came from a family of cooks. William Rabisha, who wrote The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected (1682), came from a similar professional background. Both May’s and Rabisha’s books went through several editions and influenced other authors of the time. Other authors and works of note include Patrick Lamb’s Royal Cookery; or, the Complete Court Cook (1710), Robert Smith’s Court Cookery (1723), and Charles Carter’s The Complete Practical Cook (1730). Well-known French pre-revolutionary author François Marin, author of Les Dons de Comus (1739), included sections aimed at the bourgeoisie. His contemporary Menon wrote La science du maître d’hotel, cuisinier (The Science of the Steward, Cook; 1749) and La science du maître d’hotel, confiseur (The Science of the Steward, Pastry Cook; 1750), both aimed at large households. In the American colonies, households relied on dining and entertaining books of British and French origin. American cooks consulted books by English female authors like Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife (1727), Elizabeth Raffald’s The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769), and Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747). At the end of the eighteenth century, men on both sides of the Atlantic began frequenting taverns and banqueting clubs in large numbers, and entertaining their fellows outside of the home. Several chefs at these clubs published their recipes, including John Farley, who wrote The London Art of Cookery (1783). With the ripping apart of social structures caused by the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, dining and entertaining books took on a different tone. In the case of English books (and subsequent American), courtly cooking took a backseat to a more practical approach, that of the country housewife. Bridging the books written for the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie were the highly influential books by Antonin Carême, who cooked for Napoleon, the Romanovs, the Rothschilds, Rossini, and King George IV. Carême’s works include L’art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle (The Art of French Cooking in the Nineteenth Century; 1833); Le pâtissier royal parisien ( The Royal Parisian Pastry Maker; 1815); Le maitre d’hotel

Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of français: ouvrage contenant un traité des menus servis a Paris, a Saint-Pétersburg, a Londres et a Vienne ( The French Steward . . . ; 1822); Carême’s works influenced generations of chefs. French author Jean-Anthèlme BrillatSavarin wrote part of his idiosyncratic and unique book, The Physiology of Taste, in the new United States after he fled France during the Reign of Terror. Brillat-Savarin’s book had the flavor of some of the courtly handbooks favored by writers of the courtly dining manuals, but it had a practical side as well. English authors Eliza Acton and Isabella Beeton wrote two of the most influential books of the nineteenth century. Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845) listed ingredients and provided cooking times for the housewife who had no experienced cook to rely upon. Greatly influenced by Acton’s book, Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861) contained detailed chapters on entertaining and table settings. Mrs. Beeton assumed the presence of servants in the households of her readers. She included diagrams of where to place specific menu items on the table served à la russe (in the Russian manner). Books also appeared for people with lower incomes and only one servant. Some of the most popular of these books were by Charles Francatelli, a student of Carême’s and chief cook to Queen Victoria. His first book, The Modern Cook (1846) went through 29 editions. A later book, The Cook’s Guide and Housekeeper’s & Butler’s Assistant (1861), provided information for managers of nearly any household, including information for entertaining. Alexis Soyer, a French celebrity chef, also wrote A Shilling Cookery Book for the People (1855), geared towards people of modest means. In the United States in the nineteenth century, authors began writing more for the housewife than for the professional cook in a large household. Men took on the role of chef in hotel kitchens, while women held dinner parties in the home. Books on dining and entertaining focused on smaller home-based parties and dinners. The Virginia Housewife (1824) by American cookbook author Mary Randolph, a relative of Thomas Jefferson’s, went through many printings and proved to be practical, and at the same time, replete with dishes that could be cooked and served by servants. What followed Mrs. Randolph’s work were several trends in dining and entertaining, impacted by the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War. Consequently, books on entertaining and on dining began to reflect the demographic makeup of American society. While relatively few books specifically related to entertaining were published in the nineteenth century, by the turn of the twentieth century and after the First World War, books on entertaining skyrocketed in number, particularly during the 1950s and afterwards. Early examples of this trend include Mary F. Henderson’s Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving: A Treatise Containing Practical Instructions in Cooking; in the Combination and Serving of Dishes; and in the Fashionable Modes of Entertaining at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (1895) and The Party Book, by Winnifred Shaw Fales and Mary Harrod Northend (c. 1912).



Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of

Women’s magazines published recipes in their pages and books on entertaining, as attested by The New Hospitality: Correct Table Service for Breakfasts, Luncheons, Teas, Dinners, Suppers (1924), written by Lillian Purdy Goldsborough for McCall’s. Themed parties became popular as well and books like Putnam’s Book of Parties (1927), by Marguerite Aspinwall, provided women with ideas. Kitchen gadget and processed-food manufacturers produced booklets meant to guide housewives, who were increasingly servantless and more literate. After World War II, the movement toward servantless households increased considerably and well-known cookbook authors like James Beard wrote about entertaining, as his Hors d’Oeuvres and Canapés (1940) and James Beard’s Menus for Entertaining (1965) attest. Julia Child bounded in with her Mastering the Art of French Cooking (volume I in 1961, volume II in 1970); her work made it possible for people to cook good French food at home. Martha Stewart, starting with the book Entertaining (1982), blazed the way for authors like Sheila Lukins and Julie Russo and their Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook (1984), as well as the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Gaskin, and her Barefoot Contessa Parties! (2001). As the twenty first century opened, entertaining books focused on quick and easy dishes and menus, using many processed convenience foods as well as fresh foods from increasingly popular farmers markets. Examples are Rachael Ray’s Open House Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Easy Entertaining (2006) and Marian Burros’s The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook (2003). Entertaining outdoors and grilling rose in popularity, generating cookbooks like Cheryl and Bill Jamison’s The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining: Spirited Recipes and Expert Tips for Barbecuing, Charcoal and Gas Grilling, Rotisserie Roasting, Smoking, Deep-Frying, and Making Merry (2006). And the General Mills icon Betty Crocker still spoke with authority, as in Betty Crocker’s Entertaining Basics: Learning to Entertain with Confidence (2001). Further Reading: Albala, Ken. The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007; Albala, Ken. Eating Right in the Renaissance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002; Chang, K. C. Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977; Fisher, Carol. The American Cookbook: A History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2006; Hunter, Lynette. “Proliferating Publications: the Progress of Victorian Cookery Literature.” In Wilson, C. Anne, ed. Eating with the Victorians. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2004, p. 50–67; Masudi, Les Prairies d’or, Paris, 1861–1877, vol. VIII, p. 103–4. M’Abd al-Hamid. Cairo, n.d., Vol. IV, p. 163; Mennell, Stephen. All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1985; Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Bruce Rogers. My Cookery Books. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1903; Quayle, Eric. Old Cook Books: An Illustrated History. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978; Strong, Roy. Feast: A History of Grand Eating. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2002; Symons, Michael. A History of Cooks and Cooking. Urbana: University of Illinois

Brazil Press, 2000; Thirsk, Joan. “The Food Scene Captured in Print, 1500–50.” In Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions 1500–1760. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007, pp. 11–26.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Brazil Brazil stands out among the South American countries both for its size, as it occupies half of the continent, and for having gained its independence without suffering any of the bloody wars experienced by the other South American Spanish-speaking countries. Many people associate Brazil’s history with savage cannibalistic tribes and with the traditional celebration of carnival. Many are unaware of the interesting progressive history of Brazilian hospitality, ranging from the natives’ welcoming ways to the highly refined receptions in the days of the empire. Probably based on the chronicles written by the Europeans after their first encounters with the native population starting in 1500, the country’s first inhabitants developed a reputation as cannibals. This is especially due to a book written by a German adventurer called Hans Staden, who recounted the story of being held captive by the Tupinamba tribe. The book was originally entitled True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-Eating People in the New World, America and published in 1557. Upon its first publication, the book was translated into Latin, Dutch, English, Italian, and Spanish, with new editions being published ever since. Such widespread popularity can be attributed to the interesting topic the book addresses and its simple enjoyable style. Brazil’s association with carnival can be attributed to the more than century-long development of the tourism industry, which has devoted itself to spreading the attractive peculiarities of this festival. These two pictures— practicing cannibalism and celebrating carnival—have hidden very important aspects of Brazilian social life, which have been consigned to only a few experts. THE ENCOUNTER OF EUROPEANS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Cannibalistic practices were certainly usual among the inhabitants of the Brazilian coastal zones reached by the Europeans in the sixteenth century, but it is also a fact that the victims of such practices were those considered to be enemies. French Calvinist minister John Lerius (Jean de Léry), who visited Brazil in 1557 and 1558, wrote a detailed travelog, in which there is a chapter on the Tupinamba tribe’s hospitality. Léry considered their way to welcome and treat guests particularly interesting. In the first encounter the natives began by asking Léry his name, eliciting no response as he did not understand their language. Subsequently, one of the natives




took off Léry’s hat and put it on himself, while another one did the same with his sword, and another one with his cape—all of which was done while screaming and running all around the village. This situation disturbed and frightened the guest until the accompanying interpreter explained that such attitude was customary when foreigners arrived. The interpreter confirmed this after a while when Léry was given back all his possessions. The Mussucá, the head of the family, was chosen as a host and once Léry arrived at the Mussucá’s house, Léry had to settle himself into a hammock and remain silent for some time. The native women immediately approached the hammock and sat around the guest on the floor; then they covered their faces with their hands and started crying and saying, “You worked so hard to come to see us! He’s good, he’s brave.” As he was European, they would add, “you brought us very nice things we don’t have here.” The expected reaction to this strange tearful welcome was to also be tearful or at least pretending to be so by emitting profound sighs. After all these odd greetings, the head of the family, who, during this time, had remained quiet in a corner of the house making arrows, would ask the guest, “Did you arrive? . . . How are you?,” which, with the help of the interpreter, had to be answered by saying, “I arrived.” Immediately afterwards, the host asked him if he wanted to eat, and in the case of an affirmative answer, he would order the preparation of tapioca meal served to him in a clay pot as well as some meat, poultry, or fish, and other delicacies. This was placed on the floor, as tables and chairs were not part of their furniture. The guest would be presented with cauin—a fermented beverage prepared with water and tapioca. After eating, drinking and resting or sleeping in their homes, the guest should present the native males with knives or scissors, the women with combs and mirrors, and the children with hooks. These curious rules governing etiquette had to be carried out ceremoniously. It is also known that the Portuguese arriving on the Brazilian coasts in 1500 as part of Pedro Alvares Cabral’s expedition established a friendly relationship with the same native tribe. In one of the first gestures of hospitality, the Cabral expedition invited the natives to the Nao Capitana and offered them a meal of wheat bread, boiled fish, comfits, pies, honey, and figs in syrup. The Portuguese made the natives sit on chairs around a table to have this meal, which surprised the natives, who were used to eating on the floor and who, furthermore, rejected these delicacies initially offered. Some days afterwards, a new invitation was presented, and this time the guests ate the offered food. And this was the beginning of hospitality on Brazilian lands. FAZENDEIROS’S MEETINGS In the last decades of the sixteenth century the Portuguese Captaincies had already settled all along the Brazilian coasts. The economic basis of such a colonization process was the exploitation of sugar cane in fazendas, or plantations, where sugar mills were built to process sugar cane and obtain sugar (not very refined) and eau-de-vie. At the beginning, the natives

Brazil were the work force of these establishments, though not for long, as they were soon replaced by the slaves brought from Africa, who were thought to have greater physical resistance, thereby theoretically allowing for higher productivity. Some cities had already been founded, but the largest groups of people were in the plantations. This is where elite social life mainly took place, guided by the landowners or senhores de engenho. There is an early testimony from a resident of Pernambuco in 1584 saying that the owners of these farms loved banquets and that 10 or 12 of them would usually meet in one of the plantations to eat and to drink many different wines brought from Portugal. These colonists’ feasts would go on until the nineteenth century. Travelers passing by the property could have a rest and cool themselves down, as they were usually offered food and lodging. These houses at the plantations could even be considered inn-like as they warmly welcomed travelers. Long conversations would take place, which kept the residents informed of the latest news and events that had occurred in the surroundings, in the cities, and in far-off places. Moreover, when there was a religious festivity, birthday, or wedding, big parties were thrown, to which neighboring landowners and visiting travelers were invited. The weddings could go on for a whole week, and so cows, pigs, and turkeys were slaughtered, while pies, puddings, and varied desserts were prepared in the kitchen. Music and dance would provide entertainment at such celebrations—not only European dances, but also samba or dances of African origin. The female cooks of the sugar mill estates, mainly Africans, were in charge of the preparation of the dishes to be served, which were the result

Illustration of a sugar mill from Voyage pittoresque et historique au Bresil. Jean Baptiste Debret, 1835. Giraudon/Art Resource, NY.




of the mixture, adaptation, or appropriation of ingredients and recipes from the Europeans and the natives, with some African contributions. Wheat bread was virtually replaced by farinha (tapioca flour), while beans, game (venison, peccary, and armadillo, among others) and tropical fruits (papaya, guava, avocado, pineapple, etc.) were incorporated into the landowners’ cuisine. The main cooking methods were boiling and frying. The latter was carried out with palm oil or dendé, a word that came to mean “tasty or very prized thing.” It was during this colonial period when the Brazilian repertoire of traditional cuisine took form. The manners observed at the table by the plantation owners were still very primitive: they used knives and spoons, but no forks, as they commonly used their fingers to bring food into their mouths— similar to what their European contemporaries did. Urban etiquette, as it was known afterwards, began to be incorporated in the eighteenth century, especially in the cities and with the arrival of the viceroys sent by the Portuguese Crown. It was customary that only the men would sit at the table and that the women and the children would be seated to one side and commonly on the floor. However, housewives gradually began to be accepted at meals when there were guests, especially during the eighteenth century. The slaves working at the sugar mills mainly lived on tapioca flour or cornmeal, depending on Brazil’s geographical zone—the former in the north and the latter in the center and the south. They would also eat some meat or bacon once a week or some game or fish when possible, and in some places salted fish. The main beverage was garapa, made with water and honey from sugar cane. This simple diet was complemented with the fruit that could be found locally, mainly bananas. Despite their servant status, the Africans organized their own small parties when they had the time, in which they danced and sang to the rhythm of the drums and other instruments. THE PORTUGUESE MONARCHY MOVES TO BRAZIL As a result of Napoléon’s threats and invasions to the Iberian Peninsula, the royal Portuguese Braganza family, protected by England, decided to move to its main South American colony. In 1807 Maria I and João VI arrived in the New World and transferred their court to Rio de Janeiro, marking the beginning of Brazil’s political separation. During their reign the colony enjoyed extraordinary prosperity. In 1821, King João VI decided to return to Portugal, leaving his son Pedro I as regent in Brazil. On September 7, 1822, with the support of the colonists, Pedro I declared Brazil’s Independence—remembered as the day of the Grito do Ipiranga. Brazil’s imperial period lasted from 1822 until 1889 with the abdication of Emperor Pedro II. Such a long-lasting monarchic period brought about significant changes, especially within the elites living in the cities. As expected, the lifestyle of monarchs and emperors in the court incorporated European aristocratic patterns, which gave rise to the numerous nobility that transformed the habits of social relationships. From 1808 and

Brazil on, painters, sculptors, musicians, architects, scientists, but also chief waiters, cooks, and confectioners started to travel from Europe to Brazil, many of them hired by the crown. In Rio de Janeiro, the capital city, the monarchs and the nobility began to build big residences endowed with spacious kitchens, halls equipped with luxurious furniture, china dinner services, glassware and silverware brought from Europe. This gave rise to a sort of competition among aristocrats and families with great economic power, who flaunted their wealth when socializing. Something similar occurred inland, when the Emperor Pedro II promoted the creation of a small summer city 37 miles north of Rio de Janeiro in the Serra da Estrela valley, which had a very cool climate. In 1857 the monarch named this city Petrópolis (city of Peter) and, because that is where he spent the hot summer days, he decided to have a palace built there. Following his lead, some of his courtiers also built beautiful villas there. This new city became the center of summer social life; parties were held which involved dancing, listening to music, and enjoying banquets. Although following in the tradition of European courts, Emporer Pedro II’s court manners were not always as regal as one might expect, as least according to Maximilian of Austria, who, during his visit to Brazil in 1860, shortly before he was named Emperor of Mexico, had the opportunity to get to know the customs of Pedro II. In a letter sent from Rio de Janeiro, Maximilian said he had been shocked when he saw that the Brazilian monarch had no qualms about attending certain commoner parties and mixing with his most humble subjects on such occasions. This shows a clear difference between the attitudes of these two monarchs toward the people: the Brazilian establishing a democratic relationship and the Austrian keeping an aristocratic distance. In 1840, during the empire days, the cookbook O Cozinheiro Imperial was published in Rio de Janeiro—a book that released subsequent editions even afterwards, in the Republican times. This first sample of the Brazilian gastronomic literature included not only a large number of recipes but also an appendix on table manners. The anonymous author—concealing his or her identity through the initials R.C.M.—describes very well in the foreword of the book the importance of this art and its state in Brazil at that time: “From the innumerable and indispensable arts that are useful to the life of civilized human beings, there is one that has advanced by leaps and bounds in a few years. This art, culinary science, whose great influence at the same time contributes to the healthy state of our body, strengthens social bonds, multiplies the number of relationships, boosts trade and industry, eases habits, and joins people in festive and brotherly gatherings. . . . The most industrialized and civilized nations constantly promote this noble science and make its mysteries appear in numerous publications that build up the manual of cuisine artists. Brazil lacked a treaty that specifically dealt with culinary arts. With merely one or two compilations published in Portugal many years ago, which were no longer satisfactory for the lack of variety in the dishes and necessary explanations, the number of recipes, all of which were very delayed in relation to the current state of sciences, such need for




a culinary treaty was already felt by all” (R.C.M. v). The author goes on to say that Brazilian fish, poultry, and fruits have a great reputation for their variety, taste, and delicateness, including recipes with these ingredients. However, most of the recipes presented in the work have a European origin, and many others correspond to the French cooking style. The book also contains suggested menus for banquets, ranging from what is called a “Common banquet” to a “Model banquet to be presented to an important figure,” including “Special French-style banquets,” as well as banquets for those accompanying the invited figures, such as the cooking staff or the servants. The menus for important guests had to include at least 10 types of delicacies or iguarias, as was the case of special French-style banquets, for which it was suggested: potau-feu, chicken, hen and chick meat, rabbit, artichokes, truffles, ham, capers, and kids, followed by braised ducks, stewed tongue, and partridges; then, turkey, asparagus, calf’s head; and then other preparations finally followed by the choice of two desserts, including a liquid fudge called manjar blanco, cream tarts, curd cheese pies, pears, cherries, almonds, and a variety of cakes. They were real Pantagruelian proposals. It is possible to get an idea of the abundance of food suggested for these banquets by taking a look at the servant’s meals, which include six starters, six soup dishes, six roasted dishes, six pastry dishes, six sweet dishes, and six fruit dishes. Obviously, the idea was to emulate the customs of the European royal families. In big reunions there was not only food, but also music, interpreted by professionals that had been hired for that special occasion or by guests who stood out for playing certain musical instruments—especially the piano or violin—or who were outstanding singers. Poetry recitals were also performed, in which literary young people would present their creations. These were luxurious receptions where the main families competed among themselves, gaining regular practice. Some of them rose to fame for the refinement of conversation, music, and, of course, the contribution of culinary gifts. Native traders and those coming from England, France, and Germany who settled in Brazilian cities could supply a great variety of household goods that were particularly sought after by Brazil’s well-off inhabitants. The reigning families or those from the empire were therefore able to acquire or expressly order a luxurious set of household goods that included solid gold or silver sets of dishes, fine porcelain, and glasses made of expensive crystals. REPUBLICAN HOSPITALITY The establishment of the Republic in Brazil—known as “The Coffee Republic” due to the culture’s dominant role in the plantation activity—did not imply the disappearance of feasts or the interruption of literature being produced on gastronomic matters. The great politicians of this new period, as well as traders and plantation owners, did not stop imitating the sumptuousness of the empire, but it is a fact that more and more often their cuisine and that of many other Brazilians started to feature the typical meals that

Brazil had originated during colonial times. At the end of the nineteenth century, a cookbook entitled Cozinheiro Nacional was published in Rio de Janeiro by the H. Garnier house, with no mention of the author, although credited by scholars to Paulo Valle. This book—which is extremely difficult to find both in bookstores and libraries—emerges as a sort of antagonistic work compared to the one that had thus far been deemed representative of the Brazilian cuisine, namely the above-mentioned O Cozinheiro Imperial. The author of this new cookbook decided to start it with a foreword, the significance of which has not been appreciated by those who have studied the South American food history. As the work is so difficult to find, it is worth taking a look at these introductory lines, which build up a new declaration of independence, but this time in the culinary field: Incidentally, we will not servilely copy the cookbooks crawling in foreign bookstores and simply provide them with a national stamp resulting from the language in which we write; neither will we provide our work with a fake cover and literally translate word for word from other books that are found in the whole world, thereby choosing the unknown road of despicable plagiarism and destroying the importance we give to our work and the usefulness the reader is rightly expecting from it. Our duty is a different one; our objective is far more reaching than this; and by including the word “national” in the title of our work, we believed to be making a solemn commitment, namely presenting a cuisine that is Brazilian from all points of view. We will thus indicate the country’s methods used to prepare the meat from the numerous mammals that live all over its mountains and fields, birds that inhabit its diverse climates, fish that cross its rivers and seas, reptiles that slither under its vast verdant groves, and, finally, the innumerable vegetables and tubers that nature’s liberal and prodigal hand spontaneously scattered on its blessed soil. These mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, plants and tubers are totally different from the European ones in taste, appearance, form and virtue, and therefore are required to be prepared in certain ways.

The author then admits this is a difficult task and confesses his/her awareness that, despite the efforts made, the objective will remain far off and with the conviction that the way would be paved for other more learned authors who would follow this course with greater success. And the author goes on: It is time for this country to emancipate from the European tutelage, under which it has lived until the present; it is time for it to be described as nature provides, free and independent of foreign influences, giving account of its own ways to cook the countless products of its vast flora, the delicious and delicate meat from its quite varied fauna, putting an end to the anachronism of simply conforming to foreign books explaining preparations of substances that cannot be found in the country or that can only be acquired at very high costs . . . and so as we believe to be doing a great service to Brazil by publishing this work, we suppose we will also be doing it to other nations by making known a great number of delicious, healthy and revitalizing dishes that have been so far unknown, but that from now on




will be public knowledge and thus adequately appreciated by the people. And just as Brazil has been and still is a customer of other countries, from which it has bought their food, it will now be able to provide them with the different products that this book will make known and which will provide them with health, robustness and a long life.

If you take a look at the index of the book in question, you will find numerous recipes that show the author’s stance: 16 recipes of tapir, including one in which it is lightly fried with hearts of palm, another one prepared with yam as a soup, another one as a steak, and another one as an ingredient of a moqueca (a stew seasoned with coriander, lemon, onion, coconut milk, palm oil, and pepper), among others; 7 recipes of capybara, with its meat ranging from roasted to stewed; 6 recipes of a rodent called cutía; 3 of lontra or nutria; 7 of macaco or monkey, with its meat ranging from roasted to braised with bananas; 12 of agouti or paca, including meatballs, as well as roasted, braised, and stewed dishes; 32 of queixato or peccary, in which its head, spareribs, sirloin, and legs are prepared using many different seasonings; 9 of prea—a kind of hare; 4 of coati; 4 of frog; 5 of cayman; 6 of tatú or armadillo; 26 of venison; 8 of macaw and parrot; and 5 of a freshwater fish called surubi. This is just a brief sample from the book of the repertoire of dishes that are made with ingredients that are native to Brazil. While this nationalist offering included particular dishes from the country, all in all it did not succeed in gaining authority in the urban cuisine. If we take a look at the whole work, we will see that the author had already anticipated this, as most recipes are of Portuguese-Brazilian or European origin. And this is understandable, because the book was actually read in the cities, where it was not easy at all to find the wild native animals proposed in the recipes. Moreover, among the menus suggested at the end of the book is the Almoço Brazileiro (Brazilian lunch), which recommends roasted sucking pig, mixed pickles (in English in the original), Nantes sardines, olives, salami slices, fried eggs, chicken fritters, fillet steak, roasted calf, refried hen meat, oranges, marmalade, and bread, among other things. The same happens with a Banquete Brazileiro (Brazilian banquet), despite the fact that it also includes dishes such as roasted monkeys, parrots with rice and salad, and hearts of palm pies. Finally, it is important to note that the book presents the feijoada—a bean-based stew that, since then, has invaded Brazilian cuisine becoming Brazil’s national dish. Of great importance is the fact that the European immigrants—mainly Germans, Austrians, Poles, Italians, and Arabs—who arrived in Brazil since the end of the nineteenth century, kept their customs for a long time, creating very exclusive communities whose members continued to celebrate traditions and to take part in the wine and dine customs from their homelands. For example, the Italian immigrants kept the custom of their filós or meetings, where acquaintances or neighbors came together to chat, play, and sing, as well as eat the typical Italian dishes. It was only during the last four decades of the twentieth century when the descendants of those immigrants mixed among themselves and with the rest of the Portuguese-

Bridal Shower Brazilian population, generating a high degree of homogenization, obviously fostered by urban development and the key role of mass media. Today, such a melting pot is considered to have resulted in the so-called friendly people, as Brazilians are labeled. Hospitality and generosity have become typical features of the Brazilian character. And it should be added that this tendency to treat others cordially does not necessarily imply that they show courtesy, but rather that they treat others in a down-to-earth way. Further Reading: Fernandes, Caloca. Viagem Gastronômica através do Brasil. São Paulo: Senac, 2004 (Bilingual Edition Portuguese–English); Freyre, Gilberto. Brazil: an Interpretation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945; Freyre, Gilberto. New World in the Tropics. The Culture of Modern Brazil. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959; Freyre, Gilberto. The Masters and the Slaves: a Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization. Translated by Samuel Putnam. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946; Harding, Bertita. Southern Empire: Brazil. New York: Coward-McCann, 1948; Hernâni, Donato. Frutas Brasil Frutas. São Paulo: Empresa das Artes, 1991 (Bilingual edition Portuguese–English); Kidder, Daniel P., and James C. Fletcher. Brazil and the Brazilians portrayed in historical and descriptive sketches. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1868; Léry, Jean de. “Extracts out of the Historie of John Lerius a Frenchman, Who Lived in Brasill with Mons. Villegagnon, Ann. 1557 and 58.” In Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes. Samuel Purchas, ed., vol. XVI, 518–579. Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1905; Ribeiro, Darcy. The Brazilian People: The Formation and Meaning of Brazil. Translated by Gregory Rabassa. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000; R.C.M. O Cozinheiro Imperial. 5th ed. Rio de Janeiro: Eduardo y Henrique Laemmert, 1866; Staden, Hans. The True History of His Captivity, 1557. Translated and edited by Malcom Letts. New York: Argonaut, 1929; Valle, Paulo. Cozinheiro Nacional. Rio de Janeiro: H. Garnier, n.d.

José Lovera Translated by Ainoa Larrauri

Bridal Shower According to legend, a young Dutch girl was in love with a poor young man who was so generous to others that he was unable to accumulate a fortune of his own. Because of this lack of wealth the girl’s father considered her lover a poor marriage prospect, and the girl’s father refused to give them a dowry, the financial stake promised to the groom upon marriage to a woman by her family. The dowry was intended to pay not only for her upkeep but also her future, should her husband pass. Dowries can include everything from money and land to cloth needed to make all the clothing the bride would wear during her life. According to the legend, sympathetic villagers decided to help the young couple by making up the dowry themselves. Each person gave a treasured possession of his own until they had contributed all the household goods a bride was expected to bring to her new home. Another story tells of a hostess who took a parasol and, after filling it with



Bridal Shower

small gifts, opened the umbrella over the head of a bride thus, literally showering the bride with gifts. Historically, bridal showers are often associated with the dowry system, trousseaus, and hope chests. Men were responsible for providing a dwelling and furnishing it. In addition to the dowry, the young bride-to-bes were also expected to prepare for their upcoming marriages by acquiring the skills necessary to run a household, keep up a house, and raise a family. While daily chores and caring for siblings would have helped to prepare women for these duties, they were also expected to show a mastery over more artistic elements. For upper-class families who could afford tutors, the daughters learned how to read, speak foreign languages, and, in some cases, play musical instruments. All young women were expected to master a variety of types of needle and thread handwork to decorate aprons, linens, and so on. These items were put aside in storage, often in what is called a hope chest, until the wedding day, when the bride-to-be would be required to set up her own house. The French cousin to the hope chest is called the trousseau. Delicately embellished items would offer the first elements of decor to new homes and attest to the refinement of the women dwelling within. Brides brought bed and table linens in addition to quilts, handkerchiefs, and dresser scarves. Early nineteenth-century brides could have as many as 24 sets of the linens made from fine damask and embroidered with a monogram, whereas raw linen and crochet detail were more prevalent in earlier or less affluent times. Personal items, such as chemises, corset covers, nightgowns, petticoats, and so on, would also be stored in large quantities. Women were expected to bring enough clothes to last the first year of the marriage, and these greater amounts were possible due to widespread use of the sewing machine in the 1850s. They were also necessary due to the harsh cleansers and bleaches used to care for the items. Trousseau or hope chest items were set out on display for the women in attendance to admire at a quilting bee where the women assembled a quilt for the bride-to-be. In time, these bees became the wedding or bridal, shower, and sometimes the trousseau items were even chronicled in newspapers and department store windows for the general public depending on the renown of the couple. American pioneer women would gather to admire the items in a bride’s hope chest and participate in an activity called pounding, where each woman would bring a pound of butter, flour, sugar, or other necessary ingredient to set up a properly stocked kitchen. These pounding parties showered the bride with essential baking and cooking items necessary to provide the first meals in her new home. Guests would not give everyday gifts such as house linens for fear it would imply the bride was ill equipped with basic needs. The modern bridal shower began to emerge in the 1920s when department and other specialty stores set aside space for wedding items and named specific staff to attend to young brides. In time the gift registry was born and has since been adopted by department stores coast to coast, as well as home and building stores; shops specializing in gourmet

Bridal Shower cookware, kitchen- and bath-related items; and mass retailers such as Target and Kmart. With the advent of Internet shopping, couples can register for virtually anything if they work with retailers who suite their interests. This level of flexibility allows couples of all ages and circumstances to participate in this tradition. In addition to purchasing gifts there is also a tradition called wishing well. If these words are on the invitation, guests are encouraged to bring a smaller, inexpensive but useful gift, such as a can of cleanser, sponges, or batteries. These gifts do not have any tags on them but are placed in a mock wishing well container created by the hostess so these little useful items are given to the new bride to wish her well. These traditionally all-female parties serve light food and drinks while friends and family chat with the bride regarding her wedding plans, visit among themselves, and sometimes play party games or participate in contests arranged by the hostess of the shower. The bridal shower is usually hosted by the maid or matron of honor, but can also be hosted by a close friend or relative of the bride in someone’s home, a restaurant, or party room. It is possible for a bride to have multiple showers but it is important not to schedule the showers too close to the wedding itself, invite too many guests, or overwhelm guests with too many gift requests. Traditionally, showers include female relations, friends from school, work or social clubs, and neighbors, as well as anyone else the bride suggests to the shower hostess(es). Light menus include salads and tea sandwiches; refreshing punches, sparkling cocktails, coffee, and tea; and cake or some other desserts with fruit that would best reflect the theme of the event. Themes for showers can be tailored to fit the bride and her interests. Some popular themes include gardening, bed and bath, fine dining, gourmet cookery, and so on. Gifts from the registry, gift certificates, or items related to the theme are welcome. Hostesses can use these themes to devise short games that encourage guests to mix and meet one another. For many brides this is an excellent opportunity to chat with older relatives and the female members of her soon-to-be husband’s family. One important detail to note, near the end of the shower the groom should appear out of respect to those gathered and proffering gifts to help fill his home. This is an excellent opportunity for him to thank the guests for their kindness. He may also want to assist the bride with loading of the presents and transporting them from the hostess’s home. One activity called loading the bride has the bride-to-be in the center of a circle surrounded by married and widowed women. Each woman takes a turn offering marital advice and life lessons to help assist and prepare the woman as she goes from being a single woman to a married one. This intergenerational experience is one way in which female knowledge is handed down and the bride-to-be is welcomed to the sisterhood of being a wife. Historically brides were often young and uneducated about sexual relations. During queh queh, a custom originating in Guyana, troupes of drummers, dancers, and singers go to the bride’s home two or three days prior to the wedding with a big performance the night before that often includes



Bridal Shower

the groom and his family and friends. During the early performance there is a great deal of information shared with the bride regarding sex and what to expect from her wedding night with some of the lyrics, dancing, and drumming rising to a fevered pitch while highlighting male sexual prowess, virility, and sensuality. In other cultures the brides are schooled in these lessons by aunts or other female relatives in anticipation of the wedding. But not all customs during this time prior to the wedding are joyous: there can be a great deal of emotion during this transitional period between single life and marriage. An ancient Chinese custom called a sisters gathering or sisters party offers a different emotional experience for the bride-to-be. During earlier times, marriage was an uncertain fate for young women who were preparing to leave their homes, friends, and everything they had ever known. The anxiety this produced was further complicated by the fact that the young bride would be living with the groom and his family, answering not only to her husband, but to her mother-in-law. The bride-to-be was allowed to express this range of emotions for three days prior to the wedding with kuge, weeping songs and marriage laments. These dirges were memorized or prompted by the sisters, her actual sisters, cousins, aunts, and friends, who gathered to hear her lamentations through crying, weeping, cursing, laughter, and so on, until the bride was spent and thus emotionally resigned to her new status. A new trend in America is to make the pre-wedding event one of mixed genders. The new co-ed wedding shower allows for couples to invite friends of all ages and interests to shower them with gifts. It also addresses the changing relationship between men and women as more couples celebrate their vows later in life and have close friends of both genders. This style of shower also address the need for finding gifts for brides and grooms who have already set up homes or are re-marrying and are now in the process of integrating household items. New registries have emerged to help couples save for homes, donate to charity, or purchase trips and more luxurious goods. Changing times are reflected in the gifts couples register for as their wants and needs differ from earlier brides and grooms. Further Reading: Adams, Michele, and Gia Russo. Wedding Showers: Ideas and Recipes for the Perfect Party. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000; Arnold, Caroline, and Jane F. Kendall. How People Get Married. New York: Franklin Watts, 1987; Benedict, Ruth. Showers. Milwaukee, WI: Reiman Publications, 1980; Clark, Beverly. Bridal Showers: Special Touches and Unique Ideas for Throwing a Fabulous Shower. Carpinteria, CA: Wilshire Publications, 2000; Costa, Shu Shu. Wild Geese and Tea: An Asian American Wedding Planner. New York: Riverhead Books, 1997; Greco, Gail. Bridal Shower Handbook: The Complete Guide to Planning the Perfect Party. Greensboro, NC: Wallace-Homestead Book Company, 1988; Hopkins, Ginny. The Bride’s Book of Showers. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, 1973; Packham, Jo. Wedding Parties & Showers: Planning Memorable Celebrations. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1993; Sturgis, Ingrid. The Nubian Wedding Book: Words and Rituals to Celebrate and Plan an AfricanAmerican Wedding. New York: Crown Publishing, 1997; Wallace, Carol McD.

Brunch All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.

Alexa Reynolds Johnson

Brunch Brunch, a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch, is the quintessential American weekend overindulgence. Essentially both urban and urbane, brunch is characterized by the eating of several courses, mid-day, usually consumed with generous amounts of alcoholic beverages. With roots in working-class Germany, and origins in nineteenth-century New Orleans, brunch has become a distinct phenomenon of the English-speaking world; a reoccurring (non-holiday specific) meal as celebration, a celebration (of luxury) as meal. Brunch, as a term, first appeared in Punch magazine (August 1, 1896) and has been attributed to several sources: British university student slang; a writer by the name of Guy Beringer; and a flurry of in-vogue, post-hunt lunches enjoyed by upper class men. Punch, a satirical literary periodical, outlined the meal’s auspicious beginnings, “To be fashionable nowadays we must ‘brunch.’ ” Teasingly the article comments on the new high-fashion meals, “At Oxford . . . an important distinction was drawn. The combinationmeal, when nearer the usual breakfast hour, is ‘brunch,’ and, when nearer luncheon, is ‘blunch.’ ” According to Colin Spencer’s history of British cuisine, as the wealth of the late-nineteenth-century empire grew, so did its range of breakfast provisions. More privileged households observed as many as four different types of breakfasts, from family style to an opulent feast of roast meats and birds. Brunch’s fashionable restaurant settings, though, can be traced to the American South. The restaurants and eateries of New Orleans, Louisiana, have long claimed to be the inheritors of the birthplace of brunch. In New Orleans, lunches are famous for indolently turning into dinner, with diners conversing and eating from noon to night. Though famed century-old establishments such as Brennan’s continue to serve a multi-course, mid-morning meal in New Orleans, it was a now long-defunct eatery named Begué’s that started the tradition. Madame Begué raised the morning meal to a fine art, spanning several courses and, often, including bottles of wine. She called the repast a “second breakfast.” At Begué’s, those customers fortunate enough to procure one of only thirty reserved seats at the 11 A.M. mealtime served each day, could look forward to a four-hour feast, six to seven courses downed with chicory coffee and champagne. Omelets, which fortified the spread, were filled with hearty ingredients: oysters, veal, or fried potatoes. The menu changed daily and was always a table d’hôte (or “host’s table,” a multi-course menu with limited




choices and a set price), but the house specialty liver à la Begué—beef liver fried in lard—was invariably served on Saturdays. Madame Begué, born Elizabeth Kettenring, emigrated from Bavaria, Germany, to New Orleans in 1853 and married Louis Dutrey, a butcher of Gascon descent. At Dutrey’s Coffee House, Elizabeth and Louis served hungry French Market vendors a quick midmorning snack. She combined the Bavarian meal of brotzeit, bread-time—a bite of bread, sausage and beer before lunch—with the French omelet. After the death of Louis, Elizabeth married another Gascon, Hypolite Begué, and renamed the eatery. Begué’s restaurant was then expanded and table service added. The changes were made in time for New Orleans’ post–Civil War renaissance and the World’s Fair and Exposition of 1884. The local gentry were soon struggling with tourists for the few available seats. Begué’s “second breakfast” enjoyed national prominence and accentuated two cookbooks by the madame of the house. Around the turn of the century, brunch became a fixture on other American metropolitan dining scenes. In New York City noshing on the bagel brunch—cream cheese, capers, tomato, red onion, and lox—became the highlight of a social weekend. Eggs Benedict—poached eggs, Canadian bacon, and English muffin smothered in hollandaise sauce—also originated in New York, but how it first began is a still a matter of contention. Some accounts credit playboy Lemuel Benedict, who placed an order—though on toast—at the Waldorf Hotel in 1894. Others place the creation of eggs Benedict in the kitchen of chef Charles Ranhofer at the famed Delmonico’s restaurant. Today, a brunch eater is just as likely to find huevos rancheros and frittatas alongside the traditional stuffed omelets. Mexican, Southern United States, and Chinese (dim sum) interpretations of brunch have become particularly popular with the upscale crowd. However, breakfast items such as seasonal fruit, pancakes, waffles, and French toast are still taken at brunch, as are seafood, roasted meats and poultry, sausages, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Along with freshly squeezed juices and coffee, alcohol is still commonly quaffed with brunch: champagne cocktails (mimosas) and tomatospiced Bloody Marys are the most common. Ever overindulgent, brunch is now seen as an occasion to eat dessert in the afternoon, sometimes after breakfast fare. Brunch remains a celebratory act of feasting. Holidays—Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day—are popular brunching days. Brunch has disseminated and can now be encountered on fast-food menus and throughout the world. McDonald’s take on the eggs Benedict, the Egg McMuffin, enlarges the ordinary drive-thru breakfast. The French, always adverse to adopting American habits, do now eat a grand petit déjeuner or ‘big breakfast.’ In South Korea, where the official work week was recently reduced to five days, residents of Seoul celebrated the newfound weekend by socializing over pancakes and bagels at brunch. And true to form, in New Orleans and New York brunch may still be had seven days a week.

Buffet Further Reading: Beyer, Gregory. “Was He the Eggman?” The New York Times. April 8, 2007, Section 14, 1; “Brunch v. Blunch!” Punch, Or the London Charivari. August 1, 1896, 58; Fertel, Rien T. “Beginning With Begué’s.” New Orleans The Times-Picayune. December 8, 2006, Lagniappe Section, 34–37; Lee, Su Hyun. “A New Lifestyle in South Korea: First Weekends, and Now Brunch.” The New York Times. November 2, 2007, Section A4; Spencer, Colin. British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002, 259–261.

Rien T. Fertel

Buffet The word buffet originally referred to a sideboard or a tiered table. Restauranteurs often presented a tiered table loaded with various types of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, and delicate pastry at the entrance to their restaurants. This opulent and elegant presentation served to please the patron visually and also to showcase what riches the restaurant had to offer in the meal to come. In modern usage, a buffet is a way of serving food, in which a variety of food is presented on a large table to be picked up and eaten by guests as they please. Buffet can also mean a piece of furniture used to display expensive silverware, or a sideboard on which to stack plates, silverware, and napkins to be used in this type of self-service meal. A buffet, a sideboard covered with fancy linen and costly silverware, was an important part of medieval banquets. No guest actually ate at this sideboard, and it served no purpose other than displaying the host’s wealth, but in a broader cultural context, it played a significant role in the banquet as a political opportunity to impress, threaten, or coax those in power. This practice of displaying rich fabric and silverware (called “court cupboard” in England, buffet in France, referring both to the practice and the piece of furniture used for this purpose) was observed well into the Baroque period; Louis XIV’s collection and display on his luxurious buffet is one of the most famous. In the old days, when traveling took longer than it does today, providing nourishment in the car of a train or at a station (buffets de gare) might have had more urgency and significance than it does today. Especially in the case of the buffet car, the service took advantage of the convenience of the buffet-style meal, that is, self-service, inasmuch as the food was already made and often portioned. There are, however, some legendary buffets de gare, such as the gare de Avignon, Lille, Lyon, and Valenciennes, some of which have attracted travelers and non-travelers alike. In the Gare de Lyon a restaurant called Le Train Bleu was established to impress tourists visiting the Paris Exhibition of 1900 (the establishment flaunts art-deco gilded arches, an opulent ceiling, and wall paintings depicting scenes from the train’s route); it was designated a historical monument in 1972. They have a formal restaurant upstairs, and the space underneath the stairs, where an




informal café is situated today, used to be a place where servants would wait while their masters and mistresses dined above. The word Smörgåsbord is today used interchangeably with buffet. The Swedish tradition of Smörgåsbord (the word literally means “sandwich, or buttered-bread, table”) can either consist of various finger foods to be eaten before the meal, or the meal itself. The food, which can be either hot or cold (famous examples include cured herring, an open sandwich, a salad with anchovies, vegetable gratin, and sautéed kidney), is attractively displayed on a board. When it is a meal, although everything is laid out on the table all at once, guests follow the traditional order of bread, butter, and herring first; cold fish, cold cuts, and vegetable salad second; followed by hot dishes (such as herring au gratin, filled omelets, meat balls, etc.); and then finished with cheese. Middle Eastern mezze (meze) can be said to resemble the buffet on some level; it is an assortment of food to be enjoyed at guests’ discretion and traditionally is served on a special table called the raki table. However, the practice of meze significantly differs from that of buffet or Smörgåsbord in that the emphasis of meze is on the consumption of alcohol (raki is a Turkish, anise-scented spirit), and the food is enjoyed (at least originally) in order to alleviate the strong taste of raki. The buffet is today carried out in different venues, while its main advantages remain the same: namely, that guests can choose what they want, often as much as they want. Buffets also require fewer servers than a sit-down service since the former incorporates more self-service elements. Moreover, the display at a buffet can enforce a specific theme of a venue or an event. Each venue makes use of these advantages with its own different emphasis. Among various types of restaurants, one might say that buffets are most commonly seen at Chinese and Indian restaurants. It is also a popular type of service for brunch. In some restaurants, buffet and à la carte services are carried out simultaneously, increasing guests’ choice even more. Restaurant buffets attract guests through their wide range of choice. Guests can sample as many dishes as they wish by controlling the portion

A woman enjoying an Indian lunch buffet. © Shaileshnanal | Dreamstime.com.

Buffet size of each item, which it is not possible to do in à la carte service. Allowing guests to sample is a good way for a restaurant to advertise, since guests who liked little bits of what they experienced are likely to return either again for a buffet, or for a more formal sit-down meal, for a different kind of experience. The buffet is today most commonly enjoyed at school or company cafeterias. Having a large component of self-service, buffets can be managed with less staff than table service and are therefore appealing to those who have to feed a large number of people with a limited amount of time and funds. Since cafeterias tend to feed a large number of people, it is important to have options catering to specific needs such as a low-fat diet, vegetarianism, and religious restrictions. Cafeterias once had a reputation of serving unhealthy, not so fresh food, but these days, they are often part of a corporate effort to make their employees healthier and more fit, and better options are increasingly available. A movement to purchase from local growers is also a recent development, improving both the relationship between the company/school and the local people and the freshness of the food at buffet. The buffet is also often enjoyed at a catered event such as a wedding reception, corporate holiday party, or birthday party. Anything that can be served as an hors d’oeuvre is appropriate for this type of service. In addition, since this type of buffet meal is often consumed sitting down at a table enabling the use of plate and silverware, the choice is wider. The buffet table may quite practically contain anything that can be served in a meal—salad, roasted meat, warm vegetables or gratins, and even soup. While it might be more convenient to have roasted meat pre-sliced, or soup already portioned in cups in order to make the flow of customers smoother, the most important thing may be to keep the food looking fresh. A major advantage of a buffet meal over a sit-down kind of meal is that a buffet allows the guests to eat in the order or at the speed they prefer, when they please, which also increases the number of patrons a meal can accommodate. That means, in turn, that the food consistently needs to be fresh and kept at appropriate temperatures over extended periods of time. The fact that a buffet was once thought of as a display at a restaurant entrance, not necessarily for gustatory consumption, or a table for displaying silverware, should remind one of the importance of the visual aspect of a buffet table. For this reason, a tray half-empty is often exchanged with a whole tray, or refilled, and similar care is taken to ensure that the whole table remains visually appetizing at all times throughout the service. While using a mirror or a marble slab as a plate might be an attractive idea, it might not be practical to carry those around whenever refilling is necessary. Using inserts is one solution, or, smaller plates may be grouped into clusters in order to facilitate refilling and also to avoid leaving food exposed and left out for too long. On an economical note, some manuals recommend that more expensive items such as shrimp and oyster be placed at the end of the buffet table, the expectation being that guests tend to pick more food and fill up their plates at the beginning of the table.




Further Reading: Casas, Penelope. Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain. Revised Edition. New York: Knopf, 2007; Gisslen, Wayne. Le Cordon Bleu Professional Cooking. 5th ed. New York: Wiley, 2002; Hazelton, Nika Standen. Classic Scandinavian Cooking. New York: Scribner, 1987; The Culinary Institute of America. Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley, 2004.

Chika M. Jenkins

C Cake and Candles Today a cake with candles is the most widespread and popular symbol of a birthday celebration for a child and also often for an adult, especially in the United States. It takes pride of place in many other Western countries, too, although it is more likely to be part of the festivities for a child’s birthday than for an adult’s. Cakes, colored decorations, and candles all have long histories, but their confluence as a birthday celebration symbol is more recent. The meaning of the term cake evolved from very early times when a cake was a small diskshaped object, to be held in the hand for eating. Originally it was baked on a griddle and, later, in an oven. English cookbooks from the eighteenth century give recipes for “cakes” that we might now call cookies (from the Dutch). Large cakes that required many hours of baking time were called great cakes and, until appropriate baking pans were devised at the end of the nineteenth century, small leavened cakes, actually baked in cups, were called cup cakes. Cakes have been used for centuries as dramatic centerpieces of important events and, by the fifteenth century in Europe, huge cakes, leavened with ale yeast or distilled spirits and composed primarily of dried fruits and nuts, were being created for notable occasions. With the development by French and Italian pastry cooks in the 1500s of other means—eggs beaten


Cake and Candles

with sugar—to leaven batters using wheat flour, the character of cakes began to change. But, as the expansion of world trade in the eighteenth century made fruit and nuts from the Mediterranean and spices from Asia more easily available, great cakes continued to be popular, particularly in England. At the time America was being colonized and through the eighteenth century, great cakes, known in the United States today in their much smaller versions as fruit cakes, were still appearing as symbols of the prestige, wealth, and importance of an individual or an event. But after the American Revolution, instead of simply reprinting English cookbooks such as those by Hannah Glasse or Mrs. E. Smith, Americans gradually began to produce their own. Lighter and more porous-textured cakes became possible due to a variety of factors: the availability of recipes for egg-and-butter-leavened pound cakes, the invention of iceboxes, and, especially, the introduction of cast iron stoves in the early nineteenth century. Although chemical leavens such as potash, pearlash, and hartshorn had been used for some centuries, particularly in Germanic and Dutch areas, they were not satisfactory for more delicately flavored baked goods. By the mid-1800s, the search was on in the United States for a flavorless leaven and eventually, after saleratus, cream of tartar, and bicarbonate of soda (all termed yeast powders) were developed for baking, two pharmacists in Indiana persisted in the search and devised the first baking powder. In 1889, other researchers figured out how to make double-acting baking powder, a boon to bakers everywhere. At the end of the nineteenth century, there was a push to invent and profit from new technologies. Improvements were made in refrigeration; the use of gas and electricity to heat ovens became controlled by thermostats; measurements and baking pan sizes and shapes were standardized; new tools were created for whipping eggs and mixing and beating batters. These advances in technologies made it possible for cooks at home to create an extravagant array of cake shapes, sizes, and flavors. By the early years of the twentieth century, home cooks could produce pound cakes, angel food, and sponge cakes, as well as the new layer cakes made possible by temperature-controlled ovens—white, gold, spice, chocolate, or devil’s food cakes, and many variations of these, all embellished with a dazzling array of fillings and frostings. The terms, icing and frosting, are thought to have grown out of the original finish for fruit cakes, which, after being baked, were briefly returned to the oven with a light coating of beaten egg white sprinkled with sugar that crystallized and sparkled so it looked like ice or frost. Many of these new cakes appeared in the U.S. South, where home bakers took great pride in their ability to turn out a cake fantasy for a community event or a birthday party. These efforts reached a new high in the 1920s but even greater advances were to come at mid-century. Chiffon cakes, promoted by General Mills in 1948, caught on quickly in the post–World War II years, prepared cake mixes entered the picture a year or two later, and other time-savers like canned frostings and products such as

Cake and Candles Dream Whip and Cool Whip made baking a cake of any size and frosting it into an eye-popping fantasy relatively quick and easy. The second-place winner of the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off, a “Tunnel of Fudge Cake,” created such a demand for bundt pans that manufacturers couldn’t keep up; bundt cakes remain popular today. An important quality for a celebratory cake is that it be dramatic in appearance, because of its size, its color, or its decorations. Birthday cakes, like traditional wedding cakes, may be formed in layered tiers, but even in such cases, the differences between the two are immediately visible. A birthday cake, though it may be heavily embellished with frosting and decorations like a wedding cake, is rarely all-white; bright colors are often used; there often are words or messages on it; and, last but not least, a birthday cake must have candles. The use of color to enhance the appearance of food has a long history. Some historians posit that Arab traders first encountered it along the Silk Road in China, from Taoists who believed that ingesting gold and cinnabar (red mercuric sulfide) would lead to immortality. Other historians theorize that Arabs may have borrowed from early Greek ideas on alchemy and that Arabs expected the substitution of gold- or red-colored foods to also promise immortality. Some historians believe that Arab conquerors introduced the use of color into Spain and from there it spread through Europe. Others believe that French and English Crusaders encountered the practice during their long sojourns in Mediterranean areas and took it with them when they returned to their home countries in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The presentation of brightly colored foods, not limited to red and gold, produced excitement and admiration at the great banquets of English and French courts of the sixteenth century and after, and, eventually, in the homes of the more affluent.

Eleanor Roosevelt cuts her birthday cake in the Hotel Roosevelt at a dinner held under the auspices of the American Association of the United Nations, 1954. Library of Congress.



Cake and Candles

So popular was the practice that it was brought to America by English colonists. Long before then, of course, saffron or egg yolks had been used for gilding foods, and various plants, some as harmless as spinach and some less benign like alkanet, were being used as colorants. Recipes for food colorants continued to appear in early English and American cookbooks through the nineteenth century. Besides colorants, other early contributions of the Arabs to the contemporary celebration cake are gum paste and marzipan. The small, sweetflavored, colored, hard decorations (letters, numbers, candle holders, flowers, leaves, and myriad other fanciful objects) that are available in stores everywhere now (and mostly manufactured overseas) are still formed from gum paste, which was being used in the Middle East when the crusaders were there. Marzipan, a sweet paste composed primarily of sugar and almonds, was also being used and is still much used today by commercial and home bakers. The crucial element of gum paste and marzipan is sugar. Sugar was introduced into the Mediterranean region from Indonesia via India by Arab traders before the twelfth century, and from the Mediterranean the use of sugar spread relatively rapidly throughout Europe. By the early twentieth century, our contemporary form of cake had become realizable due to technological advances in equipment (temperature-controlled stoves, mechanical beaters, standardized measuring devices and pans) and ingredients (chemical leavens, refined sugar in granular and powdered form, finely milled flour made possible by the new roller mills), and creative home bakers were able to employ all the available technology to create luscious layered cakes in a fantasy of flavors, colors, and decorations. Highly decorated cakes were being promoted in cookbooks, and cake decorating sets and cake recipe pamphlets were being given away with flour purchases as a promotional effort by flour-milling companies. Candles, the other almost essential component of a birthday or celebration cake, go far back in time as symbols for the significance of an occasion. The use of fire, or the flames of burning oil or candles, has contributed to the celebratory, mystical, religious, or awe-inspiring character of many important rituals of human society since prehistoric times. Candles, in particular, also have been used to measure time or to signify its passage. Small tapers still have that latter purpose today in some religious observances, for instance, among Lutherans for Advent, and among Jews for Hanukkah. The Moravians use very small tapers in their Christmas Eve ceremonies, and Germans have a tradition of illuminating Christmas trees with miniature candles. Candles were being used with birthday cakes in Germany by the eighteenth century, judging by a letter from Johann von Goethe to a friend about a celebration for his 50th birthday in 1799, given by a princely admirer. It describes the “torte” with 50 flaming candles and comments that such a cake would be more appropriate for a child’s birthday observance. It is difficult to find any other written accounts of birthday cakes, with or without candles, until the latter part of the nineteenth century in the

Cake and Candles United States, when an occasional mention of a birthday cake for a child occurs in literature. In published women’s diaries from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, if an entry noted that it was their birthday and sometimes mentioned a gift or gifts received on that day, there is no mention of any kind of other festivity such as a party or cake. But by the early twentieth century, cookbooks, either by well-known writers or produced by community organizations, sometimes included recipes for birthday cakes. By mid-century, after the Great Depression and World War II, a perceptible shift was occurring. Since then there has been an explosion of ways to celebrate birthdays not only for children but also for adults, and today no birthday celebration for a person of any age seems to be complete without a birthday cake. These celebrations have acquired certain rituals: the singing of the “Happy Birthday” song to the honoree who is expected, after making a secret wish, to attempt a serious effort at blowing out all the candles on the cake, regardless of the number, with one breath. Myth has it that this will guarantee the realization of the wish. Unlike for a wedding cake, there does not appear to be any universal tradition designating who should cut the cake or the order in which it should be apportioned. But a family or other celebratory group may make its own rules over time, thus establishing a tradition to be faithfully observed. Other rituals develop around the determination of who, in a family or friendship group, provides the celebratory cake, whether from a commercial bakery or a home kitchen. The birthday cake tradition has proliferated around the world, except in those areas where individuals’ birth dates may not be of importance, or where an individual’s saint’s day may be celebrated instead. Of course, some birthdays may be more significant than others, and a birthday cake may reflect that. For example, in the United States a 21st, a 50th, or a 75th birthday can be particularly significant. For a girl in the Latino community, the 15th birthday is cause for a special celebration called la quinceanera. Today an entire industry has grown up around the making of birthday cakes by ambitious home bakers, with specially shaped pans, extensive batteries of cake decorating tools, other supplies and equipment, gum paste decorations of every shape and color, instruction books and videos, schools and classes, as well as beautifully shaped and colored candles both large and small. Commercial bakeries offer for sale an almost infinite variety of fanciful birthday cakes. Further Reading: Cherkasky, Shirley. “The Birthday Cake: Its Evolution from a Rite of the Elite to the Right of Everyone.” In Food and Celebration: From Fasting to Feasting. Edited by Patricia Lysaght. Ljubljana, Slovenia: ZRC Publishing, 2002, pp. 215–224; Cherkasky, Shirley. “The Mediterranean’s Colourful Contributions to Contemporary American Confectionary.” Mediterranean Food: Concepts and Trends. Edited by Patricia Lysaght. Zagreb, Croatia: Biblioteka Nova Etnografija, 2006, pp. 221–233; Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford




University Press, 1999, pp. 123–124; Jernow, Liza. “Birthdays.” Edited by Andrew Smith. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 98–100.

Shirley Cherkasky

Catering At present, there is no single definition of the term catering. Internationally the term is used to refer to food service in hospitals or large institutions, including airlines, but in the United States the word encompasses a range of other options: banquets are offered in hotels and resorts, private clubs, restaurants, and by contract food services in corporations and institutions; catering departments operate within hotels, corporations, and hospitals; so-called eventeur companies create large-scale special events held in a range of facilities, including dedicated catering hall venues, private spaces rented for gatherings, in parks, under tents, at the beach. The range of business concepts described as catering services began to expand at the end of the twentieth century. There are independent service businesses that offer customized parties served in homes. Specialty food stores, supermarkets, individual caterers, and delis deliver preprepared platters to offices or the home. Because so many businesses offer different forms and styles of food and service, it is difficult to assess the real size, total value, and economic contribution of this part of the food industry. Even the ancillary businesses, which provide goods and services used by caterers and prepared food businesses, can overlap with businesses that sell preprepared food directly to consumers. The business of catering is difficult to define, in part because of the varied interpretations used to describe a range of services, and in part because of the varied ways government and industry associations have collected data to identify this work. In medieval western Europe, meals for hunting parties and travelers were often prepared in one location and then moved to another location, where people set up temporary kitchens to finish and serve the meal. In current parlance, this would be called off-premise catering. Among royalty and the well-to-do, the birth of the first-born son, a marriage, a burial, were all events that called for gathering, for feasting, for menus out of the ordinary, and, in some cases, for extraordinary spectacles. These events could be defined as on-premise catering, where foods are prepared at or adjacent to the location where they are to be served. Through most recorded history, cooking was a part of women’s daily chores, or was at least supervised by women, and family health depended on the skills of the cook. However, cooking for banquets, feasts, and, later, for restaurants, was transformed into a man’s commercial field. While food in homes was often grown, processed, cooked, and served by women, women’s

Catering commercial roles in the food industry were limited by gender, race, and class status. While some women established boarding houses, which were acceptable enterprises when it came out of genteel necessity, there was lingering doubt about the moral character of those women who served food to the public. In the finest hotels, few women were cooking and none were serving. During the nineteenth century, if working people organized celebratory events, they might hire a hall or a beer garden, local tavern, or religious or community center for their events. People contributed pot luck, or some excellent home cook might have run the kitchen. Small bakeries or individuals would provide the breads and cakes: the term for individuals who provide part of the meal in today’s parlance would be subcontractors. After Emancipation, African American men and women worked in the kitchens of hotels, on the Pullman railroad cars, and in restaurants. Some opened their own specialty businesses, baking, and catering services, but they rarely had the financial support to increase the size of their businesses beyond their own individual or family’s capacity to produce. Other ethnic minorities and immigrant workers also participated in commercial food preparation and service, and in the first half of the twentieth century more casual restaurants, lunch counters, and tea shops opened to serve more working people. The variety of opportunities to work in the food industry increased. As the economy boomed after World War II, more restaurants, restaurant chains, and public catering hall facilities opened specifically to accommodate special events, providing on-premise catering services, now available to a broader population. Then, in the 1960s, as the women’s movement progressed, more women returned to the labor market. High profile industries such as fashion, entertainment, sports, and publishing were among the first to respond to this social change, which directly impacted catering. These industries needed food and beverages for longer work hours, off-site locations, cocktail parties, and the like. There had to be finger foods, foods that are easy to eat while standing up (i.e., foods that are not messy and won’t drip and that don’t require the use of cutlery). The desire for unusual foods, and the creative opportunities for unique décor and presentation, presented increasing options for catering businesses. As the demand for creative events extended to fund-raising for arts and cultural organizations, and then to corporate entertaining, the events were moved out beyond hotels and private homes into museums, public gardens, and historical mansions. The inventive companies capitalized on the increasing sophistication of clients, the expanding economy, and the increasing availability of a global food supply. As more educated women moved into the labor market, they left a void in the traditional functions of homemakers. Fewer women were home to make dinner, to entertain a husband’s business associates, or to coordinate community events. Independent catering companies started to fill this need as well.




At the end of the twentieth century, gender roles, class boundaries, racial prejudices, and attitudes toward food work were changing throughout American society. The stereotypes of those who served and those who cooked—women primarily in home kitchens creating cuisine de la femme, and men, as chefs, in restaurants making cuisine gastronomique—were challenged when well-educated food professionals seized the opportunities presented by the societal changes to step into someone else’s home kitchen and create personal-service businesses. In the 1970s and 1980s women’s changing work roles caused some to shed their so-called second shift domestic responsibilities. In addition to large corporate entertaining and social events, many women hired caterers for family meals and private events when they no longer had the time or the interest to prepare food themselves. While minority and immigrant women took on much of this domestic burden, no agency has collected information about this so-called female economy work, about the services and products that began in response to the social changes and challenges of the 1980s, or about what specialty food businesses and professional cooking meant for women entrepreneurs. Women who wanted to cook professionally in restaurants in the 1980s faced barriers to their professional advancement and difficulties gaining financial support for their own businesses. The choice for any educated woman to work in commercial food service was considered nontraditional. But as opportunities were opening for women in business, the professions, academia, and government, some women sought entrepreneurship in the food industry. Some chose to create their own work structures and environments, to explore different foods and different client relationships than were possible in more traditional hospitality settings. New ideas for customized services, such as businesses providing so-called home meal replacements, were germinating. The plethora of prepared foods, sauces, and condiments available in every supermarket today emerged in response to the needs of families who had less time on their hands to cook. Professional cooking, outside restaurant kitchens, continues to offer employment attractive to students training in culinary schools. The catering services of the late twentieth century crossed class boundaries, supported and challenged women’s traditional and professional roles, and offered a fascinating insight into some of our society’s changing cultural markers: family feeding, support of the arts, women’s conferences, and various ritual and celebratory events. How we eat, what and where we eat, and who feeds us now, began to change rapidly at the end of the twentieth century. Further Reading: Halvorsen, Francis. Catering Like a Pro. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995; Lawrence, Elizabeth. The Complete Caterer: A Practical Guide to the Craft and Business of Catering. New York: Doubleday, 1987; Vivaldo, Denise. How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business. 1993. 5th ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2005.

Carol G. Durst-Wertheim

Celtic Feasting

Celtic Feasting The Celts were a warrior race who spread across Europe from 1200 B.C. and eventually settled in fortified hill forts, which became towns, and in fortified homesteads or villages with outlying fields, where they cultivated crops. What we know about the Celtic dietary habits comes in part from archeological studies, including the study of bones and of remnants of human life, as found in these homesteads and in the contents of the graves. Much of the evidence for Celtic eating habits and feasting comes from classical writers such as the Egyptian-Greek writer Athenaeus (active ca. A.D. 200), who obtained his information from the accounts of the Syrian historian and traveler, Poseidonius (ca. 135–51 B.C.). He had visited Gaul and obviously seen some Gallic customs first-hand. Other evidence comes from the Celtic legends and mythological tales, especially those that have survived in Ireland. Food was plentiful in summer, and preservation methods ensured sufficient food throughout the winter. Grain, for example, was stored in pits, lined with clay or wickerwork, and sealed with clay lids. These pits could be opened and resealed to take out what grain was required. Meat was coated with honey, and then smoked or dried, as was fish from the sea, lakes, and rivers. The basic food was probably pottage, made from boiled grain or ground peas and beans. Tollund Man, a body found in a bog in Jutland, Denmark, dated to the second century B.C may have been a ritual sacrifice. He had eaten a pottage, which included seeds of fat hen. This plant, often found on Celtic sites, is rich in iron and calcium and may have served as a main vegetable as its leaves can be cooked like spinach. Other foods included charlock, black bindweed, silverweed, dandelion, nettles, and ransoms, a form of wild onion. Though considered weeds today, they provided food in the Celtic world. Wild seasonable fruits, such as strawberries, bilberries, and crab apples, and wild vegetables like parsnips and carrots added variety. The vegetables were thinner and tougher than their modern counterparts; but they could be softened being pounded with a mortar and pestle. Nuts included chestnuts, hazelnuts, beechnuts, and walnuts. Cultivated foods included peas, beans, and lentils. Bread was made from a variety of grains: emmer, einkorn and spelt wheats, rye, barley, and millet. The grains were pounded on a saddle quern, a flattish stone so called because it had achieved a saddle shape by having the grain rolled across it with a long stone. In the later Iron Age the grains were ground by women and slaves in a rotary quern, often taking two grindings. As the flour contained grit from the grinding, it had to be sieved through wicker baskets or cloth. But the ground-down teeth found in skeletal remains show that the method was not very successful. Dairy foods were particularly important and are particularly mentioned in feasts, and it was this that divided the Celts from the Romans and Greeks of the classical world. The Romans did not like milk and preferred olive oil



Celtic Feasting

to butter. The Elder Pliny (A.D. 23–79), a prolific writer on natural history, stated that the Celtic barbarians have lived off milk for centuries but they do not know the blessings of cheese. In stating this he did the Celts an injustice because cheese could be made from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. Cheese was well known in Ireland. “The Vision of Mac Conglinne,” a poem written in the twelfth century A.D. but believed to be part of an earlier tradition, refers to a fort that is described in culinary terms including outworks of thick custards, a bridge of butter, threshold sides of cheese curds, smooth pillars of old cheese, and beams of yellow cheese. Columella, a Roman writer who wrote a book on agriculture, De Re Rustica in the first century A.D., said that because nomadic tribes had no corn and sheep provided their diet, the Celtic tribe of the Gaetae were called milk drinkers. Pliny said that butter for the Celts was the choicest food and that the more butter the Celts ate, the wealthier they were. Cow’s milk was appreciated but sheep’s milk gave a richer butter. Milk supplies decreased during the winter, but in Ireland and Scotland the problem was overcome by putting butter into wooden casks that were then buried in bogs. Casks containing butter, some as much as 40 pounds, have been recorded. There are historians who believe that some of the material found in these casks was adipocere, a waxy material formed from animal fat, but the other casks contain material that has a pale yellow color and a grainy consistency, which would seem to be butter. Meat was essential: beef, lamb, mutton, pork, and goat meat. According to Poseidonius ordinary meals were taken by the Celts sitting on dried grass with the meals served on low tables, loaded with bread and meat. The Celts ate cleanly but in a leonine fashion, biting off chunks of meat from the joints held in their hands. They also used a small dagger to cut hard pieces of meat from the bone. Those Celts who lived near rivers or the sea ate fish, often baked with cumin, salt, and vinegar (presumably weak ale or wine). Diodorus Siculus (active 60–39 B.C.), a Greek historian, said the Celts sat on wolf skins, forming a circle with the bravest warriors sitting in the middle, served by the youngest children, but this custom seems to have been for ordinary meals. The Celts loved feasting. According to Irish legends there were four main festivals in the Celtic year. Probably similar feast days were held in other parts of the Celtic world. Imbolc (February 1) was a festival dedicated to fertility, marking the renewal of spring and the coming of a ewe’s first milk. It was dedicated to the god Brigit, later christianized as St Bridget. Beltain (May 1), linked to the Celtic god Belenos, was a fire-cleansing festival. Fires were lit or renewed in houses and lighted in the fields so that cattle could walk through them and be cleansed. Grass and rush bedding was burned, so that household tasks started afresh. This was the best way to stop infection as pests were burned with the straw. Lughnasa (August 1), dedicated to the god Lugh (Ireland) or Lugnos (Gaul), lasted for almost 40 days. This, as might be expected, was the greatest festival for it was the time when crops were harvested and food and drink were available in abundance.

Celtic Feasting


A woodcut of an Irish banquet from John Derrick’s “Image of Ireland,” 1581. © North Wind/North Wind Picture Archives—All rights reserved.

The last festival of the year, although it was the first in the Celtic calendar, was Samain (November 1), a sober and dangerous time, marking the end of the old year and invoking the dead, who could become visible to the human world. The Christian church transmuted it to All Souls’ Day (November 2) when it was propitious to remember deceased relatives and friends. This tradition still continues through much of Catholic Europe. At feasts, plenty of meat was eaten and beer and wine was drunk. The story of Lludd and Llefelys in the Welsh Mabinogion mentions a year’s provision of food and drink for a feast, although this was taken by a supernatural being who packed it into a huge basket to carry it away. The Irish tales, however, provide the best evidence available for descriptions of Celtic feasting. The amount of food gathered for a feast could be prodigious. There was a social purpose to the feasting. Feasts were highly structured, social gatherings where hierarchy of status and its public affirmation could be tested. There was a pattern in the seating. Warriors sat in a circle, with the host sitting beside the most important man, a king, a noble or a famous warrior. Others sat round the circle in accordance with their importance. Behind each man might be his shield man and his spearman whose duty was to guard their lord. Strangers were invited to feasts, but their hosts waited until after the meal to ask them who they were and what they wanted. This tradition was often abused by Celtic enemies, when for example, King Mithradates VI of Pontus invited 60 Celtic chieftains to meet him at Pergamum for a feast, but then slaughtered them as they ate. Even


Celtic Feasting

so, this tradition was basic to Celts and one that seems to have continued throughout the following centuries. According to Poseidonius and the Irish tales, one of the main purposes of a feast was to allow Celtic warriors to boast of and exhibit their prowess. The greatest warriors had the best cuts of boiled or roast meat, but the paramount warrior laid claim to the champion’s portion that is the thigh or hindquarters of a boar. If another man claimed it and thus impugned the honor of the first man, both warriors could fight in single combat, often to the death. In the tale of Bricriu’s Feast, an Ulster Cycle tale, Bricriu, known as Poison-tongue, made a feast for the men of Ulster and their chieftain, Conchobar mac Nessa. Preparations for this took a year. For this feast he built a house at Dun Rudraige in which to serve it. The feast was to be massive, and food included five score (100) cakes of wheat cooked in honey. In giving this feast, Bricriu intended to set the men of Ulster at odds, making it likely for them to fight each other to the death. Although King Conchobar knew what Bricriu intended, the Ulstermen had to accept the invitation to his hospitality or run the risk of being thought cowards. For his devious purpose, Bricriu provided a seven-year old boar fed on fresh milk and fine meal in springtime, curds and sweet milk in summer, nuts and wheat in autumn, beef and broth in winter. The resulting fight and difficulties connected with the contest over the champion’s portion extended beyond Bricriu’s house until eventually Cu Chulainn was accepted as champion. Archaeological evidence confirms the literary tradition, as bones of a pig’s thigh have been found in graves in Britain and Gaul indicating a grave of a Celtic warrior. A second purpose in the feasting was to continue the tradition of single combat where men had to accept a challenge and fight each other, often to the death. Many Irish heroes were challenged during the course of a feast, over the claim to the thigh portion of the particular meat being served, and had to accept otherwise they might be branded as a coward by a satirist. A man could also pledge his life for gold, silver, and some jars of wine. He took the pledges and then handed them to his kinsmen and friends to accept the gifts. For this he had to be sacrificed and pay the price. He lay down on his shield and resigned himself to having his throat cut with a sword in order that the gifts would be valid. During the feasts nothing was lacking to ensure that the heroes got drunk and merry. The Irish tale of The Intoxication of the Ulstermen describes how, on the feast of Samain, the tribal King Conchobar gave a feast at the stronghold of Emain Macha. This included a hundred casks of every kind of ale, which led to the indulgers leading a furious ride through Ireland leveling every hill, clearing every forest, cutting the roots of great trees, and drying up every river. There are few wilder descriptions in literature of this drunken ride, but allowing for the hyperbole, both this and the other tales indicate that if food and drink were available the Celts indulged themselves to excess. This also was part of the jockeying for position in the

Celtic Feasting social structure where a feast had been the occasion for young warriors to attest their prowess. Beer drinking was part of this social activity and so it was drunk in great quantities. The Celts normally drank beer, presumably barley or a wheaten beer mixed with honey, which was probably mead, although Diodorus Siculus commented that they drank water with which they had cleansed honeycombs. Poseidonius noted that the Celts drank from a common cup, drinking a little at a time but rather frequently. Diodorus said that the Gauls who normally drank beer became addicted to wine when it was imported into the country, but drinking it unmixed and without moderation, as he said, “by reason of their craving, when they are drunken they fall into a stupor or a state of madness. Consequently, many of the Italian traders, induced by the love of money which characterises them, believe that the love of wine of these Gauls is their own salvation. . . . they receive in return for one jar of wine a slave, a servant in exchange for a drink” (History 5.26). He added that the Celtic fulsome moustaches are so long that they act as a kind of strainer. Poseidonius also said that the wine is unadulterated although sometimes a little water could be added. In fairness, Ammianus Marcellinus, a fourth-century A.D. historian, reported that Cicero said in an aside, when defending Fonteius in 121 B.C., that the Gauls did mix wine with water, but once they had thought wine was poison. He added that the Gauls were “a race fond of wine, and disposed to numerous drinks resembling wine.” Some, when drunk, rushed around in “aimless revels.” Literary evidence of this love of wine is again confirmed by archaeological finds. A burial of a noblewoman found in a tomb at Vix, near Mont Lassons (France) and dated to the sixth century B.C., contained an Etruscan flagon and Attic cups, apparently used in wine drinking ceremonies. In pride of place was a huge bronze krater, a 5-foot-4-inch-high vessel used for wine, often in the Greek symposium, obviously imported from Greece or Southern Italy. Given its size it would probably have been conveyed to Gaul in pieces and assembled on site, possibly to enhance Celtic feasts. A burial at Hochdorf in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) reveals that Celtic aristocracy had suitable equipment to indulge in feasting on a grand scale. The richly endowed burial chamber included a cauldron, which could contain up to 110 gallons of honey beer or mead. The site also revealed two u-shaped trenches containing a large amount of pure hulled barley, which was probably deliberately germinated as if there was a brewing establishment there. A tomb at Apremont in France also contained a huge cauldron together with drinking cups. Finds at sites in central and southern Gaul, indicate that consumption of beer or wine was on a heroic scale. A tomb at Lexden (England) contained 17 amphorae, some which had brought wine from Pompeii. One held 4.8 gallons. The site of Beuvray (France) has produced vast quantities of amphorae, most imported from Italy, which indicates the prodigious amount of wine consumed by the Celts. At the Sheepen site adjoining the pre-Roman site of Camulodunum (Colchester, England) pieces of amphorae



Celtic Feasting

revealed that wine was imported from at least 19 different sources, including Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, southern Gaul and Rhodes. Chieftains were expected to entertain their followers to great feasts. Poseidonius commented on the feasting habits of the Avernian leader, Louernius, father of Bituis, who was dethroned by the Romans. He held a great feast lasting many days for his followers set in a large square enclosure, one and a half miles each way. Within this he prepared a vast quantity of food so that for many days all who wished could enter. Attendants would serve the food and expensive drink from vast vats without a break. A bard who arrived late was required to run behind the chieftain’s chariot but was thrown a bag of gold for his attempts to keep up. He rewarded the chieftain with a song that extolled that even the tracks of the chariot gave gold and largess to mankind. This was obviously part of Louernius’ attempt to indicate both his power and an example of conspicuous consumption on the grandest scale. In Galicia, which was also settled by the Celts, Ariamnes gave a feast, which was said to have lasted a year, held in temporary halls throughout the country to which even travelers were invited. Entertainment was important. Satirists were allowed great license being able to insult or make fun of the warriors’ foibles. It was one way of inciting men into single combat or perform other deeds. Bards were hired to entertain the guests but mainly to extol the feats of the heroes. Boasting was inevitably part of the entertainment, hence the fights which broke out during the feasting. In the tale of Mac Datho’s Pig the warriors of Ulster were boasting about their achievements and which of them should have the honor of carving the pig. One of the warriors, Cet, claimed it but Conall the Victorious approached him and claimed the pig for he had never been a day without slaying a Connachtman or a night without plundering, nor had he ever slept without the head of a Connachtman under his knee. Cet agreed that Conall was a better warrior than he but that if his brother Anluan was present he would match Conall contest for contest and that it was a shame that he was not there that night. But he was, said Conall, drawing the head of Anluan from his belt and throwing it at Cet so that blood flowed over him. So Cet had to leave the pig and allow the men of Ulster to carve the pig and suck up the total meat so that only the skin and membrane remained. Further Reading: Alcock, Joan P. Food in the Ancient World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006; Biel, Jorg. Der Keltenfürst von Hochdorf. Stuttgart, Germany: Konrad Theiss, 1985; Brothwell, D., and P. Brothwell. Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Early Peoples. New York: Praeger, 1969; Cross, Tom Peete, and Clark Harris Slover, eds. Ancient Irish Tales. New York: Barnes and Noble Book, (1936) reprinted 1996; Cunliffe, Barry. The Celtic Word. London: Constable, 1992; Cunliffe, Barry. The Ancient Celts. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997; Gantz, Jeffrey. Early Irish Myths and Sagas. Harmsworth, United Kingdom: Penguin, 1981; Jackson, Kenneth Hurlstone. The Oldest Irish Tradition: A Window on the Iron Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964; James, Simon. Exploring the World of the Celts. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1993; Jones, Gwyn, and Thomas Jones, trans. The Mabinogion.

Chafing Dish London: Dent and Sons, 1974; Kruta, V., O. Frey, B. Raftery, and M. Stabo, eds. The Celts. New York: Rizzoli, 1991; Nelson, Max. The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe. New York: Routledge, 2005; Powell, T.G.E. The Celts. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1958; Raftery, B.: Pagan Celtic Ireland: The Enigma of the Irish Iron Age. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994; Rankin, H. D. Celts and the Classical World. London: Croom Helm, 1987; Rees, Alwyn, and Brinley Rees. Celtic Heritage: Ancient Traditions in Ireland and Wales. London: Thames and Hudson, 1961; Reynolds, Peter J. Ancient Farming. Aylesbury, Great Britain: Shire Publications, 1987; Ross, Anne. The Pagan Celts. London: Batsford Ltd., 1986; Stead, Ian, J. B. Bourke, and Don Brothwell, eds. Lindow Man: The Body in the Bog. London: British Museum Press, 1986.

Joan P. Alcock

Chafing Dish The chafing dish (from the French, chaufer, meaning “to warm”) is an ingenious device for cooking or keeping foods hot away from the stove (or in earlier times, the fireplace). It can be as simple as a skillet on a tripod over hot coals or as elaborate as a carved gold or silver stand holding a heat source such as an alcohol lamp or candle and topped by a covered double vessel in which the food in the top bowl is gently warmed by simmering water in the bowl underneath. Elegant chafing dishes were imported from Europe and used for entertaining in the American colonies well before the Revolutionary War, but chafing dish suppers, by that name, became popular in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and again in the 1950s and 1960s. The chafing dish makes so much sense as a method of keeping food hot that as a method of serving, it has existed since Roman times and possibly before— and not just in the so-called Old World. The concept of chafing dishes was being used in the Western Hemisphere before the European conquest. In 1520, Bernal Diaz who was traveling with Cortez describes a meal in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in which the more than 300 dishes served were placed “on small low clay braziers so that they would not get cold.” In the North American colonies, the name chafing dish was used for either a rustic brazier of coals used in the kitchen or outdoors as an auxiliary cooking appliance or the ornate warming device used for serving. The rustic form was recommended for preserving strawberries by Amelia Simmons in her 1796 American Cookery, the first cookbook written in America by an American. In The Virginia House-wife, Mary Randolph also recommends a chafing dish for making preserves. However, the more elegant version of the chafing dish is the inspiration for the chafing dish party or supper. In Onehundred Recipes for the Chafing Dish published by the Gorham Silver Company in 1894, Herbert M. Kinsley (chef of the restaurants Holland House in New York and Kinsley’s in Chicago) suggests that the use of the chafing dish



Chafing Dish

for entertaining coincides with periods of peace and prosperity such as the 1720s and his own period, the 1890s, when “life in America shows a fuller expression of beauty, refinement and artistic development.” From the 1890s through the first decade of the twentieth century, chafing dish entertaining was considered the height of sophistication in the United States. Big city restaurants served special late-night chafing dish suppers, chafing dish specialties starred at high society events, and chafing dish lunch and dinner Cookbooks Inspired by the Concept clubs formed across the country. of Chafing Dish Suppers Chafing dishes added a touch Good Things from a Chafing Dish by Thomas J. Murrey (Providence, RI: of class to Sunday night suppers of Livermore & Knight for Gorham, 1890) Welsh Rarebit or Creamed Chipped Beef as America struggled through What One Can Do with a Chafing Dish by Henriette L. Sawtelle (New York: H. L. Stilwell & Co., 1889) the Depression and World War II and returned to the social scene in Cookery with a Chafing Dish by Thomas J. Murrey (New York: Frederick the 1950s and 1960s as America A. Stokes Company, 1891) prospered. Women had returned The Chafing Dish Supper by Christine Terhune Herrick (New York: John from wartime jobs to a kitchen Ireland, 1894; Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896) without servants and chafing dish Chafing Dish Recipes by Gesine Lemcke (New York: Appleton, 1896) entertaining was an efficient way The Bachelor and the Chafing Dish by Deshler Welch (New York: F. Tento achieve the informal yet elegant nyson Neely, 1895) style of the times. Recipes such as Beef Stroganoff, Sukiyaki, SwedChafing Dish Possibilities by Fannie Farmer (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1898) ish Meatballs, Chop Suey, Steak Diane, Chicken à la King, and The Gorham Chafing Dish Book (New York: Gorham Manufacturing desserts such as Cherries Jubilee, Company, 1899) Crepes Suzette, and Bananas FosSalads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Dainties by Jane McKensie Hill ter were chafing dish favorites. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1899) The Peerless Cookbook: New and revised edition. With Recipes for Chafing Dish by Mary J. Lincoln (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1901) Louis’ Salads and Chafing Dishes by Louis Muckensturm (Boston: H. M. Caldwell, 1906) 365 Chafing Dish Recipes (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Company, 1912) How to Use a Chafing Dish by Mrs. S. T. Rorer (Philadelphia: Arnold & Co., 1894) Salads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Recipes by Marion H Neil (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1916) All these extolled the virtues of the chafing dish but none more than The Cult of the Chafing Dish by Frank Schloesser, who dedicated his book “to the only Woman who could turn me from Bachelordom” and declared in the first chapter that “every bachelor has a wife of some sort. Mine is a Chafing Dish; and I desire to sing her praises” (London: Gay and Bird, 1905).

Further Reading: Coe, Sophie D. America’s First Cuisines. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994; Kinsley, H. M. One Hundred Recipes for the Chafing Dish. New York: Arno Press, 1973 [Reprint of the 1894 edition. Introduction and Suggested Recipes by Louis Szathmáry]; Lovegren, Sylvia. Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads. New York: Macmillan, 1995; Simmons, Amelia. American Cookery. Greens Farms, CT: Silverleaf Press, 1984 [Recreation of the 1796 edition published in Hartford, CT by Hudson & Goodwin. Introduction and Updated Recipes by Iris Ihde Frey]; Randolph, Mary. The Virginia Housewife. Columbia: University of South

Champagne Carolina Press, 1984 [Facsimile of the 1824 edition with additional material from the 1825 and 1828 editions. Notes and Commentaries by Karen Hess].

Joanne Lamb Hayes

Champagne The word champagne evokes images of gaiety and celebration; however, the term champagne may only be used for sparkling wines that are made in a region approximately 90 miles to the northeast of Paris. Other sparkling wines are made in Spain, Germany, Italy, California, and New York State, but these wines are said to be made in the Champagne-style (exact language varies with the country of origin). Champagne is produced in four main areas (or departments) of the Champagne region in France: the Vallee de la Marne, Montagne de Reims, Cote des Blancs, and the Aube, although the departments of Aisne, Seine-etMarne, Coteaux des Sezannais, and Haute Marne contain a smaller number of vineyards. Three varieties of grapes are used to make champagne: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Each grape contributes special characteristics that influence the style of resulting champagne. Pinot Noir adds strength and body to a wine, along with red fruit aromas; Pinot Meunier provides fragrance, spiciness, and roundness; and Chardonnay modulates with finesse floral and mineral overtones. Champagne begins as a still wine that lacks the carbon dioxide to make it sparkling. The still wine is then blended with other wines (sometimes from other vintages) and a liqueur de tirage (solution of sugar, yeast, and old wine) and then set aside for a second fermentation; these two steps are considered to be the most influential in determining the style of the individual champagne house. Champagne is available in 10 different bottle sizes, ranging from one-quarter bottle (187 ml) to the gargantuan Nebuchadnezzar (15 liters, or 20 standard 750 ml bottles). In great years, a wine will be specified as vintage; otherwise Champagne is NV, or non-vintage. Champagnes differ according to dryness (or conversely, sweetness). From driest to sweetest are the following categories: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux; note that Brut and Extra Brut are drier than Extra Dry. Because different Champagnes exhibit different qualities, they are considered to have different styles: light and delicate, light to medium, medium, medium to full, and full and rich. They have also been grouped as so-called families, such as those with body, spirit, heart, and soul: Those with body are matched with heavier foods such as foie gras, stews, and poultry; Those with spirit are lighter and go well as an aperitif, or with light fish or shellfish or light chilled or frozen desserts; Champagnes with heart can pair with lamb, warm desserts, piquant (but not spicy) sauces, and gratins;




Huge wicker baskets filled with bottles of champagne in a wine cellar in France, while a man and two U.S. Army nurses talk to the proprietor of the winery. Library of Congress.

Champagnes with soul are considered to be so special, it is encouraged that they be appreciated alone. Champagne service begins with proper chilling. Champagne bottles are of a thicker glass than still-wine bottles, and require additional time (20 to 40 minutes) in a bucket filled with ice and water (desired temperature is 43 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit). After adequate chilling, the foil around the top of the bottle can be removed, and, while keeping one hand on the top of the cork, the wire can be removed or left on, and with a cloth napkin, the cork gently released. The goal is not to make a loud noise or pop, which allows carbon dioxide (and bubbles) to escape. Once the bottle has been carefully opened, the napkin should be used to wipe the neck of the bottle, before pouring. Champagne is drunk slowly, and therefore, each pour is relatively small. The glass used for champagne service should be elongated so as to augment the passage of bubbles upward in the glass and to strengthen the aromas. Tulip-shaped or fluted glasses are considered most complimentary to the enjoyment of champagne. An appropriate amount of champagne comes to approximately one-inch in from the bottom of a champagne glass. Pouring seconds should be carefully executed, so there is only a sip or two left. This way, the champagne in the glass will stay chilled. Two quaint stories surrounding the coupe or saucer-shaped glass have evolved according to which the glass was modeled after or cup-shape of

Cheese Course, History of Marie-Antoinette’s or Helen of Troy’s breasts. Sadly, the coupe does not enhance the flavor of champagne, as it allows the bubbles to dissipate. Champagne might be considered a global symbol for celebration, as it is used to inaugurate a newly built ship’s launching, is poured over winning sports teams, and is even used at the end the Grand Prix. Coronations, inaugurations, and parties of any size and scale feature champagne. A wedding toast is seldom made without a glass of champagne, and champagne is ordered at restaurants for any number of celebratory reasons. Historically, champagne has been present at momentous occasions since the year A.D. 496, when Clovis, the King of the Franks, was converted to Christianity, and was anointed with champagne. French kings were crowned in Reims, a city in the middle of the Champagne region, between 898 and 1825, and these celebrations included copious amounts of the sparkling champagne wine. The Frenchman Jean-Loup Chretien celebrated his landing after a trip on the Soviet space station with champagne. Champagne has even found its way to the top of Annapurna and Everest, carried up by mountain climbers wishing to celebrate their accomplishments. Somber occasions have also been marked with champagne: Philip of Orleans drank the “wine of kings” prior to meeting with the Revolutionary Tribunal in 1793, knowing his fate was sealed. Further Reading: Edwards, Michael. The Champagne Companion. Toronto: Quintet Publishing, 1999; MacNeil, K. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2001; Vu d’ici et Benoit de La Brosse. “The Wines of Champagne: From Lifestyle to Wine Styles.” New York: Vignerons et Maisons de Champagne, Champagne Wines Information Bureau, 1998; http://www.champagne.fr. “An Unusual Wine: A Special Wine for Celebration”; http://www.intowine. com. “Celebrating Champagne: The Region”; http://www.intowine.com. “Celebrating Champagne: How to Serve Champagne”; Zraley, K. Windows on the World Complete Wine Course 2006 edition. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 2005.

Deborah Winders

Cheese Course, History of The cheese course, which consists of one cheese or a selection of complimentary cheeses, is typically served at the end of dinner, before, after, or in place of a sweet dessert. It has an established place in Western European dining, and it is growing in popularity in the United States, both at dinner parties and in restaurants. At private homes, guests usually help themselves to cheese from a communal platter. In restaurants, diners receive their own plates with individually sized portions of cheese, usually selected from a cheese cart that is wheeled to the table at the conclusion of the meal. Bread, crackers, nuts, dried and preserved fruits, honey, and pickled vegetables often accompany the cheese course, and wine is the standard beverage.



Cheese Course, History of

The origins of the contemporary European cheese course can be traced back to Ancient Greek and Roman banquets. For ancient farmers and soldiers on campaign, for whom meat was scarce, cheese might count as the main meal of the day, along with grains, relish, and vegetables, but for the wealthy, cheese would be just one part of a larger, leisurely dinner. Cheese could be served before the main meal as part of the appetizer course, after the meal with dessert, or during the drinking party, which concluded the dinner. The Greeks believed that cheese helped stimulate guests’ thirst for wine. Many desserts were made with cheese, so cheese would make an appearance in one form or other at the end of a banquet. Just like most refined and cultured things from the classical period, cheese suffered in the Middle Ages and was later rediscovered and championed in the Renaissance. In the Middle Ages cheese remained a dietary staple in some areas, like the north, and for the poor. For the elite, however, cheese—and most dairy products—was regarded with suspicion, chiefly for religious and health reasons. It was the Humanists around 1500 who elevated cheese as a mark of connoisseurship, and by the mid-sixteenth century in Italy, cheese was a regular item at banquets, a term which referred to the elaborate final course of a dinner party. At these banquets, cheese was often sculpted into elaborate shapes, like towers and castles; banquets aimed to impress with spectacle. Physicians in the early modern period recommended that cheese be eaten at the end of the meal to close the stomach and ensure safe digestion. As the historian Ken Albala hypothesizes, this purported salutary practice may be the origin of the contemporary European custom—and growing American trend—of ending a meal with cheese. Increased cheese

Gruyère cheese production in Switzerland, illustration for a reference book on natural sciences, France, 1909. The Art Archive/Private Collection/ Marc Charmet.

Cheese Course, History of consumption during this period also marks the end of medieval cooking. By the eighteenth century, the richness of dairy products was preferred over the heavy meats and exotic spices of the Middle Ages. Modern European cooking had begun. Modern science confirms the healthful benefits of eating cheese after a meal. Cheese, especially if consumed after something sweet, can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse the early stages of tooth decay. The calcium in cheese keeps teeth strong, and the protein and fat protect tooth enamel from the harmful acids produced from eating sugars. Furthermore, eating cheese produces saliva, which can also retard decay. Whatever the reason for concluding a meal with cheese, a cheese course had become so entrenched in Continental dining by the early nineteenth century that Brillat-Savarin declared that “a dinner which ends without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.” Britain, on the other hand, did not necessarily share the French enthusiasm for cheese. Upper-class Victorians eschewed eating cheese at the end of the meal, claiming that its consumption undesirably reflected working-class eating habits and that cheese was hard to digest. Proper young Victorian ladies were further cautioned to abstain from cheese, as well as game and savories, because it tainted their breath and made them less desirable to men. Despite their reservations about cheese, the Victorians invented a specialized cheese knife that had two small points at the tip, like a fork, and was used to spear a chunk of cheese and transport it to one’s plate (never directly into one’s mouth). These knives are still common in Britain, where the cheese course has regained fashion. The Victorians were not the first to create specialized utensils or specific rules for eating a cheese course. At Renaissance banquets where making an impression was paramount, there were decorative knives for cutting, serving, and eating cheese, especially Parmesan, which was very popular. These utensils were just as much about practicality as they were about declaring one’s wealth, class, and taste. The French today have rules about the proper way to cut cheese. Guests should cut a wedge, like a slice of cake, from a triangular chunk of cheese, so that no single guest hogs the desired center part of the cheese. In America, there are fewer prescriptions today about the proper way to serve a cheese course. A host can select cheeses depending on the wine being served with dinner (a cheese course is a traditional way to finish the last of the wine before moving on to a sweet dessert) or by a wine specifically chosen to go with the cheese course. It should be noted that not all wines go with all cheeses. There can be a theme to the selection (e.g., all American cheeses) or a particular goal (e.g., stimulate dinner conversation, compliment the main meal, or aid digestion). A cheese course can also be served before the meal, as is traditionally done in the United States, along with a cocktail or aperitif. A cocktail can even be drunk with a cheese course served at the end of the meal, in place of wine, and a cheese course can star as the main meal itself. Despite there being a large variety of specialized



Childhood in South India

cheese knives on the market today, any small knife that can cut hard cheese or spread a soft one will do. There are no set rules, but it is best to serve no more than five cheeses to avoid overwhelming the palate. In countries like Britain, France, Italy, and Spain, however, with their longstanding culinary traditions, there tends to be an established way to conclude a meal with cheese. In France, a single, regional cheese will be featured, along with wine from that area. For example, in Alsace, a hearty meal of choucroute (cabbage and sausages) ends with a wedge of Munster cheese and a local Riesling or Gewürztraminer. In Britain, a festive meal is not complete without the classic pairing of Stilton and port. The contemporary conception of the cheese course is very Western, but the cheese course has a history in Asia as well, a continent not known for dairy products. In China, the bon vivant Zhang Dai, wrote nostalgically of his hedonistic life in Nanjing after the fall of the Ming (late 1500s, early 1600s) when he ate, among other things, cheese infused with orchid blossoms. There are other accounts in early modern China of eating cheese as its own course. As a more contemporary example, Zahidul Hakim, a cheesemonger in New York City, used to eat a simple cheese, made by his mother, as a separate course at home in Bangladesh. Just as in Europe, cheese can be considered a delicacy and good for health. Further Reading: Albala, Ken. The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Renaissance Europe. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007; Dalby, Andrew, and Sally Grainger. The Classical Cookbook. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996; Tarlov, Richard, and Janet Tarlov. “Discover the Pleasures of a Cheese Course.” Fine Cooking 25 (1998): 54–59; Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

Diana Pittet

Childhood in South India The richness of cultural histories and symbolic rituals is threaded through south Indian celebrations of life, whether it is the birth of a baby, naming ceremony, first meal, birthday, puberty, marriage, or the observance of an anniversary. Celebrating every stage in life of a newborn is a big part of Indian Hindu culture. The manner in which these occasions are celebrated may differ from region to region, but sharing the joy of each milestone in life, however small, is a great source of happiness. And all celebrations, regardless of the occasion, have one thing in common—food. These ancient customs have stood the test of time in spite of changed lifestyles from extended families to nuclear families. Celebrations begin even before a baby is born. A pregnant mother is pampered with gifts of sweets, new clothes, and jewelry during certain stages of pregnancy. A woman’s first pregnancy, and the imminence of her

Childhood in South India giving birth to the next link in the family chain, is celebrated in various ceremonies in India. In Southwestern India, among Kerala Hindu Nayars the ceremony is called Puliyoonu. The expectant mother’s brother ceremoniously feeds her puli, a type of sour soup made with five kinds of sour fruits from a spoon made with a jackfruit leaf. After the mother-to-be drinks the puli, her father and husband present her with new clothes. The event is celebrated with a feast. The birth of a baby, the link that perpetuates the family, is indeed an occasion for celebration. Small packets of sweets are distributed to the entire community to announce the birth of a newborn. Two weeks later the baby is placed in the cradle for the first time, and again it is an occasion to rejoice. An array of sweets is displayed in trays under a cradle decorated with flowers, and the new mother places the baby in the cradle. She rocks the cradle to the accompaniment of songs. On the 28th day after a birth (the end of the first lunar month) a ceremony, Irupathettu, is celebrated. The baby is given its name, its first piece of jewelry, its first meal of sweet porridge, and even its first chance to wear eye makeup. The mother sits on the floor, facing east, with the baby on her lap. The baby is then fed a small spoonful of a freshly prepared herbal concoction called vayambu, which is believed to stimulate good digestion. Then the baby is fed a sweet porridge of kora (millet) or dried raw-plantain powder cooked with milk and a touch of sugar. Finger millet is considered easily digestible, high in protein, and babies are fed small quantities, once a day, from the time they are one month old. Indians have a tremendous fascination for jewelry. Traditional jewelry pieces at this ceremony include an aranjanam (a gold chain for the midriff ) and vala and thala (gold bangles for arms and ankles). A black glass bangle is also included to ward off the evil eye. In some families, the baby’s father or maternal uncle whispers the baby’s name three times in his or her ears. Others wait to name the baby until the ceremony of feeding the first meal of rice (see below). A sumptuous vegetarian feast follows the ceremonies. In the past, Irupathettu was also the time for ear piercing and adorning the baby with his or her first set of earrings. Chooroonu, the occasion when rice is fed to the baby for the first time, is celebrated six months after birth. An astrologer is consulted to select an auspicious day for the ceremony. The baby is bathed, dressed in festive clothes, and taken to the temple. There, the baby is seated on the lap of his or her uncle or father. After offering special prayers for the baby, the priest ladles out a serving of paal paayasam (rice pudding that has been offered at the temple) onto a banana leaf. The baby is fed this paayasam. On this day, the baby also gets his or her first necklace. Needless to say, a sumptuous vegetarian feast follows this ceremony, to which extended family members are invited. It is not just the major events in one’s life that get celebrated; even the small milestones are celebrated. When a baby starts crawling on its knees it is again an occasion for celebration. In most old south Indian homes the



Children’s Birthday Parties

threshold to each room is covered with a smooth and slightly elevated wooden piece called an ummarappadi. When a baby starts crawling and climbs over this wooden piece to enter the next room, this event is celebrated by showering the baby with tiny, sweet rice dumplings. As the poor, confused child starts crying, the adults laugh and pick the child up from the floor, all the while enjoying the little dumplings. In some communities when the baby has its first tooth, the paternal aunt makes these dumplings, makes the baby sit on a decorated low ummarappadi, and the dumplings are showered on the head. Every pirannal, or birthday, is observed with special prayers at the temple, followed by a sumptuous feast; the first birthday is observed with more ceremony. Prayers are offered at the temple, and several guests are invited to the house for a festive meal. A banana leaf laden with a festive meal is placed in front of a lighted lamp as an offering to the Hindu god Ganapathi, destroyer of all obstacles. Mothers consider it a sacred duty to serve rice to children on their birthdays. They stand behind their son or daughter and serve rice on a banana leaf while praying for the long life, welfare, and happiness of the child. By the time the child is three years old Vidyarambham, which literally translates to “propitious beginning of education,” is the celebration of both reading and writing. Children are initiated into the world of letters at the temple. They are seated on the lap of their uncle or father, and the adult writes the auspicious words HARI SRI on the child’s little tongue with the gold ring of one of their relatives, while praying for the goddess of learning to bless him or her with the skills for reading and writing. Then they hold the children’s little fingers and help the child write the same words in raw rice spread in front of them. Despite the differences in the styles and forms of celebrations observed by different regions in India, there is an underlying similarity in how they celebrate a new life with age-old rituals and sumptuous feasts. Further Reading: Day, Francis. The Land of the Perumals; or Cochin: Its Past and Its Present. New Delhi and Madras: Asia Educational Services, 1990 [first published in 1863]; Fawcett, F. Nayars of Malabar. New Delhi and Madras: Asia Educational Services, 1990 [reprinted from 1901 edition]; Menon, C. Achyuta. The Cochin State Manual. Government of Cochin, 1911; Playne, Somerset, and J. W. Bond, comp., and Arnold Wright, ed. Southern India: Its History, People, and Industrial Resources. Reprint. New Delhi and Chennai: Asia Educational Services, 2004 (first published by Foreign and Colonial Compiling and Publishing Co., London, 1914–1915).

Ammini Ramachandran

Children’s Birthday Parties Children’s birthday parties commemorate the anniversary of the child’s day of birth and are celebrated in many cultures around the world. Most

Children’s Birthday Parties birthday celebrants are treated specially on their birthday and the day’s celebrations generally include a party with friends and family, decorations, gifts, activities, and food. The widespread celebration of birthdays was begun by the Mithras cult, which is believed to have originated in Persia, and whose practices were spread across Europe by the soldiers of the Roman Empire. The modernday children’s birthday party tradition began over two hundred years ago in Germany with the Kinderfest (in German, Kinder means “children” and Fest means “festival”). Children’s birthdays were celebrated simply with sweet cakes decorated with candles. By the early twentieth century this tradition had spread to many Western cultures, where children’s birthdays began to include a gathering of the child’s family and friends for a party that extended beyond the immediate family. The commercialization of children’s birthday parties in the United States began in the 1900s and soon developed into the modern type of celebration we know today. Birthday guests receive written invitations by mail or given out by hand. Participants are expected to bring wrapped gifts to their friend’s home, and often leave the party with party favors or goody bags filled with candy, cookies, and small, inexpensive toys. The party room is often decorated with balloons, streamers, and banners. Depending on the age group, simple games such as “pin-the-tail on the donkey,” musical chairs, or charades may be played. Common birthday party foods are pizza, hot dogs, potato chips, and punch or soda. However, the most important part

Mona Grimm celebrates her second birthday in Buffalo, New York, 1943. Library of Congress.



Children’s Birthday Parties

of the modern-day Western birthday party is the birthday cake, generally a layer cake with rich fillings, creamy frosting, and colorful decorations. Birthday cakes are also often accompanied by ice cream. The birthday child’s name is often written, along with a birthday wish, in frosting on top of the cake. This type of cake was first popularized in women’s magazines in the early twentieth century. Birthday parties in the mid-twentieth-century United States developed into more extravagant events, sometimes involving themes such as sports, animals, or characters from popular children’s books. Matching room decorations, games, and cakes might be purchased to create a theme party. In the late twentieth century, venues such as McDonald’s and Chuck E. Cheese restaurants began to offer parties outside the home. At these events children eat, drink, and play, with minimal set-up time or clean up for parents. Today, children’s birthday celebrations in middle- to upper-class families commonly take place in bowling alleys, gymnasiums (some with basketball, gymnastics, or rock climbing), skating rinks, swimming clubs, cooking schools, arts and crafts stores, or movie theaters, and often include hired entertainments such as musicians, disc-jockeys, magicians, ponies and petting zoos, face painters, puppet shows, and costumed characters made popular by children’s films and television shows. Surprise parties are another popular form of celebration. The birthday celebrant’s friends and family secretly plan a party, and then bring the child to a location where everyone is already gathered, ready to celebrate. Birthday celebrations have developed in different ways throughout the world. In Brazil, for instance, children tug on the ear of the birthday child to bring luck. An egg broken on the head of the birthday child is a symbol of new life. In Russia, children receive a double-crusted pie instead of a cake, with their name carved decoratively into the top crust. Popular Russian birthday food is pirozhki, a dumpling filled with beef, hard cooked eggs, potatoes, or cheese. Party favors are pinned to a clothesline. In Mexico, the tradition of piñatas is still popular. Blindfolded children use a stick to hit a papier-mâché animal or figure filled with candies and small toys. When the piñata is finally broken open, the goodies fall to the ground and the children rush in to gather them. Younger children enjoy pull-string piñatas that are equipped with multiple strings hanging from them. Each child pulls a string until the piñata finally breaks open. Piñatas are also very popular in many parts of the United States. Celebrating children’s birthdays with lavish parties is by no means a universal phenomenon. Many African countries and some Middle Eastern countries do not mark birthdays except at certain times of life in rites of passage. In Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, birthdays are celebrated on the lunar New Year. At the New Year everyone considers him- or herself one year older. In China, actual birthdays are celebrated minimally, with long wheat noodles symbolizing long life, and boiled eggs to bring luck. In some countries birthdays are religious

Children’s Birthday Parties occasions. On specific significant birthdays in Japan, children are dressed in their best traditional clothes and taken to the Shinto shrine to be blessed. In Sri Lanka, children also go to the temple and offer traditional foods to the gods. In India, the birthday child is also taken to the temple and is marked with a black dot on the forehead by the priest to show that he or she has received a birthday blessing. A child’s ears are pierced on either their third or fifth birthday, which is believed to endow their spirits with health and wealth. Many cultures celebrate specific birthdays as coming-of-age ceremonies or to mark a state of semi-independence of the young adult. In some cultures a child’s first birthday is considered especially important; in Hawaii, a child’s first birthday is often celebrated with a luau. The family will throw an elaborate party with some traditional Hawaiian foods, live entertainment, and dancing late into the night. Honoring the first birthday in many cultures is a remnant of times preceding the development of modern medicine when infant mortality rates were much higher, and it was less common for a child to actually reach its first birthday. In Judaism, the 13th birthday (for boys) or the 12th birthday (for girls) is celebrated with a Bar Mitzvah (for boys) or a Bat Mitzvah (for girls). Modern day Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are often celebrated with elaborate parties marking the birthday child’s spiritual maturity and coming of age. In Latin American countries and communities in the United States, a girl’s 15th birthday is honored with a la quinceanera party, a celebration that marks a girl’s entry into womanhood with religious rituals and a grand ball that resembles a wedding reception. At these parties, the celebrant dances with her father and other boys for the first time. In the United States and Canada, it is common for girls to celebrate their 16th birthday with a sweet sixteen party, and affluent families in Australia, England, Ireland, and the United States sometimes celebrate a girl’s 18th birthday with a debutante ball—also referred to as a coming-out-party— premiering the young woman into society. This practice began in England as an opportunity to present young ladies into society, indicating that they had reached a marriageable age. In spite of the differences between birthday celebrations worldwide, the global spread of fast food restaurants like McDonald’s that often serve as birthday party venues, and the popularization of American birthday parties in films and other media have contributed to the spread of Americanstyle birthday parties around the world. Children in many countries now celebrate birthdays at franchises of these same restaurants or at home with Western-style birthday cakes, foods, and entertainment. Further Reading: Dennis, Matthew. Encyclopedia of Holidays and Celebrations: A Country-by-Country Guide. Facts on File Library of World History. New York: Facts on File, 2006; Wallace, Paula S. The World of Birthdays. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2003.

Tamara V. Bigelow



Chinese Banquets

Chinese Banquets A Chinese banquet presents a convivial atmosphere, but its structures approach a Japanese tea ceremony in their formality and precision. The guest list, the greetings, the menu, the chef, the drinks, the toasts, and even the leave-taking follow strict conventions. The host plans the event and all of its components to achieve specific social goals. Guests are expected to know the rules and follow the lead of their host; when they do, a shared, warm experience may result. When they do not, intentionally or through inexperience, tensions may arise that last beyond the final farewells. Over two thousand years of imperial culture, banquets emerged as a sophisticated, ritualized art, with gorgeous tableware and ever more elaborate dishes, showcasing the vast resources of the Chinese empire. By the twelfth century of the common era, a rising class of merchants were holding their own grand feasts, and the taste for banqueting has only spread since then. For ordinary people in China, who rarely had enough to eat, let alone access to remarkable cuisine, an invitation to a banquet provided a treasured opportunity to enjoy renowned delicacies cooked by professional chefs. Today, people around the world can hope to be invited to a Chinese banquet, due to the wide dispersal of Chinese emigrants, along with their cuisine and their far-flung social networks.

A nineteenth-century Chinese painting of a marriage feast. The Art Archive/Victoria and Albert Museum London/Eileen Tweedy.

Chinese Banquets Banquets are held for many reasons, to celebrate a holiday, a joyous family event, or the visit of an honored guest. Whatever the occasion, the banquet is a crucial part of a culture of social relationships, framed by the linked ideas of guanxi and ganqing, or social networks and the personal sentiment which strengthens those networks. Hosting a banquet can help cement ties with a local official, for instance, or with a business executive visiting from Beijing. Because these social relationships may work to circumvent stated government policies against favoritism, official documents frequently disparage banqueting as linked to corruption. But corruption is not the point. Banquet hosts do not coldly calculate the return on their investment; they are sharing food as a way to share values and build community. Both generosity and ambition can play a role in determining who is invited to a banquet. The guest list is organized from top to bottom, from guests of honor to guests as appreciative audience. In earlier eras, invitations arrived on formal red paper and included the full guest list. When the appointed hour comes, the guests arrive on time. Their hosts may applaud the entrance of the guests of honor; the appropriate response is to applaud back and wait to be shown where to sit. Seating arrangements are planned as deliberately as the guest list. The most honored guest sits to the right of the host, facing the door. At a large banquet, each table of guests has a host representative, to take on the serving responsibilities of the host and to honor the guests. Tables usually seat 8, 10, or 12 people. The banquet formally begins with the host saying a few words of welcome and making the first toast. The main guest responds with a short speech and a corresponding toast to the host. During the course of the meal, both sides will continue to make toasts. Drinking plays an important role at banquets and has historically been a particularly gendered part of the event. Male hosts and guests drink hard liquor together, toasting each other and emptying their glasses if the toaster calls out “gan bei.” To toast, lift your glass with both hands, catch someone’s eye, smile, and drink together. Toasts may thus be made from person to person, or with the whole group, but drinking hard liquor without toasting is offensive, as is filling your glass without first filling the glasses of those around you. Generally, the observant host refills a guest’s glass as soon as it is empty. Not drinking when appropriate may also be taken as an insult, so Western men are advised to apologize and blame an allergy or medication if they choose not to participate in the drinking. The obligation to keep up with other drinkers may be challenging, especially as men sometimes use drinking as a social but distinctly competitive game. Women will not be pressed to drink and are not expected to drink heavily; they may, however, find themselves handicapped in their business or official duties by this exclusion from the crucial social drinking. In recent years, some Chinese women have been keeping up with the drinking at banquets, to earn the respect of their male colleagues and be treated as equals. After the initial toast, the host starts the meal by raising his or her chopsticks to indicate to the assembled guests that they should do likewise. The



Chinese Banquets

host serves choice tidbits to the guest of honor and may offer the guest the first taste of every new dish that is brought to the table. Today’s Chinese banquet usually consists of 10 to 12 courses, not the 300 courses of a Han dynasty extravaganza. The first course is composed of cold appetizers and may come in the form of “stars around the moon,” with a delicacy such as abalone in the center, encircled by four or five other cold dishes such as sausages, liver, cut vegetables, olives, and nuts. This may be followed by a selection of hot appetizers, such as dumplings or spring rolls. Then come a succession of main courses, including special dishes to communicate the importance of the banquet. An ordinary banquet will have at least eight main dishes composed of seafood, poultry, and pork or beef. Banquet specialties vary across China’s broad regions, so that northerners might include Peking duck and sweet and sour fish; the Cantonese might have Jade Chicken (sautéed chicken strips sculpted with greens and ginger) or deep-fried prawns; the Fujianese might have stir-fried jellyfish and kidney; and Sichuan banquets might include stewed beef with hot bean sauce. Aside from these regional specialties, an elaborate banquet usually also features some very expensive ingredients such as shark’s fin, bird’s nest, sea cucumber, or monkey head mushrooms. A very grand banquet will have even more of these prestigious dishes. Some high-status ingredients like bear’s paw or shark’s fin appear much less often today, due to concerns about endangered species. The sequence and composition of the courses at a sophisticated banquet reveal the art of the chef and the knowledge of the host. Each element of the meal can be a reference to a classical menu; or the menu as a whole can resonate with some celebrated culinary triumph. Food is eaten with enthusiasm rather than stiff elegance. If you empty your plate or bowl, your host will assume you are still hungry and offer you more. You may say “wo chi bao le” to indicate politely that you are full. Unlike an ordinary meal, where a primary rule is not to waste even a grain of rice, at a banquet you are not bound to clean your plate; the leftover food shows that the meal was satisfying and honors the host’s wealth and generosity. A good guest eats steadily, not taking too much of any one dish and leaving room for the later courses. Refusing to try each new dish is impolite as it breaks the bond of sociability. The conversation during the meal is not as scripted as the menu, but it does follow a certain protocol. The hosts apologize repeatedly for the meal’s inadequacy, while the guests rave about the meal’s extravagance and magnificence. The food itself is a constant topic, as diners discuss the chef’s origins and training, tease out each dish’s ingredients, and make comparisons to other meals they have enjoyed. Such banter remains on a light and lively level throughout the meal. Not wanting to offend, guests rarely touch on politics or raise cultural comparisons. Similarly, no one will mention business out loud, although the participants’ official roles are present in everyone’s minds. Alliances and assurances made at a Chinese banquet are no less real for having been unspoken.

Chinese New Year The last main course is a simple one, usually of rice or noodles. The custom is to eat lightly from this course, to show that you were already sated by the more elaborate dishes which came before. After a final dish of fresh fruit, the main guest thanks the host on behalf of the assembled guests. The host may say a few final words in response, or may simply stand up to signal the end of the banquet. The guests say their goodbyes quickly, while the host remains to pay the bill. The main guest may offer once or twice to pay but should accept the host’s refusal and leave promptly. The bill for the banquet is never split between the host and the guest of honor. The proper way to repay one’s host is to invite him to a similar banquet at a later date, though in the culture of guanxi and ganqing, there have always been many ways to show one’s appreciation and affection after a wonderful banquet. Further Reading: Farquhar, Judith. Appetites: Food and Sex in Postsocialist China. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002; Fletcher, Nichola. “Chinese Banquets: An ancient food culture and a Chinese New Year feast.” In Charlemagne’s Tablecloth: A piquant history of feasting. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005; Newman, Jacqueline M. “Banquets: Feasts for Every Occasion,” Flavor & Fortune Winter Volume: 2000 Issue: 7(4). Available online at http://www.flavorandfortune. com/dataaccess/article.php?ID=257; Newman, Jacqueline M. Food Culture in China. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004; Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994; Yutopians Chinese Banquet Page. http://www. yutopian.com/cooking/banquets.

Erica J. Peters

Chinese New Year Usually falling during January or February of the Western calendar year, Chinese New Year starts with the first new moon of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. It is celebrated by Chinese around the globe and is considered the most important holiday of the year. Many entertainments, celebrations, and religious activities occur during this period, through which the common themes of auspicious beginnings, superstition, and Confucian values of hierarchy and community responsibility occur. Superstition and symbolism are also important to most activities, behaviors, and routines during this time. As with the solar calendar New Year, the Chinese celebrate their own New Year’s Eve. Extended family will often reunite at home or at a restaurant to share a meal and close out the old year together. The time leading up to New Year’s Eve is spent cleaning the house, repairing or replacing broken objects, settling debts, washing old clothes, and buying new clothes if they can be afforded. Cleaning is done because it is believed that any dust or dirt left lying about might fly into someone’s eye and blind him, while the other activities are associated with preparing for a completely fresh start for the



Chinese New Year

New Year. This time is also considered to be magical, with ghosts and spirits lurking about that have to be defended against or appeased with protective symbols, visits to temples, and incense burning. Not as common today, it was once a New Year’s Eve tradition to tell children stories of the “bitter moon,” referred to as such because of the difficulty of this period for many of China’s poor. (In order to pay debts, households would find themselves having to sell their valuables or even their children, but it was believed that money given away during the bitter moon would be returned during the New Year.) These stories, similar to fairy tales, would usually emphasize values such as family unity, sacrifice, and selfless contribution. On New Year’s Day in Chinese cities and in Chinatowns around the world, lion dances scare away bad spirits or troubles of the old year and welcome the new year, bringing good luck to all. Colorful acrobatics, loud cymbals, gongs, pipes, and drums, and the accompanying firecrackers make for a very festive scene. Aside from delighting onlookers, firecrackers are also meant to keep evil spirits away and humor the immortals with lively noises. In the evening, fireworks are usually scheduled and start off the New Year with a literal bang. Lion dances are not the only entertainment, though. Chinese New Year’s parades are events to look forward to. Whether on the

Dragon performers in the Chinese New Year parade, celebrating Year of the Rat, Los Angeles, 2008. Jose Gil/Shutterstock.

Chinese New Year Champs Elysees of Paris, Orchard Road of Singapore, or Canal Street in New York, the Chinese New Year parade is a sight to behold. San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade is one of the most famous parades in the world, complete with floats, marching bands, stilt-walkers, a 201-foot Golden Dragon, Chinese acrobats, and an appearance by that year’s Miss Chinatown USA. It is not until the sixth day of the New Year that the Chinese go out to visit friends. Like all other aspects of the New Year, the practice of these visits, referred to as bainian is a highly ritualized affair, reflective of the Confucian values imbedded in the culture. Younger Chinese visit the homes of their elders to pay their respects. Students visit their teachers, employees visit their employers, younger brothers bring their families to their older brothers’ homes, and so on. Each household will also have a Tray of Togetherness, a round, shallow lacquered box. The inside is divided into segments, with a circular segment in the middle. Traditionally there are a total of eight compartments, each of which was filled with a special food item of significance to the New Year season; sweet dried fruits such as candied melon, lychee nuts, kumquats, longan, and coconut are interspersed with dyed red melon seeds, lotus seeds, and salty peanuts. Each food represents something to hope for in the New Year: health, family, prosperity, happiness, fertility, filialness, and longevity. Upon arrival, tea, holiday foods, and all the foods on the tray are always offered to the guests. The visitors, in turn, always come bearing gifts. The gifts usually consist of sweet items such as tins of biscuits or candies because sweetness is also associated with good things. Hong bao, literally “red packets,” or envelopes filled with cash, are also exchanged. Chinese children look forward to this time of year as only married adults give out hong bao, and at every home the child visits, he or she can expect to leave with a windfall of red envelopes. Red is considered lucky, and not only do many wear red during the course of the New Year, but gifts are wrapped in red paper and lucky money is contained in red envelopes. The 15th and last day of Chinese New Year is traditionally marked by a parade of lanterns. The origin of the festival stems from a legend, one version of which has it that the Jade Emperor in Heaven was so angry at a town for killing his favorite goose that he decided to destroy it with a storm of fire. Upon learning of his plans, a fairy sympathetic to the townspeople advised them to light lanterns the evening of the planned storm. The townsfolk acted accordingly, and for the Jade Emperor watching from the Heavens, it looked as if the village was ablaze. The townspeople had evaded the Jade Emperor’s wrath and from that day forth, people celebrated the anniversary of their deliverance by carrying lanterns through the streets on the first full moon of the year. The lanterns come in various shapes and colors, and are made out of different kinds of materials. They provide a colorful backdrop for lion dances, dragon dances, and fireworks that accompany the lantern parade. Modern festivals are no less spectacular. Elaborate lanterns (usually lit with electric bulbs) created in the shapes of horses, birds, dragons, and other




animals delight onlookers crowded on both sides of streets and avenues closed off for the procession. In northern China, lanterns carved from ice are not uncommon. The sheer scale and wattage of the event in major cities such as Taipei would surely appease any pyrotechnically inclined immortal and is a fittingly grand ending to the holiday. Further Reading: Bredon, Juliet. Chinese New Year Festivals: A Picturesque Monograph of the Rites, Ceremonies and Observances in Relation thereto. Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1930; Bredon, Juliet, and Igor Mitrophanow. The Moon Year; A Record of Chinese Customs and Festivals. New York: Paragon Book Reprint Corp., 1966; Lai, Kuan Fook. The Hennessy Book of Chinese Festivals. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Heinemann Asia, 1984; Newman, Jacqueline. Food and Culture in China. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004; Jin, Hailin, Xuefei Bai, and Yoanzhi He. The Traditional Chinese Festivals and Tales. (Chinese-English edition) Chongqing: Chongqing Publishing House, 2001.

Karen Lau Taylor

Chocolate Chocolate today is so much a part of our everyday lives, whether in the form of the candy bar, specialty grand cru bonbons, or exquisitely crafted dessert pastries, that we soon forget the many transformations that this product has undergone to arrive at its present place on the table. The cacao tree is one of the domesticated plants used by native peoples in pre-Conquest Mesoamerica that has spread to the fields and kitchens of the Old World and then circled back to the factories and kitchens of the New. In the United States, where hot chocolate has become a mass-market, marshmallowladen drink for children, it is difficult to envision the beverage as a luxury or exotic delicacy limited to the top strata of European society in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Yet in an even earlier time and place, chocolate was not only the drink of Aztec and Mayan elite but also a form of currency and a means of exchange, in which large sacks of cacao beans were used for taxes or tribute. The difference between cacao—the bean and commodity—and chocolate—the processed product—is important to our understanding of this luxury drink turned popular food. In 1753 the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus gave the plant its binomial scientific name, Theobroma cacao: theobroma from the Greek means “food of the gods,” while cacao is a loan word from the Mixe-Zoquean family. Conventionally, the term cacao is used to refer to the plant, the almond-shaped beans encased in the multi-hued pod, and all its raw materials before processing. In the next stage, whether in liquid or solid form, the beans become chocolate—a word that went through a process of linguistic hybridization, similar to the creolization of the drink itself. While the derivation and etymology of the term chocolate from cacahuatl in the Nahuatl language may be in dispute, the word nonetheless refers to the

Chocolate cold, bitter, water-based beverage of the native Aztecs that the Spaniards learned to drink hot and sweetened with cane sugar. With some exceptions in American and British usage, the term cocoa refers to the defatted powder after separating cacao butter from the cacao solids. This process, invented by the Dutchman Conrad Van Houten in 1828, thereafter revolutionized chocolate preparation. The harvesting and initial treatment of the beans—cutting cacao pods from the cacao tree with machetes, fermenting the seeds with their surrounding pulp, drying and packing the beans for storage and shipment—have changed very little over the last few centuries. While there have been few improvements in the basic methods of processing cacao beans into nibs or kernels, a lot has changed in the preparation and consumption of chocolate. Over the past five centuries, food rituals, the roles of eating and cooking in gender relations, hospitality, and social exchange have changed markedly. Chocolate currently plays an important and symbolic role in everyday food routines, subtle variations of life, and quotidian performances with respect to gift-giving and entertaining. MESOAMERICAN ORIGINS The early history of cacao and chocolate culture is rather obscure because Spanish conquistadors and Catholic missionaries in Latin America were intent on destroying native religious and social systems along with the relics, written and engraved, that held the secrets to the beans’ use. Archaeologists have tried to piece together evidence of the domestication, cultivation, processing, and level of trading of cacao prior to the Spanish Conquest through pottery remains (or chards), Mayan hieroglyphics, art work, and artifacts. Identification of the place of origin of the cultivated species of Theobroma cacao is hotly contested, obscured by the question of whether socalled wild plants of the species have been found in Mesoamerica, the area that in pre-Conquest times included the southern part of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and portions of El Salvador and Honduras. While there are many scholars who accept the existence of wild Theobroma cacao in Mesoamerica, others claim it was either domesticated in South America and then taken to that region, or first taken there in wild form and then domesticated. According to anthropologists Sophie and Michael Coe, authors of the definitive work on the subject, the fact that no pre-Columbian inhabitant of South America used the plant for anything beyond making a wine from the white pulp surrounding the seeds, and using that same pulp as a nibble, would seem a convincing argument against a South American origin and subsequent transportation to Mesoamerica. The first European encounter with cacao took place on August 15, 1502, when Columbus, on his fourth and final voyage, came upon a great Mayan trading canoe with cacao beans in its cargo on the island of Guanaja, some 30 miles north of the Honduran mainland. Later in 1517 Hernán Cortés




Detail of a Diego Rivera mural of Native Mexicans harvesting cocoa, 1951. © Banco de Mexico Trust. Schalkwijk/Art Resource, NY.

encountered Moctezuma II, the Aztec ruler, for whom chocolate occupied not only an enviable place at his table but required careful attention to its preparation. Chocolate, however, did not originate with the Aztecs, as most books on the subject would have us believe, but with the remarkable Maya and their distant predecessors, the Olmecs, in the humid lowlands of the Mexican Gulf Coast around 1500 B.C. Based on evidence from historical linguistics more than archaeology, scholars believe the Olmecs first domesticated the plant in the favorable environment of the humid tropical rain forest. A DRINK IN MAYA AND AZTEC RITUALS In the Classic Maya period, from A.D. 250 to the ninth century, written evidence for the use of cacao survives in the form of so-called cacao glyphs and hieroglyphs on elegantly painted or carved vessels that accompanied the elite in their tombs and graves. Chocolate drinks played a very important role in Maya rituals and banquets as well as in betrothal and marriage ceremonies, much the same way as champagne serves today in our own culture. One of the things people did at such festivities was to “drink chocolate together” (known as chokola’j). Pre-Conquest chocolate was not a single concoction to be drunk but a vast and complex array of drinks, gruels, porridges, and probably solid substances, to all of which could be added a wide variety of flavorings. The drink existed in two forms: one for ordinary consumption, the other offered to the gods. The basic Aztec method of preparing chocolate was about the same as that prevalent among the Maya of the Yucatán, the only difference being that it seems to have been drunk cool rather than hot. A description of this drink written by a man known to scholars as the Anonymous Conqueror, or Gentleman of Cortés, is as follows: These seeds which are called almonds or cacao are ground and made into powder, and other small seeds are ground, and this powder is put into certain basins with a point, and then they put water on it and mix it with a spoon. And after having mixed it very well, they change it from one basin

Chocolate to another, so that a foam is raised which they put in a vessel made for the purpose. And when they wish to drink it, they mix it with certain small spoons of gold or silver or wood, and drink it, and drinking it one must open one’s mouth, because being foam one must give it room to subside, and go down bit by bit. This drink is the healthiest thing, and the greatest sustenance of anything you could drink in the world, because he who drinks a cup of this liquid, no matter how far he walks, can go a whole day without eating anything else. (Anonymous Conqueror 1556: 306a, in Coe and Coe 86–87)

The pouring from one vessel or jar to another was essential to produce a “froth” on the drink which was caused by the fats or “butter” in the grilled and ground cacao nibs. Much like the Maya, the Aztecs varied the preparation of chocolate with flavorings, spices, and other ingredients such as maize; the ground seed of the ceiba or silk-cotton tree; dried and ground chili peppers; dried and ground flowers with vanilla; achiote (annatto) seed, which was used for its bright red color; allspice; the sapote seed; and as a sweetener, honey or sap from the heart of the maguey plant. The drink was generally confined to the elite—the royal house, lords and nobility, longdistance merchants, and warriors. At banquets and the more ordinary meals of the elite, chocolate was never sipped or drunk during the repast but served at the end, in hemispherical bowls of polychrome ceramic, painted or lacquered calabash gourds, or even gold. Cacao had not only economic and gastronomic value among the Aztecs but also deep symbolic meaning. The cacao tree was part of the four directions of their cosmology—being the Tree of the South, the direction of the Land of the Dead, associated with the color red, the color of blood—and the cacao pod was used in rituals as a symbol for the human heart torn out in sacrifice. Sir Eric Thompson, the most influential Mayanist of the twentieth century, suggested that this might be due to the vague resemblance in shape between the two, but a more likely explanation is that both were repositories of precious liquids: blood and chocolate. The question of whether chocolate had mind-altering effects remains unanswered. The biologist John West mentions that since pre-Columbian times the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca have added the dried aromatic flowers of Quararibea funebris to a chocolate drink called tejate, used to treat anxiety, fever, and coughs. INTRODUCTION IN EUROPE At the time of the Conquest, the Spaniards did not like the chocolate drink of the Aztecs, as they found it to taste bitter. In time, with the crossfertilization of cultural elements between the Amerindian and Spanish cultures, chocolate was absorbed into the colonial cuisine of New Spain and eventually transplanted to Old Spain with a number of notable transformations. The drink was taken hot and regularly sweetened with cane sugar, and Old World spices such as cinnamon, anise seed, and black pepper were substituted for native Mesoamerican flavorings. The vogue of chocolate is,




therefore, complicit with sugar. Both were processed products of plants cultivated in European tropical colonies through African slave labor. Regardless of how and when chocolate actually was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula (some say with Cortés around 1528), with Spain’s monopoly on cacao production and trade in the New World, chocolate remained an exclusively Spanish phenomenon for the next century. There is general agreement that the drink became acclimatized in the Spanish court during the first half of the seventeenth century, where it was appreciated as a kind of status symbol and a standard feature of Spanish courtly style. Before the days of Versailles, Madrid was the trend-setter for the rest of aristocratic Europe, and eventually chocolate’s secret spread to other European countries, through marriages between the royals or via Catholic friars as they traveled between monasteries. Schivelbusch (91) attributes the marriage of the Hapsburg princess Anna of Austria to Louis XIII in 1615 for bringing chocolate to the French court for she had grown up in Madrid. West (111), on the other hand, writes that French interest in the American novelty was cemented in 1660 when Marie-Thérèse of Spain married Louis XIV. Thus the true story and date of chocolate’s introduction to France, as well as other countries, must be left to lore. Some say chocolate’s introduction to France came through the region of the southwest (Bayonne) and was associated with Sephardic Jews. THE CATHOLIC, SOUTHERN COUNTERPART TO COFFEE Over the course of three centuries, chocolate was to conquer Europe, and with the new demand for the drink, cultivation of cacao spread to the colonies. In The Tastes of Paradise, Schivelbusch refers to chocolate as the Catholic, southern European counterpart to coffee, which was a Protestant, northern drink. Its great nutritional value made it such a significant commodity in the Catholic world. “On the principle that liquids do not break fasts (liquidum non frangit jejunum), chocolate could serve as a nutritional substitute during fasting periods, and naturally this made it more or less [a] vital beverage in Catholic Spain and Italy” (87). In 1569 Pope Pius V unleashed the controversy within the Church of whether chocolate should be considered a drink, which would not break a fast, or a food, which would break a fast. What may have begun, then, as a clerical fasting drink, became a fashionable secular beverage. The chocolate breakfast or morning chocolate, drunk not at the breakfast table, but ideally in the boudoir, in bed if possible, was the custom of the aristocracy in the ancien régime. Breakfast, in this case, did not start off a workday but rather marked the start of a day of carefully cultivated idleness. Breakfast chocolate had very little in common with the breakfast coffee of the bourgeoisie, not only because the drinks were quite different but because the etiquettes were as well. “Whereas the middle-class family sat erect at the breakfast table, with a sense of disciplined propriety,

Chocolate the essence of the chocolate ritual was fluid, lazy, languid motion. If coffee virtually shook drinkers awake for the workday that lay ahead, chocolate was meant to create an intermediate state between lying down and sitting up” (Schivelbusch 91). The idle class’s morning-long awakening and studied leisure over chocolate are represented in many European paintings of the time: Pietro Longhi’s La cioccolata del mattino (Venetian, 1775–1780, Museo Correr, Venice) depicts an informal and relaxed scene of breakfast participants, including the abbé and gallant, around the bed of the mistress of the house as chocolate charms the conversation; Jean-Baptiste (le Vieux) Charpentier’s La famille du duc de Penthièvre, ou La tasse de chocolat (French, 1768, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon) reflects the tastes and manners of French society of the Louis XV epoch; and Jean-Etienne Liotard’s most famous painting, Das Schokoladenmädchen or La Belle Chocolatière (Swiss, 1743–1745, “Alte Meister” Gallery in Dresden), is a pastel portrait reputedly of Anna Baltouf, which was later used as the trademark of the American firm, Baker’s Chocolate. The theme of the cup of chocolate was also taken up by French artists Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The association of chocolate with eroticism was a popular motif of Rococo paintings. According to an old but perhaps unfounded belief, chocolate was an aphrodisiac and quite the opposite of coffee. Coffee gave to the mind what it took from the body, whereas chocolate was considered to do the reverse, nourishing the body and one’s potency. “It represented the Baroque, Catholic acknowledgment of corporeal being as against Protestant asceticism” (Schivelbusch 1992, p. 92). The letters of Mme de Sévigné (1626–1696) captured the popular vision at the time that the drink contributed to feminine health and happiness; and chocolate was deemed to have medicinal value as a remedy for numerous ailments. FEEDING DESIRE Before the early modern period, the social drinks of Europe had all been alcoholic. Increased contact and direct trade with Asia, Africa, and Arabia, along with the so-called discovery of the Americas, meant that Europeans became introduced to tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate. The popularity of chocolate as a social and exotic beverage in the seventeenth century gave rise to the chocolate parlor or chocolate house. This was the meeting place for an odd mixture of aristocracy and the demimonde; they were thoroughly anti-puritanical and perhaps even bordello-like places. The chocolate house contrasted with the coffeehouse with its bourgeois and puritanical character where guests sat at a table, and the innkeeper served coffee out of a jug with drinking bowls initially without handles. This calm scene contrasted with behavior at a tavern where alcohol was served but was also different from the chocolate parlor with its higher-class clientele and decidedly more expensive beverage. London’s first chocolate house opened in 1657, run by a Frenchman. Similar to the coffeehouses, which had been established a few




Men and women drinking chocolate in a Leipzig coffeehouse, eighteenth century. Library of Congress.

years earlier, chocolate houses increased in number and became centers of political, economic, and social debate for the wealthy and powerful. A great variety of new utensils and containers were developed in which to serve these new drinks, first for great households or high society and thereafter for the popular market. The response of silversmiths, potters, and other artisans to the demand created by these new beverages can be seen in the exquisite creation of silver, gold, pewter, and porcelain objects. Chocolate pots (chocolatières) and services emerged, similar to tea and coffee services, but with slight decorative or functional changes. They had swizzle sticks (moulinets in French) to whip the heavy chocolate. The grooved wooden beater for the production of the much-prized foam must have been introduced from Spain to Mesoamerica during the sixteenth century, and the Spanish molinillo later became important in chocolate preparation in Europe and America. Chocolate drinks were made by combining hot water with a dried cacao mass, which came in the form of cakes, rolls, or bricks. The water and cacoa mass were then beaten together. A special jug or chocolate pot was created, fitted with a lid pierced in the middle to hold the handle of the swizzle stick, making the drink easier to mix. NEW FORMS AND PATTERNS OF CHOCOLATE CONSUMPTION Expansion of chocolate to the masses was accomplished in the nineteenth century, largely through changes in chocolate processing and



mechanization as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The advent in 1828 of hydraulic presses to extract cacao butter from the cacao mass allowed for the development of cocoa powder for use in making hot chocolate. Hot chocolate could then be made by just adding hot water or hot milk to the soluble powder. Hence solid and liquid chocolate were no longer the same. With this transformation, chocolate pots and services pretty much disappeared from use, so that today they can command astronomical prices. As chocolate became easier, faster, and less expensive to produce, the product penetrated into the daily life of the middle and working classes, in altered form (i.e., cocoa powder and manufactured chocolate bars), and it lost its class identity. Chocolate The Evolution of the Chocolate Bar soon became a nutritious mornA number of important dates in the evolution and popularization ing drink highly recommended by of chocolate and the manufactured chocolate bar include the doctors for children. For example, following: the French cocoa brand Banania 1765—The first chocolate mill was established by John Hannon on the (better known today for its use of Neponset River in Dorchester, Massachusetts, using water power to promotional images that were degrind beans (West 115). Hannon is credited with getting chocolate rogatory of people of color, much production started in North America and founding the company that like that of Aunt Jemima for panlater became Baker’s Chocolate (incorporated in 1895). cake mix or Uncle Ben for rice) 1828—Conrad Van Houten developed a way of mechanically extracting was a popular breakfast drink conmost of the fat from the cacao mass or cacao liquor, thus creating sumed throughout France and its cacao butter, which can be used for soap products, and rock cocoa, which can be ground into powder. colonies and promoted by French advertising posters in the early twen1831—John Cadbury, a Quaker, begins manufacturing drinking chocotieth century. late and cocoa in the United Kingdom. He launched a business empire in the chocolate trade that has dominated this food line in Britain Throughout much of the last and the Commonwealth for over 200 years. century, chocolate remained largely static. Although the products did 1875—The world’s first milk chocolate is created by adding milk to dark chocolate. not change, marketing became increasingly more important. In 1879—The Swiss Rodolphe Lindt added the conching stage to the the 1980s, brands like Valrhona in grinding process. By agitating the ground cacao mass for a period of one to three days in a sloshing-and-kneading apparatus called a France began to create chocolate conche (inspired by the Mesoamerican metate, or concave grindmade from selected high-quality ing stone), a much smoother, finer, and more aromatic chocolate is beans and regions in an attempt to produced. Conched chocolate proved to be much easier for use in emphasize their local character (or baking. gout de terroir). Around the same 1894—The American company Hershey makes the first mass-produced, time, Lindt of Switzerland launched affordable chocolate bar. a 70 percent cocoa content choco1913—The first filled chocolates appear, thus paving the way for fancy late bar that was the first superganaches, bonbons, and couverture chocolates. market brand to promote cocoa 1930s—Famous candy bars, such as the Mars Bar and Kit Kat, are percentage. Thus began the new invented. Other varieties and brands of chocolate products soon folinterest in creating chocolate from lowed as chocolate candies became an inexpensive daily snack and single-estate beans and cacao varilater an energy source and army ration in war time. etals (e.g., forestero, trinitario, criollo),



as well as labeling specialty chocolate bars for eating or baking with the source of the bean and the percentage of cacao. FROM THE LOCAL TO THE GLOBAL In the history of tropical commodities, it is frequently emphasized how people produce what they do not consume and consume what they do not produce, thus pointing to the disconnect between producers, consumers, and product. The history of chocolate production provides exceptions to this. In Mexico, the land of chocolate’s origin, cultural transformations and culinary inventions have led to the popularity and use of chocolate as a flavoring in savory dishes, including moles. Yet the cacao and chocolate adventure is not limited to the New World or Europe. In the seventeenth century cacao seedlings spread westward from Acapulco to Manila, where cocoa became a traditional food. From the Philippines, it spread to the Dutch East Indies, Java, and Sumatra. Countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific are now cacao producers. Today families in the Philippines grow several trees in their yards and use the beans to make chocolate disks for home consumption or for sale in local markets. These disks are the foundation for hot drinks or for champorado, a delicious dessert and breakfast dish consisting of warm sticky-rice sweetened with sugar and flavored with chocolate. The methods used for preparing cacao at home are identical to those used by the Spanish in sixteenth-century Mexico. Beans are roasted in a wok over a wood or gas fire until the shells can be removed. They are then rolled and crushed lightly with a wooden roller or glass bottle and finally winnowed on a rattan tray to separate the shells from the nibs, or bean fragments. Everything is utilized in the process: the shells are fed to chickens, the pods to pigs or goats, and the nibs are ground in a corn mill to make a warm paste that is punched into two-inch disks with a metal cutter and placed on a banana leaf to cool (West 109). Chocolate has entered seasonal festivities with both religious and secular significance. At Easter, chocolate bunnies and eggs symbolize fertility in keeping with the Christian Lenten and agricultural calendars. St. Valentine’s Day on February 14 has become a contemporary chocolate-centered celebration in the United States, although we do not know when this custom developed. Valentine’s season is a period of peak chocolate sales and chocolate advertising, with some specialty chocolates costing as much as $2,000 a pound. The custom has spread elsewhere, such as Japan, where it has become a business obligation for women to present gifts of candy to their male colleagues. In the search for excellence, chocolate gifts are becoming more expensive, trendy, and sought after, and the gifting of chocolate is closely associated with class. According to Mary Killen, who parses upper-crust etiquette in her advice column in the British magazine The Spectator, the sort of chocolate people bring as house presents when going for the weekend to an old-family country house is a litmus test of social class. She writes: “There is a fashion for Quality Streets,” referring to a low-rent chocolate

Chopsticks assortment available in every gas station in Britain, but buying an expensive collection from Fortnum and Mason looks as if you tried too hard. Chocolate has come full circle as a new luxury commodity with buyers separated by class and status. Consumption of chocolate is increasing in the West, and new chocolate products are on the market. Much like wine, and to a lesser extent coffee, chocolate has become a cherished product—with tastings pairing chocolate varieties (dark, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate) with wine or port, while new empirical research seeks to discover and cultivate the best cacao beans for processing into the finest, exclusivederivation chocolates. Further Reading: Bachollet, Raymond, Jean-Barthélemi Debost, Anne-Claude Lelieur, and Marie-Christine Peyrière. NégriPub: l’image des Noirs dans la publicité. Paris: Éditions Somogy, 1992; Bourgaux, Albert. Quatre Siècles d’histoire du cacao et du chocolat. Bruxelles: Office International du Cacao et du Chocolat, 1935; Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. London: Thames & Hudson, 1996; Doutre-Roussel, Chloé. The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone with a Passion for Chocolate. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006; Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books, 1985; Presilla, Maricel E. The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2001; Scharffenberger, John, Robert Steinberg, Ann Krueger Spivak, and Susie Heller. The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate. New York: Hyperion, 2006; Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants. Translated from the German by David Jacobson. New York: Pantheon Books, 1992; Terrio, Susan J. Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000; West, John A. “A Brief History and Botany of Cacao.” In Chilies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World, edited by Nelson Foster and Linda S. Cordell. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1992, pp. 105–121; Yall, Sarah. “Classism Still Vexing British,” New York Times News Service, Deseret Morning News, April 27, 2007.

Ellen M. Schnepel

Chopsticks Chopsticks originated roughly five thousand years ago in China, when people began using paired sticks to lift hot pieces of food out of the cooking pot. From the Han period at least (200 B.C.), chopsticks as we know them became part of Chinese high culture. Like the writing brushes they resemble, the simple utensils symbolized a move from warrior values toward more humanistic ideals. Knives would no longer be needed or welcomed during the meal, as the food had been cut into small pieces by the cook. Instead, meals would become opportunities for conversation and for the development and display of formal manners.




As Chinese ascendancy spread across East Asia, so too did the use of chopsticks (kuàizi in Mandarin, hashi in Japanese, jeotgarak in Korean, and dua in Vietnamese). For these Han-influenced cultures, chopsticks became a marker of civilization. One explanation for why chopsticks became so prevalent within some cultures, while remaining unknown to others, is that chopsticks form one element of a unified food system. Just as two chopsticks are needed to pick up a morsel of food, a small rice bowl is also needed, held close to the mouth. Chopsticks are for food served with rice, but not just any rice. The grains need to have particular qualities: sticky, but not so glutinous as to demand the use of fingers. Chopsticks differ somewhat from country to country. Japanese chopsticks are shorter, lacquered, with pointed tips; Korean ones are medium length and often made of metal; and Chinese and Vietnamese chopsticks are longer, often made of un-lacquered wood or bamboo, and taper to blunt ends. How one uses chopsticks also differs somewhat from country to country, although some broad rules apply generally. The key to manipulating chopsticks is to move only the upper one, using it to pinch the food against the lower one, which stays still. In this way a diner can dexterously procure a morsel from a common serving bowl, dip it into a shared sauce bowl, and bring it to an individual’s bowl. A pair of chopsticks may also be used to break off a bit from a large, tender portion of food, or to sweep rice or noodles into one’s mouth. Chopsticks always operate as two parts of a whole. Like scissors, when they are at rest, they are kept together, lying parallel to each other. If one chopstick falls to the floor, etiquette says one should get a new pair. When eating as part of a group, chopsticks are used to pick food from communal bowls, placed within everyone’s reach. To avoid collisions and improprieties, diners should exercise great alertness to each other’s intentions: they should plan out their own motions with care, while being prepared to make sudden adjustments to avoid any unexpected mid-air encounter. They should also select their morsel quickly and elegantly: one’s chopsticks may not hover above the table, nor poke around a dish, nor spear a morsel of food. Chopsticks are used for certain gestures, such as when the host invites guests to start eating, or when guests hold them up flat to thank the host for a delicious meal. Aside from those specific customs, however, chopsticks should not be used for gesticulating or pointing. Chopsticks should not be used to pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another, or should not be stuck upright in a bowl. Both of these resemble funeral customs and are thus distasteful at a meal. In China, Japan, and Vietnam, chopsticks serve to push rice into the mouth from a bowl held right below or at the lips. In Korea, however, the rice bowl should not leave the table, and people often eat their rice with a spoon. In Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese etiquette, people may take food from the common dishes with their chopsticks reversed, to avoid

Christmas putting the eating end into the shared food. In Korea, however, the chopsticks may not be turned around—the thicker ends are viewed as unsanitary, having touched one’s fingers. In all of these cultures, chopsticks ideally have only touched the piece the diner has selected, which virtually eliminates any chance of contamination whether or not the chopsticks are turned around. Still, some hosts provide special serving chopsticks to get around the difficulty. Even within a single country, not everyone agrees on chopstick etiquette. One question is where to put the chopsticks after eating. Some say the chopsticks should be placed across the rice bowl, parallel to each other and parallel to one’s body. Others insist they should never lie on the rice bowl, but only on a chopsticks rest, perpendicular to one’s body. Still others say they belong on the table, parallel to one’s body, with the tips to the left. The best chopsticks advice for those being entertained is to wait for others to start before you do, watch carefully, and do your best to follow your hosts’ example. Further Reading: Hashi-San. Chopsticks: An Owner’s Manual. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 1991; “Chopsticks.” Origins Of Chinese Food Culture. Illustrated by Fu Chunjiang, and translated by Qiu Yao Hong. Singapore: Asiapac Books, 2003.

Erica J. Peters

Christmas The Christmas season conjures all sorts of images of holiday feasting, from the “visions of sugarplums” immortalized in Clement Moore’s 1823 poem, “The Night before Christmas,” to the great roast turkey that formed the centerpiece of the Cratchit family dinner in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Steaming plum puddings, gingerbread men, eggnog, candy canes, and cookies all have honored places in the culinary lore of Christmas, and the contemporary Christmas-keeper often assumes that Christmas is the most traditional, joyous, and family-oriented holiday. Yet much of the history of Christmas celebrations is a complex story involving religious conflict and class struggles, a far cry from the benign domesticity of popular imagination. In centuries past, assuming that one’s religious scruples allowed the celebration of Christmas, the question was what form should those entertainments take. TO CELEBRATE OR NOT? Part of the reason why Christmas got off to a rocky start was that early Christians were unsure of when Christ was born; different Church leaders suggested dates in every month of the year. The first linkage of Christmas to December 25 traces to 336, when a Roman Church calendar made that date a Nativity Feast. The Catholic Church may have chosen this early winter




date to coincide with the pre-existing pagan holidays of either Saturnalia or dies natalis invicte solis (the birth of the conquering sun). The former was celebrated in mid-December, whereas the latter marked the winter solstice, which fell on December 25 according to the Julian calendar. Saturnalia was a beloved Roman holiday, marked by feasting on sweetmeats and pork and drinking much wine, as well as public spectacles, gambling, and ribald behavior. As the Roman Empire evolved from a pagan to a Christian state in the third and fourth centuries, these December holidays morphed from pagan to Christian observance. Christmas has been a season of feasting since the early Middle Ages. In 567, the Council of Tours proclaimed the period from Christmas to Epiphany (January 6) a feasting season, giving rise to the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelfth Night continues to mark the end of the Christmas season in many places, particularly those with a strong Catholic heritage. Others see New Year’s as the endpoint of the season, although early December feasts such as those of Saints Nicholas (celebrated by the Dutch on December 6) and Lucia (celebrated by the Swedes on December 13), move the Christmas season forward. By the millennium, European rulers declared Christmas a season of peace on earth; King Ethelred of England (991–1061) promulgated laws that all Christian men temporarily lay down arms during the Christmas holidays, and Christmas truces have been a recurring battlefield intermission. The Christmas season came at the end of the agricultural year, coinciding with the final task of slaughtering animals that could not “overwinter” and salting their meat to last until the spring. Slaughtering generally started in November and continued until the weather made it impossible to keep animals in pasture, often stretching until Christmas. Fresh meat, often the last of the season, was plentiful on the great feudal estates that formed the core of medieval society. Moreover, rents from tenant farmers often became due, with the peasantry delivering barnyard animals or crops in payment for the right to cultivate part of the lord’s land for themselves. Lords of the manor would host great feasts during the season, or otherwise supply food and drink to their vassals and tenant farmers. The exact form and distribution of foodstuffs could vary depending on one’s social status, and the food exchanges helped cement bonds of interdependence and reinforced the hierarchical nature of medieval society. The scale of the medieval Christmas feast in England was impressive, at least if one was hosted by a great lord. Henry III feted more than 1,000 knights and peers in 1252; to help the king, the archbishop of York provided 600 fat oxen and significant funds to defray the cost. Richard II, infamous for the extravagance of his court, required the daily slaughter of 26 oxen, 300 sheep, and numberless fowl to feed an estimated 10,000 retainers during the Christmas season, with 300 servers employed to keep the food and drink flowing. Among the most famous English medieval dishes associated with Christmas was brawn, the roasted head and shoulders of wild boar: the dish was seasonal and signaled the end of the hunting season; by the sixteenth century, the forests had been depleted of wild boar, so that domesticated boar was substituted

Christmas as a requisite for the elite Christmas dinner. Those lower on the social scale did not dine as elegantly, although they did receive food gifts at Christmas: fourteenth-century records indicate a hearty meal provided to tenant farmers consisting of white bread (an elite form of the staple normally available only to the well-to-do), fresh beef and bacon with mustard, chicken pottage, cheese, and ale—as much as could be drunk on Christmas day. This bottomless tankard of ale sheds light on another aspect of the Christmas season, which was the licentious behavior and drunkenness that was accepted as part of the holiday. While more traditional tournaments, pageants, and jousts were part of royal holiday entertainments, great tolerance also was shown for extraordinary behavior that otherwise would have destroyed the fabric of medieval society. Cross-dressing, bizarrely costumed pageants, and the deliberate inversion of the accepted order were all part of the medieval English Christmas. Boy Bishops and Lords of Misrule, the temporary appointment of youths and social inferiors to positions of mock authority for the holiday season, could be found through the realm in wellto-do churches and households, demanding boons, often sweets and drink, from the established Church and political authorities. More ominous were mummers, roving bands of disguised men who could knock at one’s door, barge into the home, and perform a brief dance or offer a small present; in exchange, mummers expected food and drink or other valuables. At the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, exhausted from the constant partying, everyone was supposed to return to their traditional roles, although pockets of social disorder sometimes lingered. Medieval English Christmas was often more secular and vulgar than religious and spiritual.

Christmas merriment in an old English manor, 1500s. © North Wind/North Wind Picture Archives—All rights reserved.




Religious strife brought on by the Reformation interrupted the celebration of Christmas in many Protestant countries. In the Puritans’ zeal to stamp out all traces of Catholicism, the public celebration of Christmas was declared illegal during the English civil wars; similarly, the Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed Christmas celebrations between 1659 and 1681, and New Amsterdamers were forbidden to gather in public with candy, drink, and other eatables on St. Nicholas’s Day. Christmas maintained its vibrancy in Catholic countries and among Protestant denominations such as the Anglicans. In America, however, Puritans, Quakers, Calvinists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists were likely to ignore the Christmas season through the mid- to late nineteenth century because of its “popish” connotations. Foodstuffs that were once common but are now associated almost exclusively with the Christmas feast, mincemeat pies and plum puddings, were particularly suspect when served at Christmas: the rich, spiced concoctions were thought to symbolize the gifts of the Magi to the Christ Child. Popular lore holds that the Puritans made unsuccessful efforts to suppress them as holiday fare because of their evocations. By the nineteenth century, American cookery writers such as Sarah Josepha Hale condemned excessive indulgence in mincemeats and plum puddings on physiological, not theological, grounds. She felt the mixtures impeded digestion and urged concerned housewives to limit consumption to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Those who celebrated Christmas, however, did so with gusto. English cookbook author Robert May, in his Accomplish’t Cook (1685), lists a bill of fare for Christmas as celebrated “before HospitalWigilia, Polish Christmas Feast ity left this Nation.” May lists Despite the social and political upheaval in Poland in recent two courses of dishes desgenerations, or perhaps because of it, the Polish celebration of tined for the aristocratic table Boze Narodzenie (Christmas) is essentially unchanged from a that boggle the imagination. century ago. In this overwhelmingly Catholic nation, the holiday In the first course were some is preceded by the four-week liturgical season of Advent. Christ20 dishes, including oysters, the mas parties and get-togethers, making and sharing snacks and obligatory collar of brawn, a sweets, would be socially odd and religiously offensive. “grand Sallet,” roast swan, minced This spirit of anticipation culminates on the day before Christpies, a kid with pudding in his mas with a dawn-to-dusk fast. Last-minute preparations include belly, a turkey roasted and stuck setting the table with a spotless white tablecloth over a scatterwith cloves, and two large capons, ing of hay, to symbolize the holy, sinless Christ Child placed in a one larded. The second course manger. When the first star is spotted in the sky, the festivities of was a similarly dizzying kaleiWigilia (from the same Latin root as the English word vigil ) begin. The evening meal is the centerpiece of Wigilia. Traditionally doscope, including a swan pie, it’s shared only with family. The exception is an extra place set dishes of anchovies, mushrooms at the table for the unexpected guest—a stranger or someone and “cavieate,” a standing tart of with no family of their own. This custom hearkens to the Gospel puff pastry with preserved fruits, accounts of Jesus’ parents, looking for lodgings in Bethlehem dried meats’ [calves’] tongues, before the child was born. In some families, the empty setting jellies, and dishes of exotic, imhonors deceased or faraway loved ones. ported oranges and lemons.



American tables likewise Before the meal, the head of the family offers a prayer of groaned with domestic and wild thanksgiving. Special wafers of unleavened bread, called oplatek, fowl, game, meat pies, oysters, preare broken and shared around the table, a sign of family unity, served vegetables, and sweets; the harmony, and forgiveness. It’s a deeply emotional ritual, as famdiaries of William Byrd II, the govily members wish each other peace and blessings for the year ernor of Virginia, describes guests ahead. sitting down to Christmas dinner in The Wigilia dinner is a simple but ample feast. No meat is 1709 of “turkey and chine [meat, served. A typical menu includes fish, especially pickled herring possibly pork, attached to the and carp. (It’s said that the bones of the carp, carefully removed, backbone of an animal], roast apresemble a cross, a hammer, and nails, foreshadowing Christ’s crucifixion.) The red beet soup barszcz (borscht) may be served ples and wine, tongue and udder,” with sour cream. Kapusta (sauerkraut) is made with dried mushas well as other meats and searooms. For kutia, a favorite dessert, cooked wheat and poppy food. The dinner was preceded by seeds are sweetened with honey and studded with fruit and nuts. a hunt, and outdoor noisy revelAlso found are boiled potatoes, noodles with a poppy seed sauce, ries. In the context of the Southand fruit compote of dried plums and apples. ern plantation, such raucous partying largely was innocent; in FURTHER READING the cities, however, especially as Hughes, Melissa. “Polish Christmas Traditions.” Senior News & Views. urbanization and industrializaDec. 2003, p. 4. tion began to take hold, ChristKlos-Sokol, Laura. Shortcuts to Poland. Warsaw: International Publishing mas entertainments took on a Service, 2005. more sinister cast. In cities such Knab, Sophie Hodorowitz, and Mary Ann Knab. Polish Customs, Tradias New York and Philadelphia, tions, and Folklore. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1996. the old habit of mumming conKrysa, Czeslaw Michal, S.T.L. A Polish Christmas Eve: Traditions And tinued to be practiced, but now Recipes, Decorations And Song. Lewiston, NY: CWB Press, 2003. the participants were underemployed gangs of youths roamNowakowski, Jacek, and Marlene Perrin, eds. Polish Touches: Recipes and Traditions. Iowa City, IA: Penfield Press, 1996. ing the streets and demanding “Christmas cheer,” that is, food, Strybel, Robert. “Polish Christmas Game (or Quiz).” Polish News. [ondrink, and money, from intimiline], Dec. 2005. dated middle-class householders. Strybel, Robert. “Recipes.” Polish American Journal [online]. January 15, Gunfire, public drunkenness, and 2007. http://www.polamjournal.com/Library/Recipes/recipes.html. parades with ghoulish, crossdressing characters were common Christine Venzon in small villages and larger towns alike, but they often verged out of control in anonymous urban settings. These public disturbances led many who held no theological objection to Christmas to question whether the traditional community holiday was antiquated and ill-suited to the modern world. Adding to the objectionable nature of the holiday was the perceived profligacy of the upper classes at Christmas. Evening collations with pyramids of candied fruits piled high, sweet cakes, great bowls of punch, and cold platters of meats refreshed well-to-do Philadelphians at holiday balls in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much to the consternation of those who saw immoral waste in the giddy atmosphere.



CHRISTMAS AS A FAMILY HOLIDAY The Victorian focus on the family rescued Christmas from extinction, although it changed the nature of Christmas from a public festival in which all classes mixed, often with topsy-turvy social inversions, to one celebrated in the bosom of the home and with friends. Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843) provided the model for the Christmas celebration in the second half of the nineteenth century, and the images he drew still resonate nostalgically. One of Dickens’s legacies was his prescription of the family dinner as a central component of Christmas. Complete with a single, glorious roast bird, either the goose in the Dream of Christmas Present or the turkey of Ebenezer Scrooge’s real life gift to the Cratchit family, Dickens created an appealing meal affordable by most without reliance on the charity of a feudal lord. Mashed potatoes, gravy, sage-and-onion stuffing, and applesauce, all crowned by a perfectly boiled plum pudding, became standard fare for Christmas dinner in Anglophone lands. Within a few years of the publication of A Christmas Carol, cookery writers in America began recommending Christmas menus that had, at their core, the Dickens formula. For those with limited means, turkey would be the only meat offered and a special treat. Cheaper versions of the spice-heavy plum puddings were created so that virtually everyone could partake of this dish that had moved from regular fare to its status as a Christmas icon: indeed, many recipes now were denominated “Christmas plum pudding.” For those with heavier purses, copious banquets reminiscent of the bountiful meals of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries still held sway. It was not uncommon for midlate nineteenth century cookbooks to recommend multiple meat or poultry dishes, although the turkey, sometimes described as of “uncommon size,” now traditionally formed the centerpiece, supported by poultry pies, boiled ham, roast pig, roast or braised beef, or smaller game birds. The essence of Christmas dinner, however, was turkey, potatoes with gravy, cranberry or apple sauce, and mince pies, and sharing in this menu was part of what it meant to be an American: from the public kitchens feeding immigrants on Ellis Island to prisons and soup kitchens, newspapers diligently reported that all of the downtrodden were given a charitable Christmas dinner composed of these elements. By the late nineteenth century, chic hostesses and fashionable restaurants were moving away from strict homage to the Dickensian meal, although it would remain popular in cookery books geared to middle- and working-class households through much of the twentieth century. For the well-heeled, a very self-conscious evocation of a romanticized medieval feast, complete with pageantry, became an alternative Christmas tradition. As part of the neo-Gothic revival, nineteenth-century antiquarian writers explored English customs from the medieval and baroque periods, which were then popularized in the burgeoning national presses. American magazines such as St. Nicholas gave detailed instructions for creating a medieval-style celebration, complete with costumes and even

Christmas recommendations to find a compliant dog to nap beneath the dining table in homage to the Middle Ages. Elite cookbook authors recommended a “noble roast of venison” in lieu of the turkey, and by the early twentieth century, virtually any meat was considered appropriate as the centerpiece of Christmas dinner. Menus for Christmas dinner shrank by the early twentieth century, as dietary concerns and the decline of domestic help in all but the wealthiest homes changed the way most people ate. To compensate for the less abundant choices on the table, Christmas dinners became an opportunity to fashion foods into edible totems. Cookbooks boasted fanciful dishes in the red and green colors emblematic of the holiday, sporting recipes for grape salad with guava jelly; tomato aspic with green pepper rings; redand-green frosted cakes; and even grapefruit wreaths, in which grapefruit shells were filled with sweetened and sherried orange and grapefruit segments. The edges of the grapefruit shells were coated with green-tinted sugar; maraschino cherries dotted the center to form poinsettias; and silver dragées were placed on the sugared edge to emulate mercury glass ornaments. Another elaborate creation was the Christmas pear salad, a favorite of the Fannie Farmer cookbooks. It involved cutting a pear into an evergreen shape, coating it with green mayonnaise, inserting slivered almond “candles,” and placing cream cheese cubes at the base; when painted with ribbons of food coloring, the cubes looked like wrapped presents under the tree. TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FOODS AND DRINK Once Christmas was reestablished as a common holiday, certain traditional foods that otherwise were falling from fashion became associated nostalgically with the Christmas season. Most of these seasonal treats are baked goods and confections, echoing the abundant use of costly sugar during the Christmas season in late medieval and baroque kitchens. Already mentioned is the plum pudding ( plum meaning virtually any dried fruit, not the fresh fruits of the prunus genus). Although recipes varied greatly over the centuries, plum pudding generally was an elaborate concoction of candied or dried fruits, especially raisins, figs, or currants; animal fat, usually suet; spices and sweeteners; eggs; bread crumbs; flour; and some form of alcohol that was gently boiled in a pudding cloth. Plum puddings were served flambéed with liquor. Traditionally garnished with sprigs of holly and marched into the dining hall with great fanfare, the dish preceded the boar’s head in a late medieval meal. It moved to the dessert course in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with the increasing segregation of sweet from savory dishes. Plum pudding continued its distinctive place in the Christmas repertory, notwithstanding American cookery writer Eliza Leslie’s claim in her 1857 New Cookery Book that the “foolish” custom of setting plum puddings ablaze was dying out. Fashionable ladies’ magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar kept the blazing plum pudding alive in the early twentieth century as a




spectacular dish to parade into a darkened dining room, and the flaming dish still appears on restaurant Christmas menus. Another food common from medieval times through the nineteenth century was mincemeat. Like the plum pudding, its composition changed, but traditionally it was comprised of bits of finely chopped fish or meat (often leftover or from the tongue, other organs, or even the “scraggy neck”), suet, chopPreparing Plum Pudding ped nuts and apples, dried fruits, Preparation for this time-intensive undertaking begins several spices, and sweeteners that were weeks before Christmas. One custom says that plum pudding is baked in individual pastries or prepared on “Stir-Up Sunday,” one week before the start of the larger pies for sharing. In the earAdvent season. Named for a prayer in the Anglican Church that liest recipe collections, minceasks that the faith of the people be “stirred up,” Stir-Up Sunday meats were listed among the tradition dictates that each family member take a turn tossing in meat pastries; like plum puda handful of ingredients, stirring the pudding batter clockwise, ding, the dish began its miand making a wish. gration to the dessert course Once mixed, the batter is placed in a covered ceramic or tin pudding mould and gently steamed in a water bath for by the eighteenth cen tury. several hours. The steam melts the fat in the beef suet and Among the earliest Christmas causes the flour particles to expand creating a dense, cake-like menus published in America, consistency. Mrs. Crowen’s American Lady’s Once prepared, plum pudding is often aged for several Cookery Book (1847) preweeks and then served drenched with brandy and ignited as the scribed among the desserts grand culmination of the Christmas feast. It is frequently accom“two very large and ornamenpanied by hard sauce, a sweet topping of whipped butter, citrus tal mince pies, one sufficiently zest, liquor, and confectioners sugar that melts into the warm large that each of the compudding on contact. pany may be helped from it, Various legends surround the preparation and decoration of in token of common interest.” the plum pudding. A branch of holly adorning the dessert is beBy the early twentieth century, lieved to ward off witches. Decorative holly branches might be saved from one season to the next to light the fire for steaming all vestiges of meat largely had the next year’s plum pudding. been dropped from the recipes, Modern recipes may suggest placing a coin or trinket into the leading to the renaming of the batter before the plum pudding is steamed, which is supposed to pies “mince.” afford good luck to the guest who finds it in his or her portion. Fruitcakes originated no later than the Middle Ages as FURTHER READING fruited breads, slightly leavened Crump, William D. The Christmas Encyclopedia. 2nd edition. Jefferson, by barm, the yeasty by-product NC, and London: McFarland & Company, 2006. of fermenting malt liquors. Old Gulevich, Tanya. Encyclopedia of Christmas & New Years Celebrations: variations on this theme include Over 240 Alphabetically Arranged Entries Covering Christmas, New the panettone and stollen, enYear’s, and Related Days of Observance. 2nd edition. Detroit, MI: riched yeasted breads speckled Omnigraphics, 2003. with dried or candied fruits. Rombauer, Irma von Starkloff, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan By the eighteenth century, the Becker. Joy of Cooking. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. new technique of texturizing cakes by the lengthy beating of T. W. Barritt eggs, butter, and sugar spread:

Christmas Martha Washington’s cookery notebook contains a “great cake” recipe with candied and dried fruits, spices, and spirits, and by the nineteenth century, cookbooks abounded with recipes for such cakes, which might be called “Christmas,” “Twelfth Night,” “Great,” “Wedding,” or “Bride’s” cake. The labor involved (recipes often called for 30 minutes to an hour of beating) and the great quantities often used meant that these cakes were prepared for celebratory occasions when large numbers of guests would be present. They often were iced and decorated, and some recipes called for molasses to darken the cake, resembling the modern fruit cake. By the 1830s, recipes denominated fruit cake began to appear. The sugar and alcohol in the cakes gave them a long shelf life, one that has resulted in the urban legend that fruit cakes are passed from generation to generation. Gingerbread is another treat with origins at least as far back as the Middle Ages; late fourteenth-century English manuscripts offer several recipes for unleavened mixtures of ground ginger, honey, and breadcrumbs, often colored with saunders to give a warm reddish brown tone to the confection, while in Germany and Switzerland, Lebkuchen and Läckerli, heavily spiced honey wafers, were pressed into ornate molds to form intricate confections. Gingerbreads were made for a variety of holidays, including Christmas; legend credits Elizabeth I with bestowing highly decorated gingerbread men on courtiers, although gingerbread figures had been made earlier on the continent and their production eventually became the prerogative of Nuremburg’s Lebkuchen Baker’s Guild, as well as a highly protected product for French bakers in Paris, Reims, and Dijon. In particular, German immigrants to America brought recipes for these cookies, although most homemade varieties were plain cookies until the later nineteenth century, when cheaper molds and cutters made articulated shapes affordable for the average home. Molasses often substituted for more expensive honey in cookie recipes in colonial areas under British control. Cookies made with molasses resulted in a crisper cookie than those made with honey. Gingerbread men, decorated with royal icing, continue to be used as ornaments on Christmas trees, a modern holdover from the nineteenth-century custom of decorating trees with candies and small edibles. Gingerbread houses are thought to be German in origin and may have either reflected or inspired the folk tale of Hansel and Gretel. The gingerbread house is a lingering expression of the medieval subtlety, a food sculpture designed to entertain elite diners between courses. Constructed of stiff gingerbread and decorated with sugar, candies, and other edibles, the houses form a centerpiece that is consumed at the end of the holiday season. Once the province of highly skilled pastry makers and still the subject of competition among bakers, simplified versions have become a parent-child activity or the focus of holiday craft parties. In addition to gingerbreads, there is a tremendous range of Christmas cookies. Traditional Christmas cookies are flavored with spices: English jumbles (anise or caraway), Dutch Speculaas and German Spekulatius and Pfeffernüsse (mixed spices), Springerle (anise), and the “Christmas cookie,”




Santa Claus on a rooftop carrying a decorated Christmas tree, 1860s. © North Wind/North Wind Picture Archives— All rights reserved.

likely of Dutch origins, first identified in Amelia Simmon’s 1796 American Cookery (coriander seed). But as chocolate and vanilla came to dominate pastry-making in the later nineteenth century, so too, did these flavors join the pantheon of Christmas cookies. By the 1960s, cookies of virtually any description were baked for the holiday. The custom of “cookie exchanges” was first documented in 1963 in the Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, in which housewives brought dozens of cookies to a party early in the holiday season, swapped cookies with the other guests, and enjoyed coffee and a sampling of the baked confections. The idea rapidly took hold, with ladies’ and cookery magazines promoting the parties as part of the neighborly celebration of Christmas. Sugarplums, small candied seeds and nuts, have been served as part of well-to-do dinners and banquets since the late Middle Ages; in the nineteenth century, they were associated with Christmas in the popular imagination through works of art such as Moore’s Christmas poem and the 1892 ballet The Nutcracker, with its Sugar Plum Fairy. Moreover, small candies held in little baskets or paper cones were among the earliest and most popular decorations for Christmas trees. The trees originated as table-top ornaments and became popular during the nineteenth century, although they quickly outgrew their table size to become the full height trees popular now. The earliest versions of these hard sugar candies were small, white, and came in a variety of flavors. In the twentieth century, the familiar peppermint-flavored red or green-striped disks or canes were perfected. Popular lore reports that these stick candies originated in Germany in the seventeenth century as the brainchild of a choirmaster determined to amuse his young charges with little shepherd’s crooks during long services. The story is charming but dubious due to the high cost of sugar and laborious steps needed to refine sugar at that time; indeed, through the first half of the twentieth century, even after refined, inexpensive sugar was widely available,

Christmas candy canes remained a handmade confection distributed locally. Only in the 1950s, when a mechanical process was invented for their manufacture, did candy canes turn into a common Christmas treat. On a grander scale, elaborate sugar sculptures designed for Christmas graced wealthy tables well into the nineteenth century. Whether made of pure sugar or marzipan, these sugar works could be architectural centerpieces, such as the church dome illustrated in the December 1858 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book describing “Christmas for the Rich” or smaller figures placed atop of Twelfth Night Cakes, especially in England. These large cakes were often sent as gifts and formed a decorative focus of the Christmas table, to be consumed at the end of the holiday season, much in the nature of the German-inspired gingerbread houses that have proved more popular in the United States. Another illusion food is the French bûche de noël, a sponge cake that is rolled, iced, and decorated to look like a snow-covered yule log. Meringue mushrooms, marzipan leaves and acorns, and other forest flora garnish the striated buttercream frosted that evokes the bark of an oak tree. Two drinks are uniquely prepared at Christmas, and both have a long and murky history. Wassail likely originates in Anglo-Saxon and pagan observances and was related to health and fertility rites deemed auspicious around the winter solstice or shortly thereafter. Offerings were made to gods by pouring libations (spiced wine, ciders, or ales, often with toasted bread, cakes, or roasted apples added to the mix) at the bases of fruit trees to insure an abundant crop the following year. The term wassail is Old English for “your health,” and the beverage was gulped from great bowls that were passed among the participants. The tradition continues in rural England, although there is little evidence of it in colonial America, where rum punches and harder liquors were preferred holiday drinks. Eggnogs (called in earlier times syllabubs and possets) are rich, dairybased alcoholic drinks that date back hundreds of years and take various forms: milk or cream is combined with spirits, cider, or ale. Sometimes whipped egg whites would be folded in, and the mixture frequently was garnished with fresh nutmeg, an especially popular spice in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Eggnogs were essential Christmas morning refreshments, especially in the antebellum South, where the plantation master mixed the nog himself to be brought to guests still in bed. Soldiers’ diaries from the Civil War describe drinking eggnogs on Christmas morning before rising, while in the North, revelers parading in the streets demanded the highly alcoholic drink from homeowners and shopkeepers. The origin of the term eggnog is debated; it may be a contraction of egg and grog, or it may refer to the noggin, a wooden cup in which the egg-based drink was served in colonial America. Further Reading: Hadfield, Miles, and John Hadfield. The Twelve Days of Christmas. London: Cassell, 1961; Hammond, P. W. Food and Feast in Medieval England. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, England, and Dover, NH: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1993; Henisch, Bridget Ann. Cakes and Characters: An English Christmas



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Tradition. London: Prospect Books, 1984; Kaufman, Cathy. “The Ideal Christmas Dinner.” Gastronomica 4:4 (2004), 17–25; Kaufman, Cathy. “Christmas.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Edited by Andrew F. Smith. Volume 1, pp. 246–250. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; Miles, Clement A. Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance. New York: Dover Publications, 1976 [republication of Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan, 1912]; Nissenbaum, Stephen. The Battle for Christmas. New York: Alfred A. Knopf House, 1996; Olver, Lynn, ed. Food Timeline. http:// www.foodtimeline.org/christmasfood.html [an excellent Web site with many links and bibliographic information]; Rodgers, Rick. Christmas 101: Celebrate the Holiday Season From Christmas to New Year’s. New York: Broadway Books, 1999; Shoemaker, Alfred L. Christmas in Pennsylvania: A Folk-Cultural Study. Kutztown, PA: Pennsylvania Folklife Society, 1959; Snyder, Phillip V., and Roy Coggin. The Christmas Tree Book: The History of the Christmas Tree and Antique Christmas Tree Ornaments. Harmondsworth, England, and New York: Penguin, 1977; Turgeon, Charlotte. Cooking for Christmas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1950; Weaver, William Woys, and Jeremy Orabona. The Christmas Cook: Three Centuries of American Yuletide Sweets. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990.

Cathy K. Kaufman

Civil War SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY Southern hospitality set the American standard for entertaining during the middle of the nineteenth century. It was born of necessity in the South where sweeping distances between plantations produced few travelers and left the intervening countryside bereft of the small villages, taverns, inns, and other so-called public houses that dotted the New England landscape. While the North had grown in the number of towns and eating establishments found along its entangled by-ways during the nineteenth century, the South had developed largely as a series of county seats— populated only on so-called court days and anchoring a widespread network of largely self-sufficient plantations. Few accommodations appeared anywhere in the South except in large cities like Charleston or New Orleans, or along the most heavily used commercial lines of travel. Frederick Law Olmstead traveling in the South in the 1850s noted that during a six-month journey he had come upon public accommodations less than once a week. It was a generally recognized custom in the South that a traveler might ask for lodging at any private home happened upon as nightfall approached. There was often a considerable gap between the expectation of hospitality and its reality, however. Some Northern travelers found Southern homeowners standoffish or rude, and their fare wretched. Southerners deeply resented such representations. Part of the problem arose from inaccurate Northern expectations that hospitality meant receiving and entertaining guests

Civil War without remuneration, and they were repelled by forthright demands for payment. Southerners saw hospitality as the kindness extended to a complete stranger with regard to food and shelter (much like that expected of a tavern or inn keeper), and they had no compunction about declaring an exact price expected of an approaching traveler who suddenly appeared uninvited at their door. Many reports of inhospitable Southern homeowners can be regarded as mere misunderstandings of this sort, but as the secession crisis loomed larger at least some Southerners vowed to show any Yankee who approached seeking hospitality just how paltry the situation could be. One of the best newspaper sketch artists of the Civil War period was William Waud, a Northerner. Waud worked for Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine and proved particularly adept at ingratiating himself with the social elite of South Carolina during the antebellum period. Because of his paper’s generally uncommitted stance on secession, and its balanced coverage of the war thereafter, wherever Waud traveled he found individuals to be cooperative and helpful. The paper’s owner, Frank Leslie, instructed Waud to use the utmost care in making his sketches and to avoid giving any indication of political sympathies toward one side or the other when staying in a Southern household. Waud noted that he usually received hospitality free of charge if the household was one of means; or that he was asked to pay only a token charge of just one dollar for which he was furnished with supper, lodging, breakfast, and fodder for his horse. Travelers from the South, especially those of “quality,” may have been treated differently below the Mason-Dixon Line than those from other sections of the country. Southerner travelers commonly reported warm receptions, which always found “room for one more” in even the humblest abodes, and gracious hostesses, who seemed to be able to repeat the miracle of loaves and fishes for any number of unexpected guests. Certainly, what elevated the concept of Southern hospitality to its exalted status was the repeated report of lavish presentations and courtesies extended to invited guests, distant relations, and sudden visitors, who presented formal letters of introduction to prominent plantation owners. Such guests were a grade above the itinerant traveler and could anticipate a fine room, the assistance of servants or slaves in preparing their dress, luxuriant presentations of abundant food and drink, and the free use of the plantation’s amenities such as the use of a horse or a carriage, access to the library, and freedom among the gardens and grounds. Period letters and journals often described a daily regimen of multicourse meals that in other sections of the country would normally be reserved for holiday feasts or special occasions. One breakfast description from the late antebellum period included cornbread, buckwheat cakes, boiled chicken, bacon, eggs, hominy, fish (both fresh and pickled), oyster casserole, and beefsteak all served at a single sitting. An equally impressive dinner began with a rich soup and continued with a saddle of mutton, ham, beef, turkey, duck, eggs with greens, potatoes, beets, and hominy. Afterwards champagne was circulated followed by desserts including plum pudding,



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tarts, ice cream, preserves, and brandied fruits. In the late evening figs, raisins, and almonds were made available along with wine, port, or Madeira; brandy and cigars for the men in the drawing room; and sweet treats specifically reserved for the ladies in the parlor. The threat of war and the opening of hostilities in 1861, of course, brought about many shortages in the South, and it effectively and quickly impoverished the plantations. A poor system of transportation prevented the Confederacy’s small resources from being effectively distributed throughout the South. Furthermore, the blockade of Southern ports ordered by President Lincoln caused great hardship with respect to the finer luxuries normally stocked on the plantation. Nonetheless, the dedication to traditional hospitality seemingly survived, if with a limited palette of amenities. At the commencement of the war, virtually all of the South’s most fertile land was devoted to agriculture. The North, which relied so much on industrialization, might thereby be seen to have been at a disadvantage with regard to food but the reverse was true. Northern and Midwestern farmers increased their planting to support the war effort putting into production a great deal of virgin land. The Homestead Act was quickly passed in 1862, granting free land to anyone willing to plant it. This virgin soil produced impressive yields, unlike the over-farmed Southern soil. As the war progressed and was continually fought on Southern soil, Southern crops were destroyed. Cornelia Peake McDonald, a Southern diarist, described a visit by federal troops. She reported that they pulled up the potatoes and did not stop after getting enough for dinner, but continued, amid roars of laughter and defiant looks, to pull them till all were lying on the ground to wither in the sun. The destruction of the spuds, which were no larger than peas, seemed so wanton that she was provoked beyond enduring. The war placed the institution of hospitality under a siege equally as violent as any that occurred on the field of battle. The hard hand of war drove many Southern families to flee from the Yankees as they occupied increasingly larger portions of the South. It has been estimated that up to 200,000 Southerners, mostly refugees, were on the move during the war years. White refugees often took their slaves with them to keep them from the hands of the Federals. Many refugees looked to family, relations, and friends to provide hospitality and a safe haven. The states of the trans-Mississippi west like Texas and Arkansas seemed the safest, but riding herd on dozens of slaves through unfamiliar territory was difficult with a Federal army on your heels offering immediate freedom to your bondsmen. Dense crowds of people thronged the streets moving their meager belongings in carriages, carts, wheelbarrows, or piled high on the backs of slaves. Every sort of man, woman, or child made their way to the railway cars, or trudged down the dusty roads away from the advancing Federal lines. Economic shortages, strained agricultural productivity, and social upheaval beset civilians in various forms. Like brave soldiers themselves, many civilians managed to stand apart from the war and cope with its vagaries

Civil War while trying to preserve some semblance of their social order, standard of living, and values. Thus, even though the war might rage at their very doorsteps, the civilians lived through it and in spite of it. As the war dragged on from months into years, Southern soldiers undertook the “terrible necessity” of depriving friendly families of most of their stock of food in order to feed the army. Yet, some soldiers voluntarily cut cord wood, helped with harvesting the garden patch, repaired farm machinery, or toiled at any other farm work in repayment for the willing donation of food. A favorite ploy of Southern soldiers was to linger about the house of an unsuspecting farm family until they were at supper, “and then modestly approach and knock at the door.” This procedure almost always resulted in an invitation to dinner as “honored guests.” Such hospitality was even extended to a Federal soldier, who wrote in his diary, “I succeeded in getting a meal from a lusty colored woman who lived in a small cabin; gave her fifty cents and had a fine meal of fresh pork, sweet potatoes, and pones.” HOLIDAY FEASTING During the prewar period, holidays like the Fourth of July, New Year, and Christmas were marked by feasting. In New England, the feasting and drinking that characterized the celebration of the Christmas season was thought sinful. But some attitudes began to change when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert began to celebrate the holiday in the 1840s and made such observances fashionable. Nonetheless, it was not until 1856 that Christmas was recognized as a legal holiday in Massachusetts, where it had once been legally prohibited. In the South, Christmas was a particularly important part of the social season and was celebrated with balls, hunts, and extended visits. The first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South, and by 1865 more than two dozen Southern jurisdictions observed it as a legal holiday. Holiday guests on remote Southern plantations at Christmas time usually came for an entire week. One plantation mistress noted that some of her neighbors had 30 and sometimes 40 guests in the house “all the holiday.” Preparations for such extravaganzas commenced weeks in advance of the arrival of any guests and would have been impossible without a staff of reliable and efficient servants or slaves. The mistress, anticipating the extension of the household, would stockpile puddings, fruitcakes, and preserves; bed linens, towels, and napkins; and sufficient attire for herself and her family to satisfy the social scene throughout the holiday. Christmas Eve day might feature a hunt for pheasant or blue-winged teal. That night the Yule log was brought in and springs of holly might be thrown into the fire to ward off evil spirits. Cinnamon-soaked apples were hung from a string from which the children were to try to secure them with a hands-free bite. Successful youngsters were rewarded with the entire apple. Finally, the children hung their stockings from the mantel before retiring hoping to find them filled with surprises the next morning.



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Slaves, working under the supervision of the plantation mistress, were hard pressed during the preparations for such a holiday; and they were kept busy picking up after guests, clearing and cleaning, making additional meals, and doing added laundry. Nonetheless, in all but the meanest plantation houses, slaves were generally given extra holiday rations of rice, sugar, coffee, tobacco, and other treats at holiday time. They, in return, sometimes presented the mistress with items that they had raised in their own little farm patches, handmade baskets, or carved wooden items like candlesticks or animal figures. While the length of the holiday period given to slaves varied, even the harshest masters seemingly allowed their slaves at least a three-day holiday at Christmas time. The planter’s family usually supplied an ox and other provisions to their slaves for these festivities. Slaveowners often passed out bolts of fabric known as yardage to their slaves on the day after Christmas. From these slaves were to fashion a new set of clothes. Some slaves bartered with other members of the black community or with members of the white household for castoff clothing so that they might be better attired for evening festivities among the slave cabins. Slaves often decorated the slave quarters with natural materials such as greenery, gourds, shells, and persimmons, and many slave communities brought in their own Yule log. Slave children were entertained with storytelling, music, singing, dancing, and sweet treats. NORTHERN CORDIALITY Nearly all Americans in the nineteenth century ate their meals at home or in the homes of their hosts. Regardless of the menu, home-cooked dinners were heavy meals filled with meat, potatoes, eggs, and vegetables. All these might be fried in butter, lard, or bacon grease. Moreover, Northern families tended to eat quickly. The only leisurely portion of the daily meal coming at noon when fathers returned home from their shops or lay down in the fields for a short nap. Otherwise, Northerners generally bolted their food as if on a schedule. There was often little ceremony associated with family eating beyond a rigid adherence to what was widely called “manners.” Families that indulged themselves at the table generally ate light meals composed of cold cuts of meat, potato salads, and fresh fruit. Vegetables were rarely eaten without first being cooked or combined into salads or relishes. After washing the supper dishes the family, and any guests, settled down to a quiet evening of reading, music, or an occasional table game. Schoolwork was usual for the children; the newspaper for father; and letter writing for mother. Reading aloud to the group from a novel was a popular activity. Board and card games were just becoming popular at midcentury, and there was a seemingly overwhelming necessity that such games have a moral or educational purpose. Boarders, most of whom were unrelated to the family by blood, might join in these activities, and neighbors might stop by for a chat. Few Northern families were so liberal as to spend

Civil War any part of their evening among the servants. These would gather in the kitchen or in their own living quarters. Saturday evenings often found families entertaining friends at home. Visitors might share a meal followed by many of the same diversions pursued on a weekday evening. These weekend gatherings called for the hosts to follow the period’s rather unforgiving rules of etiquette, and middle-class families attempting to move up the social ladder were sometimes pretentious in their manner. High tea often became a late-afternoon or earlyevening alternative to the fashionable dinner for middle-class families. Upper-class households in the North and Midwest were as fully capable as any Southern plantation of putting forth an extravaganza. The formal dinner party was a highly ritualized event appropriately begun in the late evening. Etiquette demanded that guests be no more than 15 minutes late. Everyone assembled in the drawing room, and the host told each gentleman which lady to escort down to dinner. Couples were not seated together and made conversation with others. Since the guests did not stay over night, these fashionable late dinners were largely restricted to urban communities and were somewhat unsuited to country life, where visitors would have to travel large distances in the dark to get home. In rural areas eating a meal in public—outside the immediate family— was an unusual event. Public dining was offered only in taverns or ordinaries with the exception of community outdoor dinners on special occasions such as the Fourth of July. Travelers were forced by circumstances to take their meals at taverns and inns. While local men also frequented these establishments to drink, they generally did not eat there unless the establishment had been catered for a dance, a party, or a ball. Meals at these establishments were not brought out on demand, but were served only during specified times. A British visitor to America complained, “At each house there are regular hours for breakfast, dinner and supper and if a traveler arrives somewhat before the appointed time for any one of them, it is in vain to call for a separate meal for himself; he must wait patiently until the appointed hour, and then sit down with the other guests that may happen to be in the house.” The food served in taverns could be considered home cooking. It was unpretentious and very much in the style of the Northeast region. Both food quality and portion size varied greatly from establishment to establishment and seems to have been generally considered parsimonious and unremarkable unless it was very bad. After eating at a tavern in Massachusetts, author Nathaniel Hawthorne remarked that the meal included no meat and was about the worst he had ever had to eat. Some offerings were incredibly meager. Hawthorne recalled seeing a group of young college students being served what was typically a children’s breakfast of bread and milk, with a huge common washbowl of milk and a platter of bread in the center of the table, and a bowl and spoon set for each guest. Other meals were reported as being quite substantial. A full-scale New England breakfast at one inn reportedly included ham, beef, sausages, pork, bread, butter, boiled potatoes, pies, coffee, and cider.



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By the time of the Civil War, many taverns in the North had been replaced by hotels offering guests breakfast and supper as well as a room. One of the unique features of nineteenth-century urbanization was the appearance of commercial hotels. Among the first luxury hotels was the Astor House of New York City and the Tremont House of Boston. The latter was considered by many to be the best hotel in the country at the time. Its 170 rooms featured door locks, a wash basin, and a pitcher of water. A free cake of soap was given to each guest. There were eight indoor toilets and bathrooms distributed throughout the building. The Tremont had a highly trained staff that included the first bell-boys and 24-hour hotel desk-clerks. The hotel was noted for the fine French cuisine to be found in its restaurant. Good food soon became a common feature in major hotels and urban dwellers flocked to hotel restaurants just to eat or entertain friends. Hotels became a gathering place for men of politics and business, and the lobbies, salons, and dining areas became places of public and private business. In response a growing number of city restaurants began to serve midday meals to businessmen in an attempt to compete with the high quality cooking found in the hotels. Delmonico’s was soon recognized by the New York elite for its culinary excellence, and the upper classes flocked to eat there. The Union

Illustration by Thomas Nast of Abraham Lincoln in Willard’s Hotel in Washington, on the eve of his inauguration, 1861. Library of Congress.

Civil War Oyster House restaurant opened its doors in Boston at a time when the nation was seemingly in the throws of a raw shellfish craze. In addition to oysters, clams and scallops were served in season. The owners of the Union Oyster House installed a semi-circular oyster bar where the fabled Senator Daniel Webster was a regular customer. One of the best-known hotels was Willard’s Hotel in Washington, D.C., which served during the Civil War as a meeting place of politicians, generals, and presidents. Abraham Lincoln first came to Willard’s as a congressman in 1849 to attend a meeting of the supporters of President Zachary Taylor, and he stayed there rather than at a rented house prior to his own inauguration in 1861. The First Family occupied Parlor No. 6, a pricey corner suite of rooms on the second floor, and they entertained persons of importance in the Willard’s fine set of public rooms and parlors. The bill for the 10-day stay was more than $770 (U.S. dollars). Lincoln departed from Willard’s for his inauguration and returned there afterwards for a celebratory luncheon consisting of mock turtle soup, corned beef and cabbage, parsley potatoes, and blackberry pie. While president, he conducted official business at Willard’s many times, and he entertained visitors in Willard’s wide variety of suites and public rooms. Hundreds of officers and men were engaged in the day-to-day duty of providing food for the troops. The overall responsibility fell to the Subsistence Department in Washington, headed by a commissary general who contracted for the various types of rations with private manufacturers or packers. The foodstuffs were then apportioned to the respective army commissaries, and by them, in turn, to the corps, brigade, and regimental commissaries. They were then distributed to the troops. The government rations distributed to the troops varied slightly with the season and the availability of local supply. Nonetheless, a complete list of all the possibilities is short. These included hardtack, coffee, sugar, soft bread, flour, rice, cornmeal, dried peas, dried beans, desiccated vegetables or dried fruits, fresh or dried potatoes (called chips), salt pork, bacon or ham, pickled beef (called salt horse), fresh meat, and occasionally onions, molasses, salt, pepper, and vinegar. With only a rudimentary understanding of balanced nutrition, it is a wonder that any soldier survived the war on such a diet. However, the standard ration provided a daily average of over 3,000 calories, heavy in carbohydrates and fats, but providing few vitamins or complete proteins. There were two standard rations in the federal army. One was the camp ration, and the other was the campaign or marching ration. The camp ration tended to be more diverse, and for one soldier in the federal army consisted of meat (1¼ lbs. of salted or fresh beef, or 3/4 lb. of pork or bacon); and bread (1 lb., 6 oz. of soft bread or flour, or 1 lb. of hardtack, or 1¼ lbs. of cornmeal). He also received approximately 1½ ounces of dried vegetables, rice, dried potatoes, peas, or beans. Fresh potatoes were to be had, but fresh vegetables were rare and allotted in only very small quantities. Salt and pepper were allowed in minuscule quantities. About1/2



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ounce of vinegar was provided for each man daily to help prevent scurvy. About the same amount of molasses was allowed when available. The marching ration consisted of 1 lb., or 8 crackers, of hard bread; 3/4 lb. of salt pork, or 1¼ lbs. of fresh meat; sugar, coffee, and salt. The beans, rice, and so on, were not issued to the soldier when on the march, as he could not carry them. When fresh meat was not available the enlisted men were provided with a basic preserved meat ration of pork—boiled ham, salt pork, or bacon being most common. The vitamin deficiencies and the lack of protein in the rations of the common soldier could have been devastating. An unrelieved diet of cornmeal and salt pork, while sufficient in calories, would ultimately produce such diseases as scurvy and pellagra. Fresh meats will provide protein but cannot afford sufficient protein to make up the deficit alone. Both beans and cornmeal are high protein sources but are individually incomplete in amino acids; yet, in combination they are complementary and provide all the essentials needed to sustain health. Rice and peas are another complementary pair with similar characteristics. In offering these pairs among a small variety of foodstuffs, the government unwittingly supplied a nearly complete diet to its soldiers, yet the unresolved question of a lack of essential vitamins had serious health consequences that cost many lives. With respect to camp cooking, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank found themselves in surprisingly similar situations. Each soldier was obliged to use only the limited array of cookware that he could carry. A coffee boiler of some sort was considered a necessity, and any utensil that could serve as a frying pan became indispensable. A particularly common cookware solution was to unsolder the seam between the two halves of an extra canteen acquired from the battlefield. Each half served as a tolerable lightweight frying pan or plate and could be carried strapped over the canteen. Tin cans with wire handles served as tolerable coffee boilers. As with the soldiers of most wars, Civil War soldiers quickly adopted any serviceable device that proved light to carry and easy to replace. Further Reading: Haskell, E. F. Civil War Cooking: The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia. Mendocino, CA: R. L. Shep, 1992; McIntosh, Elaine N. American Food Habits in Historical Perspective. Westport, CT: Greenwood / Praeger Press, 1995; Mitchell, Patricia B. Cooking for the Cause. Chatham, VA: Sims-Mitchell House, 1988; Root, Waverly, and Richard de Rouchemont. Eating in America: A History. New York: William Morrow, 1976; Spaulding, Lily May, and John Spaulding, eds. Civil War Recipes: Recipes from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1999; Swartwelder, A. C. “This Invaluable Beverage: The Recollections of Dr. A. C. Swartwelder.” Civil War Times Illustrated. October, 1975, pp. 10–11; Trager, James. The Food Chronology. New York: Henry Holt, 1995; Volo, Dorothy Denneen, and James M. Volo. Daily Life in Civil War America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998; Volo, Dorothy Denneen and James M. Volo. The Antebellum Period. Westport, CT: Greenwood

Cocktails Press, 2004; Williams, Susan. Food in the United States, 1820s-1890. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.

James M. Volo

Cocktails A cocktail is a drink made up of an alcoholic beverage mixed with other alcoholic beverages and/or fruit juices or sodas. At a cocktail party these drinks are the main attraction, supplemented by hors d’oeurves and lots of so-called cocktail chatter. The story of the cocktail and the parties that were designed around it begins with the discovery of the new world, and the introduction of sugar. The sugarcane that Christopher Columbus introduced sparked quite a trade between the colonies and the West Indies. Sugarcane was a hot commodity. American colonists found many uses for the spice, but one of their favorites was to use the molasses left over from sugar production to make rum. The first still was erected on Staten Island in 1640 to make gin. The colonists were also drinking imported wines, Madeira, port, sherry, champagne, and brandy. Locally, they started to make cider from the native apples. In 1698, a Scottish distiller named William Laird began to distill brandy from hard apple cider, making America’s first branded native spirit, Applejack (apple brandy.) People have been combining alcohol with other liquids for centuries. The Ancient Romans mixed wine with honey, herbs, and spices, and the Elizabethans mixed beer with eggs and spices. The British Navy drank grog in the seventeenth century. Grog, water and rum, was popular during long voyages at sea, to get the sailors to drink water, and in particular, water that was stale. The drink is dated to 1655, the year Jamaica was invaded by the navy, and instead of loading up with beer and wine at port, it was rum that was available. Grog got its name from Vice Admiral William Penn (father of the founder of Pennsylvania), who was known for wearing a black waterproof cloak made of grogam, and hence nicknamed, “Old Grog.” A Sling, circa 1675, added one more ingredient and was comprised of one half water and one half rum, with sugar to taste. Punches were quite elaborate in comparison. Dated to the end of the seventeenth century, punch was most likely a mix made by English sailors and merchants who experimented with the Indian spices discovered during their travels. The word punch comes from the Hindi word, panch meaning “five.” A traditional punch is made from five ingredients: liquor, sugar, citrus juice, tea (or other spice), and water. According to historian Dave Wondrich, it was in the late 1700s and early 1800s, somewhere in the commercial and legislative triangle of Albany, Boston, and New York, that rumblings of the cocktail began. In 1806 the New York publication, Balance and Columbian Repository answered a




reader’s query asking about a new word, cocktail. The publication responded by defining the word: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling.” This statement is considered the official birth to the cocktail as printed on May 13, 1806. Although the true origin of the word cocktail is unknown, there have certainly been some fun theories like that of tavern-keeper Betsey Flanagan, who supposedly served drinks to French soldiers in 1779 garnished with feathers she had plucked from a neighbor’s rooster. The soldiers then toasted her by shouting, “Vive le cocktail!” Or, H. L. Mencken’s citing of a more plausible theory in his The American Language, “The word comes from the French coquetier, an egg cup, and was first used in New Orleans soon after 1800.” This makes reference to the once favored notion that the cocktail stems from the drinks served by Antoine Amedee Peychaud, a New Orleans pharmacist who sold drinks out of his Royal Street apothecary using the French coquetiers and featured his famed Peychaud Bitters. And thus, overtime, the French word was simply mutated into a Creole or American pronunciation of cocktail. A theory now rendered implausible because further research proves that Peychaud was not born until 1803. Wondrich claims that the best explanation for the term comes from the world of horse racing. A horse that was of mixed-breed was known as a cock-tail. Therefore, it would not be too much of a leap to assume that the drinking set of the time would also be the sporting set attending races. Also, in a literal adaptation, cocktails were a “mixing” of ingredients. By the 1820s the roster of cocktails had grown to include the Apple Toddy (apple brandy, baked apple, sugar, hot water), Gin Cocktail (gin, gum syrup, bitters, Curacoa), and Mint Julep (brandy or rum, mint, sugar). The ice plow was invented in 1830 and gave the “cocktail” its life force. Bartenders of the time were professionals and specialists who apprenticed to learn their craft, which now included the hand carving and shaving of ice. They served their concoctions in the finest social setting, the hotel bar. America was growing up and becoming sophisticated, and the cocktail became the liquid resemblance of sophistication. In 1862 a major milestone was achieved in the life of the cocktail. A bartender named Jerry Thomas wrote the first cocktail book, How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion. Thomas, who was dubbed the “Professor, ” had traveled extensively and compiled a list of 230 drink recipes. He followed up with a second edition of his book, and his writings were soon followed by those of other talented barmen of the day. These books documented the evolution of the cocktail and listed new recipes and ingredients, as well as new improvements in bar-ware, and standards of bar service. The golden age of the American drink and bar culture had arrived. Many of the cocktails that we celebrate today come from the late 1800s: the Alexander, the Champagne Cocktail, the Grasshopper, the Fizz, the Gimlet, the Highball, the Manhattan, the Martini, the Old-Fashioned, the Sour, the Stinger, and the Sazerac. Each one of these cocktails has a least

Cocktails one story of origin but one thing is certain: these cocktails are the classics, from which all others are derived. After the Civil War the decline of the cocktail began as the Temperance Movement came into being. In 1893 the Anti-Saloon League was formed giving strength to the movement. As author Gary Regan writes in his book The Joy of Mixology, “By 1910 almost half the people in the United States were living in ‘dry’ states or towns, and after America declared war on Germany in 1917, distillation of beverage alcohol was made illegal so that the grape and grain would be eaten rather than sipped.” On January 17, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act formally commenced and Prohibition went into effect. If the so-called morally sound were concerned that Americans were drinking too much before 1920, they could not imagine the thirsty trove they had just awoken. With the dry legislation barely in effect the landscape of drinking culture had already adapted the rules. On January 18, 1920, the 50–50 Club opened in Manhattan. The 50–50 Club was soon followed by other clubs called speakeasies, like the Cotton Club, the Hi Hat, and the 21 Club. Drinkers were sent in a hush behind closed doors where they intermingled as never before. Women, who were previously shut out of the saloons and men’s clubs, were standing cocktail to cocktail with men of all standings. Much can be written about the 13-year experiment of Prohibition, but what was important about this time, in relation to the cocktail, was the decline in popularity of the profession of bartending. Many of these professionals had gone off to war and the ones remaining were now jobless. Although cocktails were somewhat readily available at the nicer speakeasies, no self-respecting man, especially a family man, would continue to work in the now marred industry. The more passionate and astute bartenders found themselves leaving the country and exporting with them the American craft of the cocktail. They left the States and headed to lush hot spots like Cuba, London, Paris, and Venice. One example was Harry Craddock. A steadfast New York bartender, Craddock had worked at the Hoffman House and Holland House—two of the finest hotel bars of the Golden Era. Overseas he was employed at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London. From behind the mahogany bar of this new venture Craddock helped usher in a new era of cocktails by using the foreign ingredients and exotic liquors that were native to Europe. Many were the standard pre-Prohibition cocktails from the American bar, but there was also a list of some 280 “perfected” cocktails that feature the new European mixtures. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and within the first years he was in office the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed (December 5, 1933). President Roosevelt was known for having an afternoon Martini and was the first to popularize adding olive brine to his gin and vermouth. Unfortunately, although most Americans had never stopped drinking, Prohibition had left a terrible scar in the culinary traditions of drink culture.




The professional bartender was a thing of the past. Many of their methods were lost to the men at war or to men who had long since found a new way to make ends meet. The 13-year dry spell fostered a new breed of unSome of the most popular cocktails are: educated drinkers with naive thirst. The two cocktails that made it Old Fashioned out of Prohibition with the least 2.5 oz bourbon or rye whiskey amount of damage were the simple and strong Martini and Man1 sugar cube hattan. 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Throughout the 1930s and Few drops of water 1940s, the embattled cocktail persevered. It was ever the symCombine, add ice, and garnish with an orange peel. bol for elegance and seduction. The cocktail was a leading lady in Tom Collins Hollywood, featured in the hands 2 oz dry gin of celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. The cock3.75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice tail was the ultimate heroine to 3.75 oz simple syrup Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and Combine, shake, and strain over ice. Top with club soda and garnish was serenaded by the likes of Cole with a lemon wedge and cherry. Porter and Duke Ellington. Supper clubs, including the Brown Derby, Manhattan El Morroco, Sardi’s, and the Stork 2 oz rye whiskey Club, had also emerged, and it was in these sophisticated haunts that 1 oz sweet vermouth the Martini, Daiquiri, and Side 1 dash Angostura Bitters Car reigned supreme. Combine and stir with ice, strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with a During Prohibition, Americherry, or lemon peel. cans traveled to get a drink. From those travels came a fascination Martini with tropical and Polynesian-style 2.5 oz dry gin drinks. In 1934, an enterprising young gent named Ernest Beau0.5 oz dry vermouth mont-Gantt opened a bar and 1 dash orange bitters restaurant called Don the BeachCombine and stir with ice, strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with comber, located in Hollywood. It lemon twist. was an exclusive and expensive affair that was frequented by a Margarita celebrity set that included Char2 oz tequila lie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, and Howard Hughes. Not long after, a 1 oz Cointreau man named Victor Bergeron, who 3.75 oz freshly squeezed lime juice was inspired by Don’s, reinvented Combine and shake with ice, strain into a salt-rimmed glass with fresh his existing bar called Hinkyice, and garnish with a lime wedge. Dinks located just outside of



Oakland, California, and called it Cosmopolitan Trader Vic’s. These two landmark 1.5 oz citron vodka bars shepherded in an entirely new genre of drinks and a new 0.5 oz Cointreau sub-culture. The Mai Tai, Scor1 oz cranberry juice pion Bowl, and Zombie are a few 0.25 oz freshly squeezed lime juice from this era, as well as glimpses Combine and shake with ice, strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with of the Tequila-based cocktail, the an orange peel. Margarita. As America settled into the 1950s, the Martini was still the favorite tipple, but the landscape had changed. The clear, odorless, Russian spirit, vodka, had stealthily maneuvered its way into the beloved Martini. The instantly fashionable spirit was the base of the cocktails of the day: the Bloody Mary, the Moscow Mule, and the Screwdriver. The 1960s and 1970s were dismal years for the cocktail. America was involved in the Vietnam War abroad and an idealistic counter-culture war raged at home. The only real drink that was hanging around in the 1960s was the Vodka Martini and that was mostly due to the film endorsement of James Bond. The youth of the time did not want to embody anything that was associated with the generation before them. Cocktails were out and drugs were in. If the cocktails of that era are any indication, those Americans who were drinking seemed to be drinking to get drunk, as the cocktails— Cape Codder, Harvey Wallbanger, Rusty Nail, and Tequilla Sunrise—are extremely potent. In the 1980s there seemed to be a collective ideal change among many of the innovators in the food and beverage world. No longer satisfied with the prepackaged, canned, and engineered ingredients, a shift was occurring to fresh, local ingredients and high-quality produce, with fewer additives. In the kitchen, chefs were going back to basics, using classic methods to reinvigorate the culinary world. In 1987, a legendary restaurateur, Joe Baum, opened the Promenade Bar in the newly restored Rainbow Room in New York City. Baum had a vision of creating an old-style bar that mattered, where drinks were classic and made to perfection. His goal was to use only fresh and natural ingredients, not pre-made mixes, and he hired bartender Dale Degroff to realize that vision. Thanks to the grand bar in the Rainbow Room, Dale Degroff began the restoration of the cocktail to its former glory. Another resounding moment for the cocktail came in the early 1990s when, thanks to the resurgence of classics like the Martini, a new cocktail appeared on the scene, the Cosmopolitan. All of a sudden the pink blend was everywhere! The Cosmopolitan became the mediator that got America drinking cocktails again. It also helped that it was the official mascot for Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex in the City generation. Now, patrons could walk into almost any bar, lounge, or restaurant, and expect to find a cocktail list: a list that usually included a variety of classics, and, more importantly,


Coffeehouses in London

new house cocktails. Innovation and artistry had finally made their way back to the bar and into the cocktail. Further Reading: Baime, A. J. Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze. New York: New American Library/ Penguin Books, 2003; Baker, Charles H., Jr. The Gentleman’s Companion. New York: The Derrydale Press, 1939; Conrad, Barnaby, III. The Martini. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1995; Coulombe, Charles A. Rum: The Epic Story of the Drink that Conquered the World. New York: Citadel Press Books / Kensington Publishing, 2004; Craddock, Harry. The Savoy Cocktail Book. London: Pavillion Books, 1930, 1999 [updated edition]; DeGroff, Dale. The Craft of the Cocktail. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers/Random House, 2002; Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, 1949; Grimes, William. Straight Up OR On the Rocks: A Cultural History of American Drink. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993; Haigh, Ted. Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. Gloucester, MA: Quarry Books, 2004; Lanza, Joseph. The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirits on the American Psyche. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995; “Mixellany.” Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail, Volume One, 2005. Jared Brown. http://www.mixellany.com; “Mixellany.” Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail, Volume Two, 2006. Jared Brown. http://www.mixellany. com; Regan, Gary. The Joy of Mixology. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers/ Random House, 2003; Steed, Tobias, and Ben Reed. Hollywood Cocktails. Minocqua, WI: Willow Creek Press, 1999; Thomas, Jerry. The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion. New Day Publishing, 1862 [reprinted 2004]; Wondrich, David. Esquire Drinks: An Opinionated & Irreverent Guide to Drinking. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2003.

RECOMMENDED WEB SITES http://www.cocktailchronicles.com http://www.cocktaildb.com http://www.cocktailtimes.com http://www.drinkboy.com http://www.lairdandcompany.com http://www.martinirepublic.com

Christy Pope and Chad Solomon

Coffeehouses in London Coffeehouses emerged in the major cities of Western Europe after 1650 as venues for the consumption of the newly introduced beverages coffee, tea, and chocolate. They proved hugely popular and by 1700 there were more than 500 such establishments in London alone. Ostensibly based on those of the Moslem Middle East from whence coffee had come—many of the early London houses had Eastern-sounding names such as The Turk’s Head and The Sultanese—they also followed in the mold of taverns, being places where men from a wide section of society could meet, drink, and conduct business.

Coffeehouses in London However, coffeehouses quickly developed their own atmosphere and functions that were in many ways in stark contrast to those of taverns. Coffee had brought with it from the East a reputation for promoting calm, rational, intellectual debate and was believed to stimulate mental activity and heighten perceptions. It was also believed to be good for one’s health. Concerns about healthy living were associated with the increasingly important middle-class virtue of respectability. In addition, drinking coffee was fashionable because of its exotic origins and because royalty, for example, the court of Louis IX of France, were among the earliest Western consumers of coffee. As a result, participating in coffeehouse society strongly appealed to urban middle-class males—clerks, merchants, businessmen, and the like— who were in need of a venue to display the respectability that drinking coffee conferred but who were also interested in being fashionable without spending a lot of money. Coffeehouses were popular with the literati, intellectuals, artists, and philosophers as a place for serious and enlightening discussion. Noted diarist Samuel Pepys recorded many visits to various coffeehouses around London. A poem of the time referred to them as “penny universities”; places where for the price of a cup of coffee, a man could immerse himself in discussions of current developments in art, literature, and thought. The decor attempted to reflect this intellectual bent. Coffeehouses were often pleasantly furnished with bookshelves and framed pictures, and were generally clean and bright compared to the dark and dirty taverns. The “Rules and Orders of the Coffee Houses” set down in 1674 encouraged “brisk” conversation but forbade arguments—whoever started a conversation had to buy a “round” of coffee. Such behavior was also in stark contrast to taverns where the authorities regularly intervened to keep the peace. Indeed, the clientele themselves may have seen their coffeehouses as a sort of Utopia—democratic institutions, peopled by intelligent men discussing matters of great significance, subject to their own rules. Presumably, it was this sort of thinking that in 1672 led Charles II to issue a proclamation attempting to close coffeehouses on the grounds that they were a breeding ground for sedition. Public outcry meant that it was never enforced. Although coffee was the most important drink served at the houses, tea and chocolate were also available and apart from a brief dabble with temperance before 1690, so too was alcohol. Originally coffee was served black without sugar although flavorings such as honey, cloves, cinnamon, and spearmint were available at extra cost. However, sugar and milk quickly became popular since arguably these “softening agents” are a natural addition to the bitter liquid. After the turn of the eighteenth century, the character of coffeehouses began to change. Eloquent intellectual discourse gave way to a greater focus on conducting business, and on exchanging news and gossip. Groups of men with similar business interests, or similar professional or political



Coffeehouses in London

An engraving showing the interior of Jonathan’s Coffee House in London, a place frequented by dealers in stocks, public and other shares. Library of Congress.

affiliations met at particular houses and it was there that votes were cast, stocks and bonds sold, and lobby groups created. Those interested in insuring shipping ventures met at Lloyd’s Coffee House in London; pooling their resources, they set up an insurance exchange. London stockbrokers frequented Jonathan’s, and there they would meet with their clients, as did lawyers and even doctors at their coffeehouse of choice. A coffeehouse was the place to read the latest newspapers and broadsheets (some even produced their own), and in the case of a particularly newsworthy event, runners would do the rounds of a city’s coffeehouses spreading the details. But by 1730, many coffeehouses, particularly those in London, were no longer recognizable as such. Some had turned into taverns or chop houses, as the proprietors found that the serving of food and alcohol was the most profitable part of their business. Others began to demand subscriptions to restrict clientele and emerged as the gentlemens’ clubs so popular in London in the nineteenth century. Still others emerged as business institutions;

Coffee Klatches the insurance firm Lloyds of London, still in business today, is an example of this. Although these evolutionary processes were longer and slower elsewhere, almost everywhere in northern Europe the importance of the coffeehouse began to wane by the end of the eighteenth century. Further Reading: Burnett, John. Liquid Pleasures: A Social History of Drinks in Modern Britain. London: Routledge, 1999; Cowan, Brian. The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005; Ellis, Markman. The Coffee House: A Cultural History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004; Smith, Woodruff, D. “From Coffeehouse to Parlour: The Consumption of Coffee, Tea, and Sugar in North-western Europe in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” In Consuming Habits: Drugs in History and Anthropology. Edited by Jordan Goodman, Paul E. Lovejoy, and Andrew Sherratt. London and New York: Routledge, 1995, 148–164.

Kirsten Taylor

Coffee Klatches The phrase coffee klatch is an Americanized version of the longstanding German tradition known as the Kaffeeklatsch. Kaffee is the German word for coffee, and the word Klatsch implies a type of casual conversation or discussion, often gossipy in nature. The two words together describe the banter and chitchat that occurs when drinking coffee in a communal setting. Coffee klatches may be routine or impromptu, often serving as a break or respite from the day’s work and activities. In Germany it was customary for families to gather over freshly brewed coffee and homemade or storebought cake on Sunday afternoons, another occasion for a coffee klatch. The evolution of the coffee klatch as social event is rooted in the German coffeehouse culture of the mid-seventeenth century. It was essentially a central meeting place where upper-class men could read newspapers and discuss current news in politics, society, commerce, and the arts. Although women relished coffee, strict cultural mores deemed it inappropriate and unacceptable for females to appear in such public settings. Early coffee activities in the eighteenth century were modeled after the aristocratic salon, a fixture for philosophical, religious, economic, and later, scientific discussions. A well-to-do hostess could oversee such conversations within the realm of her own home, tastefully outfitted with coffee brewing

The newly designed Starbucks cup is seen at a Starbucks location in California, 2008. Starbucks Corp. said its fiscal second-quarter profit fell 28 percent in 2008 as U.S. consumers responded to rising food and gas prices by making fewer latte runs. AP/Wide World Photo.



Coffee Klatches

apparatus and serving accouterments. As coffee became more affordable for the middle class, a comparable female coffee drinking culture began to emerge in the household. Such meetings were dubbed Kaffeekränzchen, or “little coffee circles” (from “Caffé-Cränzigen,” circa 1715), small informally organized women’s clubs that met daily or weekly to play a lively game of cards, share word of local news, and consume their fill of coffee. The first coffee klatches were reputedly held by wives of high-ranking city officials who would call upon friends after fulfilling their obligatory care-taking duties. A woman who took part in these social occasions came to be called a Kaffeeschwester, literally, a “coffee sister,” one who was notably fond of taking coffee in combination with a generous serving of gossip or scandal. Some sources suggest that coffee klatch was coined by husbands who, expressing their inherent displeasure of being excluded from the inner female coffee sanctum, used the term as a disparaging reference to their coffee-drinking wives. In the postwar baby boom years of American suburbia, the coffee klatch served as a means for the stay-at-home mother and nonworking married woman to build relationships and communicate with other women, thus easing the sense of isolation for some. The term may have returned along with GIs formerly stationed in Europe. German immigrants seeking the familiar continued to practice the custom by inviting their newfound neighbors. By today’s definition, coffee klatch participants are wide-ranging from what once was the exclusive domain of the housewife. They can be single and married parent(s), career professionals, childcare workers, blue-collar workers, artists, retirees. College students schedule so-called coffee klatches as time to meet with their professors. Coffee klatch sites have expanded from the kitchen and dining room table to the contemporary coffeehouse, where laptop computers are de rigueur. The Internet has become an online vehicle for electronic coffee klatches. For many, the beverage of choice remains coffee in its various guises. Traditional coffee klatch fare has expanded from coffee cake, streuseltopped babka, and cinnamon-spiced apple Kuchen (cake), and fruit tarts, to hearty muffins, jumbo-sized cookies, and savory offerings such as upscale sandwiches and salads. While the coffee can be virtual via the internet or steaming in-hand, caffeinated or not, and the discussion face-to-face or live on screen or cell phone, the coffee klatch continues to pay homage to its age-old legacy of fostering conversation and conviviality over coffee. Further Reading: Ellis, Markman. The Coffee House: A Cultural History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004; Jacob, Heinrich Eduard. Coffee: The Epic of a Commodity. New York: The Viking Press, 1935; “The Internet in a Cup.” The Economist. December 18, 2004. http://www.economist.com/world/europe. cfm; Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. New York: Basic Books, 1999; Steinberger, Regina. Der bitter-süße Wohlgeschmack: zur Geschichte von Kaffee, Tee, Schokolade und Tabak.

Colonial America Städtisches Museum Göttingen, 1994, pp. 63–65; Ukers, William H. All About Coffee. New York: The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1935.

Suzanne C. Weltman

Colonial America Entertaining among the gentry and middle class in the American Colonies was an elegant theatrical performance characterized by strict protocol, elaborate table settings, and lavish, multi-course meals. The home was the center of most activities and the act of dining was an important ritual and a primary means of social interaction among colonists. Colonial entertaining was influenced by fashionable European trends, growing consumerism, and perceptions of social status and cultural identity. The Colonial period in American history encompassed the years 1607 to 1776 and began with the settlement of Jamestown, the first English colony in Virginia. The period concluded with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the start of the American Revolution. The 13 British colonies included New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. For the social elite, the act of entertaining was a means to showcase good breeding, intellect, wealth, and prosperity. The dining room was the well-provisioned theater in which conversation and debate occurred. Wellto-do colonists benefited from the agricultural bounty of the New World, and with significant household support from the African slave system, they could afford to present elaborate entertainments for their guests. However, as the relationship between Great Britain and the colonies began to deteriorate, entertaining practices would shift as colonists assumed a new identity as citizens of the United States of America. THE FIRST SETTLERS The earliest settlers of the New World had limited means and few opportunities to entertain. Their focus was on sustenance and survival. When 144 settlers and sailors comprising the Virginia Company landed in May 1607 on what was to be named Jamestown Island, their goal was entrepreneurial. The group had received a charter the previous year by King James I to establish the first permanent English settlement in North America, primarily to take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the region. Jamestown settlers were poorly equipped to manage in the wilderness. They faced disease, hunger, and attacks from hostile natives. The settlement might have failed if not for the establishment of tobacco farming, which generated regular income.



Colonial America

Dutch colonists also sought the promise of prosperity. Henry Hudson’s exploration of the New York state region in 1609 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company led to the establishment of New Netherland and multiple Dutch settlements including Manhattan Island, which was called New Amsterdam. The Dutch experienced financial success with farming and the fur trade and built comfortable middle-class homes. They brought with them a variety of family-based traditions and holiday celebrations that made use of agricultural resources and established a foundation for hospitality and entertaining practices that emerged in the colonies. A well-provisioned afternoon tea table satisfied the Dutch fondness for sweet treats. Saint Nicholas Eve was celebrated as a children’s holiday prior to the feast day of December 6th, and featured a variety of special breads and baked goods. Sappaen was a single-dish recipe of bread or cornmeal and milk shared with guests that was similar to corn mush recipes prepared by Native Americans. Many travelers journeyed to the New World seeking religious freedom. A group of 102 English Puritans, now referred to as Pilgrims, arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 and established the Plymouth Colony. The Plymouth colonists encountered great hardships in building a community but persevered in shaping a new life that allowed them to worship according to their own beliefs. They traveled with simple functional items to manage a household such as kitchen tools, books, clothing, bedding, and farming devices. Their religious beliefs prohibited most types of celebration and entertainment. They did not follow the traditional ecclesiastical calendar and Easter and Christmas were forbidden, but they did observe an annual secular autumn harvest celebration, as well as a holy day of thanksgiving. A harvest celebration held by the Plymouth colonists in the autumn of 1621 marked one of the earliest forms of communal hospitality in the New World. The Plymouth colonists invited the native Wampanoag people and their leader Massasoit, and for three days the two communities feasted together. Roasted and boiled dishes were likely served, and venison and wildfowl are mentioned in a single eyewitness account by colonist Edward Winslow. The celebration is now referred to as The First Thanksgiving. By the year 1666, the English had taken control of New Amsterdam from the Dutch, renamed it New York, and established political control over the region. The inhabitants of the American colonies now reflected a diverse set of cultures including British, Dutch and Swedish, German, French, Native American, and African. The strongest cultural connections existed with Great Britain. Colonists were English subjects. They tended to emulate English customs and practices in entertaining and social activity and were now enjoying an improved quality of life. A CONSUMER ECONOMY At the start of the eighteenth century, consumerism was on the rise. Industrialization and mass production in Europe and the expansion of trade

Colonial America routes now offered a greater selection of lower-priced household goods and exotic foodstuffs to colonial homes. Meanwhile, three clear social classes were emerging. The lower class included whites who did not own land, sailors, apprentices, indentured servants, and African slaves. The lower class had little money and few utensils or cooking equipment. Meals were prepared in single pots, and included soups, stews, and porridges. Meat was costly, and usually used to supplement a one-pot meal. Meals were served in trenchers—flat, shallow wooden bowls—and eaten with a knife or spoon. The middle class was comprised of farmers, merchants, artisans, and shopkeepers. Meals were prepared by slaves, or the woman of the house. The upper class or gentry were wealthy, educated land owners, merchants, and professionals such as doctors and lawyers. For both the middle class and gentry, behavior, manners, and possessions were visible signals of wealth and social status. The gentry were near the top of the social structure and image was important. Their stature in the community was demonstrated, in part, by their ability to set an abundant dinner table of meats and desserts. They were well-supported by household staff and slaves who were experienced in food preparation and service. The elite, such as community leaders and government officials, served the highest quality foods. Their meals were influenced by French trends and culinary practices, and they employed large household staffs and professionally trained cooks. British style was enormously popular among the gentry and American colonists were emulating their British counterparts in all manners of lifestyle from fashion, to etiquette, to entertaining. Cooking methods mirrored traditional English techniques. Colonists snapped up English-made goods as symbols of social status. Reputation was measured by prosperity, and entertaining offered an ideal opportunity to design and stage a public performance for one’s peers that showcased all the trappings of wealth. Home entertaining focused on dining made good sense in colonial society. The home was the center of activity for the family, and much of the household activity revolved around the kitchen. While the lower class ate meals and performed most activities in the kitchen, the wealthy were expanding their homes and adding dining rooms to serve as a distinct and separate venue for entertaining. Mass production of matching sets of dining chairs began to encourage the move towards dining as an important social event. Table design evolved from the traditional square or rectangular tables, to round or oval tables offering greater intimacy among guests. Most landowners lived a good distance from their neighbors or relatives, so it was a common practice for wealthier families to travel and visit relatives on Sundays. Dining as entertainment took on added importance as one of the few events that allowed for interaction among individuals beyond weekly religious services. As the practice increased, mass-produced tableware gained in popularity, and merchants and purchasing agents moved to meet the



Colonial America

demand. The broader availability of decorative tableware and accessories in the Colonies allowed for a style of entertaining at home previously unimagined. In earlier times, colonists carried their own portable utensil to an engagement. Now, a proper host provided a guest with a full place setting, often consisting of multiple utensils, plates, glassware, soup bowls, and serving items. Forks were used increasingly as wealthy colonists looked to enhance their table settings. The amount and quality of serving utensils all contributed to perceptions of social standing. The inventory lists found in upper-class colonial homes illustrate just how important tableware was in terms of household possessions. The inventory records at Gunston Hall Plantation in Mason Neck, Virginia, document huge collections of silver ware, ceramics, glassware, and specialized serving vessels. Inventories show multiple items for the service of the main meal; china plates, soup bowls, serving vessels such as chafing dishes and plate warmers, bowls, and tureens. Documentation lists multiple sets of cutlery; knives, forks, spoons, and soup spoons, as well as carving utensils, often with precious material used to construct handles and finely crafted storage cases. The more extravagant families owned specialty items, such as butter boats, bread baskets, cruets, salt forms, and mustard pots, as well as plate baskets for bringing clean plates to the table and removing dirty ones. There are listings of customized dessert items such as custard cups, pudding dishes, tart forms, fruit forms, dessert glasses, jelly glasses, and pyramid salvers to display sweets in a dramatic tiered presentation. As new food products became available to colonists, craftsmen developed unique vessels and containers to serve those products. According to records kept at the home of George Washington in Mount Vernon, Virginia, orders for luxury tableware were often placed on an annual basis. Washington spent 40 years acquiring silver, ceramic, and glass tableware for the frequent entertaining that occurred at Mount Vernon. Correspondence and invoices from purchasing agents abroad show that Washington was intimately involved in selecting the patterns, materials, and designs that decorated his table. Early in his military career, Washington began a lifelong acquisition of tableware to support the social and entertaining needs of a proper gentleman. From the time he was a young man, until the start of the American Revolution, Washington retained a purchasing agent in London. Large orders were typical of the future first president and individual items were often customized with the Washington family crest. In 1759, Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow with a large family fortune. Their combined holdings made them one of the wealthiest couples in the colonies, and their dining table reflected that fact. Mr. and Mrs. Washington were the first Colonial Americans to purchase the stylish Wedgwood pattern of cream-colored Queen’s Ware and spent more than 30 years building a collection of highly desirable blue-and-whitepatterned Chinese porcelain.

Colonial America

FRENCH STYLE SERVICE Sophisticated eighteenth-century households choreographed the dining ritual with service à la française, or French-style service, which outlined the hierarchy of specific entrees and assured balance and symmetry in the placement of dishes at the dinner table. The practice originated in medieval times and was adopted throughout Europe. Status-conscious Colonists carefully followed the tenets of service à la française, which prescribed that between two and four courses should be offered to guests, with an even number of dishes placed symmetrically around a centerpiece entree, such as a large cut of meat. One dish would always be balanced with another on the opposite side of the table. Service à la française offered a hierarchy for class-conscious colonists. Menu items were divided into classes, with minor dishes surrounding dishes considered of a higher caliber. The number of guests dictated the number of foods served. As the number of guests at the table increased, the number and variety of foods presented increased as well. DOMESTIC MANUALS Colonial women of privilege took particular pride in setting an impressive table and sought out advice on how best to do so. Fashionable hostesses relied on cookbooks and domestic manuals published in England to guide their menus and social entertaining. The Compleat Housewife, or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, by Mrs. E. Smith, first published in England, offered the mistress of the house a comprehensive manual for elegant cuisine, proper table settings, and household operations. The Compleat Housewife had already been through several printings in England when an abridged edition was printed in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742 by William Parks. Parks based his version on the fifth edition of the London work originally published in 1727 and eliminated recipes containing ingredients that could not be found in Virginia. The publication achieved a modest level of success in the colonies. A review of The Compleat Housewife illustrates the level of detail followed and complicated techniques used by ambitious colonial hostesses. The 18th edition of The Compleat Housewife contained more than 700 recipes, including a new section on “foreign cookery” to appeal to readers who were fond of the French style of cooking. A first-person preface written by Mrs. Smith described how cookery had become an art, and she noted that the content of her book was based on her 30 years of experience. She provided a monthly “bill of fare” for every season of the year, each including more than 30 menu items. There was a heavy emphasis on all types of meat preparation, a staple in the colonial diet. A section on “Terms of Art for Carving” reinforced the ceremonial importance of carving skills properly demonstrated by the host at the dining table.



Colonial America

Four illustrated diagrams offered directions for balanced and symmetrical placement of food at the table. Mrs. Smith recommended that the first course of a Summer Menu begin with a venison pasty—or savory meat pie—at the center of the table, flanked by a soup and fish dish and a serving of mutton. On one side of the grouping was placed an orange pudding and a dish of tongue and cauliflower. On the other side a white fricassee and a dish of bacon and beans were strategically placed. This is followed by an equally detailed second course, with a main dish at the center of the table, surrounded by secondary dishes of meat, poultry, and vegetables. A dessert course was also recommended, perhaps with a pyramid display of confections, encircled by jellies, fruits, and nuts. Other domestic manuals attempted to rival Mrs. Smith. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Mrs. Hannah Glasse was published in England in 1747 and eventually made its way to the colonies. While the first American edition was published in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1805, George Washington had already purchased an edition published in 1771, and Thomas Jefferson was reported to own a copy as well. Mrs. Glasse also suggested a monthly bill of fare, offered direction on the order that dishes were to be placed on the table, and provided some innovative recipes for ice cream. THE MIDDAY MEAL The colonial midday meal was the focal point of entertaining. Dinner was the main meal of the day and was served around two or three o’clock in the afternoon. With food and conversation, it could last for several hours. The food was set out in symmetrical displays before guests were allowed to enter the dining room. Typically, the woman of the household presided over the meal. She was seated at the head or top of the table, although some historians suggest this was the spot reserved for the master of the house. Serving dishes remained in place and plates were passed to those guests seated nearest each dish of food. The commencement of the meal was an established ritual. The woman of the house initiated the first course by serving those nearest her. The gentleman seated at the foot of the table did the same. Guests at the center of the table served the dishes closest to them. Following the first course, a servant would remove the dishes and crumb the table, in preparation for a second course. In some households, dessert was placed on the table, or set as a separate buffet. Following desert, the dishes and tablecloth were removed. Dishes of nuts, sweetmeats, fruit, and wine were placed on the bare table. At the close of the meal, women would recess to the parlor for tea and men might continue to drink and then join the ladies for tea. During the winter season, dinner would begin with soup. When guests had consumed their soup, the tureen was cleared from the table, and was replaced by a dish called a remove, which was either a serving of meat or fish. The menu could offer up to five varieties of meat, including ham, roast

Colonial America beef, veal, venison, or leg of lamb. Domestic fowl—chicken, duck, goose, and turkey—were served as a supplement to the primary meat dish, and fish, seafood, and game were offered in season. Colonial cuisine reflected the ingredients and resources of a fertile and abundant new land. The estates of wealthy landowners were self-sufficient, with vegetable gardens, food crops, and livestock in plenty to provide for the table. Pork was widely available and was preserved for long periods by salting, pickling, and smoking. Venison, bear, and buffalo were available, and maritime communities had easy access to oysters, clams, and codfish. Corn and rice were important food crops. New importation routes had cut the price of sugar and made it available to more colonists. Chocolate was imported, but consumed primarily by the wealthy who could afford it. For beverages, wealthy colonists imported canary claret, Madeira, port, and sherry. Madeira and port were fortified with brandy, which preserved alcoholic beverages during long trips across the Atlantic. East India Madeira was considered the finest available on the market. Rum was served in punches and toddies. Tea imported from China was hugely popular in England, and the habit was fully embraced in the American colonies, with regular shipments arriving from British trading companies. SOCIAL GRACES Mastery of the social graces was expected of the wealthy, and entertaining provided a showcase for those well-practiced in good breeding. Good manners reflected the personal capital of the upper echelon, with fine clothing, elegant dining habits, and possessions. Wealthy colonists learned to perform table rituals with precision, as they knew the host or hostess was the focal point of an event. In “Rules of Civility” a young George Washington copied down a lengthy list of rules for behavior he’d found in a Jesuit textbook. Of the 110 rules noted by Washington, 18 directed a proper gentleman in manners, conversation, and behavior at the dinner table. These were skills that would serve Washington well throughout a long career in public service. Washington’s rules advised against eating with one’s mouth full or blowing on hot broth in the presence of guests. He noted procedures for serving meat to guests, the proper use of utensils, offering toasts, and the importance of good posture while eating. Above all, Washington directed himself to always maintain a cheerful demeanor at the table. The art of conversation was highly valued. Dining was one of the few circumstances that allowed colonists the opportunity to share personal experiences and family news or discuss opposing viewpoints and debate the issues of the day. As tensions mounted between the colonies and Great Britain over issues of taxation, conversation would likely turn to the injustice of the Townsend Act and Stamp Act or the horror of the event dubbed the Boston Massacre.



Colonial America

COLONIAL DANCE Dancing was a leading form of public entertainment. Dance required precision and grace and provided gentry with another showcase to present well-honed personal skills and abilities to influential members of the community. Dances were held in public halls, and the wealthy hosted private balls in their homes. Dancing served a very practical function in colonial society as one of the few public events that brought men and women together to socialize. Through this ritual, friendships were made, leading to courtship and marriage. Organized dance allowed gentlemen and women to show off their natural grace. Gentility was considered a highly desirable trait among status-conscious colonists. The most adept performers could customize standard dance forms, showing off a higher level of creativity and skill. Dancing was so popular in colonial society that many books were published and handmade collections were gathered documenting key steps. Signature dances included the French Minuet, for two partners, used for ceremonial events. The English Country Dance was a group dance piece for multiple couples. The Cotillion was commonly performed in a square of four couples and eventually inspired the American Square Dance in the western territories. Musical accompaniment was typically provided by a single violinist but could include several musicians for larger functions. TAVERNS AND PUBLIC HOUSES For city dwellers and travelers, taverns and public houses offered opportunities for interaction with friends and associates and served an important function in urban life.Taverns provided overnight accommodations, food, entertainment, formal dinners, and musical performances. The clientele was mixed in terms of social rank and could include the middle and lower class. While they were typically the domain of male customers, several notable women were the proprietors of large enterprises, including Christiana Campbell and Jane Vobe, who did business in Virginia’s capital city of Williamsburg. The tavern culture emphasized stimulating conversation. Gossip, news, and issues of the day were often discussed, and local newspapers might be read aloud. Some offered scholarly lectures, musical entertainment, lessons in fencing, or even the chance to view unusual animals. The finest tavern keepers built reputations for excellent fare and would be asked to plan and implement celebratory dinners hosted by affluent male patrons wishing to entertain honored guests. Many taverns were the site of intense political activity. The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston served as the meeting place for the revolutionary group the Sons of Liberty. City Tavern in Philadelphia was a large establishment that included five levels, a bar room, coffee rooms, a dining room, and a ball room. With its close proximity to Carpenters’ Hall and the Pennsylvania State House—now known as Independence Hall—City Tavern was

Colonial America frequented by the political leaders of the day from John Adams to George Washington. Fraunces Tavern—first known as the Queen’s Head Tavern— was a center for food, drink, and commerce in the city of New York. Owner Samuel Fraunces hosted New York members of the Sons of Liberty, and several political events took place there. Fraunces Tavern gained a permanent place in history, when on December 4, 1783, General George Washington hosted a farewell dinner in the tavern Long Room for the officers under his command during the Revolutionary War. HOLIDAYS Holiday entertaining relied on traditional customs but was also influenced by trends in table settings and social aspirations. The rhythm of daily life coincided with the agricultural calendar and colonists recognized four holidays that marked religious observances and paralleled the seasons of the year. Lady Day, the British name for the Christian Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, occurred during spring on March 25. With the arrival of summer, June 24 was celebrated as Midsummer. During autumn, on September 29 colonists marked Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. December 25 was the winter celebration of Christmas. In the Tidewater region of Virginia, where colonists were members of the Anglican Church, the Christmas season was one of great feasting and enjoyment, but the holiday was not universally celebrated in the colonies. Christmas had been legally banned by the Puritan society in Massachusetts in 1659. In Virginia, seasonal agricultural chores were winding down in late December and the 12 days of the Christmas season offered numerous opportunities for entertaining and community fellowship. The slaughter season was underway and fresh meat was plentiful for celebrations. Wedding feasts were often held during the last week of December to coincide with the presence of friends and family already gathered for the holidays. In addition to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, the final celebration of the season, Twelfth Night on January 6, featured games and revelry, a rich, decadent cake, and a competition among guests for designation as King and Queen of the celebration in the subsequent year. Holiday tables also followed the rules of symmetry and balance that were so important in colonial society. Special emphasis was put on the artistry of the dessert table, with the wealthy creating elaborate decorations and displays out of sugar, pastry, and marzipan. Multi-tiered presentations of fruit and sweets were favored. Family heirloom figurines made of porcelain, marble, or wax might appear on the holiday dessert table annually. SOCIAL CHANGE ON THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION From late 1773 to autumn of 1774, a series of events and political actions would converge to eventually change the consumption habits of



Colonial Mexico

colonists, influence entertaining practices, and begin to shape a new national identity separate from Great Britain. Taxes imposed by the British on items ranging from paper to tea had infuriated colonists who protested “taxation without representation” and promptly organized a boycott of British goods. The monarchy eventually repealed most of the taxes but retained a tax on tea. Colonists organized a boycott of tea imported by Great Britain. On December 16, 1773, in the ultimate act of defiance, 50 rebels dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded three British ships stocked with tea and dumped its contents into Boston Harbor. The British retaliated by closing the port, a move colonists described as “The Intolerable Acts.” Reacting to the closing of Boston Harbor, colonial leaders convened in Philadelphia between September 5 and October 26, 1774, as delegates of the First Continental Congress. The 55 delegates voted on September 27, 1774, to adopt a resolution that banned the import of goods from Great Britain, ceased the export of goods to Britain, and established the Continental Association to enforce the new boycott within the colonies. British commercial goods, once a coveted tool of entertaining and a symbol of social standing with wealthy colonists, had now become the leverage in a heated political confrontation that would shortly lead to the American Revolution. Further Reading: Brookhiser, Richard, ed. Rules of Civility. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003; Curtain, Kathleen, and Sandra L. Oliver and Plimoth Plantation, Inc. Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2005; Donavan, Mary, and Amy Hatrak, Frances Mills, and Elizabeth Shull. The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook. Montclair, NJ: Montclair Historical Society, 1982; Garrett, Wendell, ed. George Washington’s Mount Vernon. New York: The Monacelli Press, 1998; Hendrickson, Charles Cyril, and Kate Van Winkle Keller. Dances of Colonial America [Online, September 18, 2001]. The Colonial Music Institute Web Site http://www. colonialmusic.org; McWilliams, James E. A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005; Oliver, Libby Hodges, and Mary Miley Theobald. Williamsburg Christmas. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999; Rose, Peter G., ed. The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998; Salinger, Sharon V. Taverns and Drinking in Early America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

T. W. Barritt

Colonial Mexico In 1519, when Hernán Cortés anchored his ships off the coast of what is now Mexico, near present-day Veracruz, he and his men relished the thought of fresh food and water after leaving Cuba with cassava bread, salt pork, and olive oil in their larder. The Spanish had been in the New World

Colonial Mexico for several years by that time and were becoming familiar with the indigenous foodstuffs available on the ground: corn, beans, squash, chilies, and various fruits. After the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish created the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the influx of Spanish culture and its mixing with native Indian cultures began in earnest. Three different facets of colonial Mexican culture influenced dining and entertaining: the office of the viceroy (vice king) with its splendor; the haciendas or large ranches or farms; and the convents and nunneries, where well-bred young women learned to cook, generally from Spanish nuns influenced by the culinary knowledge of other nuns belonging to the convents founded by St. Teresa of Avila. In the beginning were the Aztec foods described by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún—“pots with chilies, tomatoes and smashed pumpkin seeds called pipian, birds, fish, frogs, tadpoles, ants with wings and maguey worms, grasshoppers and shrimp; fruits such as plums, zapotes, and anonas, tree roots, batatas, green leaves, mazamorres and thick beverages made from chili and honey”—that the Spanish merged with their pork, oil, onions, garlic, wheat, sugar, beef, citrus fruits, and wine to create a veritable mestizaje (mixture) of a diet, including influences from 800 years of Arab rule of the Iberian peninsula. The medieval atmosphere of the Spanish court still prevailed. And thus there were the foods served by Hernán Cortés at a sumptuous and widely cited banquet to celebrate the downfall of the great Aztec city of Tenochtitlán, where the hosts served hogs and wine, as well as copious

Mexican women making tortillas, 1800s. © North Wind / North Wind Picture Archives—All rights reserved.



Colonial Mexico

stews, salads, and roasted meats of all types, including young steers roasted and stuffed with various poultry and preserved pork like chorizo and bacon. Animal heads adorned the tables and roasted birds arrived at the table bearing silver or gold beaks and silver feet. In 1538, Cortés as the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca played host again, this time to the first viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza. According to chronicler Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the banquet was inferior in no way to the banquets of the Spanish court, which the conquerors were trying to emulate in the viceregal palaces, the haciendas, and convents of New Spain. Cortés’s feast included the following dishes to celebrate the signing of a treaty between Spain and France: olives, cheese, turnips, garbanzo beans, numerous birds, and meats—and especially the native American bird, the turkey—salads, radishes, turnovers, cakes, and dishes in casseroles. There were also gold and silver cups filled with red and white wines, chocolate drinks and Spanish sherry, accompanied by a multitude of delicacies including pepitoria, royal torte, and escabeche. Sweets ended the meals and included marzipans, almonds, confites, citron, and various fruits. Dining in the seventeenth century was baroque, after the style predominant in Spain. Table settings began to take on some elements of the native culture. For a banquet in 1669 for the viceroy count of Montezuma, the table was set with medium-quality earthenware pottery, jugs, and pitchers made in Guadalajara, glasses from China, caldrons with feet and lids made of silver, tablecloths, and napkins. Heavy silverware marked each guest’s place and Indian servants watched to make sure that guests did not pocket their silver when leaving. Usually, though, everyone drank to excess and so the problem of theft was miniscule.

Natives shelling corn, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1903. Library of Congress.

Colonial Mexico The convents of Mexico, the first established as early as 1540 in Mexico City, provided a number of the sweets and other dishes that embellished the colonial Mexican tables and viceregal banquets. One of the legendary dishes is the famous mole poblana. Many legends attempt to explain this dish, a symbol of mestizaje of the Mexican kitchen. One myth has it that in 1680 Dominican nuns in Puebla created the dish in honor of the current viceroy, Tomás Antonio de la Cerda y Aragón. Except for the nuns in the convents, very few women could read or write, and so the passage of recipes from woman to woman was even more crucial as the cuisine of Mexico evolved. The role of the convents cannot be overemphasized. The nuns trained many of the young Indian and mestizo girls who became cooks for affluent families and stayed with these families for a lifetime. Because so few cookbooks were published in Spain—John C. Super maintains that there were probably no more than eight cookbooks published in Spain in the first 350 years after the printing press was invented— the transmission of cooking knowledge from person to person was vitally important for the households, palaces, and ecclesiastical institutions of colonial Mexico. Diego Granado’s cookbook, Libro del arte de cocina, published in 1614, was one of the first cookbooks used in Mexican kitchens. This book contained a large number of Italian-inspired recipes and thus Italian food influenced Mexican cooking and dining far more than French food did. On the haciendas, the liturgical calendar of the Church also influenced the celebrations and the choice of foodstuffs served at meals. Family feasting followed the calendar of saints’ days, weddings, baptisms, birthdays, engagements, la quinceanera (coming-of-age parties for 15-year-old girls), funerals, and just plain Sunday dinners. A typical family feast might include a light soup to begin with, followed by a “dry soup” or sopa seca consisting of rice, tortillas, or pasta, then a stew-like entrée. Meat came next, often roasted, served with various side dishes and sauces. Ending the feast, desserts and candy appeared on the table, accompanied by tea or coffee if available. Tableware often came from Mexican potters and the silverware from Mexico’s own silver mines. Further Reading: Ayala T., Roberto Arturo. Cocina Mexicana de los siglos XVI al XIX. El rescate de la cocina colonial con ingredientes originales, pero fáciles de conseguir. México: Editorial Libra SA de CV, 2001; Díaz del Castillo, Bernal Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España. México: Nueva Mundo. 1943; Pilcher, Jeffrey M. Que Vivan los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998; Pinedo, Encarnación. Encarnación’s Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from Nineteenth-Century California. Edited and translated by Dan Strehl. With an essay by Victor Valle. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Valle, Victor M., and Mary Lou Valle. Recipe of Memory: Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine. New York: New Press, 1995.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen



Cookbooks, History of

Cookbooks, History of “The government of a family bears a Lilliputian resemblance to the government of a nation,” Mary Randolph wrote in her book, The Virginia Housewife (1824). Cooking is part of that governance. Before writing and literacy became common, and in cultures relying on oral tradition, the first “cookbooks” existed in the form of word-of-mouth instructions passed from mother to daughter, father to son, across generations and within work groups similar to guilds, one person to another. Later, after literacy took hold, early cookery manuscripts often appeared in the form of scrolls, but also in codex format or just in shredded fragments. De Honesta Voluptate, the first printed cookbook, compiled by Vatican librarian Bartolomeo Sacchi di Piadena, called Platina, led the way in 1475 for all those that followed. Cookbooks reflect many things, and not necessarily what people actually ate: • • • • • • • • • •

Family size Societal changes Literacy and mathematical skills Technological changes Women’s roles and accepted behavior Ingredients available locally Ingredients acquired through trade Upper-class values Middle-class and lower-class imitations of upper classes Tradition

Three major stages in the historical development of cookbooks can be determined. Within each stage are a number of sub-stages and trends. Until the nineteenth century, most cookbooks were written by men, with a few exceptions like Hannah Woolley’s The Queen-Like Closet (1670). The male cookbook authors wrote for the maîtres d’hotel of the large, wealthy households and palaces they managed for kings and queens, powerful noble families, and high-ranking church officials. Cookbooks served primarily as aides memoires for these cooks, a sort of archive to pass down necessary information about ingredients and techniques for carrying out large banquets, as well as every day menus. An anonymous Italian manuscript cookbook dating to the end of the fifteenth century, The Neapolitan Recipe Collection (Cuoco Napoltetano), contains a number of opulent banquet menus. An example of the recipe collections, or so-called courtly dining guides, produced for the managers of large noble, royal, and ecclesiastical households, The Neapolitan Recipe Collection is representative of many of the books produced by such writers. These recipe collections were for use by the master / head of the household in instructing the cooks. In the earliest manuscripts, cooking times, ingredient quantities, and number of servings were not mentioned. Later, especially in the Italian manuscripts emerging in the late fifteenth century,

Cookbooks, History of

Frontispiece of Le Patissier Royal Parisien, an 1815 cookbook by Marie Antonin Carême. The Art Archive.

authors began to include this information, albeit sporadically. Early cookery books show many commonalities, not at all surprising considering the copying and borrowing that occurred constantly. Compilers organized these books in various ways, usually by ingredient or part of the meal, as in many early cookbooks as well as modern cookbooks. Some early cookbooks were organized alphabetically by the name of the recipe. And sometimes there were no names for the recipes. Much is missing because the commonest dishes and procedures were so well known that no one thought that they needed to be recorded or mentioned. A case in point are vegetables and fruits, which are shown in abundance in paintings of various periods, but are often lacking in the recipe collections. Illustrated cookbooks came into vogue in the 1700s. The second stage of cookbook development came in the form of household management books written by men and women for housewives, with a very rigid and rule-encrusted, prescriptive tone. In England, in one of the first cookbooks to address women’s cooking, Thomas Dawson’s The Good Huswifes Jewell (1585) was written not just for nobility planning banquets but for gentlewomen in charge of day-to-day household tasks. Other early examples of this trend include French chef Menon’s La cuisinière bourgeoise (1746), and Traité historique et pratique de la cuisine Ou le cuisinier instruit (2 vol., 1758). Isabella Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861)—an encyclopedic 1,112 pages—contained detailed chapters on ingredients and how to prepare a variety of different dishes. The book also included information about medicine, legal terms, and the like.



Cookbooks, History of

Later, as women’s literacy increased, and the Industrial Revolution held sway, women began to write cookbooks meant for women’s use in smaller, less affluent households. Within the trend lie several subgroups of cookbooks: (1) charitable or community cookbooks to raise money for the Civil War soldiers, (2) promotional or advertising cookbooks printed by companies seeking to sell food products or kitchen wares, and (3) publications from the cooking school, home economics, and domestic science movement, including health and nutrition topics. This trend is most apparent in the United States, which had less of a tradition of wealthy households festooned with servants. Because of the move westward, many women no longer could access the oral tradition of recipes being passed down from mother to daughter and so family manuscript cookbooks became important. And published cookbooks took on a greater role in educating women about household management and cooking because their family members were not there to teach them. Reprints of numerous books and the many editions issued for various works speak to the popularity and usefulness of these books to women across America. Charitable or community cookbooks, a uniquely American invention, began during the Civil War years as women sought to contribute to the war effort. The first charitable American cookbook, A Poetical-Cook Book (1864), edited by Maria J. Moss, was dedicated to the Philadelphia Sanitary Fair of 1864. By the end of the twentieth century, thousands of these books had been published by churches, civic groups, women’s groups, political groups, and others. A few of the most popular of the twentieth-century books were Charleston Receipts (1950), which went through 32 printings and raised over one million dollars, and River Road Recipes: The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine (1959) boasted 72 printings. Cookbooks developed by food and kitchen equipment companies appeared as food processing and technological advances changed the landscape of the kitchen. The Washburn Crosby Company (now General Mills) produced the Gold Medal Flour Cook Book in 1903, and it was the Washburn Company that created Betty Crocker, the mythical ideal American housewife. Not to be outdone, the Pillsbury Company created Ann Pillsbury in the mid 1940s and published numerous books using her “personality,” including 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury Cake Recipes (1952). Flour was just one product among many (e.g., raisins, oil, baking powder, canned milk, molasses, chocolate, and, of course, Jell-O) for which cookbooks and booklets appeared. Representatives of the cooking school, home economics, domestic science movement included Sarah Tyson Rorer’s Mrs. Rorer’s Philadelphia Cook Book (1886), Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book, a Manual of Housekeeping (1902), Mrs. Rorer’s Key to Simple Cookery (1917), among several titles; Mrs. D. A. (Mary) Lincoln’s Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book (1884); and Fannie Merritt Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1896). While training women in home economics and USDA extension, the movement also spawned the academic discipline that became the study of human nutrition.

Cookbooks, History of

Marion Rombauer Becker looks over the 1951 edition of The Joy of Cooking with her mother, Irma Rombauer, at left. This mother and daughter team has co-authored this edition of The Joy of Cooking. AP/ Wide World Photo.

The USDA published dozens of small cookbooks, bulletins really, with such titles as Home Canning of Fruits and Vegetables (1929), Money-Saving Main Dishes (1955), and Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes (1927). The perennial bestseller, Joy of Cooking, was born out of this era. Originally self-published in 1931, Joy has been revised seven times and reprinted many times. Each revision mirrors changes in the American food scene. Health and nutrition began to take on a more important role in cookbooks, reflecting the progress of science in the medical and health fields that began in the years surrounding the Civil War. Dr. Susana Dodds published Hygienic Cookery: Health in the Household in 1883, and many of the fresh food issues she addressed were still being debated at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Another book, Science in the Kitchen (1892), by Mrs. E. E. Kellogg, the wife of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan, tackled the questions of defining a healthy diet. The vegetarianism and health concerns that molded many works of the nineteenth century continued to influence many twentieth- and twenty-first century cookbook authors. Countless numbers of diet cookbooks weighed down the shelves in bookstores, testifying to the American obsession with weight loss, diet, nutrition, and healthy eating. Nutritionist Adelle Davis published a number of books, including Let’s Cook it Right (1947). Her work influenced the 1960s hippie counterculture, which drew attention to the deficiencies in the American diet. In 1973, the American Heart Association produced the American Heart Association Cookbook, a book that continued to be revised and used for several decades. Anna Thomas wrote her farseeing book The Vegetarian Epicure (1972), in which the recipes overcome some of the tasteless recipes of Ellen Buchman Ewald’s Recipes for a Small Planet (1973), which sprouted from Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971). Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery & Nutrition (1976), by Laurel Robertson et al., was developed in Berkeley, California, out of concern for correct nutrition and was one of the first books to address vegetarian nutrition in a practical, tasteful, and accessible way. Deborah Madison published numerous books on vegetarianism, including Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (1997) and The Greens Cookbook (2001).



Cookbooks, History of

Berkeley, California, also gave birth to another nutrition-related movement. Emerging from its vegetarian antecedents, the eat-local movement essentially began with Alice Waters at her Berkeley, California, restaurant, Chez Panisse. The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook (1982) and Chez Panisse Vegetables (1996) heralded a new preoccupation with fresh food grown locally. English food writer Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking (1960) impressed Alice Waters so much that she decided to try to cook food that she saw on the cover of David’s book. Beginning around the turn of the twenty-first century, scores of cookbooks about farmers markets appeared, including Fresh from the Farmers’ Market: Year-Round Recipes for the Pick of the Crop (1997), by Janet Fletcher with an introduction by Alice Waters; Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets (2002), by Deborah Madison; and Pillsbury’s Farmer’s Market Cookbook by Pillsbury (2000), written by Jackie Sheehan. In tandem with the growing interest in whole foods, the publication of ethnic cookbooks took off with classics like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), Diana Kennedy’s The Cuisines of Mexico (1972), Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz’s The Book of Latin American Cooking (1979), Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cook Book (1976) and More Classic Italian Cooking (1978), Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking (1980), Claudia Roden’s A Book of Middle Eastern Food (1980), and Penelope Casas’s The Foods and Wines of Spain (1983). These works anticipated the burgeoning American interest in other food cultures that began with the groundbreaking Time-Life “Foods of the World” series (1968–1976). Feeding into the local foods and ethnic cuisine trends, numerous cookbooks began to appear, written by chefs who owned restaurants, starred in cooking shows on television, or both. Early examples of these works include Jacques Pepin’s The Art of Cooking (1987); André Soltner’s The Lutece Cookbook (1980); Wolfgang Puck’s The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook—Recipes From Spago, Chinois And Points East And West (1986); Charlie Trotter’s Charlie Trotter’s (1994); and Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry (1999). Most of the chefs advocated using only the freshest ingredients, following the example of Alice Waters. The phenomenon of TV cooking shows produced an onslaught of cookbooks by TV food show stars such as Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals (1999) and Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook (2006); Mario Batali’s Simple Italian Food (1998), Mario Batali Holiday Food (2000), The Babbo Cookbook (2002), and Molto Italiano: Simple Italian Recipes (2005); and Paula Deen’s Paula Deen & Friends: Living It Up, Southern Style (2005). Other trends in cookbook publishing in the United States included an increase in personalized memoir cookbooks and cookbooks based on single appliances, ingredients, or specific meals. Michael Lee West’s Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life (1999), Colette Rossant’s Memoirs of a Lost Egypt: A Memoir with Recipes (1999), and Marlena de Blasi’s A Thousand Days in Venice (2002) provide recipes alongside stories and insights into cultures and private lives. Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth

Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann (2005), One Potato, Two Potato 300 Recipes From Simple To Elegant by Roy Finamore and Molly Stevens (2001), and Simple Italian Sandwiches Recipes: From America’s Favorite Panini Bar by Jennifer and Jason Denton (2006) illustrate the shift to detailed and specific cookbooks. Further Reading: Arndt, Alice, ed. Culinary Biographies. Houston, TX: YES Press, 2006; Capatti, Alberto, and Massimo Montanari. Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003; Fisher, Carol. The American Cookbook: A History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2006; Fordyce, Eleanor. “Cookbooks of the 1800s.” In Dining in America: 1850–1900. Edited by Kathyrn Grover. pp. 84–113. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987; Gold, Carol. Danish Cookbooks: Domesticity & National Identity, 1616–1901. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007; Lowenstein, Eleanor. Bibliography of American Cookery Books, 1742–1860. Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 1972; Rodinson, Maxime. “Studies in Arabic Manuscripts Related to Cookery.” In Maxime Rodinson et al. Medieval Arab Cookery: Essays and Translations. Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books, 2006, 91–164.; Root, Waverly, and Richard de Rochement. Eating in America: A History. Hopewell, NJ: Ecco Press, 1994; Schenone, Laura. A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003; Scully, Terence. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge, England: Boydell Press, 1995; Shapiro, Laura. Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986; Theophano, Janet. Eat My Words: Reading Women’s Lives Through the Cookbooks They Wrote. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002; Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham. Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining The cookbook has existed as a separate genre for over 500 years—as long as any other type of printed book. But until the nineteenth century, a relatively small number of cookbooks were printed, and their use as handbooks or guides for entertaining is a more recent phenomenon. Some of the first truly popular printed cookbooks were sold during the eighteenth century in multiple editions in Britain and America. Eliza Smith’s Compleat Housewife: or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion first appeared in London in 1727, and Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple was first published in 1747. Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery (1796), the first cookbook written by an American, was an instruction manual for the cooking duties required of domestic life in the new republic. Like its predecessors, it focused not on entertaining, but on the day-to-day routine of preparing food for a household.



Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining

In the nineteenth century, numerous regional American cookbooks appeared, such as Mrs. Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife: or Methodical Cook (1824), Sarah Rutledge’s Carolina Housewife (1847), and Susan Harris Coleman Hosmer’s Nantucket Receipts (1874). The domestic economy movement in the nineteenth century aimed to encourage the preparation of nutritious food in the home under sanitary conditions. The purchasing power of the growing American middle classes created markets for many different domestic economy cookbooks, such as Lydia Maria Child’s American Frugal Housewife (1829); Sarah Josepha Hale’s The Good Housekeeper, or The Way to Live Well and To Be Well While We Live (1839); and Catharine Beecher’s works A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841), The Domestic Receipt Book (1846), and The American Woman’s Home (1869; co-authored with her sister, the novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe). Early attempts at authoritative reference works such as the first cookery encyclopedia, The Cook’s Own Book (1836), were also published. In each of these works, a single chapter or section might consider table settings, service patterns, or domestic entertaining, if such subjects were considered at all. In Britain, Mrs. Isabella Beeton’s bestselling Book of Household Management (1861), a comprehensive manual for the middle-class household, treated entertaining as one of several components to the successful managing of a household. The growth of cooking schools toward the end of the nineteenth century also helped spread new recipes and professional cooking techniques to American homes. Fannie Farmer’s famous Boston CookingSchool Cook Book (1896) was initially used as the school’s textbook but was widely adopted outside the school for domestic use. A unique perspective on managing the domestic household is contained in two books written by free African American servants: Robert Roberts’s The House Servant’s Directory, or A Monitor for Private Families (1827) and Tunis Campbell’s Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters and Housekeeper’s Guide (1848). By the late nineteenth century, as print culture in all genres expanded in format and quantity, a literature of entertaining began to develop. Mary F. Henderson’s Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving. A Treatise Containing Practical Instructions in Cooking; in the Combination and Serving of Dishes; and in Fashionable Modes of Entertaining at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (1876) is possibly the first true manual for dinner parties and domestic entertainment. It was popular enough to undergo at least 10 reprintings, the last as late as 1904. Fashionable restaurants in America’s urban centers also began to publish their own cookbooks, a trend that continues unabated today in the age of the celebrity chef. The first, The Epicurean (1894), included bills of fare, recipes, and service instructions from Delmonico’s Restaurant, the epicenter of Gilded Age dining in New York City, and was authored by its chef, Charles Ranhofer. Many of these now-classic works have been reprinted over the years, often as contemporary photo-facsimiles, and are available through out-of-print

Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining and antiquarian booksellers. Original copies are increasingly sought after by collectors. In the twentieth century, the numerous changes in how Americans ate are reflected in their cookbooks. Specialized cookbooks and guides for hosting a cocktail party (with a heavy emphasis on hors d’oeuvres recipes), and for the dinner party became widely available. Thomas Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender (1917) and Harry Craddock’s majestic art deco The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) are two of the most notable early manuals in mixology, providing comprehensive collections of newly developed recipes for cocktail parties. As processed and packaged foods gained wide acceptance and use, titles like Poppy Cannon’s The Can Opener Cookbook (1952) and its several successor volumes became widespread. Other popular cookbooks in this period used different proportions of canned or processed foods to fresh ingredients, depending upon their author’s viewpoint and the cookbook’s aims. By mid-century, the dinner party became an established middle-class norm, and manuals for party-giving for all occasions, for chafing dish cookery for group parties, and for entertaining for specific targeted audiences all were published in large quantities. Titles such as Margot Finletter Mitchell’s The Busy Girl’s Cookbook: Easy Recipes and Simple Directions for Good Meals and Small Parties (1953) and Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts (1949 and many successive editions) were addressed to singles and served as stylish social etiquette books in addition to their collections of recipes. James Beard had the first cooking show on American television, teaching America how to enjoy complex recipes and share them at home. Gourmet magazine, first published in 1941, initially targeted an exclusively male audience interested in the arcana of complex recipes but quickly was adopted by a wider demographic of home cooks. The tremendous success of numerous editions of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking (1931) and Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (1950) established benchmarks for cooking basic family meals and more elaborate productions for entertaining guests. The publication in 1961 of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking had a significant impact on changing the way middle-class Americans thought about food. Not only did Child’s book bring a new awareness to the subtleties of French cuisine (at a time when the Kennedys famously hired the first French chef in the White House), but the recipes, many of them complex and focused on using fresh ingredients, allowed home cooks to demonstrate to their friends and neighbors their sophistication in the mastery of complex recipes and techniques. Similarly, Elizabeth David’s works, beginning with Mediterranean Food (1950), helped change the way the British thought about food and ate in the postwar years. Martha Stewart’s breakthrough book Entertaining (1982), a direct successor to earlier mid-century efforts, emphasized the totality of domestic entertainment, of which cooking was one part. Complexity and simplicity are equally appreciated, with an emphasis on the host’s creating an “authentic” experience for his or her guests. For Stewart, it is as important to



Cordials and Liqueurs

know how and when to serve a good basic omelet as it is a delicate, complex soufflé. As travel outside the United States increased in the postwar years, so too did Americans’ interest and appreciation of world cuisines. French food in the 1960s, Thai food in the 1970s, Japanese and California cuisine in the 1980s, and Pacific Rim or “fusion” cuisine in the 1990s all influenced home cooks through their popularity in restaurants. The 1990s trend of purchasing professional kitchen appliances for the home, whether for use or for show, shows how we look to restaurants and the professional culinary industry, and their cookbooks, as our main guide for domestic entertaining. Today, with an increased interest in organic, natural, and locally produced foods, the future of entertaining and the enjoyment of good food and company is certainly secure, if ever changing, and the attendant cookbooks we use continue to reflect popular tastes and interests. Further Reading: Brown, Eleanor Parker. Culinary Americana: Cookbooks Published in the Cities and Towns of the United States of America During the Years From 1860 Through 1960. Newcastle DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1999; Feeding America: Historic Cookbook Project at Michigan State University. http://digital.lib.msu. edu/projects/cookbooks/; Hess, John L., and Karen Hess. The Taste of America. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989; Lovegren, Sylvia. Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads. New York: Macmillan, 1995.

Jeffrey Makala

Cordials and Liqueurs Although today we think of these sweet alcohol-based after-dinner drinks as merely a pleasant way to conclude a formal meal, the name cordial reveals their true origin. These were first invented as medicinal drinks meant to soothe the heart (cor in Latin, also the root of cardiac in English). The logic was that alcohol was considered the vital essence of wine, itself a substance that nourishes the blood, hence the name aqua vitae or “water of life.” Combined with sweetness, considered to be hot and moist in terms of humoral physiology, and various herbal or fruit extracts, cordials were intended to be a medicinal corrective to the labors of the day as well as the meal itself. The fact that they have manifest ability to “lighten the spirits,” so to speak, was taken as concrete evidence that they do in fact thin the thick and gluey humors that traverse through the body, taxing the heart and causing heavy pensiveness in the mind and sluggishness in the limbs. A cordial is thus good for the heart—and should be distinguished from other originally medicinal drinks such as the aperitif—which scours and opens the body’s passages readying it for a meal to come, or the digestif, which is meant to strengthen the digestive heat of the stomach, and cause it to corregate and better “concoct” the stomach’s contents, which is why digestifs are bitter.

Cordials and Liqueurs Europeans began distilling these medicines some time in the Middle Ages, and we know that figures like Roger Bacon and Raymond Lull experimented with various forms of alcohol in an effort to discover a longevity drug. By the era of print, recipes for these drinks were published and well known. Hieronymus Braunschweig’s book on distillation is among the earliest of these. Other alchemists such as Walter Ryff composed complex cordial recipes. Such recipes are also contained in a handbook written by the Swiss botanist Conrad Gessner under the pseudonym Euonymus Philiatrus in the mid-sixteenth century. For example he offers a recipe for a rose water (meant as a cordial, not a baking ingredient) that soothes the heart and liver and is excellent for inflammations (roses being cold humorally). This is essentially the ancestor of rosolio, still popular in Italy. Contemporary cookbooks containing menus and banqueting guides provide evidence that “waters” such as these came out with the last course of fruits and sweets, though whether they were taken medicinally or merely for pleasure cannot be known. Gessner’s comments suggest that it is for both: “Aqua ardens, or aqua vitae, is extracted from wine, among us from the lees, so much of which is sold by common folk, and from which they practically make a meal.” The drink he is speaking of we would today call grappa or marc. But he also discusses other ingredients macerated in the wine and then distilled: cinnamon, sage, absinthe, gentian, iris, and even juniper, which he believes gives the most pleasing aroma. The latter is the ancestor of gin. Other recipes include several dozen ingredients—one has cloves, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, galangal, long pepper, juniper, orange, sage, basil, rosemary, mint, lettuce, laurel, pimpernel, gentian, elder, white rose, spikenard, lignum aloes, cardoons, cinnamon, absinthe, as well as fruits, and plenty of sugar. Later distillers would not be so open with their “secret recipes.” Few of the modern manufacturers of cordials mention their medicinal origins, but they do frequently point out their monastic roots, though monks would have been creating these for the sake of health rather than pleasure, presumably. The legends surrounding the origin of many cordials must be considered just that, though there may be a grain of truth in some of the stories. Chartreuse is named for a monastic order, as is Benedictine. The latter is said to have been invented in 1510 by Brother Bernardo Vincelli in the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy and includes some 27 herbs and spices, not unlike Gessner’s recipe at all. Chartreuse, the lurid green or sweeter yellow cordial from which we get the name for the color, is said to contain 130 herbs and traces its origin to an alchemical manuscript bequeathed to the Carthusian monastery at Vauvert in 1605. The cordial later made its way to the headquarters at Voiron where production on a large scale commenced. Manufacture underwent various vicissitudes over the years, especially when the monks were expelled from France, but Chartreuse is still made today. Although precisely defining a liqueur today is difficult, in general it refers to a sweet dessert beverage with an alcohol content of about 25 to 30 percent, that is, twice as much as wine, but not as much as straight spirits, which are about 35 to 50 percent (or 70 to 100 proof ). But there are



Cordials and Liqueurs

stronger and weaker liqueurs as well. The leading manufacturers of liqueurs continue to be French and Italian, though the Dutch Bols (since 1575) and DeKuyper companies have long had lines of flavored schnapps, and the German Jägermeister from Wolfenbüttel has an ardent following (Jägermeister is technically a digestif, as are the Italian artichoke-based Cynar, and the mentholated Fernet, a dark bitter brooding herbal concoction). Below is a sampling of the range and variety of better-known choices, which excludes aperitifs like Vermouth, Campari, and Pimm’s. New flavors are of course being introduced every day, far beyond the now fairly staid peppermint and root beer. There are a number of herb- and spice-based liqueurs that can be considered direct descendants of the original cordials. These include the cloying yellow Italian drinks Strega and Galliano. Darker and more redolent of herbs are two Eastern European liqueurs: Unicum from Hungary, Becherovka from the Czech Republic—both technically bitters rather than cordials. Although the impalatable Goldschlager and Goldwasser with flecks of actual gold may seem a modern novelty, it does in fact vaguely replicate the centuries-old aurum potabile, or drinkable gold, a longevity drug often flavored with cinnamon. With more noble pedigrees are the various liqueurs based on anise. These range from the sweet French anisette and Italian sambuca which also includes elder, to the more potent pastis, Greek ouzo and Turkish raki as well as the whole range of absinthes. The latter, although often drunk sweetened and cut with water, is not an after dinner drink, but an aperitif— but it does have roots extending back hundreds of years. Made with wormwood absinthe gained notoriety in fin de siècle France among artists, poets, and other louche types, until it was banned in most of Europe in the twentieth century. It is, however, enjoying a resurgence today. Liqueurs have also historically been based on nuts, nocino being traditionally made by steeping green walnuts in alcohol. There are commercial varieties of these drinks nowadays. Other nut-based liqueurs include amaretto, which most people believe is flavored with almond, but is actually made with apricot kernels or bitter almonds. The Amaretto di Saronno company claims that their formula dates back to 1525 and was given to artist Bernardino Luini by his grateful model turned lover. Frangelico is a similar liqueur based on hazelnuts, with pretensions to monastic origins. Fruit bases are far more common among liqueurs. The grandest of these are without doubt those based on orange, with Grand Marnier clearly outstanding, Cointreau following behind, and various others generically called Triple Sec, suitable only for mixed drinks. Curaçao is made from a Caribbean orange peel (laraha), cultivated on the island of the same name, and colored brightly for reasons that are elusive. Chambord is a raspberry liqueur with a distinctive orb-shaped bottle said to date back to 1685 when Louis XIV visited the Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley. Similar to this is cassis, based on black currant, often mixed with champagne to make a kir royale. Other fruit liqueurs include the Italian limoncello based on lemons and maraschino based on sour cherries, though there are a number

Cruise Ships of other cherry liqueurs such as Cherry Heering. Sloe gin, not a gin despite the name, is based on a type of plum. Midori is a more recent invention based on green melon. Liqueurs may also have other flavorings. Some are merely sweetened versions of popular spirits, such as Drambuie, which mixes Scotch whisky with flavors of heather honey and spices. It is said to have been concocted first by Bonny Prince Charley, who, while in exile on the Isle of Skye, shared the recipe with his protectors. Southern Comfort is a bourbon-based drink with peach, orange, and other flavorings. Kahlua, likewise is a coffeebased liqueur with hints of coconut and other tropical aromas, and so too Tia Maria and Starbucks have their own coffee liqueurs. There are also a wide range of cream-based liqueurs like Bailey’s Irish Cream and its many imitators; the Dutch advocaat, which is something like egg nog; as well as chocolate liqueurs promoted by confectionery manufacturers, like Godiva. Recently even fine tobacco has been distilled into a liquor, named Perique. Browsing the liquor store shelf one will find many strange new flavors: sour razzmatazz, pomegranate for those interested in antioxidants, as well as some truly remarkable offerings such as organic lavender- and tea-flavored liqueurs. What tomorrow will offer one can only guess. Further Reading: Forbes, R. J. Short History of the Art of Distillation from the Beginnings up to the Death of Cellier Blumenthal. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1997; Walton, Stuart. The New Guide to Spirits and Liqueurs. London: Lorenz Books, 2000; Walton, Stuart. The Complete Guide to Cocktails and Drinks. London: Lorenz Books, 2003.

Ken Albala

Cruise Ships In the nascent days of ocean travel during the early 1800s, sailing ships, also known as packets, provided a means for human transportation and mail delivery between New York and Liverpool. Typically there were fewer than 25 paying travelers per ship, with a much larger working crew. The journey could take an average of a month, sometimes more, depending on the weather and wind. It was a very long trip for seasick passengers who were unable to concentrate on reading or writing. To pass the time they played games such as charades or card games, listened to lectures, or sang songs. All of these pastimes were passenger generated. Shipboard life was centered in a large room known as the saloon. All dining and activity took place in this one room. Although the constant rolling of the ship kept attendance in the saloon to a minimum, those who were able to get out of bed found that meals, at least at the beginning of the voyage, were fresh and filling. Dinner regularly consisted of three simple courses and was served with little ceremony. There was no such thing as room service at this time. Meal service was abandoned altogether during a storm.



Cruise Ships

Just as the sailing ships were reaching their peak in speed, a developing technology was about to replace them. This was the harnessing of steam, which was the Industrial Age’s most significant form of energy. By the mid1840s not only could the mail get to its destination in a timely fashion but so could people get to theirs. For several years transatlantic travel, for the most part, was still not very comfortable. When Charles Dickens was a passenger on an early steamship, the Cunard Line’s Britannia, he found his stateroom to be “an utterly impracticable, thoroughly hopeless and profoundly preposterous box.” The food in the Britannia’s communal dining saloon was carelessly prepared and not very fresh. This contrasted greatly with another early Cunard steamship, the Columbia. The Columbia’s food was delicious and varied, and was served with care on fine porcelain. Guests devised all of their own amusements. With musicales, dances, backgammon, and deck games such as shuffleboard and nine pins, the passengers managed to stave off the boredom of a two-week long voyage. As the years went on, cuisine and service greatly improved aboard ship. As early as 1851 a passenger on a Collins Line vessel could count on meals designed to delight the palate and fill the stomach. A standard dinner menu consisted of green turtle soup, roasts in sauce, fresh fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and numerous desserts. Meals were served as they were in the past, in communal dining rooms at two long tables and with mingling among all types of people. If they were able to do so, some passengers attempted to change their clothes for dinner as they would do on land, but given the tight quarters in their cabins this was difficult to accomplish. Fresh flowers decorated the tables, and the dining room service became more polished. When all was well, passengers looked forward to eating every three hours or so. When the seas became rough, however, everyone retreated to their rooms. Meals were sparsely attended during a storm. In an attempt to keep plates and glasses from sliding away, three inch strips of wood were placed across each place setting in the dining saloon. The lack of room service did not matter much to seasick passengers. The ship that is widely considered to be the first modern liner, the Oceanic, was launched in 1870. Along with the new technology it used, there was an increased level of service for most passengers. Certainly more attention was paid to the cuisine in what had become known as the cabin classes. By this time great waves of emigration to the United States were beginning. Many, if not most, immigrants were unable to afford cabin class. The cheapest fare gave them a small space in the steerage section of the ship. They were expected to supply their own provisions, although low-quality food from the ship’s kitchen was sometimes available. Thus began an era in which sharp distinctions between rich and poor were drawn on the high seas, as it always had been on land. By the turn of the century, a new kind of ship was being built. Huge in size and running on turbine engines, these fast ocean liners put the steamships of the nineteenth century into the history books. Concurrent with

Cruise Ships


these developments was an even greater emphasis on cabin-class comfort and amusement. Ships were being designed with gymnasiums, swimming pools, winter gardens, smoking rooms, card rooms, and libraries. Not only were there tables seating no more than 10 people in the first-class dining rooms, but there was usually at least one other restaurant or café aboard the ship. In the early 1900s and pre–World War I it was customary for wealthy travelers to dress for dinner in their more spacious cabins. Part of the firstclass dining room ritual was to scrutinize each woman’s gown as she made her entrance. As a result, the dresses were glamorous and eye-catching, and became part of the entertainment in the dining room. The food was carefully prepared and served, and indulgence was the order of the day. Tea time and room service evolved over time, along with the tradition of having bouillon at 11 A.M. Luxurious trips on ocean liners before World War II were universally accepted as the province of the elite. The amenities of first class and the other cabin classes made the trip much more bearable, and by the 1920s even the “tourist” (formerly Normandie steerage) passengers traveled in a It is interesting to note that the ship, which was named for the modicum of comfort. province of Normandy (in French, la Normandie), carried neither The decades between the two a le nor la before her name. Although it was maritime custom to World Wars were golden years for refer to any ship as a she, the French Journal of the Merchant the great transatlantic ocean liners. Marine was opposed to the idea of giving a la to the new ship. “All Along with existing passenger ships ships,” it wrote, “no matter what their names may be, are massuch as the Mauretania and Berenculine in France. In spite of all the official circulars and all the garia, there was a proliferation grammarians of France, never can we be forced to say anything but Le Normandie.” As a compromise, neither gender term was of new vessels. The Ile de France, attached, and Normandie became the ship’s name. the Bremen, and the Europa, all The ship’s technical design was the marvel of its day with its launched in the late 1920s, set new unique hull shape, its method of propulsion, and its distinctive standards for luxury and speed. bow. It was the glamorous and magnificent interior, however, Cunard’s super-liner Queen Mary that drew the most attention. The ship was the epitome of art was in the final stages of developdeco design. This style was developed primarily in France bement. But the one which would tween 1910 and 1925 as a reaction to the art nouveau moveeclipse them all in every way was ment and was used for years afterward throughout the world. the French Line’s 1935 masterInstead of stylized glass flower lamp shades for the light fixpiece, the great ship Normandie. tures in the first class salle á manger, for example, there would Normandie was never inbe 12 simple but elegant cascading “light fountains” illuminated tended as a ship for the general from within. These stunning structures, designed by artist René Lalique, stood in two straight rows of six each on either side of public. Most of its passenger cabins the room. Vertical hanging lamp fixtures and crystal columns of were identified as first class, with light attached to the walls filled the immense, windowless room far fewer in the tourist and third with glorious radiance. The design elements employed throughclasses. Captains of industry, movout the ship would show the world just how luxurious and soers and shakers in the worlds of phisticated ocean travel could be, and no expense was spared business and politics, persons of in showcasing the French aesthetic at its very best. great wealth, imagined royalty, and


Cruise Ships

real royalty were its target clientele. Such deluxe surroundings would be an appropriate setting for their journeys, taking them to their destinations in a style most suited to their unique needs. It was said that the French built a beautiful hotel and put a ship around it. Those who sailed on Normandie certainly must have found that to be true. A first-class guest on Normandie never lacked for activities and small adventures during the four days of the crossing. Comfortable deck chairs were situated on the Promenade and Sun Decks for reading, relaxing, or spotting passing celebrities, and there were also plenty of group deck sports such as Ping-Pong tournaments and shuffleboard. Bridge, backgammon, chess, and many other board games were always available. A guest could take all manner of lessons from swimming to boxing to fencing. There were shooting galleries on the Promenade and Boat Decks, and movies were shown throughout the day in Normandie’s theater. Wireless-telephone and radiogram services were available if needed or desired. The most popular activity by far was partaking of the continuous meal service. Beginning at 8 A.M., breakfast could be taken in the dining room or in the privacy of one’s stateroom. At 11 A.M. dining service personnel would tour the ship with carts bearing beef bouillon, sandwiches, and cookies. This would take care of a guest’s hunger until lunch service began at 12:30 P.M. Although Normandie was a French ship, traditional British tea time was rigorously observed at 4 P.M. with the serving of ice cream, cakes, sandwiches, and tea. The same red-jacketed stewards who delivered the 11 A.M. snack delivered afternoon tea to all parts of the ship. The dining room opened for dinner at 7:30 P.M. First-class guests wore formal dress during dinner for most of the voyage, and watching sumptuously gowned women and tail-coated men descend the grand staircase was an important part of the dining room ritual. Dinner was the most highly anticipated repast of the day. It was served by a small army of waiters and prepared with meticulous care by Chef Gaston Magrin and his well-trained galley crew. The meal would customarily begin with soup, where no less than five soups were offered every evening. The fish and meat courses followed. A favorite of Normandie’s guests was Le Caneton à L’Orange. It would be the only item listed in capitals and qualified as a Specialité Regionale. Fine French wines were generously poured, a boon to post-Prohibition era, wine-starved Americans. Mineral waters and other non-alcoholic drinks were also available. Not to be neglected was the cold table. All manner of salads had their place here, as did poached salmon, turkey with cranberry sauce, and hams from five different sources. A chef stood by to carve each roast. This abundance of riches was arranged and served in the most attractive and tempting style imaginable. It was truly a delight to the eyes as well as the palate. All selections were chosen by the guest but served by the waiter. The grand finale of every dinner service was dessert. Here was the pastry chef’s moment of glory, an opportunity to display his talents. Ice cream

Cruise Ships was a trendy favorite. Vanilla was the favored flavor and was served in a coupe, or saucer-shaped glass, along with a dessert sauce, perhaps black cherries soaked in brandy. With a staff eager to meet one’s every wish, a dining service second to none, and a setting of unusual beauty and grace, Normandie was the French Line’s star. Normandie was only in service for four years, but those four years were enchanting, exciting, and exhilarating. With the onset of World War II, the era of the great ocean liners and the lifestyles they represented was effectively finished. After the war ended in 1945, however, some ocean-going passenger vessels were back in business. Until the commercial airplane successfully made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1959, ship travel was still the principal mode of transportation from one continent to the other. The advent of the jet age made leisurely ocean voyages obsolete. Reorganization and redefinition of ocean travel was the order of the day. Today’s large-scale cruises are meant for rest and relaxation, or for adventure and excitement, or a combination of many elements. Casino gambling, art auctions, lectures, and cruise line–organized activities abound. One can do everything and one can do nothing. It is entirely up to the passenger. Most cruise lines produce Broadway-style extravaganzas, and for late night dining there is always a bountiful buffet. Entertainment is not confined to the ship as many people choose to dine and sight-see in port. Others remain on board and have their meals in the dining room or in their cabins. Cruise ships have added interesting restaurants, sometimes for a supplement, in addition to the traditional dining room experience. Dining as entertainment has appeared once again, a throwback to the days of fine dining on the great ships of the past, although one is not usually expected to dress for dinner. The meal service on contemporary cruise ships is no longer slanted toward first class or any other class as these distinctions, for the most part, no longer exist. Guests have their choice as to where and when they’d like to dine. There is something for everyone. Fish, fowl, beef, and vegetarian options are always on the menu. Menus change every day, as they did in the days of the storied ocean liners, but they do tend to cater to predictable, mainstream tastes. Except for certain luxury cruise lines, where the meals are usually tailored to the individual diner, mass-produced cruise-ship food is tasty but not particularly memorable. On the smaller, more upscale ships the food is prepared and presented with the care more typical of voyages of the 1920s and 1930s. Sometimes the chef will refer to historic menus and create modern versions of classic shipboard cuisine. Dining room personnel aim to please their guests at all times, no matter what the cruise line. The Cunard liner Queen Mary 2 promises somewhat of a return to the legendary past of ocean travel. Other than two of the restaurants, which are for the exclusive use of the highest-end guests, all the other restaurants



Cruise Ships

are accessible to the rest of the passengers for a small fee. The Queen Mary 2, in service since 2004, has one staff member for every couple in order to maintain a superior level of service. Dining services are varied and range from in-room meals to the grandest of grand ballroom parties. It is entertainment and dining on the most lavish scale. Further Reading: Ardman, Harvey. Normandie, Her Life and Times. New York: Franklin Watts, 1985, p. 12; Braynard, Frank O., and William H. Miller, Fifty Famous Liners, Vol.1 and Vol. 2. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1982 and 1985; Edington, Sarah. The Captain’s Table. London: National Maritime Museum Publishing, 2005, p. 80; Fox, Stephen. Transatlantic; Samuel Cunard, Isambard Brunel, and the Great Atlantic Steamships. New York: HarperCollins, 2003; Maddox, Melvin. The Great Liners. New York: Time-Life Books, 1978; Maxtone-Graham, John. The Only Way to Cross. New York: Macmillan Company, 1972; Miller, William H. Jr. The Great Luxury Liners 1927–1954, A Photographic Record. New York: Dover Publications, 1981.

Joanna Barouch

D Day of the Dead Mexico’s famous November 2 celebration, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is not the same as the North American Halloween, although the festivities associated with Halloween are beginning to make some inroads on the traditional Mexican holiday. Known by a number of other names (Día de Animas, El Día de los Finados, and Día de los Fieles Difuntos), the Day of the Dead has grown over the centuries to be an integral part of Mexico’s national identity. Sugar skulls, vibrant orange marigolds, and elaborate homemade altars heaped high with fruit, bread, and salt sum up what the tourist sees in Mexico during the Day of the Dead festivities. But Mexican poet and diplomat Octavio Paz suggested a very different scenario in his classic work, The Labyrinth of Solitude: “The word death is not pronounced in New York, in Paris, in London, because it burns the lips. The Mexican, in contrast is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love. True, there is as much fear in his attitude as in that of others, but at least death is not hidden away: he looks at it face to face, with impatience, disdain or irony.” Death, to the forbearers of modern Mexico, was just one step around an endless circle, part of the cycle of creation.


Day of the Dead

Each region of Mexico, indeed, each village and town, has its own special way of celebrating the Day of the Dead. In some parts of Mexico, chiefly where Nahua tribal descendents live, festivities actually begin on October 27, when villagers welcome back the spirits of those with no descendents by putting bread and jugs of water outside the house. In some cases, people leave water and bread in the corner of the village church for these souls. On October 28, food is left out for those killed in accidents, murdered, or who died in other violent ways. For the Feast of the Little Angels, the spirits of dead children arrive on the evening of October 31, but must leave by noon on November 1. Once the spirit children leave, church bells ring to welcome back adult spirits on the afternoon of November 1. But the celebrations of Day of the Dead feature certain key elements regardless of the region: attendance at Mass, the construction and display of home altars with their ofrendas or offerings, candlelight vigils (la velación) at families’ graves in the community cemetery, and the now less popular practice of el doble, best described as a form of ritualized begging accompanied by the sound of the incessantly ringing bells of the local parish church. The spirits may return for a short time, to commune and give comfort to the living, but they must not stay or interfere with the lives of the living. The living owe their dead relatives the best of what they can afford to provide, displayed conspicuously on intricate home altars. Determining the connection between modern-day Day of the Dead practices and those of the Aztecs and their predecessors is difficult to accomplish because the Spanish priests who observed Aztec society wrote accounts that must be taken with a grain of salt. Their mission was to convert the Indians to Christianity, not necessarily to record accurate ethnographical accounts. The Aztecs celebrated their dead in a monthlong ritual surrounding the god Mictecacihuatl (“Lady of the Dead”) that took place in July and August. The Little Feast of the Dead, or Feast of Flowers, focused on dead children, while the Great Feast of the Dead, or Fruit Falls, remembered dead adults. The importance of food in the Aztec celebrations, reflected in the offerings included in the elaborate modernday home altars, suggests a harvest and fertility connection. Skull motifs and other mortuary images commonly appeared in pre-Columbian art. Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, a principal Spanish priest-chronicler, related that the Aztecs created anthropomorphic representations of their gods in dough made from amaranth, a grain. The most likely explanation for the origin of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations lies in a fusion of Aztec folk traditions with early Catholic practices. Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints’ Day in the seventh century and celebrated it in May. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved the date to November 1. By the ninth century, this day was earmarked to celebrate the saints and martyrs of the Western Church. In the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII gave the day its current shape and by the fourteenth century, it was quite popular, with Spain being particularly partial to it.

Day of the Dead Saint Odilo introduced the concept of All Souls’ Day ( November 2) in Cluny, France, around 1030. By the thirteenth century, the holy day took hold and was designated for the “faithful departed,” or those who died in the bosom of the Church. Many aspects of the celebrations came out of a melding of ancient fertility and harvest rites combined with the rituals of the Catholic Church. European practices date back to the Celts and the Druids, as in Allhallowsmas, when the thin veil lifted and the spirits could return for a short time. Catholic ritual also borrowed from practices surrounding the Egyptian god Osiris. The Roman god Bacchus, essentially Osiris by another name, played a role in forming European traditions surrounding death. Skeletons appeared in European art, particularly as memento mori in the fifteenth century, as in “Death and the Maiden” in Renaissance art, danse macabre, and the oft-quoted phrase Mors omnibus communis (death is common to all). Artists often depicted Death as a woman, as in the case of nineteenth-century Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada’s “La Catrina,” with her plumed hat and fancy tiny-waisted dress. In Spain, for instance, cemetery visiting was common and dated back to Roman practices of visiting cemeteries and eating what would be called a picnic. St. Augustine frowned on these practices as early as the fourth century. Huesos de santo, breads and sweets in the shape of bones, flourished in Spanish kitchens and markets frequented by the mothers and sisters of the conquistadores, and in the convents as well. By the middle of the eighteenth century in Mexico, the Day of the Dead celebrations resembled today’s practices. Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead by preparing sumptuous multilevel altars in their homes to welcome the dead. In the afternoon or the evening, families go to the cemeteries to clean family gravesites, eat a picnic, and spend time together as families (la velación), remembering the dear departed with prayers, stories, flowers symbolizing the shortness of earthly life, pan de muertos ( bread baked in the shape of bones or human shape), candy skulls called calaveras, photographs and mementos, candles (four representing each of the cardinal directions and one for each dead relative), incenselike copal to guide the dead home, and mountains of food and drink. Basic and essential foods for home altars tend to be water, salt, and bread, all highly symbolic in Catholic liturgy and purification ceremonies. Water refreshes the souls, salt purifies them, and bread sustains them. Paper banners ( papel picado) draped over the altars reveal a number of lace-like designs, usually of skulls or other mortuary symbols. Flowers, especially orange marigolds called cempasuchil with their strong odor, help to guide the dead home, as do the odors of their favorite foods and the burning copal. Families often sprinkle marigold petals across the threshold of the house, right up to the home altar created to the honor of the dead. The tianguis, or Day of the Dead markets, bulge with candy skulls and other items on sale.



Day of the Dead

Families strive to prepare their dead relatives’ favorite foods, and for deceased males, liquor or cigarettes may stand on the altar next to pots of spicy chicken mole. Popular offerings include mole with turkey, pan de muertos in the shape of humans and even dogs, candied pumpkin, chocolate coffins and skulls, tamales, champurrado (a sweet chocolate drink thickened with corn masa harina and flavored with anise), posole and atole (drinks made from cornmeal), moles, and horchatas (drinks made with seeds). An arco, or arch, often fashioned out of sugar cane, frames the home altar. Fruit of all kinds, particularly oranges and bananas, hang suspended from the arch. Other ofrendas, or offerings, include seasonal produce, such as lemons, corn, tangerines, squash-like chayotes, and yellow tejocotes that taste like plums, along with cinnamon, tortillas, chocolate, corundas (a type of tamale from Michoacán), and peanuts. Wandering groups go from house to house, presenting amusing skits and plays, and singing songs, all similar to the posadas of the Christmas season. The people in the houses offer the revelers food and, sometimes, small amounts of money. Once the spirits leave late on the afternoon of Day of the Saints, November 2, the living may eat the abundant food on the home altars, but not before. Families also send food to friends and neighbors, a practice termed mandando muertos. To make sure that the dead leave, masked mummers, dressed in a manner similar to that in the North American Halloween tradition, take to the streets on the night on November 2, wearing fearfullooking masks and creating frightening noises. At the night-long vigil in the graveyards, the darkness pierced by the fluttering of symbolic candle flames and highlighting the bright yellows and pinks of flowers like those painted by Mexican artist Diego Rivera, the passing of rituals from generation to generation takes place. The Day of the Dead contains elements of conspicuous consumption, but at the same time this feast day pays homage to the fragility and finiteness of life. “Mexican death is the mirror of Mexican life,” wrote Mexican poet /diplomat Octavio Paz.

Day of the Dead celebrations on Olevera Street in Los Angeles, California. Bobby Deal /RealDeal Photo/Shutterstock.

Debutante Balls

Papier-mâché figure for the Day of the Dead celebrations on Olevera Street in Los Angeles, California. Bobby Deal/RealDealPhoto/Shutterstock. Further Reading: Andrade, Mary J. Through the Eyes of the Soul, Day of the Dead in Mexico—Michoacan. 2nd ed. [n.p.]: La Oferta, 1999; Brandes, Stanley. Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead: The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006; Carmichael, Elizabeth, and Chloë Sayer. The Skeleton at the Feast: The Day of the Dead in Mexico. Austin: University of Texas at Austin, 1992; Fletcher, Nicola. “Feasts for the Dead: Conqueroring Fear.” In Charlemagne’s Tablecloth: A Piquant History of Feasting. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004, pp. 210–215; Garciagodoy, Juanita. Digging the Days of the Dead: A Reading of Mexico’s Días de Muertos. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000; Greenleigh, John, and Rosalind Rosoff Beimler. The Days of the Dead: Mexico’s Festival of Communion with the Departed. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991; Norget, Kristin. Days of Life, Days of Death: Ritual in the Popular Culture of Oaxaca. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006; Paz, Octavio. “The Day of the Dead.” In The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico. New York: Grove Press, 1961, pp. 47–64; Salvador, R. J. “What Do Mexicans Celebrate on the Day of the Dead?” In J. D. Morgan and P. Laungani, eds. Death and Bereavement in the Americas. Death, Value and Meaning Series, Vol. II. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Co., 2003, pp. 75–76 (Available online at: http://www.public.iastate. edu/~rjsalvad/scmfaq/muertos.html); Santiago, Chiori. El Corazon de la Muerte/ Altars and Offerings for the Days of the Dead. [n.p.]: Heyday Books, 2005.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Debutante Balls A debutante ball is a social event that introduces a young woman into society. The word debutante comes from the French, debut, which means, “beginning.”



Debutante Balls

The young woman is said to be “coming out” when she is introduced, implying that she is leaving the sheltered world of family life to join a wider society. The tradition of formal presentation of a young woman is rooted in an old English practice where daughters of the aristocracy, who married within a very small circle of elite families, were presented to those of similar social standing when they reached a marriageable age. The practice continues to be associated generally with wealthy and socially prominent families. In England, presentations took place during “The London Season,” which usually coincided with the sitting of Parliament. Generally, it began after Easter and continued until August when the grouse-hunting season started. Families of wealth and position made a mass migration from their country estates to London for “The Season,” to exchange their quiet life of limited entertainment for days of shopping, riding, and visiting; and evenings of theater, dances, and balls. It was regarded as the chance for young men and women of position to mingle and find a marriageable partner. Marriages were more likely to be made on the basis of social connections, eligibility, and finances rather than common interests, compatibility, and love. This theme can be found in novels like Jane Austin’s Mansfield Park, in which Sir Thomas Bertram rebukes his niece for rejecting a suitor, reminding her that as a poor relation, with no property or money, she is fortunate to have received an offer at all. Attendance at Almack’s Assembly Room was a “must” for young women seeking a suitable husband. This was particularly true during the Regency period. Almack’s opened in 1765 and was named for its founder, William Almack. For a subscription fee, men and women of fashion could attend weekly balls with a supper on Wednesday nights during “The Season.” Balls and dances commonly started at 10 P.M. and continued until 3 A.M. Dinner parties included huge numbers of people and often encompassed six or seven courses. Prospective members had to face the Patronesses of Almack’s. The Patronesses arbitrarily decided the social acceptability of anyone desiring to enter Almack’s, and this “seal of approval,” in turn, extended even to London’s highest social circles. Rejection could undermine a debutante’s social standing. Debutantes who chose to make a “coming out” appearance at an Almack’s ball would have their partners selected for them by the Patronesses. Before a young woman could join in the social activities of “The Season,” she had to be presented at court to the queen. This typically took place when she reached 18. Prior to that time the activities of a young woman of social position would be restricted to attendance at school and limited participation in any social functions. While the actual presentation would only take a few minutes, preparations for the event were extensive. There were rigidly prescribed rules for presentation that extended to dress and accessories. Unmarried women were expected to wear a white gown, although soft color over a white background was permitted. The gown had to have a train. The headdress had to have feathers and a tulle veil long enough to reach the train. The number and size of the feathers on a headdress varied with the whim of the monarch. Queen Victoria favored three large feathers.

Debutante Balls Hours were spent learning how to walk wearing a gown with a train that extended three yards. The young woman also had to learn how to execute a full bow, where her knee almost touched the floor, and to rise without losing her balance. She had to back out of the room without tripping on her train, as she was not permitted to turn her back to the queen. Liveried servants were stationed strategically to assist the young woman in making a graceful exit. Those being presented had to be accompanied by an older woman of rank and respectability who had already been presented. For most debutantes, this was her mother but a young woman could be taken under the wing of any socially prominent matron. After the Industrial Revolution, some members of the middle class amassed considerable fortunes. Daughters of successful middle-class families could be presented at court if they could find a sponsor from among the aristocracy. Aristocrats were anxious to make alliances with wealthy entrepreneurs, and the bourgeois wanted acceptance from high society. Sponsorship created a mutually beneficial arrangement. Presentations usually began between 2 and 3 P.M. The young women would sometimes have to wait for hours before their carriages would be permitted to enter St. James Palace where the presentations were made. The young women would then be led to the Gallery where they would have to remain until they were summoned. Title and rank dictated the order in which presentations were made. Queen Elizabeth II abolished the presentation of any woman at court in 1958. Some attempts have been made to keep the tradition alive by organizing parties for the young women, who would otherwise have been presented at court; however, lacking royal sanction the parties have become indistinguishable from other events of the social season. In the United States, the practice of presenting young women can be traced back to 1748, when 59 Philadelphia families held “Dancing Assemblies.” Unable to present their daughters to the court in England, the colonists began their own custom. Debutante balls usually were private affairs held in the family home or a fashionable hotel. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, many affairs had become ostentatious showcases of family wealth, typical of the Gilded Age. Wealth and age were not enough for a young woman to be presented, according to an 1883 etiquette book, The Manners That Win, which stated that a debutante should have graduated from school and have a complete understanding of the rules that govern polite society, should be able to sing or play an instrument gracefully and dance elegantly. By the 1920s the rules governing a debut had somewhat relaxed in reaction to the more modern attitudes of the time. In Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage of 1922, etiquette authority Emily Post described ways, alternative to the ball, that a young woman could be introduced to society. She suggested an afternoon tea with dancing, a small dance, or a small tea without music. Post even included the very modest suggestion that a mother might simply have joint calling cards made. By this time, public balls or cotillions, as they were sometimes called, where young women from prominent families were invited to make their debuts collectively, had generally replaced private debuts.



Debutante Balls

After World War II, debutante balls spread to almost every city in the United States, reaching an all-time high in popularity during the Eisenhower years. The sexual revolution and feminist movement of the following decades led many young women to abandon the event. Debutante balls had resurgence during the prosperous 1980s, and by the close of the twentieth century many were sponsored by charitable organizations and linked to fundraising events. While historically, the purpose of presentation was to find a suitable marriage partner, today a debutante is usually presented for her accomplishments and to introduce her to the adult philanthropic world. Debutante balls are held in almost every major city in the United States but tend to be more popular and elaborate in the South. Some cities have multiple balls during the season, which generally runs from November through January. In the North, some families host a private party as an alternative to the formal ball. This “coming out” party can be scheduled any time during the year but is often planned to coincide with the young woman’s birthday. An event such as this differs from a ball in that the event is smaller and the guests are commonly limited to the friends of the young woman. Many formal traditions persist for these events, and there is a particular etiquette for dress. Debutantes are expected to wear white gowns and gloves made from satin or kid leather. The dress should be light, airy, and young. It should never be overly elaborate. If white is unbecoming, the debutante may wear a very pale color gown. Strong colors such as red, dark blue, and black are unacceptable. The debutante’s mother wears a ball dress and gloves as well.

Miss Barbara Hight, chairman of the debutantes’ committee, fitting one of the costumes on Fannie Dial, daughter of the former senator from South Carolina, c. 1920–1932. Library of Congress.

Deepavali, Festival of Lights The debutantes to be presented stand in a receiving line at the beginning of the affair to greet and welcome the guests. It is customary for the debutante to invite a few of her best girl friends to receive with her. These young women wear evening dresses but do not actually stand in the receiving line. With no official duties, they are there merely to share in the celebration. It is customary for family, friends, and business associates to send decorative flowers in the form of bouquets or baskets to the debutante. These floral arrangements are usually displayed near the receiving line. The debutante holds one of the bouquets while she is standing in the line. When it is time to be presented, the debutante is announced and walked around the stage accompanied by her father, who makes the presentation. As the presentation is made, the debutante makes a deep bow or curtsy. This is sometimes called the “St. James’ bow,” harkening back to the court presentations. A male escort then joins the young woman and walks her away. Some debutantes have two escorts. Many balls select and pair the debutantes and their escorts. The debutante goes to supper with her escort. Her most intimate friends and their dinner partners are seated at her table. The debutante tables may be larger than the tables for the other guests in order to accommodate her friends, and they are usually located in the center of the room. After the meal, the debutante has no special responsibilities and is free to enjoy the party. The prom is a modern outgrowth of the debutante ball. Proms began in the elite Northeastern colleges. Middle-class parents admired the poise and composure displayed by debutantes and their escorts at the balls. They began to institute formal dances as a means of showcasing social skills and elegance for their children and celebrating their emergence into society. Further Reading: Marling, Karal Ann. Debutante: Rites and Regalia of American Debdom. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004; Post, Emily. Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage. New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1922; Tuckerman, Nancy, Nancy Dunnan, and Amy Vanderbilt. The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette. New York: Doubleday, 1985.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

Deepavali, Festival of Lights Deepavali, the festival of lights, is the most famous of Indian festivals. It is a festival of jubilation and togetherness celebrated by young and old, and rich and poor, throughout India as well as in Indian communities around the world. Innumerable communities with varying customs mingle together to make Deepavali celebrations a very happy occasion for all. The date of Deepavali is based on the Hindu calendar, which has solar years and lunar months. Deepavali always falls either in the months of October or November, just the day before the new moon. During Deepavali celebrations in India, houses are decorated with myriads of little clay lamps. Lamps are placed around the home, in courtyards, and gardens, as well as on



Deepavali, Festival of Lights

Typical Indian temple roof decor during the Deepavali festival. iCEO/Shutterstock.

rooftops. The glittery light from the lamps creates a festive and fantasy-like atmosphere. A wide assortment of sweets are prepared at home or bought from sweet shops and shared with everyone. The night sky on Deepavali lights up with fireworks streaking up like bolts of lightning, splintering into a million rainbow petals before vanishing in a never-ending dazzle of flashing smoke. Everywhere, there are signs of the renewal of life, and it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival. Sweets prepared with various nuts and flours, milk, dried fruits, and fragrant spices, such as saffron and cardamom, are an important aspect of all Deepavali celebrations. In times past, preparations for Deepavali began weeks ahead with the cleaning, roasting, and powdering of rice and lentils in the grindstone; making ghee (clarified butter) at home; and buying fresh oil straight from the press. The irresistible aromas of barfi, peda, jilebi, laddu, mysorepak, and a host of other sweets lingered in the air. Today, sweets are often bought from commercial manufacturers. It is the busiest season for the sweet shops in India. Sweets packaged in beautiful containers are exchanged with friends and neighbors. India is a vibrant land of mythological tales of gods and goddesses, and Deepavali signifies many different things to people from different backgrounds. In north India, Deepavali celebrates Lord Rama’s homecoming after killing the demon king Ravana. In Bengal, the celebration of Kali Puja is an integral aspect of Deepavali. It is believed to be the night to honor departed ancestors, and the lighted lamps are meant to serve as a guide to these departed souls. In Gujarat and neighboring states, the festivities continue for a week. On Dhanteras, the first day, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. This day is believed to be auspicious to purchase metals. Often gold or silver are bought or at least one or two new metal utensils.

Dessert Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is worshipped in the evening with lighting of tiny lamps of clay. For the business communities of Gujarat, Deepavali also marks the beginning of the new financial year. They celebrate New Year on the day after Deepavali. In the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, Deepavali celebrates lord Krishna’s triumph over demon king Narakasura. Festivities start very early in the morning with entire households waking up around three in the morning. The first ritual is to wash oneself, applying plenty of oil to the hair, followed by taking an auspicious bath. After the bath, everyone dresses in festive new clothes, and sweets are served first at a sumptuous breakfast. Traditionally a south Indian breakfast is anything but sweet; but on Deepavali, sweets take the center spot. Children run out, with shouts and yells, as each tries to be the first to burst firecrackers. In the state of Maharashtra also, early morning baths with oil and fragrant powders and serving sweets are the traditions of Deepavali. The significance of Deepavali extends beyond Hinduism; it is celebrated by Jains and Sikhs. The foundation of the Golden Temple of Sikhs at Amritsar is believed to have been laid on Deepavali day in 1577. With warmer days turning into a mild winter, the fun-filled Deepavali is celebrated by each community in its own special ways. With more and more Indians migrating to various parts of the world, the number of countries where Deepavali is celebrated keeps increasing. Because it is not a public holiday outside India, Deepavali celebrations often take place on a weekend close to the actual festival. In major cities across the Untied States the festival takes the form of a great fair with vendors selling Indian goods as well as food, cultural performances, and fireworks. The whole area surrounding the festival is often decorated with a spectacular display of lights, tinsel, and garlands. Whatever may be the fables and legends behind the celebrations of Deepavali, and the stark differences in the styles and forms of celebrations observed by different regions, there are common threads that run among the many versions of this festival. Deepavali, no matter where it is celebrated, marks the victory of good over evil. Various gastronomic and aesthetic delights mark all versions of the celebrations. People exchange sweets, wear new clothes, and children rejoice in lighting firecrackers at this festive time. The festival of lights symbolizes a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill. Further Reading: Stutley, James, and Margaret Stutley. Harper’s Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, Literature, and History. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1984; Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Ammini Ramachandran

Dessert In contemporary usage the term dessert describes a course or meal in which foods of a predominantly sweet character are consumed, or, more generally,




it describes the sweet foods themselves. Foods called or featured in dessert may include a wide range of preparations: ice creams and sorbets, custards, cakes, pies and tarts, cookies and small pastries, and confections of all types. The word dessert is derived from the Middle French word desservir, “‘to clear the table,” or, more literally, “to un-serve.” The term originally described a course at or near the conclusion of the meal in which fruit, cheeses, and sweet foods were served. Though the term appears to have originated in the late sixteenth century, the consumption of sweets, particularly at the end of formal meals, has a long history. To Romans the dessert course was known as secundae mensae, the Latin translation of the term that the Greeks used before them, deuterai trapezai, “second tables.” And there is evidence of the dessert course going back even further than Classical Greece and Rome, to the eighteenth century B.C., when a Mesopotamian royal banquet, described on an ancient cuneiform tablet, concluded with a course comprised of a selection of fruits, along with sweet pastries filled with fruits and nuts and lavished with honey. This custom of relegating sweet foods to the end of meals belies the fact that desserts have rarely been eaten for nutrition or substance, roles usually fulfilled primarily by grains and meats. Rather, desserts have been eaten as indulgences, eaten for the sake of enjoyment after the essential business of sustenance has been addressed. Being non-essential and often expensive, desserts have historically had a more substantial position in the diets of the rich and privileged than those of the poorer, working classes, for whom sweets were generally rare luxuries. Regardless of class, the preciousness and ostentation inherent to dessert has ensured its association with special occasions for much of human history, from the aforementioned Mesopotamian banquet to the extravagant, multitiered wedding cakes and so-called dessert stations of contemporary wedding celebrations. SWEETENERS In their early development, which is to say the first several millennia of civilization, desserts were predominantly sweetened with honey, the production of which was extensively domesticated by the Egyptians by the third millennium B.C. Though the sweetness of sugar cane had been exploited, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, for millennia, it was not until after the Persians made refinements in the production of solid sugar made from its juice in the seventh century A.D. that an overall shift from honey- to sugar-based desserts would occur. Old recipes and techniques were adapted and expanded, and new sweets appeared. Cane sugar was particularly influential on European desserts, where its introduction led not only to the relatively rapid development of new types of sweets but also to the indoctrination of new customs for enjoying them. With time desserts were freed from the boundaries of formal meals and special occasions, to be enjoyed on a more quotidian basis, not only at the end of the meal but also as snacks and restoratives throughout the day, in some cases becoming the basis of small, secondary meals themselves.

Dessert During the nineteenth century, with the development of beet-derived sugar and further advancements in the refinement of both beet and cane sugars, sugar prices dropped to an unprecedented low with the result that virtually anyone could enjoy sweets, just about any time. EARLY PRACTICES In Ancient Egypt, though poorer citizens had limited access to sweets, which were largely limited to date-based preparations, privileged citizens enjoyed a range of desserts, including sweet breads, fried pastries, and simple sweetmeats. These would have been accompanied or enriched by the gamut of fruits, nuts, seeds, and aromatics available, including figs, dates, grapes and raisins, pomegranates, pine nuts, doum fruit (the product of a native Egyptian palm tree), sesame seeds, and aniseed. The repertoire of sweets enjoyed by affluent citizens of the Greek and Roman empires was similar to that of their Egyptian predecessors. Fruits, nuts, and seeds remained central, both as desserts unto themselves, and as ingredients in breads, pastries, compotes, and sweetmeats. As in Egypt, honey was the preferred sweetener. Dairy products, however, specifically goat- and sheep-milk cheeses, became much more prevalent than in Egypt and were cherished dessert components. As such, cheeses were consumed on their own, adorned with honey and accompanied by nuts and fruits, or incorporated into cakes and fritters. Common fruits and nuts enjoyed for dessert were figs, grapes, apples, medlars (a fruit with Persian origins that is most often enjoyed in a cultivated state of decomposition), myrtle berries (the bluish fruit of the myrtle shrub), walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, and pine nuts. Sesame and poppy seeds were also common dessert ingredients. Cakes were held in special regard by the Greeks, who presented specific cakes as offerings to deities during rituals. Examples include the Athenian cake known as amphiphon, a round cheesecake studded around its circumference with lit candles or torches and presented during a spring ritual to the goddess Artemis, and the Delian honey cake basynias that was decorated with one dried fig and three walnuts and offered to the goddess Iris. In addition to their dessert courses, Greeks also enjoyed sweets at events known as symposion. A range of precious bites would be offered at a symposium, including dried fruits, cheeses, and honeyed cakes. With wine being central to these important all-male social and intellectual gatherings, the accompanying foods were primarily meant to stimulate and prolong drinking, more so than to satiate hunger and impart nutrition. THE MIDDLE AGES Throughout the late Middle Ages, generally the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries, affluent Europeans became increasingly enamored with sweets. Such was the demand for desserts at this time that guilds were formed devoted to the production of special types of sweets. In Paris, specialists in




cookie making known as oubloyers were acknowledged as early as 1270. And in other parts of Europe, particularly along the Mediterranean, guilds devoted to making various types of candies and confections began to crop up— marzipan makers, nougat specialists, and dragee (sugar-coated confection) experts among them. Though desserts were certainly enjoyed at the end of meals, they were also enjoyed as snacks, particularly in the morning. And at the banquets that served as important social institutions, sweet dishes were interspersed throughout the meal, juxtaposed with the savory courses. Such arrangements were largely the result of the dietary guidelines of the time, which held that every food possessed certain overall qualities or humors and that it was important for one’s health and well-being to achieve humoral balance in their diet. For instance, fruits tended to be classed as moist and cool and thus would be paired with foods considered dry and hot, such as spices, wines, or certain roasted meats. Thus the actual flavors of the food were not as important as their perceived character, so it was that a turnip might be considered a wholly acceptable substitute for a pear in a medieval recipe. It was not until the seventeenth century that the boundaries between sweet and savory were explicitly drawn, and the value of balancing humors gave way to the value of balancing flavors. Despite the increasing popularity of cane sugar during the latter centuries of the Middle Ages, its production remained difficult and costly. As such, it became a symbol of status and power and displays of it became de rigeur at banquets and celebrations. At the height of ostentation were colorful sculptures made out of sugar or marzipan (a paste of almonds and sugar), which were used at banquets as centerpieces, props in the theatrics that accompanied the meal, or as edibles unto themselves. THE AGE OF EXPLORATION During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as Europeans developed new trade routes and discovered new lands. A number of consumables were introduced to the European pantry that changed dessert customs, forming many of the sweet dishes and the practices around them that may be observed to this day. Many of these new items came from the New World, including vanilla, pineapple, and chocolate; from Africa, by way of Turkey, came coffee; and from China, tea. Coffee In mainland Europe, where coffee became immensely popular, particularly as a mid-afternoon restorative, it was a matter of course that the owners of cafés (establishments where coffee was consumed) would begin to offer foods to their long-lingering guests. Providing a balancing foil to the bitter beverage and an additional boost of energy to buttress the effects of caffeine, sweet foods were a particularly welcome addition to the café repertoire.

Dessert In bustling Vienna the daily ritual known as Jause explicitly paired coffee with desserts for a mid-afternoon social respite. The practice is still observed today, though mostly on weekends and during holidays. The desserts featured in the Jause, then as now, might include any number of Austrian specialties, including complex layered sponge cakes like the Sachertorte; delicate strudels; crumbly nut-meal cookies; or homey fruit-filled dumplings. Tea Though coffee maintained prominence virtually everywhere else in Europe, in England tea became a favorite in the early eighteenth century (due at least in part to the campaigning of the British East India Company, which imported large quantities of tea and had obvious motives for promoting its consumption). The British generally enjoyed their tea sweetened with sugar and enriched with milk, and soon took to enjoying it alongside sweet foods as well. By the nineteenth century sweet-laden afternoon tea had became a common social custom. As the accepted creation story goes, Anna, the seventh duchess of Bedford requested that her servant bring a pot of tea accompanied by a selection of biscuits and various sweets to her chambers to remedy a “sinking feeling” that she experienced in the afternoon. Perhaps to assuage the guilt of such an indulgence, she began inviting friends to join her in this restorative practice, and thus the afternoon tea began. Still enjoyed today, though much less often, a formal afternoon tea generally includes a freshly brewed pot of tea accompanied by milk, sugar, and a selection of small edibles, often arranged on a tiered tray, with delicate sandwiches occupying the lower tiers and the upper tiers being primarily occupied by fancy cakes and pastries and scones accompanied by sweet jams and clotted cream. Chocolate For centuries after its introduction to Europe, chocolate was consumed primarily in the form of a sweetened beverage. The first shipment of cocoa beans (chocolate in raw form) from the New World arrived in Spain in 1585. From there and from Italy, where it arrived at around the same time, chocolate was gradually introduced to points north. While it was accepted with alacrity here and there (as in the French court of Louis the XIV, a hearty advocate of chocolate), eventually finding tentative use in some soft dessert preparations (e.g., mousses and puddings), chocolate remained only a minor foodstuff until the nineteenth century. In 1828 Conrad Van Houten, a Dutch engineer, introduced a process whereby cocoa butter, the plentiful fat naturally present in cocoa beans, could be extracted from the cocoa mass (ground whole cocoa beans), yielding chocolate that was much more pleasant to eat in solid form and more readily adapted to a range of sweet forms. The process also made it possible to isolate cocoa powder, a product composed almost entirely out of flavorful cocoa solids that would become an important dessert ingredient in its




Marshmallows Originally, the sweet, sticky juice pressed from the root of the marsh mallow plant was used in Europe for medicinal purposes. Eventually, the French learned to combine it with sugar and whipped egg whites, to form sheets of pate de guimauve, used to embellish small cakes. This innovation was soon picked up by confectioners who found a way to substitute gum arabic for the mallow root sap as it made its way to the United States. In 1884, a book published for retail candy makers listed a recipe for marshmallow drops. In a two-inch-deep, carefully leveled bed of sifted cornstarch, impressions were made with a row of small metal, plaster, or wood forms, where still-warm and fluid marshmallow foam was dropped and left to cool and firm up before being removed and dusted with powdered sugar. By the early twentieth century the idea of toasting marshmallows over a fire was introduced and “marshmallow roasts” became popular entertainment. As electrical power was introduced into homes, it spurred the invention of small appliances and marshmallow toasters were being offered for sale by about 1910. By 1917, cookbook writers were calling for marshmallows as essential ingredients. A suggestion for use in a recipe in a Jiffy-Jell ad was a prediction of the future happy union of marshmallows and Jell-O. To promote their product as a “food,” marshmallow manufacturers began distributing small pamphlets with recipes for marshmallows as ingredients not only in elaborate cakes, fanciful frozen desserts, and ice cream toppings, but also in sauces, sandwiches, and salads using a variety of fruits and vegetables. For those seeking a more exotic menu, a manufacturer’s pamphlet included recipes for desserts from the executive chef of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu. The manufacturers’ inventiveness didn’t stop there. They gave away small printed pamphlets showing how to fashion small party favors, or to use marshmallows with other foods to produce fanciful figures as part of a composed salad, or to decorate a cake. The pairing of marshmallows and sweet potatoes was discovered in the late 1920s, and recipes from that period still appear in cookbooks of today. In 1955 marshmallow manufactures made a great leap forward in efficiency and economy when Alex Doumakes patented a method for extruding the marshmallow foam through a tube into a long rope and then cutting it into uniform pieces. This made possible the now-familiar miniature marshmallows. Other developments followed and now marshmallows can be purchased in a myriad of shapes, colors, and consistencies. Today, the various forms of marshmallow are as popular as ever: for toasting over campfires, for constructing s’mores, for

own right. When, in the 1870s, two Swiss companies, Tobler and Nestle, perfected a method for incorporating milk solids into chocolate, thus creating milk chocolate, the popularity of chocolate as a dessert in its own right was solidified. The nuts and fruits that had constituted the primary flavoring components in desserts for millennia were eventually subsumed by chocolate in all types of desserts, from cakes to custards. BEYOND EUROPE In Japan, desserts generally possess relatively subtle sweetness, and are often made with gel- (usually extracted from seaweed), rice-, or bean-bases, with common flavors being derived from green tea, cherry blossoms, soy beans, and azuki beans (sweet red beans, common in Japanese and Chinese cuisine, particularly sweets). Desserts, generally known as okashi, come in a range of colors tending toward pastel and are often of a precious, jewel-like appearance, presented in delicate paper wrappers and boxes. These are generally enjoyed as snacks or as accompaniments to tea, particularly at the end of a formal meal. In China, desserts are not integral to the traditional daily meal and are most often enjoyed in the course of celebrations or as occasional snacks. Delicate molded pastries known as mooncakes have a venerable position in Autumn Moon Festival celebrations, when they are exchanged among family and friends. Though traditional fillings are lotus or various bean pastes,



modern mooncakes can be filled topping hot cocoa, for the Thanksgiving table’s mashed sweet with or made out of a limitless range potatoes, or as the main component of confections designed of flavors and ingredients. Pao-pao to be sold as holiday specialties, colored and molded into anifan, “eight treasures,” is a generally mal forms. They also are pantry staples as ingredients in Rice chewy (rather than creamy) rice Krispy Treats, and Fluffernutter sandwiches (filled with peanut pudding enjoyed on special occabutter and Marshmallow Fluff ). sions. The “eight treasures” of note Shirley Cherkasky vary, but traditionally include such items as red dates, candied plums and other fruits, watermelon seeds, almonds, and lotus seeds. In general, sweets found in East Asian cuisines rely heavily on rice, beans, nuts, and fruits, eschewing the cream, butter, and other dairy products that are so central to desserts elsewhere. Indian cuisine boasts a plethora of desserts. These vary regionally but tend toward rather sweet, rich preparations, and are regularly eaten at the end of the meal or as snacks. Common flavorings and ingredients include, but are in no way limited to, condensed milk, mild fresh cheeses, rice, cardamom, cashews, and coconut. In the cuisines of the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, including those of Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iran, sweets have a long history, dating back in many instances to the earliest civilizations. Baklava is a widely cherished dessert in these regions, probably dating back to the fifteenth century, if not before. Though recipes vary regionally, baklava generally consists of layers of extremely thin dough ( phyllo), interspersed with crushed nuts—often pistachio, almond, or walnut—and saturated with a honey or sugar syrup. Some versions also include flavorings of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, or rose water. Halva is another common sweet with a history going back to the Middles Ages. In its most basic form, halva consists of honey or sugar and ground sesame seeds; today there are also chocolate, pistachio, and coconut versions, to name a few. Sweets are also a cherished component of many Central and South American cuisines. Due to strong Portuguese and Spanish colonial influences, Latin American sweets are often similar to those found in southwestern Europe: the sugar-dusted, deep-fried pastries known as churros, the ubiquitous flan (a baked custard, generally accompanied by liquid caramel), and the much cherished dulce de leche (a rich caramel made from condensed milk) are all examples of such influences. Chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and tropical fruits, such as pineapple and mango, are common dessert flavorings. In many regions festive, brightly colored cakes are key components of birthdays, weddings, and other important celebrations. In Mexico, where Day of the Dead (Dìa de los Muertos) celebrations originated and remain particularly significant, a range of sweets are featured in these festivities, including fancifully decorated sugar skulls and pan de muerto ( bread of the dead), a sweet egg-enriched bread, often flavored with anise and orange.


Dim Sum

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE Over the course of the last few centuries, dessert production has become easier and more efficient, making sweets less expensive and ephemeral, and more widely available. With the introduction of the gas range in the 1850s, baking cakes, cookies, and pastries became infinitely easier. Electric mixers, developed in the first few decades of the twentieth century, drastically reduced the labor and time involved in mixing batters, creams, and doughs. Refrigerators, home models of which started to become popular in the 1920s, made it possible to make or purchase everything from gelatin desserts to ice creams in advance and to keep them for much longer than had been possible in the past. And the rise of the microwave oven in the 1970s made it not only easier and faster to melt chocolate and butter and heat liquids and sauces, facilitating recipe production and dessert presentation, but they gave rise to a battery of mass-produced, ready-made desserts that required little more preparation than removal from the package and the pressing of a few buttons to serve. New ingredients and additives have also been sources of change. For example, the production of consistent leavened goods such as cakes and breads became much easier beginning in the mid-nineteenth century with the commercial availability of baking powders, followed by the introduction of standardized commercial yeasts around the turn of the century. Further Reading: Amendola, Joseph, and Nicole Rees. Understanding Baking: The Art and Science of Baking. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003; Bloom, Carole. The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries and Confections. New York: Hearst Books, 1995; Der Haroutunian, Arto. Patisserie of the Eastern Mediterranean. London: Macdonald Orbis Ltd., 1988; Mintz, Sidney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books, 1985; Morton, Marcia Colman. The Art of Viennese Pastry. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1969; Schinz, Marina. Book of Sweets. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994.

Amanda Lynn Clarke

Dim Sum Dim sum is part of the Chinese tradition of xiao chi (snacks) that dates back to the reign of the Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960–1279). Palace chefs invented dishes like minced pheasant, lark tongues, and sweets made from steamed milk and bean paste to appease the palates of royalty and hopefully touch their hearts as well. Dim sum translates as “touch the heart” or “heart’s delight.” During the thirteenth century, Mongol invaders forced the royal court south and the custom of dim sum went along, eventually finding a place to flourish in Canton. Canton was a large port city where foreign nations traded. A temperate climate, a coast that yielded fresh and tropical ingredients, and an abundance of money made Canton a fertile ground for experimentation

Dim Sum

in both food and entertainment. Here street vendors and teahouses sold varieties of dim sum. CONFUCIANISM AND DIM SUM To the philosopher Confucius (551–479 B.C.), the enjoyment of food was one of the things that contributed to the peace and harmony of society. He established culinary standards and proper table etiquette still often considered to be the standard today. The gathering of friends and family for dim sum is a natural extension of his philosophy, in which getting together without food was considered incomplete and improper. HARMONY AND BALANCE Dim sum also adheres to the Chinese concept of balance ( yin and yang) in cuisine that is referred to as fan /t’sai. Fan, or starches and grains, are balanced by meats and vegetables, or t’sai. Each piece of dim sum is supposed to contain the balance of fan / t’sai, with sauces for dipping served on the side. Balance also occurs between foods that are considered hot and those that are cold, and harmony should be achieved between the five flavors— bitter, hot, sour, salty, and sweet. Balance is also obtained by combining the drinking of tea with the eating of dim sum. THE TRADITION OF THE TEAHOUSE Dim sum is traditionally consumed with tea at yum cha, or tea lunch. At first it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food. In the third century A.D., Hua Tuo, one of the most respected Imperial physicians of ancient times, advised that “eating food and drinking tea at the same time only results in excessive weight gain” (Global Gourmet). Over time, tea’s ability to aid digestion and cleanse the palate became known, and teahouse proprietors began adding a variety of dim sum. In Imperial times in Northern China, the teahouse was the meeting place of gentlemen of leisure who talked and drank tea, accompanied by their caged songbirds, hung on a bamboo rod. A large teahouse could boast of more than 1,000 dim sum varieties. Over time, businessmen would come to visit teahouses to negotiate deals sealed in the relaxed surroundings. Teahouses were also a place for disputes to be settled harmoniously over tea in the presence of a mutually respected arbiter. During the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368–1644), the Tea and Horses Bureau was created to monitor tea production. This improvement in tea quality also resulted in an improvement in teahouses. The teahouse was a natural adjunct to the migratory nature of Chinese society. Travelers journeying along the famous Silk Road needed a place to rest, and teahouses along the route accommodated them. Local workers



Dim Sum

would also stop in for conversation, tea, and dim sum, after a hard day toiling in the field. Here the merits of particular dim sum chefs and their culinary prowess would be enthusiastically debated. Dim sum was usually served from midmorning to midafternoon, a tradition that continues today. THE MIGRATION OF DIM SUM Over the years, where Cantonese migrated, dim sum went along. Family and friends would gather to visit, gossip, or do business over tea and dim sum. In the nineteenth century, dim sum migrated to the west along with Chinese immigrants, mostly from Canton, and settled with them on both the East and West coasts of the United States. When the communists came to power in China, many dim sum chefs fled to Hong Kong, and the refinement of the art of dim sum was taken to a new level. DIM SUM TODAY Today, the so-called traditional teahouse may be rare in China, replaced by chains and other institutions. In Canton, dim sum may be seen more as an entire meal. The once quiet, reserved atmosphere of the teahouse has been transformed into a boisterous combination of loud conversation, clattering carts and dishes, and gesticulating waiters. The new place for dim sum “palaces” today is in major cities like Hong Kong, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and New York. During the week, dim sum is the domain of students and office workers who catch a quick breakfast, businessmen who drop in for meetings, or the elderly who drop in after exercises. But it is on the weekends that dim sum comes into its own as a sort of Chinese brunch. Entire families (often several generations) or parties of friends gather to consume small plates of dim sum and drink copious amounts of tea as they exchange gossip and catch up on the week’s events. DIM SUM CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE Dim sum consists of many small dishes transported on wheeled carts. Women call out the name of each selection, often only in Cantonese, holding out dishes, or lifting covers of steamer baskets to show the contents. Dim sum is eaten family style, and tables are often shared with others. Etiquette mandates how to share dishes: one end of the chopstick is used for taking food from the communal dish, while the other is used to eat. Toothpicks are used to clean particles between the teeth so the distinct flavor of the various dishes comes through. Tea is poured upon seating and is also used to clean out and heat the cups. Whoever is closest to the teapot pours for everyone else first. Teacups don’t have handles because it is believed that if the cup is too hot to hold, the tea is too hot to drink. When the teapot needs refilling, custom mandates

Dim Sum


A variety of dim sum in bamboo steam containers. Hywit Dimyadi /Shutterstock.

putting the lid back on askew. The story behind this custom involves a poor student who hid a bird in his teapot. When the waiter came to refill the pot and lifted the lid, the bird flew away. The student made a loud fuss, claiming it was a very precious bird and that the restaurant owed him compensation. After this, the restaurant—and all others—decided to wait for customers to lift the lid of an empty teapot if a refill was needed. When the teapot or a cup has been refilled, thanks are expressed with a tap of the fingers on the table. This tradition has its origins in the Qing Dynasty when an emperor made incognito visits throughout his empire. Visiting southern China, he switched roles with a companion and went into a teahouse. The disguised emperor would pour tea for his companion, and the companion, concerned about revealing the true identity of the emperor, would tap three fingers on the table in gratitude—one finger representing his bowed head and the other two his prostrate arms. Dim sum items are not chosen all at once but continuously throughout the meal. Savory items are interspersed with sweet ones like dessert. The creations reflect the artistry of the chef and may include steamed shrimp dumplings (har gao), steamed pork and shrimp dumplings (siu mai), spring rolls (cheun gyun), steamed barbecued pork buns (cha siu bau), rice noodle rolls (cheong fun), green pepper stuffed with shrimp ( yern chang chew), and congee ( jook). More exotic dishes include chicken feet ( fung jow) and curried squid (ca lay yao yue). Desserts range from sesame seed balls (gee ma gyun) to egg custard tart (dan tat). Potstickers (guo tie), which are often served, are northern Chinese in origin, and not considered traditional. The cost of dim sum is tallied in one of two ways. Traditionally, empty dishes are stacked on the table and tallied by size and /or color at the end of the meal. But today, a slip of paper often replaces this method, with each dish being recorded on it when served.

DIM SUM AT HOME Today, dim sum has migrated from the teahouse and palace into the home. Premade dim sum can be purchased at many Chinese groceries or large urban


Dinner Parties

supermarkets. Entire cookbooks are devoted to dim sum’s myriad forms, allowing it to become a tasty addition to parties, brunch, or everyday meals. Further Reading: Anderson, E. N. Food of China. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988; Blonder, Ellen Leong. Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2002; Global Gourmet. “Hong Kong: Teatime Traditions—Yum Cha and Dim Sum.” http://www.globalgourmet. com /destinations/ hongkong/ hkteatime.html; Grimes, Lulu, food editor, Justine Harding, editor. The Food of China: A Journey for Food Lovers. North Vancouver, BC, Canada: Whitecap Books, 2005; Liley, Vicki. Dim Sum. Boston, MA: Periplus Editions (HK), 1999.

Stephanie Fogel

Dinner Parties Both social entertainment and domestic theater, the dinner party is the act of planning and serving an elaborate meal to invited guests. Performed with the proper flourishes, it can be an act of creative hospitality, an indicator of gender roles, and a demonstration of social status. Throughout history, people have gathered to enjoy special feasts and the pleasures of the table, but the dinner party is considered an event and a jewel in the entertaining repertoire of any host. The host who choreographs a flawless dinner party is admired by guests as a person of good taste and congeniality. The memorable dinner party weaves together several crucial elements—a thoughtfully considered guest list, a theme, cocktails, a menu plan, a visually appealing table and thought-provoking conversation. Home entertaining experts agree on several fundamentals that comprise a successful dinner party. Table décor and place settings should attract the eye, and china, glassware, and utensils should be placed symmetrically on the table. Table linens add a creative dash of color and a floral centerpiece provides a natural accent. Colors and patterns of plates, stemware, and serving pieces can be mixed. Flatware should be set in the order it will be used by guests for each course. Place cards give the host the ability to strategically seat guests and choreograph the dinner conversation. Tradition dictates that a woman guest of honor is seated to the right of the host, while a male guest of honor is seated to the right of the hostess. Food should be served from the left and beverages poured from the right. Nearly all of the rituals associated with the modern dinner party can be found in the earliest evidence of the form. The confluence of food and drink, status, ceremony and social interaction is evident throughout history, mostly as an amusement of the wealthy. While the poor went hungry, the rich had an ample supply of food and all the trappings to enhance the dining experience for themselves and their friends. In Ancient Greece, a social gathering called a symposium was held in both public and domestic settings and frequented by aristocratic males. The

Dinner Parties evening was structured with rules and rituals. Guests reclined on couches that surrounded low tables. They engaged in political dialogue and shared wine and some food, with a distinct emphasis on alcohol consumption. Similarly, in Ancient Rome, the convivium was an event structured around conversation, but the focus was also on dining and collegiality. Citizens of diverse social standing and women participated. The Roman banquet was well-known for its extravagant feasting and exquisite tableware, and dinner menus were sometimes made available in advance of a meal to entice guests. Romans dined together reclining on sets of three couches grouped around a common table. The couches were arranged according to the status of those present at the table, from highest to lowest. Dinners were served in three courses that included extensive appetizers, roasted or grilled meats and desserts, all accompanied by wine. Throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, royal banquets perfected extravagance in food and attire. The aristocracy was the leisure class, and the act of dining grew to become a form of lavish entertainment, where ceremony, exquisite feasting, and social skills were practiced as a rarefied art form. During the Renaissance, classic culinary texts from antiquity were rediscovered and new flavors and tastes were brought to the table transforming menus, along with an increased emphasis on the art of conversation. Sensory pleasures were at the heart of the dinner party, whether the table belonged to the wealthy or the middle class, and for some, the dinner party became a kind of grand artistic canvas. The renowned French pastry chef Antonin Carême pioneered spectacular table décor for the guests of Tallyrand and Emperor Napoleon with his extravagant palladio de patisserie, a dessert tableau that lined the dining table of formal state dinner parties. The rank-conscious Victorian society established the dinner party as a form of class competition, with the upper class hosting meals often on a weekly basis. A social-climbing guest knew he had achieved a level of acceptance in elite circles when he received an invitation to dinner at the home of a wealthy host. Likewise, the reputation of the host was carefully measured according to the comportment of the family, the number of servants, the quality of food, and the finery of the dinner table. The protocol for presenting and serving food at times attained a level of significance equal to the pedigree of important guests. Two distinct forms of service were compulsory throughout European society beginning in the Middle Ages. Service à la française, or French-style service, was established in France among medieval nobility and stressed principles of hierarchy, balance, and symmetry at the dining table. The practice remained popular for several centuries and involved some complicated mathematics and large quantities of food. The meal was presented in three or four courses. The number of dishes served was prescribed by the number of guests. A threecourse dinner for eight could involve more than 20 dishes. Each spread had to be arranged symmetrically and types of food had their own accepted hierarchy. If a plate of vegetables was placed on one side of the table, it had to



Dinner Parties

be balanced with a similar plate on the other side of the table. This ensured the appearance of a bountiful table with a wide variety of food that signified the wealth and stature of the host. Affluent, status-conscious Europeans and American Colonists firmly embraced French-style service as central to the dinner party experience but guests complained that the food quickly grew cold as it sat on display. By contrast, service à la russe, or service in the Russian style, came into vogue during the 1880s. Believed to have been introduced to France by the Russian Prince Alexander Kurakin, service in the Russian style dictated that each dish was brought to the table individually retaining its maximum heat and flavor. Service in the Russian style allowed guests to savor and enjoy the appearance and taste of each dish. Over time Russian-style service replaced French-style service as the preferred practice. By the mid-nineteenth century, the dinner party was the domain of the woman of the house, whom the community often judged based on her abilities as a hostess. Noted domestic experts from Isabella Beeton to Catharine Esther Beecher served up extensive advice in domestic manuals for homemakers hoping to establish themselves on the social scene, offering guidance on menus for large parties, etiquette, table settings, and conversation starters. Monthly women’s journals and magazines also delivered a steady stream of suggestions for menus, decorations, and after-dinner amusements such as word games and simple competitions between male and female guests. Dinner party themes, menus, and recipes continue as a mainstay of women’s magazines and cookbooks to this day. Dinner parties were often influenced by current events and reflected the mood of an era. During the Depression of the 1930s, Sunday night suppers, featuring one-dish meals were embraced as an economic form of entertaining in the United States. Throughout wartime austerity, informality, cooperation, and a sense of community were the order of the day. The trend towards informal settings inspired so-called hobo parties where baked beans were served, barbeques, potluck suppers, and neighborhood victory garden suppers. The progressive dinner party spread the work and expense of a multi-course meal among several households. When home entertainment systems were introduced in the 1950s, TV parties were organized around meals prepared in advance and then served to guests during a televised drama. As prosperity returned after the war, dinner party dishes turned fancy and traditional. Classic, time-consuming gourmet entrees like Beef Wellington became the centerpiece of the dinner party, once again reflecting the culinary skills of the hostess. Houseware manufacturers offered sleek and sophisticated products that would enhance the home dinner party, from elegant chafing dishes, to stylish covered casseroles that moved from oven to table with ease. Electronic appliances like waffle irons, sauce pans, and toasters were brought to the tabletop with space-aged features designed to impress and entertain guests. While the starchy protocols of formal dinner parties are still practiced in high society and political circles, the contemporary dinner party is within

Doilies and Coasters reach of most households and can range from formal to casual and even participatory. The primary focus of today’s dinner party is mostly social, but it still borrows from a number of the traditions established by the European elite. In her pivotal book Entertaining, published in 1982, domestic guru Martha Stewart used her experiences as a successful caterer to give the traditional dinner party a neoclassic interpretation. Stewart echoed a sentiment once expressed by Isabella Beeton that a host’s primary responsibility is to make guests comfortable. Stewart also restored the art of fussy food and elaborate table settings to the form, but she argued that rules and regimens were no longer mandatory and that hosts should let dinner parties reflect their individual styles. Stewart still gave detailed attention to the proven fundamentals of a dinner party—lively conversation, creative table settings, flowers, and ambience. But, in redefining the genre for a new era, Entertaining offered a roadmap for a range of variations, including the archetypal formal dinner party for 24, an outdoor omelet brunch for 60, or a casual kitchen salad party for 30 participants. Today, every dinner party experience is as diverse as the personality of its host. With the rise of two-income households and trends suggesting that fewer families are cooking at home, catering is considered an acceptable and convenient method for staging the present-day dinner party. However, there are still many households who treat the home-cooked meal as an occasion for family and friends, and kitchens and family rooms have also become preferred locations for socializing at home. Entertaining experts suggest dinner party themes that reflect the traditional and the trendy, ranging from backyard barbeque, to Spanish paella dinner, to environmentally friendly dinners parties, in which all the dishes are prepared with locally grown produce. Technology offers new options for the time-starved host who can now send customized digital dinner invitations and track RSVPs through services available on the Internet. Some digital programs even calculate the cost of party expenses or the amount of alcohol needed, and allow hosts to create profiles of guest preferences and offer electronic maps and directions to those who must travel a distance to the event. Further Reading: Lovegren, Sylvia. Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads. New York: Macmillan, 1995; “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management.” Available at http://www.mrsbeeton.com; Stewart, Martha, and Elizabeth Hawes. Entertaining. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1982; Strong, Roy. Feast, A History of Grand Eating. New York: Harcourt, 2001.

T. W. Barritt

Doilies and Coasters By the middle of the fifteenth century, English dining tables were covered by fine diamond- or damask-patterned white linens, with specific types of



Doilies and Coasters

napkins for diners and a multitude of servers. The rules for the setting of tables were more formally codified in France, in the seventeenth century in the court of Louis XIV, and became even more elaborate until reaching their peak during England’s Victorian era. All that fine linen needed to be protected from stains, so doilies and coasters were invented. While the functions of these two items are similar, their histories are quite different. Doilies, originally known as “doily-napkins,” were created to protect fine linens from staining fruit juices, so they were often used under desserts. This tradition continues to this day (although it is usually seen in the form of paper doilies under baked goods, or on trays to reduce sliding of glasses). The name is derived from D’Oyley—a prosperous seventeenth-century London draper who supplied inexpensive fabrics to be used in place of napkins, when white linen napkins might be stained. His simple swatches of wool were soon embellished with decorative crocheted borders, and later the wool itself was replaced by lace. By the late nineteenth century, doilies and placemats began to appear on bare tables, their linen-protective function redirected to the table itself. Antimacassars may look like doilies, but they were invented to protect upholstery from hair-oils that were popular in the nineteenth century—they were never used on tables. Paper doilies were first created in early nineteenth-century France but didn’t really become popular until after the American Civil War. Benzion Karfiol—a Russian immigrant in New York—imitated seventeenth-century Venetian lace designs on paper, using steel engravings. He became very successful, even though he started by selling his paper doilies from a pushcart on the streets of Brooklyn. Today, die-cut paper doilies have almost completely replaced crocheted or lace doilies, many of which have become treasured heirlooms that are rarely, if ever, used for the purpose for which they were originally intended. While created to serve much the same purpose as doilies (in fact, goblet rounds were lace doilies that were used as coaster), coasters—also known at one time, as casters—are descended from bottle stands used to hold decanters of wines, especially port. These were popular in the eighteenth century, in England and in the American colonies, in fashionable households. They were supposed to make it easier to pass the bottle around the table. Perhaps the earliest coasters were smooth underneath, and could glide across the tablecloth. Indeed, some had wheels, which would explain the name casters. They were made of various materials, some more precious (such as silver or rhinoceros horn) than others. In the nineteenth century, machinestamped metal could be easily plated with silver and, as a result, the varieties of tableware proliferated. Coasters became part of the general excess that was the Victorian table. While one occasionally sees such coasters in use under wine bottles today, the word is usually associated with shallow disks of glass, metal, or plastic that are placed under glasses to prevent the formation of rings on wooden surfaces.

Door County Fish Boil Even more common now are the stamped disks of blotter-like cardboard on which beer glasses are served, which were not created for use in formal dining rooms. Dresden’s Robert Sputh invented these coasters, called Bierdeckel, in 1903, for use in German beer gardens. Wealthy Germans used lids of silver or pewter to keep insects and other outdoor debris from falling into their beer ( hinge-lidded beer steins remain familiar, but simple decorated lids could be used on glasses as well ). Poorer folk had to get by with a bit of felt or other cloth. For them, Herr Sputh’s invention was a major improvement. When the Bierdeckel’s absorbency was discovered, the lids moved from the tops to the bottoms of beer glasses, where they could catch the inevitable over-flows of foam, and they became an omnipresent part of bars and taverns everywhere. Katzcoaster International is the largest manufacturer of beer coasters, producing some 1.4 billion per year. German Bierdeckel are square, with rounded corners, while American beer coasters are generally round. When breweries replaced the original decorations with their brand names and logos, they became souvenirs and collector’s items. Further Reading: De Worde, Wynkyn. The Boke of Keruynge ( The Book of Carving ): With an Introduction, Drawings and Glossary by Peter Brears. East Sussex, England: Southover Press, 2003.

Gary Allen

Door County Fish Boil The narrow 75-mile-long peninsula that pokes northward into Lake Michigan from Wisconsin’s eastern shore, with Green Bay on its left, is known throughout the Midwest as a favorite vacation spot. Small villages dot its shorelines and mention of its name, Door County, usually recalls memories of happy times. It was not always so. In the late 1800s, after extensive logging had removed most of its trees, early settlers turned to fishing to survive, using first oars or sails and then steam to power their fishing boats in the warmer months, and fishing through holes in the ice in both the bay and the lake during the frozen months. Lake trout and whitefish were plentiful until sea lampreys gained access to the Great Lakes through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and preyed on the trout, and few were left by the 1950s. But the whitefish survived and, though fewer in numbers than in the early days due to over-fishing and other factors, they became the basis for a well-entrenched tradition of Door County: originally called a trout boil, now simply called a fish boil. Door County, with its limestone base and its spring weather tempered by more than 250 miles of coastline, also is the cherry-growing area of Wisconsin. Although once first in production of tart red Montmorency cherries in the United States, it has fallen to fourth place as farming and fishing are



Door County Fish Boil

being replaced by tourism; however, whitefish and cherries remain the basic components of the Door County fish boil today. The tradition of “fish on Friday” has a long history throughout Wisconsin, with its large Catholic population observing fast days. In the 1920s, as Prohibition took effect, the state’s many taverns, which had served as informal neighborhood gathering places, began to serve food in order to survive. Some offered free fish fries on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights to draw in customers. When Prohibition ended in 1932, the Friday night fish fry continued to be popular with many of Wisconsin’s residents. Today, restaurants and taverns all over the state offer a multitude of opportunities to “go out for fish” on Friday nights. This includes Door County, but that relatively limited area has an even more well-known and popular way of serving fish, not only on Fridays but also on every other night of the week, especially in the warmer months of the year. It all began in the early 1900s, when Door County fishing boat captains occasionally sponsored a fish boil on the shore for their crew members and families once or twice during a good fishing season. So it’s not surprising that churches and men’s clubs there in the 1930s began to see the fish boil as a potential way to raise funds using cheap and easily available ingredients: whitefish, potatoes, onions, salt, and water, accompanied by coleslaw, rye bread and butter, coffee, and cherry pie for dessert. Many of their members were fishermen and already somewhat familiar with the routine. Men did the “boil”; women made the pies. Tickets were sold to local residents and some of the summer tourists of that time. By the early 1940s, when World War II rationing was having its effect everywhere, some Door County taverns were doing occasional fish boils, usually on Friday or Saturday nights, perhaps to attract a crowd earlier in the evening. But it wasn’t until 1961 that a restaurant in one of the county’s small villages, the Viking Grill in Ellison Bay, began to do traditional fish boils several times a week. That continues to the present day, with the Viking claiming to be the site of “the oldest continuous fish boil in the county.” Today, among the thousands of visitors and summer residents in Door County, going to a fish boil at least once during their time there is an essential part of a successful vacation. It is available in a variety of settings: church grounds, taverns, upscale supper clubs, Formica-tabled restaurants, hotel and inn dining rooms, and in the backyards of local families celebrating occasions such as reunions, birthdays, or anniversaries. The cooking is done outdoors to afford sufficient space for the spectacular “boilover.” The fish may be served on compartmentalized plastic trays at outdoor picnic tables, on attractive china on shaded terraces, in white table-clothed dining rooms, or on paper plates in family backyards. To do a traditional outdoor fish boil, certain pieces of equipment are essential: an extremely large, deep kettle filled with rapidly boiling water and suspended or set in a metal frame over a fiercely burning wood fire to which more wood is added to keep it built up around the base of the kettle. Incredible amounts of salt are added to the water. There are various

Door County Fish Boil theories about the role of the salt but whatever it accomplishes, it does not result in over-salted food. A steel basket that just fits inside the kettle is filled with scrubbed but unpeeled new potatoes, usually with a thin slice removed from each end, and small onions (the onions are optional). The basket is lowered into the boiling water by using a pole thrust through the basket handles and carried by the boil master and his helper. Once boiling resumes and the vegetables have cooked for about 15 minutes, a shallower steel basket containing large chunks of whitefish, cut across the backbone into “steaks,” is lowered into the boiling water on top of the first basket. More salt is added to the water and more wood is stacked around the kettle to build up the fire. Once furious boiling resumes, the fish and vegetables cook for another 7 to 10 minutes. The timing is important and carefully observed. Then the boil master splashes a can of kerosene on the fire and the spectacular boilover results. A column of flame and black smoke erupts skyward and the kettle boils over, carrying off excess fish oils and salt and curbing the fire. First the basket of fish and then of potatoes are lifted out, again with a long pole thrust through their handles, and carried, dripping, to the serving area. The waiting diners line up to be served the fish, potatoes, and onions with melted butter ladled over, lemon slices, coleslaw, bread and butter. Cherry pie and coffee complete the meal. A local Door County family may have its own kettle and baskets, scaled down in size to fit its needs. It may also end the meal with a celebratory dessert like a birthday or anniversary cake. Cherry pie is customary but not obligatory. There are several theories about how the fish boil started in Door County and became such an important part of its life: one suggests that Scandinavian immigrants brought the custom with them from home (unsubstantiated); another allows that it was an easy way to feed the men working in the nineteenth-century logging camps (doubtful); or, more likely, that it was invented by fishermen out in boats who had plenty of water, salt, potatoes, fish, a need for hot food, and a cast iron stove in the cabin. But none of these accounts for how the colorful and exciting “boilover” developed. In the 1970s, “trout kettles” were sold in kitchen equipment sections of department or hardware stores in other parts of Wisconsin. Developed for top-stove cooking and complete with a recipe and detailed directions, the equipment may have produced a relatively tasty dish of fish, potatoes, and onions, but what makes a fish boil so special was missing: the dramatic boilover. Although this equipment apparently did not sell well enough to continue being manufactured, it can be approximated by using a large, deep, straight-sided kettle with a deep steel basket that fits inside it and has a handle that facilitates its removal from the boiling water when necessary. As the fish boil became famous for drawing in crowds, it is understandable that some families, churches and other organizations, or commercial establishments outside the county, especially further south in the state, are now doing their own fish boils. These may use frozen cod instead of freshly caught whitefish, and add carrots to the vegetables, and frequently the boilover is omitted. For anyone who is accustomed to a true Door County



Dutch Treat

fish boil, these seem to be poor substitutes and lacking in the special drama and spectacle that gives the real thing such a celebratory ambience. Further Reading: Cherkasky, Shirley. “Fish in the Door Way and Cherries on the Ledges.” In Food from Nature: Attitudes, Strategies and Culinary Practices. Edited by Patricia Lysaght. Uppsala, Sweden: The Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy for Swedish Folk Culture, 2000, 310–319; Ellis, W. S. “Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula: A Kingdom So Delicious.” National Geographic. Washington, D.C., March 1969, 347–371.

Shirley Cherkasky

Dutch Treat Dutch treat is an outing, usually a meal, often in the form of a date, in which each party pays their own share—in other words, no one is treated at all. Though its precise origins are unknown, Dutch treat is by consensus a relatively late and uniquely American contribution to the centuries-old British sport of mocking the Dutch; and none of these “Dutch” phrases were meant to be flattering. Normally associated with a meal today, the Dutch treat originated as a reference to drink, drawn from the barroom custom of treating first introduced in the mid-nineteenth century by immigrants from rural Ireland. One of the earliest printed references to Dutch treat, in an 1877 New York Times article, testifies to the rapid embrace of treating, as well as the close association of Dutch treat with drink. As the article explains: Treating is a peculiarity of our countrymen. It has been said that an American is no sooner introduced to anybody than he immediately thinks it incumbent upon him to pay for the liquor of his new acquaintance. At an American club men [women were generally unwelcome in or barred from saloons of the period] deem it proper to drink in companies of two and three. To call for any article of an alcoholic nature without having first consulted the appetite of every one present, is thought to be unsocial and singular. . . . It is true there are ways by means of which this sentiment may be got round. But a certain sordid character still hangs to that transaction, which has been dubbed a “Dutch treat.” [italics added] (New York Times, March 18, 1877, 6 )

Exactly when such “sordid transaction” came to be known as Dutch treat is an open question, but it is near certain that by the time the phrase debuted in the New York Times, it had traveled a long way from the rough-andtumble Irish drinking establishments where it first took root. Most likely the phrase was coined decades earlier and spread in parallel with the emergence of treating as a feature of saloon culture. In America’s polyglot metropolises those early Irish immigrants rubbed shoulders with immigrant populations possessing very different habits of public drinking, most notably the Germans, who confined their drinking to beer halls,

Dutch Treat

Dutch Treat club logo. Library of Congress.

where families were welcome and beer was looked upon as a dietary staple rather than an intoxicant. In the world of the German beer hall, treating was frowned upon as spendthrift and improvident; customers preferred to buy their own and drink at their own pace. It’s not hard to imagine the negative reception such customs must have received from the Irish. But to understand how a feature of German beer hall etiquette became known as the Dutch treat, it’s worth noting a few things. First, going all the way back to the fifteenth century, the English had used Dutch to refer to all Germanic peoples. This usage persisted in the New World colonies; and it was thus, for example, that the Germans who settled southeastern Pennsylvania in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. Second, one cannot overlook the close resemblance of Dutch to Deutsch (the German word for “German”) and the confusion that such similarity in sound would have engendered. Third, one must consider the historic enmity between the British and the Dutch, dating back to the seventeenth century, when a naval rivalry developed between the two over control of the spice trade. That competition for control of the sea routes to the Spice Islands produced three bitterly fought battles between 1652 and 1674—wars that, among other things, turned New Amsterdam into New York and that linguistically the English have never stopped fighting. Ever since the Anglo-Dutch wars, Dutch has been fixed in the English language as an epithet, connoting all things false, inferior, abnormal, or ungenerous. From the beginning expressions tended to play on Dutch drinking habits. Examples include Dutch courage (alcoholinduced bravery), Dutch bargain (“one made in drink”), and Dutch feast (“a party at which the host gets drunk before the guests do”). Dutch treat is merely an American variation on that well-worn theme. By the time it began appearing in print, Dutch treat (and its cognates) had already ceased carrying much of a sting outside of the Netherlands, where, unsurprisingly, a fondness never developed for such phraseology. In 1934 the Dutch government attempted to address the problem; it ordered



Dutch Treat

all its officials to stop using Dutch and use Netherlands instead, whenever possible. Subsequent decades suggest the initiative failed to achieve total compliance. Further Reading: Herbst, Philip H. The Color of Words: An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the United States. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1997; McCrum, Mark. Going Dutch in Beijing: How to Behave Properly When Far Away From Home. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2008; Mencken, Henry Louis. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1936; Powers, Madelon. Faces Along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870–1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999; Rawson, Hugh. Wicked Words: A Treasury of Curses, Put-downs, and Other Formerly Unprintable Terms from Anglo-Saxon Times to the Present. New York: Crown Publishers, 1989; Wasserman, Suzanne. “Home Away from Home.” In Seaport: New York’s History Magazine (April 1995).

Jonathan Milder

E Easter Easter is the annual festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is considered the principal feast of the Christian year. It is a movable feast that is celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal full moon and can fall anytime between March 22 and April 25. Easter is the culmination of the 40-day penitential season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at midnight on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. The week prior to Easter is known as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday prior to Easter, includes Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion of Christ, and it concludes with Holy Saturday. It is likely that Christian missionaries from the second century A.D., seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe, noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with existing springtime celebrations, which emphasized seasonal rebirth. Christian Easter gradually absorbed many of these traditional symbols of seasonal regeneration. Through the ages, eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life and fertility. Christians later used eggs to symbolize the rebirth of Christ. Many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans used eggs during their spring festivals. In Medieval Europe it was forbidden to eat



eggs during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs became a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants. Many traditions and practices have formed around Easter eggs. Eggs are commonly dyed, painted, and otherwise decorated. Many families today practice the tradition of coloring eggs with commercially produced vegetable dyes. Some incorporate more elaborate techniques and artistic expression by using wax resin and natural dyes made from onionskins, walnut husks, coffee, and other fruit and vegetables. The dyed eggs are displayed on tables, baked into breads, or left for children to discover. Many cultures have highly artistic traditions that involve the decoration of Easter eggs. In Armenia eggs are made hollow by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents. The resulting hand-blown eggs are decorated with pictures of Christ, Mary, and other religious figures. In Austria, ferns and small plant parts are fastened to eggs while they are boiled. The resulting patterns are striking. The Pennsylvania Dutch traditionally wrapped the pith of the binsegraas, a type of rush, in coils, which were glued to eggs. Scraps of calico cloth were then pasted on the egg. The Polish also used rushes or colorful rug yarn formed into elaborate coils to decorate eggs. Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Germans gave green eggs on Holy Thursday and decorated trees with hollow eggs. Some of the most beautifully decorated eggs come from Ukrainian traditions. Pysanky is an ancient form of folk art from the Ukraine that consists of decoration of eggs using beeswax and dyes. This art is most popular near Easter time when eggs are created as gifts for family and friends. Hot wax is applied to the egg creating very intricate designs. The egg is then dyed and the process is repeated each time submerging the egg into a different color dye bath. Black is traditionally the last color dye. Once the black dye is dry, the egg is held over and the melted wax is wiped off revealing a beautifully designed multicolored egg. Finally, the egg is sealed with a coating of shellac or varnish. Another Ukrainian egg tradition is the krashanky. Unlike pysanky eggs, krashanky eggs are hard-boiled and intended to be ritually eaten at sunrise on Easter, while pysanky eggs are kept raw, to preserve their fertility magic. Krashanky, which comes from the Ukrainian word meaning color, uses a single color, usually red, to represent the blood shed by Christ, while pysanky eggs are inscribed and dyed with several colors. The most lavish of all Easter eggs are those made by goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé. In 1833 the Russian Czar Alexander commissioned Fabergé to make a special Easter gift for his wife, Empress Marie. Fabergé made an egg with an outside shell of white enameled platinum, which opened to reveal a smaller golden egg. This smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial crown. The Empress was so delighted that Alexander ordered Fabergé to design a new egg to be delivered every Easter. Alexander’s son, Nicholas II, continued the tradition. In all, a total of 57 eggs were made.



In England, Germany, and other countries, children rolled eggs down hills on Easter morning, a game that has been connected to the rolling away of the rock from Jesus Christ’s tomb when he was resurrected. Immigrants brought the custom with them to America. The most famous Easter Egg Roll is held at the White House on the Monday after Easter. Originally, public egg-rolling celebrations were held on the grounds of the Capitol. Newspaper accounts describe children of all ages rolling eggs on the congressional grounds as early as 1872. In 1876, however, Congress passed the Turf Protection Law to prohibit the area from being used for such frivolous activity. In 1878, Rutherford B. Hayes, sensitive to the children who were disappointed by the loss of a place for the egg roll, opened the gates to the South Lawn for the first official White House Easter Egg Roll. The egg rolls have evolved and changed over the years, with different games and amusements becoming popular. Near the end of the nineteenth century, children played “Egg Picking,” “Egg Ball,” “Toss and Catch,” and “Egg Croquet.” Soon the event evolved into a more elaborate affair, with bands, entertainers, and food. President Herbert Hoover’s wife instituted folk and maypole dances to complement the egg rolling but they were not continued for long. At her first Egg Roll in 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt greeted visitors and listeners alike for the first time over the radio and she also introduced more organized games. In 1974 the most famous event of modern Easter Egg Rolls, the egg-rolling race, was introduced with spoons borrowed from the White House kitchen. Other unique activities have included a circus and petting zoo in 1977 and exhibits of antique cars, Broadway shows, and giant balloons in 1981. Egg hunt pits were introduced in 1981. Children could search through straw pits for autographed wooden eggs. It has always been customary for presidents, first ladies, their children, grandchildren, and pets to attend the festivities. Among the most eagerly anticipated guests each year, of course, is the Easter Bunny. The character of the Easter hare, or bunny, comes from antiquity as well. Rabbits and hares are often seen as symbols of springtime, new life, and rebirth, due to their fertile nature. German settlers in America are said to have brought over the tradition of a bunny named Osterhase, who would

Warren Sonnemann holds up a prize Easter basket at the White House Easter egg roll, 1923. Library of Congress.



visit houses on Easter eve. Children would set out their caps or bonnets, filled with straw. The Osterhase would leave colored eggs in the nests or hide eggs for the children to find. Easter eggs were painted different colors to represent the sunlight of spring. While the Easter bunny is responsible for filling Easter baskets in America, he is not the only one to deliver Easter treats. A cuckoo brings eggs to Swiss children, and Czech children await the arrival of a lark. Other animals responsible for Easter delights are the rooster, stork, or fox. By the 1800s, candies were commonly tucked into the baskets alongside the eggs. Molded chocolate eggs, as well as bunnies, chicks, and lambs, began to appear in the 1870s. Such treats were still relatively expensive, and until the 1890s, chocolates were more likely a gift given by a man to his sweetheart. Candy makers such as Milton Hershey changed everything when, at the turn of the century, he developed a chocolate specifically designed for children’s tastes by adding milk. Hershey also made his chocolate inexpensive, making chocolate more affordable for everyone. The English firm of Cadbury & Company produced their first cream-filled chocolate Easter egg in 1875. Jellybeans first became popular when in 1861 William Schrafft of Boston began advertising his jellybeans as a gift to send to soldiers in the Union Army. Jellybeans quickly grew in popularity and became a standard of the penny candy glass jars featured in general stores. They were scooped into small paper bags and sold by weight, but it wasn’t until the 1930s when jellybeans began to find their way into Easter “nests.” In addition to colored hard-boiled eggs there are a number of other foods associated with Easter. Hot cross buns have been a Lenten and Good Friday tradition for centuries. The hot cross bun is a type of sweet spiced bun made with currants and leavened with yeast. The shape of the cross on the top of the bun is generally made out of icing but it can also be made simply by cutting the shape into the bun itself. In more ancient times, the cross-symbol on top of hot cross buns was made as a representation of the moon for Egyptians and Greeks, and for Romans, as a representation of a full moon and its four quarters. The Christian church reinterpreted the icing cross as a symbol of the crucifixion. In 1361, a monk named Father Thomas Rockcliffe began a tradition of giving hot cross buns to the poor of St. Albans on Good Friday. Protestant England saw the buns as a Catholic tradition and attempted to ban their sale by bakers but the popularity of hot cross buns continued. Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only during festivals such as Easter, Christmas, and funerals. The first recorded use of the term hot cross bun dates to 1733. In England, street vendors could be heard singing, “Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!,” to advertise their wares. Their songs of several verses remain today as a children’s nursery rhyme. Other cultures serve sweet cakes as well. Kulich, a Russian Easter bread, is a tall and narrow bread made from baba dough, with the addition of extra sugar and candied peel, almonds, raisins, and saffron. The top is iced

Easter and usually decorated with Cyrillic letters standing for the phrase “Christ is risen.” Traditionally, the kulich is taken to be blessed at midnight mass on Holy Saturday. In some families it replaces bread for the entire Holy Week. It is served with paskha, a sweetened confection based on curd cheese. The Greeks and Portuguese serve round, flat loaves marked with a cross and decorated with Easter eggs. In Germany and Austria, an Easter stollen with raisins is baked in twisted or braided strands. Poland’s mazurki are sweet cakes made with honey and filled with nuts and fruit. Roast lamb is a popular Easter Sunday dinner. Corresponding to the Passover lamb and to Christ, the Lamb of God, this dish has become a central symbol of Easter. Ham is another popular Easter dinner, especially in the United States. Pork that was not eaten fresh during the early winter was cured for preservation. The curing and aging of pork took a long time, and the first hams were generally ready around Easter, making them a natural choice for the celebration. In Hungary, a meatloaf made of chopped pork, ham, eggs, bread, and spices crowns the Easter feast. Other symbols of Easter are the chick, whose hatching from the egg is thought to symbolize new life or rebirth and recalls Christ’s emergence from the tomb. Lambs are also symbols of new life and recall Christ as the “Lamb of God.” The rooster represents vigilance and resurrection. It is a reminder of Peter’s threefold denial of Christ, before the cock crowed, on the night Christ was taken into custody. The Easter lily has become the flower most closely associated with the holiday. Easter lilies were brought to the United States in the 1880s and became popular during the closing years of the nineteenth century. Lilies are mentioned in the Bible, and the lily’s white bloom is thought to symbolize the purity of Jesus as well as new life. Some symbols are the product of legend. Dogwoods are closely associated with the crucifixion. The four petals are thought to form a cross and the center of the dogwood flower resembles a crown of thorns. The blood-red spots on the white blossoms of each petal are said to represent drops of Christ’s blood. Legend says that because the dogwood was used for Christ’s cross, it was later cursed by God so that it would never be used as a cross again, which is why dogwoods are small and spindly. The robin is said to have acquired his red breast while Jesus walked to his crucifixion. The bird saw that a hawthorn had pierced Christ’s forehead and flew down to pluck it out. In so doing a drop of Christ’s blood fell upon the bird’s breast, staining it red forever. New clothing or Easter outfits are a traditional part of the Easter celebration. The custom goes back to early Christianity and what was known as white week, a period when newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes for a whole week to symbolize their rebirth and new life. The new Christians were paraded around the countryside, led by a crucifix, to show people that they were starting a new life. Those already baptized wore new clothes in remembrance. In more modern times, many people wore new clothes to Easter services. Afterwards, they would walk around town, a custom that led to the American custom of Easter parades.



Edible Centerpieces

The most famous of these is the Easter Parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City. The tradition dates back to the late 1800s when the social elite would parade down the avenue after attending the services at one of the fashionable Fifth Avenue churches. The less well to do would come to see what new fashions were being featured. Hats became the focus as the fashion trend of the day was towards increasingly ornate headwear. Many ladies tried to outdo each other with hats trimmed with ribbons, lace, flowers, and feathers. Irving Berlin immortalized the Easter bonnet with his 1948 song, Easter Parade. Easter bonnets have their roots in the circle or wreath of leaves and flowers worn to celebrate the coming of spring. The round shape was symbolic of the cycle of the seasons and the return of flowers and plants after the bleakness of winter. Today, anyone can join the Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue, even those without a special bonnet or outfit. The street is closed to traffic for parade participants and people watchers from roughly 10 A.M. until 4 P.M. Pets bedecked with the latest doggy fashions accompany many parade-goers. While hats do not hold the same fashion status today as they once did, some modern Easter bonnets continue to be very flamboyant. Further Reading: Bradshaw, Paul F., and Lawrence A. Hoffman, eds. Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times: Two Liturgical Traditions, vol. 5. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000; Cohen, Hennig, and Tristram Potter Coffin, eds. The Folklore of American Holidays. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1987; Lord, Priscilla Sawyer, and Daniel J. Foley. Easter Garland: A Vivid Tapestry of Customs, Traditions, Symbolism, Folklore, History, Legend and Story. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 1999.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

Edible Centerpieces An edible centerpiece can be defined as a concoction that is often placed literally in the center of a table. It is designed to be appreciated for its size, cost, rarity, the mysterious nature of its ingredients, the amusement arising from the question of its edibility, or its resemblance to something other than itself. The practice of displaying something that is eye-catching and representative of the host’s ingenuity and wealth has a long history, and one can still find examples and remnants of this old concept in various guises across the world today. HISTORICAL EXAMPLES Herodotus, traveling to Persia in the fifth century B.C., marveled at the region’s extravagant culinary culture and described a meal during which an entire ox and horse were roasted and served at table. Around the sixth century, Persians learned the technique of extracting sugar from cane, and

Edible Centerpieces sculpture made of marzipan and sugar (one shaped like a tree is noted by an eleventh-century traveler) came to be appreciated as a sign of wealth and artistic skill at feasts. These two customs, the presentation of a whole animal and the presentation of a sugar concoction made to look like what it is not, roughly mark the main trends involving edible centerpieces for centuries to come. Guests at medieval and Renaissance feasts were fed different numbers of courses and different types of animals according to their rank. Meat such as beef, swans, and peacocks were reserved for those higher in the social hierarchy. A stunning example of a meat dish, persistently popular throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is a whole roasted swan (sometimes peacock or pheasant) sewn back in its own plumage with its head still attached and propped up to appear alive. The beak (and comb if it is a peacock) would be gilded, and this marvelous specimen was carried in as it spewed fire out of its beak (thanks to a piece of cloth soaked in alcohol hidden inside its mouth). A special emphasis was put on the skills of carving, as an important component of chivalrous knowledge, and there were various carving manuals written—John Russell’s Boke of Nurture from the second half of the fifteenth century being one of the earliest. In Renaissance Italian courts, men equipped with the skills to execute the increasingly complicated ritual of carving were valued, and they enjoyed a position in the court hierarchy as important as that of a steward. Feasts were typically a part of a bigger occasion (e.g., weddings or coronations), and various entertainments such as plays, music, and jesting were not only provided before and after the feast but also included during it. On a smaller scale, such mealtime entertainments were called subtleties or entremets, and they sometimes included the presentation of edible cups and plates made of sugar. Sugar became more and more available by the time of the Renaissance, and a castle made of sugar housing birds, rabbits, or even pigs was an immensely popular form of mealtime entertainment, combining the passion for live animals and sugar concoctions. Sugar was also made into smaller and very delicate items such as napkins and tablecloths, and hosts showed off their wealth by presenting their guests with rings and rosaries made of sugar. During the English Renaissance, the term banquet had come to mean both a grand feast and the final course of such a meal. Grander homes had a separate building called a banqueting house on their estate, to which guests repaired after their savory courses to enjoy the last sweet course along with the view from the banqueting house (it was often built for this purpose on a spot with optimal views of the surroundings). In Tudor and Stuart times, the final course included an elaborate sugar sculpture, often a replica of a classical statue or of flowers. Consumption of sugar was a sign of wealth, and such sculptures were meant to display the host’s wealth. On a smaller scale, the anonymous author of A Closet for Ladies and Gentle Women (1611) provides instructions for making marzipan shaped like birds or bacon (using



Edible Centerpieces

red saunders as a dye). Cards and nuts were made out of sugar-plate, and all such concoctions flaunted realistic colors and sometimes even employed gold leaf gilding. The use of molds was common, particularly those made of stone, wood, pewter (made by specialists), or plaster (made by cooks themselves). By the Georgian period, the dessert course had come to be considered part of the final course; accordingly, eye-catching concoctions became less elaborate. A centerpiece was still popular in the form of a pyramid of dried sweetmeats surrounded by creams and fruit, all of which were presented among other savory entremets. MODERN APPLICATIONS The concept of the centerpiece (i.e., a concoction more focused on attracting the eye and inspiring wonder than on the ease of consumption, taste, or even edibility) is often incorporated in the practice of the modern buffet. Ice carving has a history going back to the early modern period and is still found today at lavish banquets. The skills involved in the production of an ice sculpture and the difficulty of transportation and securing it in its position often inspire awe and conversation. On a more practical level, a centerpiece in a buffet can be a decoratively cut piece of large fruit, for example, pineapple or melon, studded with crudité on wooden picks, or a large assortment of pâtés, sandwiches or crudité arranged in an attractive manner. Although it might be more appropriate to call it a focal point, a large portion of an item such as a roast or terrine (gross pièce), cut in an attractive way to reveal its moist juicy inside and colorful and copious stuffing, can serve as a centerpiece on a miniature scale. Such display adds conviviality to a buffet, which otherwise focuses on practicality and variety. In modern homes, holiday feasts perhaps best retain the vestige of traditional banquets. Roasted turkey, as served on Thanksgiving and Christmas, acts as a centerpiece. Guests marvel at its size, ask the host about its weight, and the glistering, imposing presence of a giant bird certainly contributes to the festivity of a gathering. As in old banquets, carving is an important and exciting event, trusted to the honored person, who distributes the meat to eagerly anticipating diners. One might say that the tradition of the flamboyant pastry centerpiece, or banquet in the limited sense of the word, has been passed down in the form of pastry competitions that showcase the inventiveness of chefs, and as in old days, the chefs’ ability to quickly and creatively adopt cutting-edge technology, such as silicon molds. Participants in such competitions have to produce sweets to fit several categories; such competitions generally include the creation of a showpiece made of pulled-sugar and another made of chocolate. Examples from recent years’ competitions include a Pegasus in flight, a keyboard, and a giant globe, all made of edible material and sometimes soaring up to five feet. One can find the sprit of experimentation with chocolate, sugar, and technology outside competitions as well. One extreme example is a wedding

Edible Centerpieces gown made entirely of sugar, designed and executed by textile artist Michele Hester. After studying the properties of sugar and recent technologies designed to manipulate it, she concocted a veil, a satin skirt covered with intricate brocade, a bodice with Venetian point lace, complete with pearls, all out of sugar. The sugar gown was displayed on a live model at a Kansas City art gallery in 2004. One might consider this a case in which a centerpiece originally designed to amuse diners walks out of the setting and claims the status of an art piece, which many of those centerpieces from previous centuries were. Cakes at weddings and birthday parties also often flaunt their size, beauty and elaborateness of ornamentation (edible flowers of different colors, sizes, and shapes are often seen and yet never cease to inspire marvel). Cakes are also made to resemble something else than a cake (Louis Vuitton suitcases, three-dimensional cartoon characters, and even stiletto shoes). Caterers and bakers who specialize in baking cakes and pastry tailored to the likings of clients constitute a thriving business today, and bakeries often display their most elaborate concoctions in their windows. Instances of roasted meat being used as a centerpiece can be found in various Middle Eastern traditions, lamb usually being the meat of choice. Ouzi from Lebanon is perhaps the best-known example. A big piece of lamb (shoulder, leg, or sometimes the entire animal) is roasted with a mixture of fragrant spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, or pepper. A whole lamb is traditionally stuffed with dates, raisins, and nuts. Roasting itself has been a cooperative, communal event, done in a family courtyard or public pit. The Chinese are renowned for their elaborate and abundant banquets, and the perfectly browned, moist duck in the middle of the table might be called a form of centerpiece. The Chinese also boast a long tradition of carving vegetables and fruit into mini sculptures of pagodas, birds, and flowers, among other items. While such creations are often part of a dish, as opposed to standing on their right, they still inspire awe and help draw attention to the displays of food. In a Japanese feast, food is often served in individual lacquer trays or boxes, but bigger items such as whole grilled fish are presented in the middle of the table, in what one might call a centerpiece. While a fish is much smaller than a whole roasted lamb or duck, it is relatively larger than the other items (the lacquer trays and boxes) and its sole presence in the middle of the table as a shared piece still commands attention and adds to the sense of festivity at a shared event among families and friends. Further Reading: Albala, Ken. The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007; Fletcher, Nichola. Charlemagne’s Table Cloth: A Piquant History of Feasting. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004; Freeman, Sarah. Muttons and Oysters: The Victorians and Their Food. London: Victor Gollancz, 1989; Wilson, C. Anne, ed. “Banquetting Stuffe”: the Fare and Social Background of the Tudor and Stuart Banquet. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989.

Chika M. Jenkins




Egypt The Nile valley always yielded enough to feed the country, even when famine was present in other nearby parts of the world. The ancient Egyptians’ basic food and drink, bread and beer, were made from the main crops they grew, wheat and barley; grapes were the other major crop. It has been said that when Rameses went visiting other cities, he took along fifteen hundred sealed jars of wine. There were many types of bread, including pastries and cakes. Since there was no sugar, honey was used as a sweetener by the rich and poor people used dates and fruit juices. Egyptians liked strong-tasting vegetables such as garlic and onions. They thought these were good for their health. They also ate peas and beans, lettuce, cucumbers, and leeks. Vegetables were often served with oil and vinegar dressing. Figs, dates, pomegranates, and grapes were the only fruits that could be grown in the hot climate. The rich could afford to make wine from their grapes. Ordinary people ate fish and poultry. On special occasions they ate sheep, goat, or pig; but there was little grazing land available so meat was expensive and most people ate it only on festive occasions. Egyptians stored their food in jars and granaries. Fish and meat had to be prepared for storage. One method was salting. Another was to hang fish in the sun, which baked them dry. In ordinary families the cooking was done by the housewife, but larger households employed servants to work in the kitchen and a chef—usually a man—to do the cooking. The Egyptians had ovens and knew how to boil, roast, and fry food. There were few kitchen tools: pestles, mortars, and sieves. The Egyptians ate singly or in pairs at small tables with the children sitting on cushions on the floor. Breakfast was not a family meal, but a breaking of the night’s fast in solitude. However, breakfast was not always a meal eaten alone; there are wall pictures in tombs that show people eating their breakfast while having a servant dress their hair. The two main meals were taken early in the day, one at around noon and the other at 4 P.M., after which people did more work, or were entertained by dancers and singers if they were wealthy. While the Egyptians possessed spoons they ate mainly with their fingers, washing them with water after the meal. Wealthy Egyptians did not lack time or money, and they knew how to use these in the most pleasant ways possible. Banquets were given often and were very lavish. First the kitchen staff was given a menu of what would be had that night. Ox were slaughtered, sauces made, vegetables cleaned and made ready to cook, ducks, geese, and other wild fowl plucked and placed on grills. Cups made of gold, silver, alabaster, and painted pottery were taken from cupboards and cleaned. Fruit was piled high in reed baskets, which were covered to keep dust and insects out. Water was put to cool in jars, cones of oil incense were prepared for the heads of the guests, and the house was scrubbed and cleaned from top to bottom. Wine was a very important part of the ancient Egyptian banquet or meal. Temperance was not a virtue in Egypt. Wines were stored in earthen jars, which were bedded on


large pallets and each jar was carefully labeled by vintage. Still consumption outran supply, and huge quantities of potent beer where needed to slake the national thirst (Sheraton, Buehr, and McKenna 34). Egyptians loved having a party anytime; preparations for one could take place several times during the week. If there were important guests to be feted, the host would either stand at the entrance to the garden waiting to escort them in or his children would do this job while he sat in a chair in the dining room. Then ritual words of greeting would be murmured, such as “welcome in the name of Horus” or “come feast on bread and beer in my house.” While the host sat on his chair, usually made of inlaid wood and semiprecious stones, the rest of the guests sat on small stools or cross-legged on small pillows on the floor. Men and women usually sat opposite each other on separate sides of the room, but sometimes at banquets they mixed. Servants of wealthy guests accompanied their masters to banquets. At the banquet, they administered to their lord and lady, offering them flower garlands and perfumed cones to wear on their heads. The Egyptians were very fastidious and the cones of perfumed pomade masked offensive smells such as roasted or burnt meat, and body odors. Even the servants were given these cones to wear, while they were working. All kinds of delicious food was served: including roasted ox, grilled duck, dried bean dishes (especially lentils), fish with a spicy sauce, bread, beer, and sometimes as many as 30 different sweet cakes. Music was an important part of a banquet. Sistrums (percussion instruments with small metal disks attached that could be shaken to make music),

An ancient Egyptian depiction of a food offering. © Hartemink | Dreams time.com.




Guests at a banquet are depicted in these two registers of a wall painting from the Tomb of Nebamun, West Thebes, eighteenth dynasty. Werner Forman/Art Resource, NY.

harps, castanets, and lutes were the major music making instruments. Judging from what is depicted on tomb paintings, these instruments were played usually by beautiful young girls in sheer dresses. People danced to the music. Toward the end of a meal, a small copy of a coffin was carried around the room and shown to the guests as a reminder of their mortality. They were told, “Look on this and then drink and take your pleasure, for when you are dead thus you will be.” The rites surrounding death were as important to the Egyptians as were those surrounding life. The deceased was provided with every necessity and all his favorite foods, dishes, and utensils. The funeral was itself a source of celebration and mourning at the same time. Mourners tore their clothes, ripped their hair, and covered themselves with dirt and ashes. The procession carrying the mummified body to the tomb included all the servants carrying the possessions (Robins 1996, chapter 9) and hired mourners, who were paid to enlarge the entourage and add to the commotion. When Cleopatra was to meet Marc Anthony, she sailed down the Nile dressed as Aphrodite, the goddess of love, in a large boat with silver oars and purple sails. Egyptian food at this time had many subtle influences from the cuisines of Greece and Rome. Dinner was served on the boat in elaborate surroundings. Gold and silver dishes had replaced the more common clay plates of the earlier dynasties. Servant girls danced and sang throughout the dinner, which included as many as one hundred dishes. Some of the

Etiquette Books food served included mussels, oysters, venison, lobsters, and capons cooked in spicy sauces, next came piglets stuffed with quails, whole roasted peacocks and woodcocks, and a never-ending procession of breads, cakes, salads, fruits, and cheeses. Wine and beer were served, although by the time of Cleopatra’s rule wine had become the major beverage of the upper classes, for the Egyptians had perfected the art of winemaking. Bread had also become more refined, as they discovered they could make it lighter with the addition of yeast. This discovery came accidentally when they learned the yeast used in making beer could also be used for raising dough. Cakes were also more elaborate than in earlier dynasties, and they copied the more sophisticated techniques of the Greeks. Further Reading: Berriedale-Johnson, Michelle: The British Museum Cookbook. London: The British Museum, Company, 1998; Bober, Phyllis. Art Culture and Cuisine. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1999; Darby, William, Paul Ghaliounghi, and Louis Grivetti. Food: The Gift of Osiris. 2 vols. London and New York: Academic Press, 1977; Faulkner, R. O. Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. London: British Museum Press, 1985; Montet, Pierre. Life in Egypt in the Days of Ramesses the Great. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1981; Robins, Gay. Women in Ancient Egypt. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996; Sheraton, Mimi, Wendy Buehr, and Tatiana McKenna. The Horizon Cookbook, Volume I and II. New York: Doubleday, 1968; Tannahill, Reay. Food in History. London: Methuen, 1973 [Paladin paperback 1975]; Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. A History of Food. Translated by Anthea Bell. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishers, 1992; Van Vliet, Eugenia. Dinners with Famous Women from Cleopatra to Indira Gandhi. New York: IUniverse, 2000.

Eugenia Van Vliet

Etiquette Books Rules of etiquette are codes of behavior that govern society. Every culture has accepted manners, which dictate how one should act in a given situation. The modern notion of etiquette originated in the court of Louis XIV. For example, small signs—known as etiquettes—were posted around Versailles telling visitors to “keep of the grass.” While walking through the gardens, visitors were expected to “keep within the etiquettes.” Over time, the phrase evolved to mean follow the rules in general. Today, many disregard the term thinking that etiquette refers only to the arcane edicts guiding the activities of the elite, such as which fork to use first at a formal party. Etiquette, however, encompasses much more than that. It provides a set of guidelines about how to handle situations that come up in everyday life. It reminds us that we are all members of a group and encourages people to think about how their actions affect others. Despite the fact that rules of etiquette are generally unwritten—and often unspoken—authors throughout history have attempted to codify them in writing. The first known etiquette book was written by the Egyptian



Etiquette Books

philosopher, Ptah-hotep, in 2400 B.C. The first American manner guide is credited to George Washington. At the age of 14 Washington transcribed the Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation. Though Washington’s publication is over two hundred years old, the instructions are still surprisingly applicable to today’s world. His book covers basic behaviors, as in rule number five, which directs readers that “if you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.” Ethical tips are also dispensed, such as the one described in rule number 22: “Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.” In 1922 Emily Post wrote Etiquette: In Society, In Business, In Politics, and At Home. This best-selling book changed the way Americans perceive etiquette and established the genre of books that are still published today. With advice on a broad range of topics, Etiquette has been updated and revised 17 times. The current edition has been completely rewritten by Post’s great-granddaughter-in-law, Peggy. Post, a debutante and socialite, was the only daughter of architect Bruce Price. She was educated at home, attended finishing school in New York, married a well-to-do banker, and had two sons. After her marriage ended in divorce, she turned to writing to support herself. She penned newspaper and magazine articles as well as a few travel books and novels before writing her famous etiquette book. The authority on decorum in the United States, Post also wrote numerous newspaper columns, hosted a television show, and spoke often on the radio. In 1946 she founded the Emily Post Institute, which still strives to address the societal concerns of the twenty-first century. Post died at the age of 86, and her relatives have continued to run the institute. Post’s success set the foundation for a whole new category of books. Notable authors writing on the subject after the publication of Etiquette include Amy Vanderbilt, Letitia Baldridge, and Judith “Miss Manners” Martin. While these women each have their own unique style, they argue for the same essential principle: etiquette is important because it improves communication and helps people feel comfortable in social settings. After five years of extensive research, Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette ( later re-titled Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette), was published in 1952. Considered a standard in the field of etiquette writing, the book is still in print. Vanderbilt, a distant relative of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was educated in New York and Switzerland before attending New York University. She worked in advertising and public relations, as a newspaper journalist, and for several government agencies. The book’s success led to her hosting a television show in the late fifties and radio program in the early sixties. She died at the age of 66 after falling from a window. It is not known whether she committed suicide or became dizzy and fell. Letitia Baldridge’s first project on the topic of manners was to completely revise and update Amy Vanderbilt’s book. Since then she has written

Etiquette Books extensively on the subject and in 2003 published Letitia Baldrige’s Guide to New Manners for New Times. Born in 1926 and educated at Vassar (where she was kicked out of the English department), Baldrige served as the White House social secretary to Jacqueline Kennedy. She worked in public relations in the private sector and was the first woman executive at Tiffany & Co. The first etiquette writer to discuss proper behavior in the workplace, she continues to write and lecture, and commonly makes television appearances. Taking a less formal approach to the subject, columnist Judith Martin has dispensed tongue-in-cheek advice to readers under the pen name “Miss Manners” since 1978. Born in 1938, she is a graduate of Wellesley College. She covered social events at the White House and at embassies and wrote critiques of films and plays before beginning her manners column. Distributed three times a week to over 200 newspapers, her column answers questions sent in by readers. She is praised for providing complex analysis and perspective in her writing, which is filled with wit and humor. She has also authored 11 books on the subject, including the freshly updated Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, which was published in 2005. Since the rules of proper behavior are constantly evolving, books on the subject continue to be published, and bookstores have entire sections devoted to the topic. In addition to the many works in print by Post, Vanderbilt, Baldridge, and Martin, there are many new authors who have written about etiquette. Today’s books usually include discussions of topics Post could never have dreamed of, including information about how to compose and send proper e-mail communications, how to handle family gatherings when the family is made up of step- and half-relatives, and how to behave in a faster, less formal world. Further Reading: Ingram, Leah. The Everything Etiquette Book: A Modern-Day Guide to Good Manners. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 1997; Newton, Deborah. “The History of Etiquette: A Brief History on Etiquette and a Look at Who Today’s Mavens of Manners Are.” Pagewise. 2002. http://www.essortment. com/all/historyofetiq_rizc.htm; Post, Emily. “Etiquette.” New York: Facsimile Edition; Bedford, MA: Applewood Books, 2006? [Originally published by Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1922]; Washington, George. Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation: A Book of Etiquette. Williamsburg, VA: Beaver Press. 1971. http://www.history.org /Almanack / life/manners/rules2.cfm.

Erin G. Marrazzo


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F Fast Food, History of Many American towns have burger and chicken palaces, pizza and sandwich shops, hot dog and taco stands, and fast-food eateries of many descriptions. It can be said that today’s modern American family eats fast food because it is cheap, convenient, and easy to come by. But the prominence of these so-called convenience foods in the American diet is no joking matter. It is commonly thought that modern convenience foods are artificial— lacking somehow in quality and proper nutrition. Moreover, they are thought to undermine traditional family values and speed the decline of family solidarity. Most analysts argue that fast foods reflect the frenzy and lack of personal interaction characteristic of a modern urban industrial society. However, a deeper look at modern foodways begs the question of whether these fast foods are not really modernized versions of older and more traditional foods of convenience. Humans in the so-called state of nature ate easy to come by berries, and they probably consumed most of them on the spot. While there were no drive-thrus, early humans, like Americans today, ate what was convenient.


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THE ANCIENT FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT From the beginning of the first century A.D., there is more compelling evidence that the Romans used both fast foods and convenience restaurants not unlike those we see today. According to archaeologists excavating in Pompeii, a city frozen in time after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., the majority of ancient Pompeians consumed many convenience foods and often ate them on-the-run. Researchers initially noticed an unusual lack of tableware, formal dining areas, and kitchen facilities within Pompeian homes—an odd circumstance when the amazing state of preservation in other areas of Pompeian life is taken into account. Instead they found isolated plates here and there, such as in sleeping quarters, along with many small brazier-type ovens (thermospodium). Similar to the microwave ovens, Styrofoam cups and plates, and mini-coffee makers provided in many modern hotel rooms for the convenience of the guests, the thermospodium suggests convenience-style dining rather than any extensive regimen of food preparation. On the other hand, numerous convenience-food restaurants (so-called thermopolia, cauporioe, or tavernae) have been found in Pompeii and other parts of Ancient Rome. It is clear that establishments like these were patronized by the general population of the city. These places can be likened to such present-day favorites as Burger King, Nathan’s Famous, or Pizza Hut. Generally open to the street, each had a large counter with heated receptacles set in the middle from which food or drink would have been served much like a modern steam table in the school cafeteria. The thermopolium (singular of thermopolia) was a sort of service counter that provided hot food and beverages for snacking on the run or for take-out meals to eat at home. The thermopolium was the most common of the three convenience food outlets in Pompeii and the closest in character to a modern fast-food restaurant. The cauporioe, a small sit-down eatery, and the taverna, analogous to a bar, were more like cafés with rooms at the back and benches or couches for serious dining at table. Pompeii’s citizens, like most Romans, ate three meals a day: breakfast ( jentaculum), lunch ( prandium), and an evening meal (cena). Pompeians were seemingly fond of eating on the run and rarely ate lunch at home. The busy Pompeians often consumed their prandium on-site while standing in the thermopolium or outside in the street. Modern urban dwellers would identify with this concept as they hurry off to Sabrett hot dog carts, McDonald’s drive-thru windows, and Starbuck’s coffee houses during their all-too-short lunch breaks. Hundreds of convenience food establishments have been identified in the ruins of Pompeii, many clustered around bathhouses, markets, and waterfront areas. More than 200 thermopolia were located in the ash-inundated area of Pompeii alone. If the evidence at Pompeii can be taken as demonstrative of ancient life styles on the Italian peninsula or in the Mediterranean in general, it can be said that the population of the Roman Empire was no

Fast Food, History of more fond of sit-down family dining or hours of food preparation than many modern Americans. Small establishments might have only one warming “hole” in a short marble or stone counter while other establishments might have half a dozen. The sunken clay jars on one arm of the counter in a typical thermopolium were heated by charcoal and might have contained spiced wines, meat stews, cooked lentils, a ground wheat porridge, or a less expensive hot barley mash. On the other part of the counter were displayed breads, soft and hard cheeses, dates, figs, olives, and other local snacks. Salt was rare and literally worth its weight in gold (used to pay legionaries, from which comes the word salary). Yet seasonings might include opium poppy, dill, coriander, chervil, pepper, mint, cumin, and a naturally salty liquid called garum. Garum may have been as common in ancient Italy as modern condiments are at the selfservice counter. Romans seemingly dumped garum, an oily fish sauce, on nearly everything. It was made by soaking sun-fermented anchovies, alice, acciuga, mackerel, or other fish ( heads, tails, guts, and all) in concentrated sea water. Although the ancients were unaware of it, exposure to the sun during the process increased the vitamin D content. Possibly similar to a thin anchovy paste (even the experts are unsure of its exact recipe), garum was particularly popular, much like soy, taco, or steak sauces today, and it was used in the same manner. It seemingly


How Fast Food Has Changed Entertaining The availability of large amounts of food—fast and inexpensive—has led to casual, spontaneous entertaining. Americans no longer have to invest a large amount of time, money, and planning in order to invite and feed any number of guests. Burgers and fries: Hamburgers, French fries, and chicken tenders or nuggets are foods that are familiar and well liked by young children. Parents planning to entertain young people often have a choice of picking up the food or entertaining at the fast food restaurant itself. Carl’s Jr., Burger King, and McDonald’s are examples of burger joints that offer to cater parties— including entertainment as well as food and beverages. Hosts of children’s parties can be assured that the guests will be fed and entertained, with no clean up after the guests leave. Pizza: Pizza franchises offer all the fare an American teenager desires, often delivering to the door hot pizza with an endless combination of toppings, often accompanied by garlic bread, soda, salad, mozzarella sticks, or chicken wings. Pizza franchises or independently owned restaurants can adequately cater anything from birthday parties to impromptu gatherings for watching movies or sports; or playing cards or board games. Chicken: Chicken franchises offer packages that are designed to feed large quantities of people. So-called family meals contain side dishes that complete the meal inexpensively. Sandwiches: Submarine sandwiches (also called wedges, hoagies, grinders, or heroes in different parts of the country) have become popular fare for football parties, backyard gatherings, and beach parties. Franchises offer a choice of sandwich platters or large six-foot sandwiches to feed a crowd. Peggyann Rogers Díaz Customers line up outside the first McDonald’s hamburger stand, which was opened in 1948 by brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald in San Bernadino, California. Six years later, a Chicago milkshake mixer salesman named Ray Kroc acquired franchise rights. The world’s No. 1 fast-food chain, McDonald’s has 24,500 restaurants in 115 countries, and 40 million customers a day generating $12.4 billion revenue for 1998. Foreign operations account for nearly 60% of the company’s sales and profits. AP/Wide World Photo.


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added depth to the flavor of food in much the same way that MSG (monosodium glutimate), a modern chemical additive and flavor enhancer, is said to do. Large clay jars, called amphorae, filled with the fishy stuff have been found in ship wrecks scattered across the Mediterranean, suggesting garum’s use as a trade item. Some of these wrecks are reliably dated many hundreds of years apart, attesting to the continued popularity of the sauce. Although simple to make, garum was probably produced commercially, and it came in many types: garum sociorum was the highest quality type; alec was the cheapest kind; oenogarum was mixed with wine; hydrogarum with water; oleogarum with olive oil; and oxygarum with vinegar ( Vehling 286 ). Much of our knowledge of Roman cookery derives from the great cookery book of Marcus Gavius Apicius (first century B.C.) called De Re Coquinaria. Written some time near the time of Julius Caesar (d. 44 B.C.), it is the oldest known surviving cookbook—as old as Imperial Rome itself. Apicius was a culinary expert, and his writings provide modern researchers with information on Roman cuisine. One of the dishes he describes includes putting a variety of ingredients on a flat round base of bread, similar to a present-day pizza. PIZZA Pizza is America’s number one snack food, having eclipsed the hot dog as front-runner at the end of the twentieth century. While pizza as we know it today was a long way off for the Romans, fresh baked bread smeared with olive paste seems to have been a great fast-food favorite at thermopolia. Evidence has been found of flat wheat-spelt cakes that were baked and widely eaten not only in Pompeii but also in nearby Neopolis, the Greek colony that would ultimately become Naples. Also found in Pompeii were shops, complete with marble slabs, flour mills, ovens, and other tools of the trade, which closely resemble those in a conventional pizzeria. Pizza could have been invented by the Phoenicians of Carthage, the Greeks of Sicily, the Italians, or anyone who learned the secret of mixing flour with water and heating it on a hot stone. In one of its many forms, pizza has been a basic part of the human diet since the development of grain growing and harvesting. This earliest form of pizza was a crude bread that was baked beneath the coals of the fire. After cooking, it was seasoned with a variety of different toppings and used instead of plates and utensils to sop up broth or gravies. It is said that the idea of using bread as a plate (a trencher) came from the Greeks who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. It was eaten by the working man and his family because it was a thrifty and convenient food. Pizza has a compelling chronology. At the height of the Persian Empire, it is said that the soldiers of Darius the Great (fifth century B.C.), accustomed to lengthy marches, baked a kind of flat bread upon their shields and then covered it with cheese and dates. Marcus Porcius Cato (second century B.C.), also known as Cato the Elder, wrote the first history of Rome, and he noted the common use of flat rounds of dough baked on stones and dressed with

Fast Food, History of olive oil, herbs, and honey. The Aeneid written by Virgil (first century B.C.), describes the legendary origin of these cakes or circles of bread: “Beneath a shady tree, the hero [Aeneas, leader of the Dardanians, allies of defeated Troy and ancestors of the Romans] spread his table on the turf, with cakes of bread; And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed. . . .Their homely fare dispatched, the hungry band invaded their trenchers next, and soon devoured to mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour . . .And Aeneas said. . . See, we devour the plates on which we fed.” Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces were unknown to the Romans and would not be imported into Europe until the sixteenth century. For many decades thereafter tomatoes were shunned as poisonous by the English (as indeed the plant is, while the fruit is not). Red-sauce pizza, as we know it, is generally considered to be a product of the seaport city of Naples (then an individual kingdom among the many Italian city-states). Supposedly the poor people of Naples had only flour, olive oil, lard, cheese, and herbs with which to feed their families. They added the New World tomatoes to their yeast dough circles to create the first simple modern pizza. In the fifteenth century, Tavernia Cerrigloi in Naples was a hangout for soldiers, and it is said that they flocked there to feast on the pizza specialty of the house, making it the traditional first commercial home of Italian-style pizza. Although other towns made pizza, all of Italy proclaimed the Neapolitan pies to be the best. Queen Maria Lorena (1752–1814), wife of the King of Naples, Ferdinand IV (1751–1821), had a special oven built in the summer palace of Capodimonte so that her chef could serve pizzas to herself and to her guests. After the unification of Italy (1860), King Umberto I and his wife, Queen Margherita di Savoia, while on holiday in Naples in 1889, called to their residence the most popular of the pizzaioli ( pizza chefs), Raffaele Esposito, to taste his specialties. He prepared three kinds of pizza for the royal couple: one with bacon, cheese, and basil; one with garlic, oil, and tomatoes; and another with mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes (arranged in the colors of the Italian flag). The queen liked the last kind of pizza so much that Esposito named it the “Pizza Margherita” in her honor, and so the type has remained named. Modern American pizza comes in flat-crust New York style, deep-dish Chicago style, and all other styles found elsewhere. Gennaro Lombardi, an Italian immigrant, claimed to have opened the first U.S. pizzeria in 1905 in New York City. This was a walk-up counter on Spring Street. It wasn’t until the early 1930s that he added tables and chairs. Lombardi’s is now known as America’s “Patria della Pizza,” or “home of the pizza.” Chicago-style deepdish pizza (with a flaky crust that rises an inch or more above the plate and surrounds deep piles of toppings) was created by Ike Sewell in 1943 at his bar and grill on the Chicago Loop. His Pizzeria Uno has since become a franchise chain. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans really started noticing pizza. Celebrities of Italian origin, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, and baseball star Joe DiMaggio all devoured pizzas. Martin even



Fast Food, History of

included a reference to it in his popular love song, “That’s Amore!” Today the number of small pizzerias that compete for the American fast-food dollar is astounding, and in many small college towns even bad pizza can take a foothold among the less-than-discriminating student body. Pizza is also the premiere convenience item for home delivery with franchise establishments like Dominos, Pizza Time, and Pizza Hut holding the lion’s share of the delivery business against armies of local pizza delivery outfits. Frozen pizzas were introduced to local grocery stores in 1957. The first was marketed by the Celentano Brothers. Pizza soon became the most popular of all frozen foods. Of all the cheese consumed in the United States, mozzarella makes up 83 percent, used mostly on pizza. Moreover, in 1970 less than 1.2 pounds of mozzarella cheese were used annually per person in the United States. Today more than 10 pounds are consumed per person—an eight-fold annual increase. HOT DOGS There is evidence that the Pompeians also ate cooked sausage on the go and may have sliced it as a bread topping or rolled it in a baked bread circle much like a thick tortilla. Sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food, having been mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey in the ninth century B.C. Herein even Homer recognized the expediency of food that can be prepared quickly: “As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted.” The Emperor Nero’s (first century A.D.) cook, Gaius, is often credited with popularizing the first pre-cooked sausage—a predecessor of America’s second favorite fast food, the frankfurter or hot dog. He stuffed the long washed intestines of a pig with ground venison and ground beef mixed with ground wheat (filler) and spices, and boiled it altogether in the casing. Hot dogs range in size from big foot-long stadium frankfurters to tiny cocktail-sized Vienna sausages. Also called franks, wieners, and red hots, today’s fast food version of Gaius’s cooked sausage consists of a combination of beef and pork, or all-beef cuts, which are cured, smoked, and cooked together with a filler and spices in a casing. Seasonings—many considered secret recipes—may include coriander, garlic, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Modern processors have generally abandoned the casings made of animal intestine for synthetic ones made of thin edible plastic, and high-quality all-beef, all-natural franks have been made popular by companies such as Hebrew National® that feature fully kosher products. Frankfurters, like Gaius’s sausages, are fully cooked, but they are usually served hot on a soft white-bread bun. A survey of Americans showed that 60 percent preferred to have their franks grilled while only 20 percent preferred boiling. Rotary grills, looking like a series of parallel pipes supporting the slowly turning grilled franks among them, can fascinate both little children and their parents, but their purpose is to keep the franks hot.

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There is a great deal of disagreement concerning the historical development of the modern hot dog. The town of Frankfurt, Germany, claims that the hot dog was created there in 1487 and celebrated the hot dog’s 500th anniversary in 1987. Other Germans credit the making of the modern hot dog to Johann Georg Hehner, a butcher in Coburg, who traveled to Frankfurt to promote his product in the 1600s. In 1852, the butcher’s guild in Frankfurt introduced a spiced and smoked sausage that was packed in a thin casing, and they specifically called it a frankfurter after their hometown. The sausage had a slightly curved shape similar to the popular dachshund, which may have helped to generate the term hot dog. Vienna, Austria, points to the name wiener as evidence of the hot dog’s true heritage. It seems clear that hot dogs came to America with the flood of German immigrants who sold them, along with rolls and sauerkraut, from pushcarts in New York City’s Bowery during the 1860s. Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand in 1867 in Brooklyn. He sold almost 4,000 sausages and rolls during his first year in business and is credited with the idea of the grilled bun. Feltman built a mini-empire at Coney Island with a hotel, beer gardens, restaurants, food stands, and various rides to amuse his customers. At his death in 1910, he left a business worth over one million dollars. St. Louis, Missouri, credits a German street

Undated photo of people enjoying hot dogs at the Greenwich Village Fair in New York City. Library of Congress.


Fast Food, History of

peddler, Antoine Feuchtwanger, with introducing hot sausages served in a bun to the Midwest in 1889. Nonetheless, it is certain that the hot dog gained its national popularity at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Thousands of visitors to the fair consumed sausages sold there by vendors. In the same year, the sausages became standard fare at many baseball parks. Some historians claim that a bar owner, Chris Von der Ahe, also owner of the St. Louis Browns baseball team, introduced his “red hot” sausages at Sportsman’s Park to complement his already popular beer. Today Americans eat more than 24 million hot dogs in major league ballparks every year—enough to stretch coast-to-coast from Dodgers’ Stadium in Los Angeles (where in 2005 the largest number were sold) to Yankee Stadium in New York (which ranked fourth). By the end of the decade of the nineteenth century, hot dog vendors were selling their wares from carts on many street corners. Students bought up hot dogs at a fabulous pace outside the dorms at several major Eastern universities including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell. They liked this form of fast food because it was easy to eat, convenient, and inexpensive. A perusal of university magazines from the period suggests that the term hot dog was well known before 1900. A former employee of Feltman at Coney Island, Nathan Handwerker, started Nathan’s Famous, which now calls itself the world’s largest purveyor of hot dogs both at stands and at supermarkets. Handwerker opened his stand in Coney Island in 1916 near the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues and simply called it Nathan’s. He sold his hot dogs for five cents each, and it quickly became a favorite fast-food stop for beach-goers and the staff at nearby Coney Island Hospital. The annual “Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest” has been held at the original Coney Island hot dog stand every Independence Day since 1916 without interruption. In 1936, the Oscar Mayer meat company rolled out the first Wiener mobile, essentially a truck sporting a sculpture of a giant hot dog, as an advertising ploy to increase its supermarket sales. The company’s “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener” jingle is known to millions of American children and has been translated into countless languages. Hot dog in Spanish is perrito caliente; in French—chien chaud; and in German—heisse Wurst. A first-century Latin-speaking Pompeian might ask for a pastillum botello fartum. The United States Chamber of Commerce officially designated July as National Hot Dog Month in 1957, and the tradition has been going strong ever since. July 20th is National Hot Dog Day, and more than 150 million franks are eaten on that day alone. It is estimated that Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year with retail-sales figures from supermarkets near 9 billion individual franks. This works out to between 60 and 70 hot dogs per person every year. Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While hot dogs are served in 95 percent of homes in the United States, over 25 percent of the total are consumed elsewhere: 16 percent from street vendors and 9 percent at ballparks. New York

Fast Food, History of City, with its multitude of Sabrett hot dog carts, which appear on almost every corner and in every public park, is America’s leading hot dog–sales city, followed by Los Angeles and the Baltimore–Washington D.C. area. Mustard remains the premiere hot dog condiment, used regularly by 88 percent of all eaters, and sauerkraut (called Liberty cabbage during the two wars with Germany) is the most common vegetable topping. It is said in some regions of the country that no self-respecting person over the age of 12 uses ketchup on a hot dog. Nonetheless, so-called Texas Wieners (chili dogs) are hot dogs served with brown mustard, hot and spicy tomato chili, and diced raw onions. Ironically, chili dogs are more popular in New Jersey than in Texas along with an Italian Dog served with fried onions and green peppers. The Fenway Frank is steamed, as opposed to grilled or boiled, and is a great favorite of Boston Red Sox fans. It is served with ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, piccalilli (a mustard-based vegetable relish), and chopped onions. As a convenience food, the hot dog ranked number one in the United States for almost a century ( being displaced by pizza in the 1990s); and regardless of its European roots or the toppings placed upon it, the hot dog has long been the quintessential symbol of American fast food. In the 1960s under competitive pressure from Japanese auto manufacturers, General Motors (then America’s largest corporation) included the hot dog in its “buy American-made” advertising slogan: “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet!” BURGERS Vying for the top spot as America’s favorite fast food behind pizza and hot dogs is the third-place hamburger. Hamburgers are all American, and there is no doubt about their lineage. The very first hamburger produced anywhere in the world was introduced in New Haven, Connecticut, by Louis Lassen at a small lunch wagon called Louis Lunch in 1895. Larsen had been selling steak sandwiches on sliced white bread to workers from nearby factories, but he was a very parsimonious business owner. At the end of the day, he collected all the unsold steaks and the scraps from trimming them, and ground them into patties to be cooked on the grill. Today Louis Lunch is a national heritage site owned and operated by third and fourth generation Lassens. Only sliced white bread, cheese, tomato, and onions are allowed on the hamburgers, which (contrary to the name) contain no ham or pork products. White Castle is one of the oldest hamburger chains in the United States, founded in 1921 by Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram in Wichita, Kansas. Unlike the major franchise hamburger outfits, White Castle remains a privately owned company. Their tiny square burgers smothered in steamgrilled onions and individually packaged in a white and blue box (modeled on Chicago’s White Tower) are still fondly known as belly bombs by their fans, who might eat a half dozen of the unique burgers in a single meal.



Fast Food, History of

White Castle’s “Selling ‘Em by the Sack” slogan had much to do with developing the popularity of the company’s take-out restaurants, and the tiny burgers helped to legitimatize the hamburger as a fast food. Since the food chain concept was new in the 1920s and 1930s, there was no infrastructure to support the company’s outlets. White Castle created its own centralized bakeries, paper products division, and warehouses. It even created a subsidiary that manufactured its own prefabricated White Castle super-structures for assembling outlets on site. In 1949, frozen patties ( provided by Swift and Company) supplanted fresh beef, and five small (and now characteristic) holes were put in the patties to facilitate quick and thorough cooking. In 1933, Ingram bought out the Anderson family, thereafter moving the corporate headquarters to Ohio. In the 1960s, the outlet on Boston Post Road and Allerton Avenue in the Bronx, New York, was the scene of one of the first major civil rights protests in the Northeast. White Castle outlets are not franchised in the United States, and the participants at the time were protesting the parent company’s alleged discriminatory hiring polices. The company figured in a more positive sense in the modern cult classic movie “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” (2004) and is referenced multiple times in the Beastie Boys’s album Licensed to Kill. Unlike the “big three” franchise burger purveyors (McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s), White Castle has also expanded its business into the frozen food market for home preparation of its product. Founder Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955, and he began franchising the “golden arches” outlets soon thereafter. The Big Mac, introduced in 1968, was the brainchild of Jim Delligatti, one of Kroc’s earliest franchisees, who by the late 1960s operated a dozen stores in Pittsburgh. Advertising icon Ronald McDonald was an early inspiration. In his first appearance in 1963, the happy clown was portrayed by none other than TV weatherman Willard Scott. Ronald McDonald and the Big Mac made McDonald’s a household word with its “billions served” advertisement slogan serving as evidence of its leadership in this area of fast food. The Happy Meal has been pleasing kids since 1979. The Ronald McDonald Houses are noted for their continued good work with families and children suffering from incurable disease. In 1954, James McLamore and David Edgerton opened their first Burger King restaurant in Miami, Florida. America was introduced to the signature Whopper Sandwich in 1957, and the “have it your way” advertising campaign was an instant sensation. Today the Whopper sandwich is world renowned for its fire-grilled taste and the many ways customers can order it to their liking. The great success of the early restaurants and their expanding menu of items made the Burger King concept a natural for international expansion and franchising. In 1963, a franchise outlet, the first outside the continental United States, was opened in Puerto Rico, and in 1969 the first international “Home of the Whopper” opened in Windsor, Ontario. In the 1960s, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was offered a chance to turn around a failing chain of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) restaurants.

Fast Food, History of Working with KFC founder Col. Harland Sanders, Thomas turned four failing stores into million-dollar successes. He thereafter sold his KFC franchises and opened his first Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. Thomas’s menu included large square hamburgers, thick malt shakes, soup, hot-topped baked potatoes, salad bars, and other unique items that made his franchise outlets stand out from their competitors. Thomas named the restaurant chain after his two-year-old daughter Melinda Lou, whose nickname was Wendy. THE SANDWICH Fourth in the running for favorite American snack food, but coming up fast, is the sandwich. The first recorded sandwich was created by the famous rabbi, Hillel the Elder, who lived during the first century B.C. He started the Passover custom of sandwiching a wine-bound mixture of chopped nuts, apples, spices, and bitter herbs between two matzoh crackers. The filling between the matzohs served as a reminder of the suffering of the Jews before their deliverance from Egypt and represented the mortar used by the Jews in their forced labor of constructing Egyptian buildings. During the Middle Ages, the sandwich took the form of thick blocks of coarse dry bread called trenchers that were used in place of plates. Meats and other foods were piled on top of the bread to be eaten by hand and sometimes with the aid of knives. The trenchers, thick and dry, absorbed the juice, the grease, and the sauces. At the end of the meal, one either ate the trencher or tossed the gravy-soaked bread to the dogs or to less fortunate human beggars. These trenchers were clearly the forerunner of the open-face sandwiches served in diners and restaurants. The term sandwich may refer to John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. Montague became First Lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution and was patron to the explorer Captain James Cook. In 1776, Cook named the Hawaiian Islands after him, calling them the Sandwich Islands. Montague was a hardened gambler and usually gambled for hours at a time at his club, sometimes refusing to get up even for meals. It is said that he ordered his valet to bring him some meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Others at the gambling tables began to order “the same as Sandwich!” According to this story the original modern sandwich was, in fact, a piece of beef-steak between two slices of toasted bread. True or not, the sandwich became very popular in the American diet in the nineteenth century when bakeries started selling pre-sliced bread, making sandwiches very easy to create at home. Sandwiches were a portable meal for workers and school children alike. However, American entrepreneurs rarely leave a simple success alone. Today sandwiches—particularly the so-called “submarine” sandwiches— are big business. The names used to refer to submarine sandwiches are largely regional: wedges, grinders, po’boys, hoagies, subs, and heroes all refer to some form or other of a long roll split down its length and stuffed with goodies. Subway is a franchise fast food restaurant that sells primarily a wide



Fast Food, History of

variety of these sandwiches packed with salad and fixings. The parent company was founded in 1965 by Fred De Luca and Dr. Peter Buck and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Doctor’s Associates, Inc. ( DAI ). De Luca initially chose a mediocre location for his shop and called it Pete’s Submarines, eventually shortened to Subway. The franchising effort, largely funded by Dr. “Pete” Buck, was remarkably successful, however. In 2000, Subway added seasoned breads and a line of specialty items to its menu. Today the company has over 28,700 franchised units in 87 countries and may be the fastest growing fast-food franchise in the world. Currently, Subway is the third largest franchise fast food chain globally after Yum! Brands ( 34,000 locations) and McDonald’s ( 31,000 locations). The company produces approximately $9 billion in sales every year. In 2007, Forbes magazine named DeLuca number 242 of the 400 richest Americans with a net worth of $1.5 billion. Blimpie is the oldest ( by a few months) fast-food submarine sandwich chain. It is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is the third largest sandwich chain in the United States, behind Subway and Quiznos Subs. Three friends from St. Peter’s Prep School in Jersey City, New Jersey (Tony Conza, Peter DeCarlo and Angelo Baldassare) wanted to start a business together. After lunch at a sandwich shop in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, they decided to open their own eatery. After arranging financing and the supply chain they needed to support it, they finally opened Blimpie’s first store in Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 4, 1964. Blimpie currently has nearly 1,600 franchises in the United States. The company is presently owned by Kahala-Cold Stone Corporation. For many years Subway and Blimpie were the only major competitors in the franchise submarine sandwich business. Quiznos Sub specializes in toasted submarine sandwiches. It is the second-largest submarine sandwich shop chain in North America, passing the older and slower-growing Blimpie, but it is still only a fraction of the size of Subway. The first Quiznos Sub outlet opened at 13th and Grant Streets in Denver, Colorado, in 1981. Today there are over 5,000 shops located in the United States, over 300 in Canada, and 100 more scattered in 20 other countries. In recent years, the franchise has changed the face of the submarine business by focusing on hot, toasted sandwiches. This has forced Subway and Blimpie to follow suit and include them in their offerings along with innovations like tortilla wraps. It is impossible to discuss the history of fast food without a brief history of the single most iconic figure in fast-food history. Unlike Ronald McDonald or other fast-food icons, Sanders was an actual person and remained the sole spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken until his death at age 90 in 1980. The company adopted the abbreviated form of its name ( KFC ) in 1991. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, KFC is a chain of fast food restaurants known mainly for its fried chicken. The company was founded as Kentucky Fried Chicken by Sanders in 1952 in his gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Eventually, his local popularity grew, and Sanders moved to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people. He worked there as the chef. Sanders was made an

Finger Bowls honorary colonel in the Kentucky National Guard by the decree of Governor Ruby Laffon, and he assumed the guise of a nineteenth-century southern gentleman with linen plantation suit and spade beard as an advertising ploy. KFC’s are often coupled with Taco Bell’s, which specialize in Mexican and southwestern fast-food items like tacos, burritos, chilis, and wraps. KFC has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Yum! Brands since 2002. Yum! Brands, Inc., is a Fortune 500 corporation, that operates or licenses KFC, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and A&W restaurants. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the world’s largest fast-food restaurant company in terms of overall franchise units—over 34,000 outlets around the world in more than 100 countries and territories. In 2002, Yum!’s global sales totaled almost $10 billion. As can be seen, fast-food has increasingly become big business, if not a new business in the historical sense. Americans find fast and convenience foods desirable, and the expansion of the trade will probably continue into the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, none of these corporate giants can hold a candle to Mom’s PB & J sandwich on processed white bread prepared at home—with love. Further Reading: Jakle, John A., and Keith A. Sculle. Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002; Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005; Smock, Aaron, Lifestyles Editor. “Pompeii represents thriving pride.” The Vanguard ( University of Southern Alabama), Monday, February 4, 2008; Vehling, Joseph Dommers, ed. Apius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome. New York: Dover Publications, 1977.

James M. Volo

Finger Bowls Finger bowls are small bowls containing a small amount of water. Diners dip their fingers into them and wipe their hands clean with a dry napkin after eating a meal. These bowls have hovered on the brink of obsolescence for over a century. However, some elegant hotels still present them on special occasions. Making one’s ablutions at the dinner table has a long history. The earliest people used no flatware and ate food with their hands. After this, they wiped their hands clean on their own hair, or on the hair of a slave. One of the earliest instruments for wiping was a wad of dough the Spartans called apomagdalie, a mixture cut into small pieces and rolled and kneaded at the table. This practice led to special bread slices used to wipe hands at the table early in the Middle Ages. Once this practice disappeared, diners wiped their hands and mouths on the back of their hand or on their clothing. Beginning at medieval banquets up until the start of the nineteenth century, people dipped napkins into fingerbowls then wiped their mouths and



Finger Bowls

chins. Earlier European diners rinsed their mouths with water from fingerbowls and spat it back into the bowl. Gargling was prohibited. This practice ended at the last of the nineteenth century. Once food was no longer eaten with hands, cut into smaller pieces, and placed more neatly into mouths, the need for cleansing diminished. Formal finger bowls are smaller than cereal bowls and may be made of any material. Some are metal, others appeared in plain or etched crystal, Nippon ware, Carnival or Depression glass, Haviland Limoges porcelain, Wedgwood, or cobalt blue glass. After the crumb tray, used to remove crumbs from the table, finger bowls became known as “pleasant pause before starting dessert.” These days they may be used after messy foods such as artichokes, shellfish, corn, asparagus, or any other handheld food. At Western meals around mid-twentieth century, after the crumbing tray, before the formal dessert service, a waiter brought each guest a finger bowl filled with water. The bowl was set on a small lace doily that, in turn, rested on the dessert plate. A dessert fork and spoon rested on each side of the finger bowl. Usually, a slice of lemon, lime, flower petals, mint leaves, even sea shells, or an orchid floated on the surface of tepid water in each half-filled bowl. Once presented, the diner delicately dipped fingertips of one hand, then the other into the water, with no scrubbing. Next, these were delicately dried with a napkin. Diners also delicately blotted their lips to remove any moisture. Once the diner had finished using the finger bowl, he or she lifted it along with its doily to the upper left of the remaining dessert plate. The remaining fork and spoon were placed to the left and right of the plate. If no silverware arrived with the finger bowl, another course should not be expected and the bowl was left in front of the diner. Actually, it takes a very aware diner to spot a finger bowl these days and use it correctly. Because it is so easy for many not to recognize them, there’s a well-rehearsed tale about the guest who picked their finger bowl and sipped from it. The host, wishing to show politeness to the guest, repeated the behavior so as not to embarrass the guest. Currently, finger bowls are rarely used. However, some airlines provide first class passengers with damp, heated wiping cloths immediately before, and sometimes after, meals. Many restaurants use a latter-day form of table self-cleansing by offering prepackaged, moistened paper toweling inside airtight plastic or foil packets. Providing rough, hot cloths for wiping hands and faces is a Chinese custom, and its popularity could revive a similar new cleansing ritual in the West. Further Reading: Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution and Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991; Von Drachenfels, Suzanne. The Art of the Table: A Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners and Tableware. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Marty Martindale

Food Network

Food Network The Food Network launched in November 1993 as the first cable channel dedicated entirely to a new kind of programming—food as entertainment. The aim of founder Reese Schoenfeld was to produce shows that combined food with lifestyle and television personalities. The channel was created in partnership with nine cable and communications companies and launched to 6,500,000 subscribers. Television audiences were already used to watching the likes of Julia Child on PBS teaching cooking in a how-to style. The main focus was to learn a new recipe or technique (Julia’s engaging personality was an added bonus). The Food Network reinvented the cooking show, by introducing storylines and theme music, paying greater attention to the look and feel of the sets, and making good use of the editing room. Shows began to entertain audiences and create lifestyles they could either admire from afar or attempt to emulate for themselves. Despite its novel concept, by 1997 the Food Network was reaching only 19 million households. The channel didn’t have the scope they originally hoped for. In late 1997, the E. W. Scripps Company bought control of Food Network from the A. H. Belo Company. Shortly after the change in ownership, Judy Girard was installed as the new Senior Vice President of Content Development for Scripps Networks. With her extensive background in the business of TV, it was hoped the network would expand. From 1997 to 2001 increase in viewership rose at a rate of around 10 million subscribers each year. Between 2001 and 2002, the Food Network gained 17 million additional subscribers for a total of 71 million, making it the fastest-growing ad-supported cable network for that period. Today, over 90 million households tune in to the station and 7 million users log on to the Web site each month. The Food Network is headquartered in New York City and can be seen worldwide in Canada, Australia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Monaco, Andorra, Africa, France, and the French-speaking territories in the Caribbean and Polynesia. Scripps is a hybrid media company and owns and operates several cable networks including HGTV, DIY Network, Great American Country, and Fine Living. In addition, Scripps owns several broadcast television stations and newspapers across the country, various interactive media services such as shopzilla.com, and a licensing agency. Early shows on the Food Network modeled the new direction of food television immediately: they were host-based shows delivering food entertainment. At the time of launch, viewers tuned into David Rosengarten and Donna Hanover as co-hosts of Food News & Views. Robin Leach, best known for his work on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, was the anchor of the call-in show Robin Leach: Talking Food. Getting Healthy, with former sportscaster Gayle Gardner, was another interview and call-in show.



Food Network

A few years into the life of the network, David Rosengarten took on an entire food topic in his show Taste. Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger became the Too Hot Tamales and brought a taste of Mexican cooking to the audience. Ready . . . Set . . . Cook!, hosted by Sissie Biggers, was a 1995 game show where two teams competed against the clock to cook a meal in 20 minutes using specific ingredients. Each team included a member from the audience (who brought the bag of food they had to utilize, at a cost of $10 or less) and a professional chef. The audience would then vote on a winner. This eventually gave way to more sophisticated reality TV shows that make up a large portion of current programming. Emeril Lagasse, now a household name, has been with the network since the beginning, with the shows Emeril & Friends and the Essence of Emeril. His popular show Emeril Live! debuted in 1997 and enjoyed a 10-year run. The introduction of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals in 2001 was an important turning point for the network. She was a self-trained cook who instantly appealed to viewers with limited time, cooking skills, and budgets— and that proved to be a lot of people. The current line-up of programs categorizes the shows into “In the Kitchen” and “Food Network Nighttime.” The first set airs before 8 P.M. on weekdays and from 7 A.M. to 2 P.M. on weekends. The intention with the “In the Kitchen” block of programming is to convey cooking information. The line-up includes Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Ina Garten, Paula Deen, and Giada

Chef Emeril Lagasse acknowledges the audience during a taping of one of his programs for the Food TV Network, 2001. AP/Wide World Photos.

Food Network

Food Network host Rachael Ray holds a copy of her new cookbook, Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2, 2003. AP/ Wide World Photo.

di Laurentiis. This style of programming appeals to the core audience— females in the 25 to 54 year age range. The night programming offers reality and entertainment shows such as Iron Chef America, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and The Next Food Network Star—a show that cultivates new talent. Nighttime shows, however, appeal more to younger males, which is why the competitive sports-style programs are featured in this time slot. Many of the phrases uttered by the celebrity chefs have become known in the pop culture vernacular, such as Bam! or EVOO. Biography-style programs that profile chefs, in the style that MTV made popular, are also well-liked shows, feeding the audience’s curiosity to go behind the scenes of their favorite programs and learn more personal details of the celebrity chefs. The Food Network audience can’t seem to get enough of one-off specials on food festivals, eating competitions, chocolate sculptures, and wedding cakes, to name just a few categories. The Emmy Awards have been friendly to some of the Food Network stars, in both nominations and wins. Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, Michael Chiarello, and Ina Garten are among the lucky ones. In 2003 the Food Network Kitchens launched the first of four cookbooks developed and written by the in-house kitchen team. Recently, the Food Network Kitchens partnered with Kohl’s to bring to the market their own brand of cookware and small appliances. Many of the celebrity chefs and hosts also have their own lines of cookware, food products, and cookbooks. The Food Network Web site, launched in 1997, is currently the most popular food site on the Web. Users can find recipes from all of the shows, read about their favorite stars, and get entertaining ideas. Further Reading: Buford, Bill. “Notes of a Gastronome TV Dinners: The rise of food television.” New Yorker. October 2, 2006, http://newyorker.com/archive/2006/10/ 02/061002fa_fact; Jensen, Elizabeth. “Changing Courses at the Food Network.” The New York Times. December 17, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/ business/media/17/food.html; Kaufman, Debra. “Food Network Grills, Chills and Thrills.” Television Week. June 4, 2007, Vol. 26 Issue 23, p. 14–14, 1p, 4c, http:// www.tvweek.com/news.2007/06/food_network_grills_chills_and.php; Keeler,



Fourth of July

Janet K. “Food Network, night & day.” St. Petersburg Times. September 13, 2006, http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/13/Taste /Food_Network_night_.shtml; Marcus, Erica. “Food Network shifts toward gastro-entertainment.” newsday. com. February 11, 2008, http://www.newsday.com/features/food/ny-foodfdcov021308,0,3229646.story.

Liz Tarpy

Fourth of July American Independence Day—also called the Fourth of July—commemorates the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence by leaders of the American colonies, an act that signaled the start of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain and the birth of the United States of America. The Fourth of July is both a national celebration of freedom and a summer holiday for outdoor family entertaining. It is the only American holiday where civic celebrations and home entertaining often coincide, and both public and private events are typically marked by patriotic decorations, music, barbeques and outdoor dining, and fireworks.

The Empire State Building is dwarfed by a burst of fireworks, July 4, 1996, during Macy’s 20th annual Independence Day pyrotechnic display along New York’s East River. AP/ Wide World Photos.

Fourth of July John Adams, one of the architects of American independence, predicted the tone and grandeur of future Fourth of July celebrations when he wrote to his wife Abigail in 1776 that the date should be commemorated with parades, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other. The very first celebrations of American independence lacked the variety of events that occur today. Following ratification of the document, public readings of the declaration were held throughout the 13 colonies and were met with cheers. By the time of the first anniversary, certain rituals began to emerge. The first organized civic commemoration of the Fourth of July took place in 1777 in Philadelphia—the birthplace of independence—and was characterized with the ringing of bells, a procession of ships on the river decorated in the national colors of red, white and blue, the firing of 13 canons to symbolize the 13 states, and a lavish dinner for members of Congress. From that point forward, Independence Day celebrations started to occur locally and were commemorated with private banquets and large midafternoon public feasts—often held outdoors—where community residents could gather to offer toasts, eat, reminisce, and debate issues of the day. These dinners were usually ticketed events that followed morning military parades and speeches by public officials. The act of eating together on the nation’s birthday fostered community and a sense of shared national identity. Prior to the American Civil War, many dinners were for men only. Some Fourth of July dinners attracted several hundred to several thousand guests and required elaborate table arrangements to accommodate such large attendance. Enormous quantities of food were required for such numbers and could include grilled or roasted meats, poultry, baked beans, fresh fruits, pies, and cakes. Alcoholic beverages were also served and consumed in abundance to accompany the patriotic toasts which were offered throughout the meal. A variety of foods were associated with American liberty and the annual summer celebration. In the 1796 second edition of American Cookery by Amelia Simmons—considered the first American cookbook—a recipe appeared for “Independence Cake,” which called for 20 pounds of flour, 15 pounds of sugar, 10 pounds of butter, and four dozen eggs. The massive cake was flavored with a quart of brandy and a quart of wine and decorated in gold leaf. The recipe was typical of the celebratory Great Cakes of Britain and was adapted in name to commemorate the spirit of the newly united American colonies. During the nineteenth century, refreshing summer treats, such as ice cream flavored with fresh fruit and lemonade, were served and sold by vendors at outdoor events and quickly became associated with the holiday. Foods considered distinctly American appeared on menus. Turtles were plentiful in early America, and turtle soup was served at Fourth of July dinners because of its association with the bounty of the new nation. Clam soup was also a popular dish at organized events. If community events were an expression of national pride in life and liberty, the Fourth of July home party was an opportunity for more intimate



Fourth of July

socializing. As was the case with many holidays, the nation’s magazine editors would help set the agenda for Fourth of July celebrations and entertaining rituals, and their ideas ran the gamut of decorations, games, and food preparation. Inevitably, the meticulously planned home party would culminate with traditional dancing and fireworks displays. A July 1904 feature story by Marjorie March in the monthly periodical Women’s Home Companion provided detailed instructions for a Fourth of July house party. March suggested that the home be decorated in the national colors with blue and white china, colored lanterns adorning the piazza, red roses presented in blue and white vases, miniature American flag doilies, and individual white cakes in paper boxes tied with blue ribbon and topped with red candied cherries. March offered tips for a parlor game where guests would be challenged to think of words that end in “-nation” and suggested that winners of the contest be awarded prizes of red and white carnations tied with blue ribbon. A separate feature in the same issue recommended that a hostess create a “mock museum” of unusual objects representing great figures in American history and ask guests to match the names of patriots to the objects displayed. As cooking practices and menus became more relaxed and interest in outdoor home entertaining increased, grilled foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers took center stage at Fourth of July gatherings and remain a staple to this day. In 2006, the United States Census Bureau estimated that 150 million hot dogs would be consumed by Americans on the holiday, or in other words, one hot dog for every two people living in the United States. National colors are continually leveraged as an important visual element in Independence Day food and decorating schemes. The American Flag is an icon of the holiday and is proudly displayed from most residential homes on the Fourth. Martha by Mail, the former mail-order merchandise division of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, offered an unusually wide selection of patriotic bunting, various-sized American flags, and party favors to decorate an outdoor entertaining space in vintage Americana-style. As healthier eating preferences evolved, Fourth of July menu items reflected the trend. National magazines like Martha Stewart Living and Country Living published annual features and photo spreads on easily prepared, healthful party fare like grilled meats and roasted vegetables, parfaits, sorbets, and lighter summer fruit tarts in red, white, and blue color schemes. At the same time, traditional treats like homemade ice cream and patriotic frosted cupcakes remained enormously popular. Food and beverage companies have embraced the marketing potential inherent in Fourth of July entertaining and use the occasion to attempt to get the attention of consumers in a season when they might be distracted by other leisure activities. Kraft Foods offers an annual product promotion featuring Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Cool Whip, and Jell-O as the key ingredients in a no-bake “Wave Your Flag Cheesecake” using blueberries, strawberries, and red-flavored gelatin to create an image of the American flag in a rectangular cake pan. In 2002, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States promoted a recipe for Martha Washington’s Rum Punch as an

France ideal libation for the Fourth of July, noting that George Washington operated a distillery at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home and that Martha was renowned for developing innovative cocktail recipes. The punch recipe calls for three different types of liquor. The Fourth of July is an ideal opportunity for politicians to be highly visible and engage with their constituents at public proceedings. American Presidents beginning with John Adams have a long history of hosting Fourth of July celebrations, from White House receptions to festive family events. In 2004, the George W. Bush White House even published a collection of Independence Day–themed recipes on the White House Web site and suggested staging a Bush administration holiday gathering. Political party faithfuls could prepare dishes ranging from Secretary Snow’s “Land of the Free Cole Slaw” to Secretary Thompson’s “Bratwurst of Liberty.” Although much of the focus on Fourth of July entertaining now centers on the home, the annual Independence Day celebration is still observed with public events that capture the imagination and reflect the collective patriotism of the nation. Most local municipalities sponsor a parade with bands or traditional fife and drum corp. Community fireworks displays are a mainstay and sporting events are increasingly popular. The Macy’s Fireworks extravaganza by the Grucci Company in New York City is broadcast to a national prime-time television audience, and the Boston Pops has presented a free outdoor concert since 1929 on the banks of the Charles River. The New York Philharmonic performs a July 4th concert of American composers as part of its annual “Summertime Classics” series at Avery Fisher Hall. “A Capital Fourth” is the Independence Day Concert held on the lawn of the United States Capital Building in Washington, DC since 1981. All are exuberant and high-spirited occasions that enhance individual family celebrations and foster communal enjoyment of America’s annual birthday gala. Further Reading: Heintze, James R. Fourth of July Celebrations Database. http:// www.american.edu/heintze/fourth.htm; Heintze, James R. The Fourth of July Encyclopedia. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007; Travers, Len.Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.

T. W. Barritt

France An overview of French history in terms of festivity and food reveals that this nation fully deserves its exalted culinary reputation. The conviviality and sociability surrounding eating and drinking in this country that straddles the Mediterranean and Northern European worlds have been memorialized not only in the millions of great French meals around the world and in the gastronomic centers of France via restaurants—with the obligatory guidebooks— and cookbooks but also in literature and painting.




Even before the Roman invasion, the nation then known as Gaul had a rich and multi-layered culinary and celebratory culture due to the Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek cultures already present. Nevertheless, the interaction with the Roman conquerors deepened and transformed an already established culture of eating and entertaining. One result is that the Roman tradition did not disappear as fully in the emerging Kingdom of France, named after the Germanic tribe the Franks, as it did in much of the rest of Europe. Although France would produce perhaps the most famous chef of the medieval period, Guillaume Tirel, known as Taillevent (1310–1395), it would be in the field of literature, especially the work of the immortal Francois Rabelais, that the intimate link between food and festivity in France that had developed over the course of the medieval era was most fully elaborated. In the succeeding age of Louis XIV (1643–1715) and at his palaces of Versailles and Marley, French food and festive culture reached one of its many apogees and defined aristocratic elegance into the nineteenth century. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment, in turn, developed new gastronomical principles that would be elaborated during the French Revolution and after and would take its most concrete form in the modern restaurant. As a result, France has been at the center of the link between food and entertainment in the West and for much of the rest of the world over the last centuries. Indeed, as Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson has noted, “it is the tour de force of French cuisine to be defined as at once national and cosmopolitan” (3). Even though France already has more competitors in this globalized twenty-first century, it remains a central referent for the link between food and festivity and its meanings. RENAISSANCE FRANCE By 1500 the medieval banquet culture of the French royalty and aristocracy was being infused with the festive culture of the Italian Renaissance and with new foods and beverages from the New World. At the top of the socioeconomic spectrum, palaces and houses began to dedicate specific rooms to eating and festivity rather than having each room serve many functions as was the case in much of the medieval period. Under the influence of Catherine de Medici and the Burgundian court eating became a complex entertainment that included ballet and theater as well as eating and storytelling. At the opposite end of the socioeconomic and spatial spectrum was the peasant hut whose center was the hearth with its fire and pot. This common fire provided heat, cooking, and conviviality for the family. The ordinary meal would consist of gruel and/or soup, and at the time of harvest or holidays, weak wine drawn from the second pressing of the grapes and some sort of boiled beef (the iconic pot au feu). Traditionally, the greatest time of festivity in the ordinary life of the largest segment of the population, the peasantry, was the harvest. This period could stretch from August to October depending on the location and the crop. Tasks were often but not always segregated by gender, with men

France in the fields and women preparing the feast. Long tables were used upon which would be placed the harvest goose. But though the goose was common throughout France, there were regional variations. In the French Alps, along the Rhône, down through the Isère to the Italian border, foods of similar composition to lasagne, polenta, or macaroni were served to farmers and often to Italian workers who came across the border to work. Jokes and comic songs interspersed with eating. Some of the best evidence comes from Francois Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantugral—that boundless archive of late medieval entertaining and culinary customs that encompasses both the high and the low and the literate and illiterate cultures of French life. Rabelais (c. 1494–1553) provides one of the most extensive portraits of the interrelationship of food and festivity ever penned. In these sprawling novels we are at the intersection of the medieval and Renaissance world and of elite and popular culture. Ironically in an age when French cuisine stagnated—no new innovations appear in cookbooks until the middle of the seventeenth century—we see unprecedented literary creativity on the subjects of cuisine and celebration. France initially lagged as national cuisines, along with national consciousness, began to emerge during the Renaissance. In this sense one can see Rabelais as the “last Gaul.” Rabelais, however, was far from being the only French writer to explore the link between food and festivity. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), the inventor of the modern essay; Pierre Ronsard (1524–1585), dubbed “the prince of poets” and the leader of the Pléiade school; and other poets such as Guillaume Bouchet (1513–1594) and François Bérolade de Verville (1556–1626) also copiously covered sociability at the table. Rabelais’ gustatory genius resides in a playful polyphony in which laughter and mirth stimulated by food and drink create new turns-of-phrase and double entendres. Rabelais’s work has been expertly analyzed by Mikhail Bakhtin in one of the greatest literary studies of the twentieth century. In Rabelais the fertility of the French soil and the French imagination are united. In Michel de Montagine’s essays this notion is developed as he often uses the word nourish (nourir in French) to talk about nourishing the stomach and nourishing the mind. Montaigne also placed special emphasis on sociability of the table as key to a great experience: “One should not so much consider what one eats as with whom one eats it . . . There is no dish so sweet to me, and no sauce so appetizing, as those derived from company” (Jeanneret 27–28). Ronsard in his poetry was in awe of Homer and his inventiveness. He sang in praise of being at the dining and drinking table with friends, reciting poetry and having the cup bearer serve drinks. Guillaume Bouchet’s collection Les Serees and Berolade de Vervill’s Le moyen de parvenus take the free-form nature of table talk even further than Rabelais or Ronsard. By the time the great ancient classic text on cuisine and celebration by Athenaeus had been translated into French in 1680, a whole French tradition had evolved that acknowledged, developed, and transcended the symposium and convivium. French literary achievement in this area equaled if not exceeded that of Renaissance Italy.




By 1500 public drinking establishments had become an established part of French social life. The original term for drinking establishments was tavern (from the Latin taberna), and they had been in existence as Gallo-Roman bas-reliefs show from at least the second century A.D. After 500, the invading Franks restricted tavern use to travelers and residents who bought wine and beer to consume at home. Over the course of the centuries the ban fell into disuse and by the time of Francois Villon (c. 1431–1463), Paris and other cities had developed a lively tavern culture. Villon himself was a rogue poet, who socialized with thieves and prostitutes. The disrepute surrounding taverns is evident in Nicolas Delamare’s eighteenth-century treatise on the Paris police. Taberna, he asserted, originally signified the person who led animals to pagan alters for slaughter, and he felt that tavern owners continued such sacrificial rites with their customers. By the fourteenth century the term cabaret became applied to drinking establishments. Again according to Delamare, the word derived from the traditional custom of putting leaves or cork stoppers ( Latin cobretum) on tavern doors. Unlike taverns, cabarets sold not only wine but also food to be consumed on the premises, thus attracting a wealthier clientele. But cabarets declined in social status with the arrival of cafés in the late seventeenth century. Another term, guinguette, dates from at least the eighteenth century and referred to suburban taverns along the Seine and Marne rivers surrounding Paris. The French Renaissance in terms of court festivity was a period of transition more than innovation. Francis I (1494–1547), the monarch who brought the Renaissance to France in the sixteenth century, assimilated the new style of the Burgundian and Italian courts and patronized a group of painters known as the School of Fontainbleau, who memorialized his court life. Catherine de Medici has traditionally been overrated as far as changing French cuisine is concerned but this powerful queen did play an important role in bringing new forms of splendor to French royal ceremonial. More than ever the royal dinner became a stage for elaborate masked balls, dance, and theatrical events that encompassed not only the great halls but also the emerging classical gardens as venues for pageantry. Catherine carefully directed these events and gave aristocratic women greater prominence than in past reigns. In these ways she provided a transition to the golden age of Louis XIV. In terms of cuisine, however, innovations would occur only with François Pierre (de) La Varenne (1618–1678) and his foundational cookbook for modern French food, Le cuisinier françois (1651). The long reign of Louis XIV ( personal rule 1661 to 1715) put France at the center of royal and aristocratic cuisine. Even after the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution (1789–1815) France would not fall from the pinnacle of culinary reputation. Louis mobilized the resources of the largest population in Europe to create the epitome of a centralizing monarchial palace, Versailles, and through glory and intimidation focused all eyes upon his activities. Following his example, the aristocratic and bourgeois homes of France, and around Europe, focused much of their energy on food and festivity as the hallmark of culture and power. Although Louis’s meals

France may have numbered in the hundreds and involved elaborate presentations, the cuisine shifted from the ostentatious tang of heavily spiced foods with cinnamon, cloves, mace, and nutmeg, to more subtle seasoning with tarragon and other herbs and pepper. La Varenne perfected the modern white sauce ( béchamel). The goal of his cuisine was to enhance rather than to hide the natural flavors of foods. He also stressed the use of fresh vegetables and paired foie gras with truffles. The development of extensive gardens at Versailles was key not only to cooking but also entertaining. No king before Louis had ritualized meals so fully. He performed by way of his meals, the grand and petit or even tres petit couvert, or public meal, according to time of day and year. In most instances a crowd in hats watched in silence, as he ate without a hat. An entire language evolved concerning who could eat and watch the king while he ate, and these rituals demonstrated who was in or out of favor with the king. His festivities at Versailles became legendary. One of the most dazzling occurred in May 1664 when Louis XIV staged a festival that lasted several days titled the “Pleasures of the Enchanted Isle.” It started with a parade and exhibition of aristocratic warrior horsemanship, and also featured a ballet, and nighttime entertainments around the fountains and pools of Versailles illuminated by fireworks. As a young and athletic king, Louis participated in many of these pageants but naturally became more of a spectator as he aged. Cookbooks proliferated by the end of Louis XIV’s reign and became manuals on how to translate such great entertainments from the court to less exalted locales of aristocratic estates and town houses and bourgeois homes. In 1674, The Art of Fine Entertaining, written by “L.S.R.” appeared. Among the author’s recommendations were directions on the correct placement of candles for evening dinners to create the effect of luxury along with minute details on the proper preparation and presentation of the meal. In his book and others the serving style that would become known as French service (service à la française) emerged. This style of presentation consisted of arranging all the dishes at once in what we would now call buffet style. Guests were allowed to choose from whatever dish they liked. The grand scale of Louis XIV’s dinners and ceremonials was not continued after his death. Both at Versailles and in Paris, the trend was toward more intimate dining. From his youth Louis XV shunned the extravagant ceremonial of his predecessor and desired to eat and rule in more intimate rooms. The regent for Louis XV, the brother of Louis XIV, the Duc d’Orléans also preferred smaller, more intimate suppers and established this custom at his palace in Paris, the Palais Royal. Reflecting this trend the chef of the duke and cookbook author, François Massialot (1660–1733) in his Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois, “The Court and Country Cook” (numerous editions between 1691 and 1734), detailed instructions for “intimate dinners for twelve.” The Palais Royal, an arcaded palace, became a center of cuisine, sociability, and prostitution in the late eighteenth century and remained at the center of Parisian life well into the nineteenth century.




The move toward greater simplicity and intimacy is also seen in the first cookbook directed at women, La Cuisinière bourgeoise (written by a prolific male cookbook author named Menon). Following its publication in 1746, it remained the most popular cookbook in France for over a century. Scholars concur that these eighteenth-century intimate suppers “sought to banish ritual” and had an “atmosphere . . . of high fashion, flirtation, wit and gossip” (Strong 2l3). On the question of food and entertaining the French Enlightenment divides, as it does so often, between Voltaire and Rousseau. The former reveled as a youth in the intimate suppers during the regency. While alive, Voltaire enjoyed fame as an exalted and iconic writer. Exiled in Switzerland, he saw himself as “the hotel keeper of Europe” and praised luxury in his article on the bon vivant he called Le Mondain (the Mundane). Rousseau, on the other hand, preached that the simple cuisine and festivities of the world’s peasant peoples were far superior to anything civilization had developed because simple cuisine united individuals and communities in authentic food that they had grown and prepared themselves and in festivals that ensured no distinction between the participant and the observer and thus prevented alienation. Where both Voltaire and Rousseau could find common ground was in the numerous cafés of Paris that had become centers of fashionable society and avant-garde politics by the 1750s. Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau, an inventor, opened the first restaurant in 1766 and hoped thereby not only to make his fortune but also to link the Enlightenment’s desire to ameliorate society through science to a transformation in the daily diet of millions. The French Revolution, which erupted in the spring of 1789, quickly took fraternity as one of its three guiding principles (the other two being liberty and equality). In July 1789, the same month as the fall of the Bastille, the Marquis Charles de Villette proposed that the ideal of fraternity be embodied in collective eating in the streets. Indeed a ‘patriotic meal” eaten by some of the National Assembly occurred during the celebration of the Federation on July 14, 1790 (marking the first anniversary of the Revolution), with the leftovers being distributed to the poor. Similar meals were staged at later revolutionary festivities and were made mandatory in July 1794. Here was the Rousseauian dream of popular festivity incarnate. But within a few months, as the radical republic gave way to the moderate Thermidorians and then the Directory, such measures were abolished. Of great long-term impact was the abolition of the guilds, which freed food and drink sellers to purvey whichever food and drinks they wished. French society in its reaction to the extremes of egalitarian democracy retrieved past traditions and created new institutions. The upper class recreated the private domestic dinner party. Often these dinner parties would have salons attached to them after the fashion of those found in the eighteenth century. After Napoleon gained power, one of the means he used to assert his legitimacy was to hold grand dinners on eight occasions during his rule and to lament that he had not brought back the grand couvert during his days in exile. The most important development of the revolutionary era,

France however, would turn out to be the consolidation of the restaurant as the new main ritual and festive site for eating and the emergence of the modern professional chef, restaurant critic, and gastronomic theorist. By 1830 Paris would be filled with over 3,000 restaurants and would be well on its way to defining the modern restaurant not only for the rest of the world but gradually also for the rest of France. By 1850, however, two-thirds of the nation’s departments still lacked these new sites of consumption and celebration. Many of the restaurants opened after 1789 were staffed from kitchens of the great aristocratic houses of France, and the result was that very quickly a customer, soon to be known as a gastronome, had many choices to eat. This gave rise to a culinary public sphere in which public opinion would evaluate, compare, and rank various eating establishments. The first modern restaurant critic was Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de La Reynière (1758–1837), who in his Almanach des gourmands collected his reviews of restaurants from the 1790s through the first decade of the nineteenth century. Often he would meet with a group of like-minded gourmets at the Parisian restaurant the Rocher de Cancale that also appears in the novels of Balzac, who immortalized the restaurant in his multi-volume series The Human Comedy. The other great theoretician of cuisine after the revolution was Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826). His Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste) reveals his ambition to create a science of gastronomy. Although he wrote on restaurants, they were not as central to his writings as to Grimod’s. Brillat focused instead upon the full range of sensory, gustatory, and sociable experiences surrounding eating. He believed that meals were the key to refined entertaining and believed that the first part of a meal should be devoted to eating and the second part to socializing. Alexandre Dumas made similar observations on the effects of fine dining later in the century: “Wine is the intellectual part of the meal. Meats are merely the material part” (Toussaint-Samat 277). Though neither specifically links eating with the ideals of the French Revolution, they clearly see the table as an ideal expression of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Marie Antoine (Antonin) Carême (1784–1833) created the idea of the modern professional chef even though he worked mostly for royal and upper-class patrons rather than in restaurants. His first great patron was the diplomatic genius Talleyrand. After the fall of Napoleon Carême supervised a banquet for military and diplomatic dignitaries and then worked for the British Prince Regent, later George IV, and then Tsar Alexander I in Saint Petersburg, before returning to Paris, where he was chef to banker James Rothschild. Though he never worked in a restaurant, his influential cookbooks became the staple of chefs’ libraries. He also expressed the democratic wish that all French could share in the joy of a great meal. He saw the simple pot au feu (in essence beef stew) as one of the greatest of French dishes. His complex but refined system of cooking laid the foundation for nineteenth-century French haute cuisine. Though modern in so many ways in both display and service, his presentations pointed to the past more than




the future. His pièces montées, making large and complex structures out of food in imitation of historic buildings or art works, recalled old regime banquets more than modern meals. ( However his creations are at the foundation of the modern wedding cake, one of which is described in great detail in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.) Moreover, Carême continued to serve in the French style (that is, a wide variety of dishes in buffet fashion), rather than in the Russian style (that is, courses served sequentially and hot) that would become the norm at restaurants. The rise of the restaurant was intimately connected to the growing selfconsciousness of the French middle class. One historian of the restaurant has noted that it was at restaurant tables that “the nineteenth century began to define itself; it is à table that business deals are made, ambitions declared, marriages arranged” (Guy 30). Central to festive moments of the upper classes was champagne. Brandy and cigars were also a key element of the ritual of the upper-class restaurant experience as the concluding gestures that accompanied after dinner sociability. While restaurants proliferated first in Paris and then slowly across the country during the nineteenth century, the phenomenal development across the whole of France was the emergence of what I have called the workingclass café. These establishments sold not only the full range of drinks newly available in the post-guild era, they usually also sold lunches and sometimes even rudimentary dinners. Officially labeled retail drink outlets, debit de boissons, these establishments were usually known as marchands de vins (wine shops), cabarets, or cafés. We can best describe them as working-class cafés. They proliferated at an extraordinary rate between 1789 and 1850 rising from approximately 100,000 in 1789 to 350,000 in 1850, during a period when wine consumption had risen much more slowly. Restaurants and cafés had played a role in the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1830 but were much more vital during the Revolution of 1848, which in part developed out of a series of antigovernment banquets in early 1848 and which then got an added lift from Carnival celebrations in March 1848. By 1851 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been elected president in 1848, saw working-class agitation in cafés as a threat to his bid to become emperor and as a result closed upwards of 50,000 shops after his coup d’etat of December 1851. Even under this draconian regime cafés continued to proliferate and by the time the Second Empire fell in 1870 the number had returned to 1848 levels only to rise to 480,000. What worried much of the French elite during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was that the rise in the number of cafés paralleled an explosive increase in alcohol, especially wine consumption from 80 liters per capita in the 1830s to 160 liters per capita in the early twentieth century. The great festive holiday for these popular establishments was Bastille Day, July 14, at which they usually hosted balls. They were also extensively used as the venues for working-class weddings as we see in Emile Zola’s novel L’Assomoir, or The Dram Shop. Impressionist painters also focused extensively on working-class cafés. The paintings often portray a sense of alienation, especially in the case of absinthe drinkers in the works of Manet and Degas.

France While the popular classes seemed to become ever more mired in alcohol consumption, the upper and middle classes of France continued to indulge in an ever more complex restaurant culture. By the end of the nineteenth century, International Expositions, especially those of 1867, 1889, and 1900, stimulated the growth of tourism and helped create the modern luxury hotel. After 1900 César Ritz and especially August Escoffier (1846–1935) pioneered the elegant hotel restaurant. Escoffier refined and updated Carême’s cuisine for the railroad and hotel age, helped welcome the growing number of women dining publicly in restaurants (rather than in private cabinets noirs, which were often associated with prostitution). Some of Escoffier’s signature dishes were named after the great actresses and singers of the age Sarah Bernhardt and the Australian Nelly Melba, whose name graces his famous peach desert. The rise of Escoffier also marks the consolidation of a national restaurant culture in France. Born in the southern city of Nice, he had started his career in a restaurant in his home city and then had restaurants on the Riviera, at Cannes and Monte Carlo, before moving up to Paris and then to London. At both the 1889 and 1900 International Expositions in Paris the Third Republic celebrated itself and the growing integration of France into a modern nation state by hosting banquets for all the mayors of the nation—over 21,000 functionaries. At these banquets both Parisian and regional specialties were served. By the 1920s the automobile was starting to transform the gastronomic and celebratory culture of France. National guides to France had emerged from the 1840s but only in the 1920s did a gastronomical guide literature proliferate. By this decade the famous Michelin guides were noting which restaurants were worth a trip or a detour and awarding stars. In this same decade following the carnage of World War I, the Guides Bleues, which had replaced the earlier Guide Joane, also mapped the restaurants of France for the ever-growing number of car owners who viewed gastronomic travel as one of the best ways to appreciate France and to have fun. The greatest monument to gastronomic regionalism to emerge in this decade was the multi volume Le Tour de France gastronomique, written by Curnonsky ( pen name of Maurice Edouard Sailland, 1872–1956) and Marcel Rouff. Although they may have traveled by car, these gastronomes stressed the need to eat food that had been lovingly and slowly cooked and that had to be enjoyed in the same leisurely fashion. But this new sense of national cuisine and the solidarity at the table came not only from Paris but also from the provinces. For example, in 1923 an Association des Gastronomes Regionalistes was founded and held dinners, festivals, and colloquia around the nation. International expositions held in France in the interwar era also celebrated the integration of Parisian and provincial foodways. For example, the leadership of France in food and festivity was trumpeted in the 1923 Salon d’Automne, a celebration of French art and artisanal genius, and the Exposition Universelle 1937, a more subdued replay of the great late nineteenth-century expositions. Initially after World War II the privations inflicted by four long years of occupation created a desire to return to traditional food preparation.




French restaurateurs were not as creative in their cuisine as the cafés of Saint German des Pres in Paris were. Regulars like Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Juliette Greco, and Boris Vian played an important role in renewing the café’s intellectual culture. One development that did emerge was the transformation of the bistrot from a term for a working-class bar to a term denoting a cozy, authentic, small neighborhood restaurant. The modern bistrot came of age in the 1950s. This same passion for authenticity would lead a group of chefs in the 1950s in eastern France, especially in the region around Lyon to lay the foundations for what was to become known in the 1970s as nouvelle cuisine (this is really the third nouvelle cuisine if you count La Varenne and Carême as the first renewers of French food). In Lyon legendary chef Mother (Mère) Brazier trained Paul Boucuse, and in Vienne restauranteur Fernand Point, considered the father of Nouvelle Cuisine, trained the Troisgros brothers. Moreover, from the early 1950s, the new medium of television played a vital role in renewing home cooking. Chefs such as Raymond Oliver, owner of Le Grand Vefour in the Palais Royal of Paris, became a household fixture as he showed French housewives new recipes and cooking styles. The rise of nouvelle cuisine occurred after the near revolution of 1968 as the French, especially the youth searched for a more informal and healthier way to eat and entertain. In March 1969, H. Gault and C. Millau published Le Nouveau Guide and within three years the term nouvelle cuisine had become a media staple. This new movement utilized the postwar advances in farming, refrigeration, and transportation to ensure a fresher and a more regional range of foods on the table. Improvements in ovens and steamers resulted in meat and vegetables that retained more of their original flavor and that were not overshadowed by the heavy sauces of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cuisine. Nouvelle cuisine was influences by the cuisines of Japan and China. Moreover, artistic presentation of small portions replaced the large plates favored previously. Some of the bibles of this new cuisine were the works of chef Michel Guérard, including La Grande Cuisine minceur (1976) and La Cuisine gourmande (1978). In general, French eating has become lighter and more discriminating as the country has modernized and moved from an agricultural to an industrial economy, and finally to a service- and information-based economy. With the reduction in manual labor the number of calories needed per day has dropped from an average of 3,000 to 3,500 in 1900 to between 1,700 to 2,000 today. Food now plays a much less prominent role in the average individual and family budget, accounting for only 14 percent of expenses today as compared to more than double that amount (28.6 percent) in 1960. Between 1970 and 2001 the French also increased their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and decreased their consumption of bread, meat, and potatoes. Indeed, the French eat more fresh fruit than any other nation in Europe. By 2005 the nouvelle cuisine values of freshness, presentation, and taste topped the list in the qualities the French found most appealing in food. Moreover by 2005 the French drank almost as much AOC wine (the

France rate had more than tripled between 1970 and 2001) as they did the lesser qualities (whose rate of consumption had declined by two thirds). During these same years the French doubled their consumption of sodas and mineral waters and saw an even higher rate of increase for fruit juices. While the foods that the French eat may have evolved over the past 40 years, becoming lighter and more varied, the traditions of sociability at the table have remained largely unchanged. This holds as true in the home as it does in the restaurant. In general when guests come to dinner at a French home they are much more likely to bring flowers than a bottle of wine (a common American gift) because it is assumed that the hosts have already paired the wine with the food. In contrast to the average American household, the French have a much more distinct set of courses involving only one item at a time that is discussed and eaten in a more leisurely and convivial manner. Salad, for example, is a separate course, rather than being served with the main dish. This slow and sociable approach to eating is considered one of the main reasons for the so-called French paradox—that is, the fact that the French have a lower rate of heart disease than Americans even though they eat foods, such as pâtés, high in saturated fats. It is common both at home, at work, and at school for the French to take between one and two hours for lunch. An index of the importance the French government attaches to cuisine and sociability is the fact that numerous studies, such as those of 1973, 1981, 1989, and 1997, have been undertaken to determine how often the French make “gastronomic” meals, go out to restaurants, or have friends and family to dinner. According to the most recent survey (1997), half the population tries a new recipe every year, 29 percent “regularly” try new recipes, and 68 percent go to a “gastronomic” restaurant each year (with 34 percent from time to time). The survey also indicates that the French are twice as likely to go out at night (from time to time) to see their friends—30 percent—than to see their relatives—17 percent. Courtship and marriage rituals also remain intimately tied to food and entertaining. Class differences remain very much in evidence with the working class conducting much of its dating and courting activity in bars and restaurants, and the elite having private parties, known as rallyes, usually at exclusive clubs or rented auditoriums. This custom has emerged only after World War II and is found especially in the most affluent sections of Paris and its suburbs. Such social gatherings usually have a diverse buffet with the most sophisticated snacks offered by French cuisine: choice wines, petits fours, canapés, éclairs, and bite-size caviar and salmon sandwiches, all from the leading gourmet delicatessens (traiteurs) of Paris, such as Lenôtre. As far as weddings are concerned, France has an extremely rich and influential heritage. While peasants often gave herbs as tokens of their love, the custom of presenting diamonds to the beloved, if not the betrothed, is traced back to the fifteenth-century French monarch Charles VII’s gift to his mistress Agnès Sorel. French brides also developed the custom of creating the trousseau, from the French word trousse, meaning “bundle.” A trousseau is a collection of clothes for her marriage stored in a chest or armoire.




Traditionally in France the wedding veil also serves as the first wrapping for the newborn baby. The tradition of the white wedding dress is traced back to Queen Anne of Brittany, who wed Louis XII in 1499. But the modern custom dates only from the marriage of Eugénie de Montijo to Emperor Napoleon III in 1853. Toasts to the new couple are of course ancient but the ubiquitousness of champagne toasts dates only from the nineteenth century. Rice, as a symbol of fertility, has not always been what has been thrown or given to the newlyweds. In the past wheat has been thrown or bread offered. Not only did French tradition sanction dancing and music after the wedding but also often additional money, food, or drink if the bride was a lot younger than the husband. ( This was done to assuage the young men of the village or neighborhood about losing one of the eligible women to a man outside of their cohort.) Naturally the modern elaborate reception fulfills that function well. Food in early twenty-first century France is becoming as much a fashion and health statement as a marker of festive and sociable exuberance. One of the leading French chefs today, Alain Ducasse, views his dishes as artistic creations, and he has had them trademarked. Owner of 25 restaurants around the world and a score of publications, Ducasse is at the forefront of transforming French cuisine into a global experience. But even with this global reach, he tries to remain true to his native soil. In doing so he is following in the footsteps of recent French intellectuals, such as Claude Levi Strauss and Pierre Bourdieu, who have plumbed the anthropological and sociological depths of the eating experience and its relationship to human thought, sociability, and social distinctiveness. Further Reading: Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Hélène Iswolsky. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984; Blocker, Jack S. Jr., David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrell, eds. Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History, An International Encyclopedia. Vols. I and II. Santa Barbara, CA, Denver, CO, and Oxford: ABC Clio, 2003; Donnat, Olivier. Les pratiques culturelles des Français. Enquête 1997. Paris: La Documentation française, 1998; Ferguson, Priscilla Parkhurst. Accounting For Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004; Flandrin, Jean-Louis, and Massimo Montanari, eds., Food: A Culinary History From Antiquity to the Present. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999; Freedman, Paul. Food: The History of Taste. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007; Guy, Kolleen M. When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of A National Identity. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003; Haine, W. Scott. The World of the Paris Café: Sociability Among the French Working Class, 1789–1914. London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996; Holt, Mack P. Alcohol: A Social and Cultural History. Oxford and New York: Berg, 2006; Jeanneret, Michel. A Feast of Words: Table Talk in the Renaissance. Trans. Jeremy Whiteley and Emma Hughes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991; Pinçon, Michel, and Monique Pinçon Charlot. Dans les beaux quartiers. Paris: Seuil, 1989; Spang, Rebecca L. The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000; Strong, Roy. Feast: A History of Grand Eating. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2002; Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. A History of Food. Trans.

Funeral Food Anthea Bell. Cambridge MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 1992; Schehr, Lawrence R., and Allen S. Weiss. French Food: On the Table, On the Page, and in French Culture. New York and London: Routledge, 2001; Vreeland, Susan, Luncheon of the Boating Party. New York: Viking, 2007.

W. Scott Haine

Funeral Food FOOD FOR THE DEAD, FOOD FOR THE LIVING Human beings not only eat, they think—and one of the things they think a great deal about is death. The awareness of our own mortality colors our thinking about everything, including food. We sometimes compare life after death to a journey—and many cultures try to provide their dead with everything to make that journey easier or more comfortable. Sometimes the dead are given real food, and sometimes they are given symbolic food. The ancient Egyptians, for example, buried their royal dead with complete entourages (in the form of miniature models) to provide the sort of meals the departed had enjoyed in life: cooks and other servants, kitchens, granaries, farm animals, and so forth. The funerals of Chinese followers of Confucius—who have great veneration for ancestors—feature sacrifices of various kinds: not only rice and other foods, but also symbolic money (specially printed for such occasions), and even symbolic cars, servants, airplanes to provide for the decedents’ needs on their journey to be reunited with their ancestors. In addition to keeping the dead well prepared for their journey into the afterlife, foods were sometimes used to protect them in other ways. Before the eighteenth century, in England and Wales, a sin-eater was called in when someone died. Bread and beer were passed across the corpse, and the sineater consumed them, thereby assuming all the sins of the dearly departed. Some Chinese families bring complete meals to the cemetery. The dishes are spread out, picnic-style, before the tombstone—as if the deceased was still at the family table—then consumed by the family. This tradition is similar to including an empty chair and place setting at holiday meals for recently departed family members. Some cultures believe that the dead can return at certain times of the year and that special foods should be prepared to honor them. In Louisiana, Cajuns celebrate Le Jour des Morts (day of the dead ) by bringing food to the cemetery on November first. The better-known Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, also known as All-Souls’ Day) is another such occasion. Mexicans spend the day cleaning and decorating graves, and preparing highly decorated sugar skulls, often marked with the names of the dead. They use special black plates, available only at that time of year. Candy skeletons are often saved for years. Likewise, Italian ossi de morti ( bones of the dead ), special hard-baked cookies that resemble sections of femurs, can



Funeral Food

be stored indefinitely. Italian children looked forward to receiving treats from the dead on All-Souls’ Day—usually favi de morti, tiny bean-shaped almond-flavored cakes (ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the souls of the dead resided in fava beans, and the notion survives in this Christian practice). The distribution of Halloween treats, in America, is descended from such Old World traditions. The living have also been concerned about the happiness of the departed for reasons that are not entirely altruistic. A common fear was that the dead, if not properly fed, would come back to haunt the living. Romanians, for example (whose culture has given us many interesting forms of such harassment by the dead ), often brought wine and bread to the graves of their loved ones. Their intention was to keep the corpse well fed, so it would not return to feed on the living. FUNERAL FEASTS After a funeral, most cultures serve a meal that connects the living (with each other and with their society), while providing sustenance for their own journeys home. The most drastic version of a funeral feast involves the practice of endocannibalism. Essentially this refers to the eating of one’s departed loved ones in order to keep their essence in the family. This could be as simple as mixing some of a Yanomamo grandmother’s ashes in the plantain soup that the entire family would consume. Herodotus described a similar conviction among the ancient Scythians, who would have been horrified at the thought of placing their dearly departed in the cold ground— when the guest of honor at a funeral could also provide the main course. Most of us would not dream of such a thing, but only because our funeral feasts reflect different systems of belief. The “celebration of life” (a cliché found in almost every funeral oration)—actually carried out, through eating, after the funeral—is not logical, but psychologically, it is very comforting. The transition from somber reflection to celebration can be dramatic (as, in New Orleans, when the traditional funeral marching band switches from mournful shuffle to exuberant jazzy dancing). The decidedly ungloomy tone of an Irish wake, for example, has more to do with the joy of still being among the living than sadness over the loss of a friend or relative. In a sense, the funeral feast marks the end of the initial shock of loss and the beginning of continued life for the survivors. Rituals, often involving familiar comfort foods, serve to make difficult or emotionally trying events easier to bear for everyone—and funerals are no exception. One such ritual (which seems, itself, to have died out) was the medieval English funeral feast called the arval. The name comes from the Old Norse words arfl and öl, meaning “inheritance” and “ale.” Arvals could, at least for the wealthy, be huge and sumptuous events—though even the poor would get eggs, bread, wine, and, of course, ale. Funeral bread, a kind of spice cake, was always included. It was replaced, from the seventeenth century on, with funeral biscuits—similar to shortbread, and often stamped

Funeral Food with the sentence Dies mortis aeternis vitae natalis est ( The day of death is the birth of eternal life). Funeral biscuits were commonly given to those attending the obsequies. By the early nineteenth century, these were produced in commercial bakeries and came wrapped in paper, printed with appropriate verses, and sealed with black wax. Early Americans continued the tradition of funeral biscuits for a time—usually in the form of a kind of molasses cookie, instead of shortbread. Comfort foods are often brought to bereaved families, to ease the stress of the immediate mourning period (when mourners are not expected to be fussing over such earthly functions as cooking—for themselves or for the many visitors who arrive to console them). Casseroles, like the cheesy scalloped potatoes, are so often brought by Mormons and Midwestern protestants that they are known as funeral potatoes. Indeed, casseroles are uniquely suited for such purposes, as they are filling, familiar, and easily transportable. RELIGIOUS VARIATIONS ON THE FUNERAL FEAST Since our collection of beliefs varies with our religious environments, it is not surprising that the nature of our funeral feasts varies accordingly. Ideally, Jewish funerals take place within 24 hours of death. After the funeral, Jewish families and friends share a meal of consolation (seudat havra-ah) at the home of the deceased. Hard-boiled eggs (symbols of life and eternity because of their roundness) are eaten, as is bread, another symbol of life. Meat is not eaten, because it symbolizes celebration. For seven days after the funeral, mourners “sit shivah” (for the Orthodox, literally sitting on short stools or on the floor). Again, foods (often sweet cakes and such foods as may be eaten without need for a sit-down dinner) are supplied to the immediate family by the family and friends who come to console them. Islamic law also requires that burial occur within one day. Friends and relatives bring food to the immediate family for three days afterwards. Dishes brought are very often made with honey, as it is believed to alleviate the mourners’ grief with its smooth sweetness. The family, in turn, provides only coffee to the visitors. Christians do not have the time restrictions shared by Hebrews and Moslems. Christians begin bringing prepared food and drink to the bereaved family as soon as they get the sad news. It is customary to have a gathering, the night before the funeral, of family and friends of the deceased. Protestants have a viewing, usually at a funeral home. Catholic viewings traditionally include a prayer service called a wake, followed by food and drink. It should be noted that not all religions have prescribed culinary traditions associated with funerals. No special food rituals accompany Buddhist or Shinto funerals. When a Hindu dies, the body is cremated, not buried. While the Hindu mourning period may last from a few days to a year, no food is brought to the grieving family—perhaps because of the complex



Funeral Food

rules governing food in Hinduism (rules that are not based on forbidden ingredients, but on how the food is prepared and who does the cooking). Further Reading: Barber, Paul. Vampires. Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988; Breers, Peter. “Arvals, Wakes and Month’s Minds: Food for Funerals.” In Mason, Laura (ed.). Food and the Rites of Passage. Leeds Symposium on Food History ‘Food and Society’ Series. Devon: Prospect Books, 2002; Davidson, Alan. “Funeral Food.” In Davidson, Alan (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999; Purvis, Kathleen. “Funeral Food.” In Smith, Andrew (ed.). Food and Drink in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; Rogak, Lisa. Death Warmed Over; Funeral Food, Rituals, and Customs from Around the World. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2004; Sack, Daniel. Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture. New York: Palgrave, 2000; Thursby. Jacqueline S. Funeral Festivals in America: Rituals for the Living Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006; Webb, Lois Sinaiko. Multicultural Cookbook of Life-Cycle Celebrations. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000.

Gary Allen

G Garden Party A garden party is a social gathering held in a park or garden. During the late Victorian era it became fashionable to hold elegant and lavish social events in the out-of-doors. While the Victorians were masters of extravagant dining and entertaining, they also celebrated nature and the out-of-doors. The garden party became the perfect solution to the problem of how to experience nature and extravagant dining simultaneously. The practice of the garden party is thought to be an outgrowth of the weekend getaways that were held at the country homes of the upper classes in England and the United States. In the afternoons and early evenings, the grounds would be lit with lanterns and long buffet tables would be set for the guests. These were very festive gatherings, and guests tended to dress up for the occasion. The concept of the garden gathering was so appealing that it came to be used for any type of party. Garden parties have been taking place at Buckingham Palace since 1860 when Queen Victoria instituted her first “breakfast,” which was actually held in the afternoon. Buckingham Palace Garden is the setting for many Royal Garden Parties held by the queen each summer. Contemporary magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar and Ladies’ Home Journal, often detailed the extravagant society garden parties, or reported


Garden Party

Members of the British royal family, including King George V and King Edward VIII, gathered around Queen Victoria at a garden party, 1936. Library of Congress.

on the preparations for upcoming events. Such events had to be arranged weeks beforehand, and arrangements had to be prepared in the event of bad weather. The hostess usually sent out her invitations two weeks in advance. Invitations were engraved and printed on a sheet of plain notepaper or one that simply bore the family crest in watermark only. Unless the house was a very large one, which could accommodate a large group of guests, invitations noted that the event was “weather permitting.” Generally, children were not invited to garden parties. It was feared that they would get too excited and interfere with the enjoyment of the adults. If the garden party was to take place in a suburban location, local people were expected to arrive by carriage. If guests were traveling from the city, the invitations would have a card enclosed with the directions plainly given as to the hours of trains, which train or boat to take, and any other instructions necessary for the guests, such as “carriages will meet the arrival of the 3:30 P.M. train from Grand Central.” For those events held on out-ofthe-way country properties, still more explicit directions would be given. When the carriages arrived, guests would be shown to rooms where they could freshen up after their journey. Servants would be available to assist guests and to show them to where the party was to take place. The hostess would receive her guests on the lawn. They would then be free to wander through the grounds. Porches, piazzas, and shaded areas were filled with chairs for guests to sit and chat and enjoy the view. It was not unusual for upholstered furni-

Garden Party

Minister Griscom’s garden party, 1936. Library of Congress.

ture and armchairs to be moved outdoors and intermingled with the wicker chairs and lawn furniture. Often, pieces of stair carpeting were placed in front of the chairs, and Turkish rugs were laid down on the grass to help protect long dresses in case the grass was damp. Every effort was made so that even the elderly and rheumatic could be comfortable and enjoy the party. Often a platform was laid for dancing. A band, offering a variety of music ranging from formal to popular, was essential to any successful garden party. Customarily, a garden party was always held entirely out-of-doors. Often a tent covered the area where the refreshments were served. For smaller affairs, refreshments were sometimes placed inside the house, generally in the dining room. If the hostess planned to serve her menu outdoors, it was important that all her dishes were cold. In the summer of 1882, Harper’s Bazaar suggested salads, cold birds, ham, tongue, pâté de foie gras, cold patties, salmon dressed with a green sauce, jellies, Charlottes (a chilled dessert made from bread or sponge cake, filled with fruit puree or custard), ices, cakes, punch, and champagne as appropriate garden party fare. A cup of hot tea would always be available in the house for those who desired it.



Garden Party

Fruit was a popular offering. Melons, peaches, grapes, and strawberries were all served throughout the season. Some parties were conducted much like an afternoon high tea and some included hot cakes and hot broiled chicken. Guests were seated at tables in small groups. Every effort was made to preserve the proprieties of a proper dinner. There were no piles of dirty dishes, knives, forks, or spoons visible to spoil the bucolic setting. Servants carried baskets so that anything that needed to be discarded could be quickly hidden from view. Sufficient quantities of glass, china, and plenty of linen napkins were kept ready, so there was no delay in serving the refreshments. The lemonade and punch bowls were continually replenished. Servants in caps and aprons would watch the table, making sure that sufficient clean cups, spoons, plates, wine glasses, and forks were available. Every propriety was followed. When strawberries and cream were served, a small napkin was placed between the saucer and plate, and a dessert spoon and fork were handed with each plate. Claret, champagne, brandy, and soda water were all provided on a separate table for the gentlemen. Although a gentleman could step up to this table and help himself, a servant was always in attendance to remove the wine glasses, tumblers, and goblets as they were used; to replenish the decanters and pitchers as they were emptied; and to supply fresh glasses. Many hosts offered old Madeira, sherry, and port as well. Decanters were also placed on the regular luncheon table, and glasses of wine carried on silver trays were brought by servants to the ladies who were sitting on the piazzas and under the trees. Small thin tumblers were used for the claret and champagne, which were served in silver or glass pitchers. Many hostesses rented the necessary glass, silver, and china from the caterer’s best china rather than risk having their own broken in the rough setting. Amusements were available for younger guests. Archery targets and equipment would be only one of the activities that would be set up in advance so that guests could partake in the sport. Croquet was particularly popular among women, as it required considerable skill but little strength or technique. Men tended to be less passionate about the sport but appreciated its social advantage since both men and women played together. Lawn tennis was another popular sport. Initially, it involved simply patting the ball back and forth without keeping score. Soon, however, players became caught up in the competitive spirit. More active than croquet or archery, tennis was viewed as an excellent exercise for mind and body and had particular appeal to men. By the 1880s it had become the rage in fashionable summer resorts. If there was a lake on the property, boats would be made available and care was taken to be sure that an experienced boatman was on hand. For those less interested in physical activity a card party or a game of checkers could be played under the trees. During the late nineteenth century, public garden parties became popular. These were held on semi-official occasions, such as the laying of a foundation stone for a public building, the birthday of a prominent individual, a Sunday school festival, or an entertainment given to a political official.

Garden Party These affairs were less formal and invitations were somewhat more general, sometimes even being extended by announcement or public notice. Today, garden parties are no longer only for the well-to-do. The modern garden party can be very free-form, or use a special occasion or theme as the basis for the event. They are held in backyards and in public gardens or on the grounds of historic buildings. Even apartment dwellers can host a garden party on their terrace or patio. Many are used to raise funds for community causes, but even more are simply an opportunity for friends and family to celebrate a lovely day in the out-of-doors. There are no rules to dictate foods, music, or activities. Frisbee is more likely than archery. The one constant is bringing a bit of indoor elegance outdoors. Further Reading: Bales, Suzy Frutig. Garden Parties. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 2003; Snow, Shelley, and Elaine Husband. Gathering in the Garden: Recipes and Ideas for Garden Parties. Sterling, VA: Capital Books, 2003.

Dorothy Denneen Volo


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Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl AN ENCYCLOPEDIA


Edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan

GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut • London

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl : an encyclopedia / edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–313–33957–8 (set : alk. paper) ISBN 978–0–313–33958–5 (v. 1 : alk. paper) ISBN 978–0–313–33959–2 (v. 2 : alk. paper) 1. Entertaining—History—Encyclopedias. 2. Cookery, International—History— Encyclopedias. 3. Food habits—History—Encyclopedias. I. Adamson, Melitta Weiss. II. Segan, Francine. TX731.E5824 2008 641.3003—dc22 2008030543 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2008 by Melitta Weiss Adamson and Francine Segan All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 20080305043 ISBN: 978–0–313–33957–8 (set) 978–0–313–33958–5 (vol. 1) 978–0–313–33959–2 (vol. 2) First published in 2008 Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.greenwood.com Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The publisher has done its best to make sure the instructions and /or recipes in this book are correct. However, users should apply judgment and experience when preparing recipes, especially parents and teachers working with young people. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the outcome of any recipe included in this volume.


List of Entries


Guide to Related Topics


The Encyclopedia: H–Z




About the Editors and Contributors




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List of Entries

American Frontier Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Anniversary Parties Antipasto Aztec Entertaining Baby Shower Bachelor Party Bar / Bat Mitzvah Barbeque Barn Raising Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Beeton, Isabella Betty Crocker Birthdays Blair House Block Party Book Clubs Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of Brazil Bridal Shower

Brunch Buffet Cake and Candles Catering Celtic Feasting Chafing Dish Champagne Cheese Course, History of Childhood in South India Children’s Birthday Parties Chinese Banquets Chinese New Year Chocolate Chopsticks Christmas Civil War Cocktails Coffeehouses in London Coffee Klatches Colonial America Colonial Mexico Cookbooks, History of


List of Entries

Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining Cordials and Liqueurs Cruise Ships Day of the Dead Debutante Balls Deepavali, Festival of Lights Dessert Dim Sum Dinner Parties Doilies and Coasters Door County Fish Boil Dutch Treat Easter Edible Centerpieces Egypt Etiquette Books Fast Food, History of Finger Bowls Food Network Fourth of July France Funeral Food Garden Party Halloween Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Inca India Invitations Italy Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Juneteenth Kaiseki Ryori Kentucky Derby Kitchen Staff Dress Kwanzaa La Quinceanera Luau Mardi Gras Masquerade

Medieval Mesta, Perle New Year’s Eve Parisian Cafés Party Favors Party Planners Philippine Fiestas Potluck Suppers Progressive Dinner Parties Prohibition Renaissance Rent Parties Restaurants Russian Hospitality Saints’ Days Serving Platters Singles Soul Food St. Patrick’s Day Stewart, Martha Sub-Saharan Africa Sugaring Off Party Super Bowl Parties Table Service, French versus Russian Table Settings Tapas Taverns Tea Tearooms in America Thanksgiving Theme Parties Toasts Tupperware Party Valentine’s Day Wedding Receptions Wine World War II Zakuski

Guide to Related Topics



Chopsticks Doilies and Coasters Edible Centerpieces Finger Bowls Invitations Kitchen Staff Dress Party Favors Serving Platters Table Settings Toasts

Anniversary Parties Baby Shower Bachelor Party Bar / Bat Mitzvah Birthdays Bridal Shower Children’s Birthdays Debutante Balls Juneteenth Kentucky Derby La Quinceanera Wedding Receptions

Beverages Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Champagne Cocktails Cordials and Liqueurs Prohibition Taverns Tea Tearooms in America Wine

Countries and Customs Brazil Childhood in South India Chinese Banquets Chinese New Year Colonial America Colonial Mexico


Guide to Related Topics

Deepavali, Festival of Lights Door County Fish Boil Dutch Treat Egypt France India Italy Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Kaiseki Ryori Philippine Fiestas Russian Hospitality Sub-Saharan Africa Table Service, French vs. Russian Tea Zakuski

Birthdays Bridal Shower Thanksgiving Wedding Receptions Festivals Deepavali, Festival of Lights Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Luau Mardi Gras Masquerade Rent Parties Sugaring Off Party Foods

Courses Antipasto Cheese Course, History of Dessert Dim Sum Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Kaiseki Ryori Potluck Suppers Table Service, French versus Russian Tapas Tea Domestic Occasions Barbeque Barn Raising Blair House Book Clubs Brunch Chafing Dish Coffee Klatches Dinner Parties Funeral Food Garden Party Potluck Suppers Progressive Dinners Tupperware Party

Antipasto Cakes and Candles Cheese Course, History of Chocolate Dim Sum Fast Food, History of Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés Soul Food Tapas Histories American Frontier Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Aztec Entertaining Celtic Feasting Civil War Colonial America Colonial Mexico Cruise Ships Inca India Medieval Prohibition Renaissance World War II Holidays

Families Anniversary Parties Baby Shower Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Chinese New Year Christmas Day of the Dead Easter

Guide to Related Topics Fourth of July Halloween Kwanzaa New Year’s Eve Saints’ Days St. Patrick’s Day Thanksgiving Valentine’s Day Hostesses Beeton, Isabella Mesta, Perle Party Planners Stewart, Martha

Food Network Party Planners Public Places Beer Halls and Beer Gardens Block Party Coffee Houses in London Cruise Ships Dutch Treat Fast Food, History of Parisian Cafés Rent Parties Restaurants Taverns Tearooms in America

Media Betty Crocker Books on Entertaining and Dining, History of Cookbooks, History of Cookbooks, Tools for Entertaining Etiquette Books

Serving Styles Buffet Catering Chafing Dish Potluck Suppers Table Service, French versus Russian


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H Halloween The first guests on Halloween came to us from the world of the supernatural. The night was once called Samhain—Irish Gaelic for summer’s end—and was recorded in sagas written down by medieval monks. Samhain was a magical time for the mythical peoples of ancient Ireland, when fairies and all manner of unimaginable beasts could trespass in the world of men. The Roman Catholic Church eventually placed two feast days on the calendar around Samhain—November 1, All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’, making the night before, October 31, All Hallows’ Eve), and November 2, All Souls’ Day. It was a time to remember the dead, and church bells rang out to remind townspeople to pray. Food was set out for lost loved ones, and lanterns burned in windows to help lonely spirits find their way home for a visit. All Hallows’ was also a time of plenty. At summer’s end the harvest was safely stored and livestock slaughtered, meaning there was time for pleasure and, importantly, there was enough food to share. Throughout the winter holidays, tricks, performances, and masked processions were enacted in exchange for food, drink, or money: All Hallows’ kicked off the season. As Halloween began to take its familiar modern shape, two aspects of the night were already legend—Halloween’s relationship with the supernatural world and its celebration of shared food.



AN OCCASION FOR ENTERTAINING Beset by factories and congested cities, the world’s first industrial societies came to hunger for the country, for a simpler way of life more connected to nature and to deeper truths. They sought comfort in ancient traditions, and Halloween, as seen by Victorian Americans—quaint, rural, mystical, and demanding a certain amount of innocence, was entrancing. This need to commune with the past dovetailed with a fascination for spiritualism in the United States beginning around 1850 when people flocked to clairvoyants to communicate with the dead. Toss in an explosion of printed media detailing Old World Halloween rites, and this night became the perfect occasion for a party. Since October 31 was imagined as a time when spirits could release the secrets of the future, Halloween diversions focused on fortune telling. Hostesses eagerly adopted the divination games of the British Isles, especially those colorfully depicted in Robert Burns’s 1786 poem “Halloween.” Place two nuts at the fireplace grate, according to Scottish folk belief, and name them for yourself and the one you love. If they burn solidly and turn to ash, your love is true. If they sputter or pop, there’s trouble ahead. Other games included tests and tricks done with cabbages, kale stalks, apples, candlelight, and mirrors. Partygoers took delight in them all. Girls could eat an apple in front of a mirror to try and spy a future mate in the reflection, or peel an apple in one long paring, loft the peel over their shoulder, and divine the initial of their soul mate in the shape it took on the floor. Male guests played the game of the “three luggies” (a luggie is a small bowl with handles), where vessels are filled with symbolic substances— clean water, dirty water, or nothing—and the seekers, blindfolded, choose one to divine their fate. If they choose the bowl of clean water, for example, the player’s future mate will be a maid; if they choose the bowl filled with muddy water, a widow; and if they choose the empty bowl, they will be doomed to eternal bachelorhood. Other games were updated or invented: players tried to take bites from apples suspended on strings in doorways. They carved letters in pumpkins, put on blindfolds, and tried to stick pins in an initial to determine the name of their future mate. They set tiny walnut-shell candle boats In an apt description of an early Halloween night, the Atlanta afloat in a tub of water and preConstitution ran these words, describing the Mayor Hemphill’s dicted the course of their love house: lives using the movements of their As the guests entered the hospitable mansion they were greeted tiny boats as omens. The folklore by all manner of smiling lanterns made of pumpkins, cleverly and food of the British Isles and carved with faces . . . Upon the mantel heads of ivory-white cabIreland served as the thematic bages vied each other with cheeriness. Above the mantel in the centerpiece for Halloween parties wide central hallway were arranged graceful boughs of bright from the Victorian era all the way maple leaves. through the first few decades of ( Atlanta Constitution. November 1, 1892) the twentieth century.



This fateful night black magic shall decide Who is doomed to die a maid, who will be a bride. Search your mirror’s depths with anxious stare— Is your lover tall or short, is he dark or fair?

Early Halloween party invitations were designed to foreshadow the fun that was to come. Since —Beatrice Barry. “Halloween, 1917.” ladies were expected to be handy New York Times. October 31, 1917 with crafts, invitations were often hand-drawn and decorated with witches, cats, and pumpkins. A rhyming verse—“Come at the witching hour of eight; And let the fairies read your fate . . .”—could be written on nearly anything—colored paper, cornhusks, or on strips of paper tied around a small pumpkin—then delivered, in secret, to each door. Mystery, intrigue, and darkness were key to Halloween entertainment. The party-giver’s house would likely be lit only by jack-o’-lanterns and candles, with a crackling fire in the kitchen or dining area. Clever hostesses played up the drama: a silent, dark-robed figure might lead guests to a darkened room where they could remove their coats. A hostess might greet partygoers with an old elbow glove filled with sawdust. In the corner—what’s that?!—guests could be startled by a long, tin snake set writhing from the heat of a lamp, or—watch out!—they might brush against a gigantic cobweb made of yarn. Party decorations most often included the foliage and foods associated with a rural Scots or Irish Halloween, combined with the harvest treasures of each American region. Homes were festooned with cabbages and cornstalks,

An old-fashioned Halloween card. © Artanika | Dreamstime.com.



deep red maple leaves, sprays of wheat, and garlands of apples and popcorn. In Georgia there were accents of tiny, clustered smilax berries and leaves, and in New England, boughs of evergreens. Advice columns of newspapers and magazines suggested decorating tables with yellow chrysanthemums. For the very wealthy, favors could be purchased: in 1894 one could buy gold or silver walnut favors, a stick pin in the shape of a kale stalk, or even a mirror and candelabra set, all symbols of divination used in Old World Halloween rites. Although it was possible to buy pumpkin-headed candy containers as early as 1900, most hostesses created their own decorations. Refreshments were also concocted from the best of seasonal offerings: hot cider, molasses candy, spicy gingerbread. Nuts were served in carvedout fresh cabbages, chicken salad in hollowed-out turnip shells, and brilliant orange jack-o’-lanterns were laden with apples, grapes, and pears. Some hostesses served Scottish scones; others opted for New England–style Indian pudding. Guests occasionally dressed in costumes, and playful hostesses disguised themselves as witches or ghosts to tell fortunes, but the socially savvy young lady likely made her entrance in a specially made gown: “Halloween, perhaps, more than any other fete,” says the Atlanta Constitution on October 28, 1894, “supplies possibilities for picturesque and effective gowns, and the end-of-the-century girl is not the one to let them slip by. . . . A very fashionable wardrobe now owns, along with other dainty evening toilets, a Halloween supper frock, which may be made in any mode, but which . . . should suggest, in some way, night itself. Tints vague and intangible, hinting of darkness or the white cool moon, are preferred.” Late nineteenth-century Halloween parties were intended largely for young adults, and tricks and entertainments were excuses to interlace fingers, brush lips, gather close together in the dark, or bump blindfolded into each other’s arms. On this night, lit by the moon and etched in the glitter of first frost, romance and superstition were stirred together to tantalize. A TWENTIETH-CENTURY HOLIDAY The popularity of American Halloween celebrations that had begun in the later nineteenth century flourished in the early decades of the twentieth. And although a Victorian sensibility and style lingered, a new Halloween celebration was forming in an increasingly diverse and democratic America. Halloween parties grew more boisterous and less formal. Hosts delighted in staging celebrations in barns, empty attics and cellars, even in their kitchens. There were at-home parties hosted by adults for adults, and those hosted by adults for children. There were parties in clubs, hotels, churches, libraries, and on college campuses. There were town-wide extravaganzas, where thousands of celebrants took to the streets in costume and made a little noise. And there were private, elite gatherings where society icons the likes of the Vanderbilts or Hearsts would inaugurate the winter social



season with a Halloween dinner “We opened all our house—as we knew the cellar would be as indance. Debutantes waltzed in the teresting to Uncle John as the attic would be to Great-Aunt Martha. grand ballrooms of New York We had jack-o’-lanterns on the gateposts, and in the spooky corners of the cellar, and in the attic. All the young people were given City’s Hotel Astor, the Lorraine, cards, much like dance-cards, with spaces for engagements in and the Plaza to a backdrop of regular order: ‘9 o’clock, Mr. B-, cellar stairs; 9:30 Mr. C-, library jack-o’-lanterns and fall florals, and davenport, 10:00 Mr. D-, kitchen-table’; and so on. This arrangenewspapers dutifully followed the ment of conversational ‘dates’ kept the young people scrambling decorations and doings of Ameriall over the house, upstairs and down, and there was no possibility of stagnation! At half after eleven we all met in the big living-room ca’s elite. A New York City newsand ranged ourselves around the great fireplace . . . we told ghost paper reported that in 1914 J. D. stories, and roasted chestnuts, and popped corn, and counted Rockefeller was out dunking for apple seeds until well after the charmed hour of midnight!” apples at a Tarrytown, New York, —description of a Halloween housewarming party, Halloween party. The Delineator. October 1911 Imaginative hosts continued to search for ways to make their Halloween parties memorable. At Gracefield, the country home of William R. Grace in Great Neck, Long Island, in 1914, guests arrived to discover that their hosts had installed electric eyes in the heads of wild animals shot by Grace in Africa. At a 1923 party in Greenwich, Connecticut, the decor included crates of live pigs and turkeys, which pranksters opened up at midnight, letting the live animals run loose. More and more, people came to parties in costume, although they were still largely handcrafted. There were Egyptian queens, demure milkmaids, dominoes, and Spanish princesses. Father Time, Richard III, and Romeo shared the dance floor with prima ballerinas, Russian peasants, and Mother Goose.

Store-bought decorations appeared in the early twentieth century. Hostesses could buy pumpkin-shaped favors with candles inside, decorated place cards, and candy containers, as well as books full of ideas about how to decorate, such as this Bogie Book from Dennison. From the Mark B. Ledenbach collection.



Noisemakers, like this tin tambourine from J. Chein (1920s) were an important part of Halloween celebrations in the early twentieth century. From the Mark B. Ledenbach Collection.

Buffet tables sagged under piles of doughnuts, fruit, and cookies, and partygoers roasted apples and marshmallows in the fireplace. Kids would be happy with “sticky molasses taffy, popcorn balls, doughnuts and hot green pickles.” The look of the American Halloween party crystallized between the two World Wars when mass-manufactured party décor, invitations, favors, and specialty foods became available. The first novelties were German imports, but American companies soon followed—the Beistle Company in Pennsylvania and Dennison Manufacturing Company in Massachusetts were two of the better known—and newspapers were filled with ads for Halloween food and favors. There were pretty, pointed crepe paper hats in yellow and black, masks, leering devil figures with wobbly heads, fortune-telling cake sets, and black paper lanterns with bright red, yowling cat faces. Schrafft’s advertised white layered Halloween cakes with orange jelly filling, and confectionary store windows showcased witch-on-a-broom-shaped cookies or licorice- and orange-flavored gumdrops in the shape of bats. A CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY? After World War II, America turned its attention to home and family, and subsequently, America experienced the largest baby boom in its history. Although shelves were full of Halloween merchandise each October, there was also a renewed emphasis on domestic skills, on knowing how to “do it yourself.” Moms baked healthy treats and stitched Halloween costumes. They squeezed frosting through pastry bags to draw cats on their cookies, and they cut out pictures of witches from magazines to press atop cakes. Halloween had become family friendly: a wholesome celebration for everyone, from the Boys Scouts marching down Main Street in the town’s Halloween parade to the Elks’ Club hosting a Halloween party for the city’s kids. Eisenhower’s 1958 White House was lit with an orange glow for a staff lunch given by the First Lady. In 1969, a giant, one-story-tall fabric jack-o’lantern was stretched over the White House entrance where presidential daughter Tricia Nixon greeted the kids coming to her party.



Place card. USA Whitney Company, 1920s. From the Mark B. Ledenbach collection.

Four-sided shade, United States, 1930s. From the Mark B. Ledenbach collection.



Most of Halloween’s iconography, as realized in its decorations and costumes, follows the passions and popular culture (witness Dracula and aliens in today’s Halloween mix!), but the essential elements have stayed throughout its entertaining history. From the Mark B. Ledenbach collection.

Halloween play took on the characteristics of other children’s games of the time. There were scavenger hunts, races, ball games, counting games, games of skill (such as hitting one of a row of cardboard pumpkins and winning a prize), and variations on musical chairs. Bobbing for apples was still a favorite, as were marshmallow-eating contests. Matchmaking games and prophesying gradually lost their relevance, and the Old World divinations quietly fell away. Halloween imagery softened over the course of the 1940s and 1950s as Halloween’s celebrants got younger and younger— witches smiled, black cats purred, owls winked. TAKING IT TO THE STREETS But just as Halloween became more family oriented, a new Halloween entertainment was taking shape. Try as they might, no one—not principals, parents, presidents, or police—had been able to stop hordes of young people from pulling pranks on Halloween. And although there had been kids out on the streets accosting passersby or banging on doors to demand sweets or money for decades, it was not a coast-to-coast phenomenon: to tell the truth, the relationship between children and homeowners on Halloween could be downright contentious. Then, in 1950, a group of children from the Philadelphia area sent a donation of their Halloween cash to UNICEF (originally the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). The idea caught on instantly: in 1954, 500,000 kids raised $200,000 by collecting coins in orange and black UNICEF milk cartons. By 1961, President John F. Kennedy inaugurated the campaign, and by 1965, the year UNICEF won the Nobel Peace Prize, 3.5 million kids had raised $5.5 million. Trick or treat for UNICEF (along with the Halloween candy industry, by 1965 a $300 million business) helped pave the way for trick or treating in general; by the end of the 1950s it was uncharitable, definitely un-neighborly, not to open your door to children on Halloween night. Porch lights blazed on October 31, and America’s Halloween hosts prepared trays of popcorn balls and caramel-coated apples to welcome their newest guests: the neighborhood’s children.


Halloween revelers in New York, 2003. © Serguei Bachlakov | Dreamstime.com.

CARPE NOCTEM Halloween entertaining has always had a big element of self-expression, and it’s this aspect that characterized late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century celebrations. Décor runs the full gamut from gruesome to gorgeous. For some, fake graveyards, animatronic skeletons, and swooping bats join a humble bale of hay to welcome guests on Halloween night. Parties can feature jiggling, blood red Jell-O hearts, cookies in the shape of witch fingers, eggs decorated to look like eyeballs, and bubbling punches spewing fog. For others, Halloween can be nostalgic—décor can include vintage collectibles or novelties crafted by contemporary artists inspired by the ephemera of earlier Halloweens. In all cases, the outdoors is still pulled inside—be it tombstones as place settings or black roses set in a Victorian vase on the mantel. Candlelight and jack-o’-lanterns still reign. Guests have been arriving at the door for over two millennia now. First there were mythical visitors from the other world, then the souls of the dead. Next came the poor, then family, friends, neighbors, and finally, children from all over. Throughout, the essence of Halloween entertaining remains: the night is dark, the fire is warm. Come in, whoever you are, and have something to eat. No one dare turn away a stranger on Halloween night. Further Reading: Arkins, Diane C. Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food and Frolics from Halloweens Past. Gretna, LA: Pelican



Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés

Publishing Company, 2004; Bannatyne, Lesley. A Halloween How To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations and Destinations. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001; Bannatyne, Lesley. A Halloween Reader: Stories, Poems and Plays from Halloweens Past. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2004; Bannatyne, Lesley. Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Lesley Bannatyne

Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés A canapé is a type of snack that consists of a piece of toasted bread or cracker and some topping. While the term is often used interchangeably with hors d’oeuvre, it is strictly speaking only a subset of hors d’oeuvre. The word derives from Latin canapeum, or canopeum, which means “mosquito net,” and in French, canapé is a type of sofa or couch. The term was established in English with the current usage by the 1890s. OVERVIEW OF HORS D’OEUVRE Hors d’oeuvre refers to an assortment of finger food (food small enough to be picked up with one’s fingers and eaten in a few bites) eaten before or between meals. In other words, it differs from the appetizer in that it is not a part of a meal, and the term literally means “outside of the work.” A range of hors d’oeuvres used to be attractively displayed at the entrance area of a restaurant in order to flaunt the menu and give a glimpse of the quality and variety of food they had to offer to their clients. Today, hors d’oeuvres are often served by a caterer at a reception, a gallery opening, or right before a formal sit-down meal while guests are still arriving. An assortment of hors d’oeuvres is often passed around on a tray and eaten standing up, with a small plate in one hand, and the food in the other. While almost anything can be served as an hors d’oeuvre, as long as it is small and steady enough to be picked up by fingers and eaten in only a few bites, there are several standard categories—smoked meat and fish, pâtés, canapé, cocktail, and crudité (and pickles) and dip. The term cocktail, when referring to a type of hors d’oeuvres, refers to cooked (usually steamed) seafood served on crushed ice with a tangy sauce. Shrimp cocktail immediately comes to mind. A cocktail can also be chopped-up pieces of fruit, sometimes tossed with lemon juice or some acidic dressing, to prevent oxidation and the resulting discoloration. Crudité is a piece of raw vegetable (the term means “raw” in French), such as celery, baby carrot, or broccoli, arranged attractively on a plate. It is served with a dip, or several dips, such as flavored mayonnaise or sour cream. Traditionally, hors d’oeuvre was cold food, but it can include something warm such as zucchini fritters, crocquettes, and small pastries, such as gougères (small cheese puffs). The 1961 edition of Larousse Gastronomique devotes over 30 pages to a list of hors d’oeuvres, and today, thanks to the abundant

Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés influence of numerous international cuisines, the possibilities of the hors d’oeuvre are virtually limitless. Cold canapé can be sushi, and warm canapé can include small tempura, Thai chicken on skewers, or falafels (Middle Eastern fried balls of chick pea purée). Dips can be international as well, examples being hummus (Middle Eastern chick pea purée) and taramasalata (Greek potato and fish roe purée). The important aspects of hors d’oeuvre, other than its small size, are variety (in terms of flavors, texture, and temperature) and visual attractiveness. Each item should have a strong flavor to be satisfying by itself but not too strong or filling so that the appetite is continuously piqued. CANAPÉ


Dips In the Mediterranean and the Far East, dipping hand-held foods into special sauces is a long-held tradition. People in the United States did not serve dips until after World War II. Prior to that time, finger sandwiches were the major foods at casual parties. Around 1954, the Lipton Company introduced its dehydrated onion soup. Once combined with commercial sour cream, this highly popular “dip” gained the name California Dip and it became a favorite sauce for dunking potato chips. This fad for dip brought into use innovative chip-and-dip servers fashioned from hollowed bread shapes and fruits, along with highly creative dipping platters designed to hold a variety of objects for dipping. The rise in popularity of Mexican foods has also influenced dip flavorings. An example includes the popular seven-layer dip made of beans, cream cheese, salsa, cheddar, and other ingredients such as lettuce and tomatoes. Guacamole is a Mexican dish made from mashed avocado, tomato, onion, and pungent seasoning. Also from Mexico is Chile Con Queso: a concoction of cheeses, tomatoes, hot peppers,and sometimes ground meat. Once the dip was fashioned, hosts experimented with items to dunk into the dips. These ranged from salty chips and crackers to almost any morsel, pierced with a toothpick or suitable for fingers—raw or blanched vegetables, celery sticks, pita, bagel pieces, small biscuits, chunks of bread, cooked shrimp or scallops, cocktail sausages, meatballs, and chunks of any cooked meats. Many classic dips from other cultures also became popular. One such dip is hummus, which dating back to the Crusades, is an Arabic combination of chickpea paste, sesame seed paste, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. It was traditionally scooped up and eaten with flatbread. Another is baba ghanouj, a Middle Eastern dip made from eggplant, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Bagna Cauda from the Piedmont region of Italy is a mixture of butter, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies. From Provence in France, tapenade is made from cured black olives, olive oil, garlic, anchovies, capers, lemon, and cognac.

While it has some variations, the canapé is basically a small open sandwich. It consists of three parts—base, spread, and garnish. The base is traditionally a piece of toasted or fried bread, but today, it can be a cracker, or even a slice of cucumber for those who are trying to cut down on carbohydrates. A base can also be a small, unsweetened tart shell, or savory profiterole. The most basic type of spread is flavored butter or cream cheese (mustard butter, or cream cheese with chives, for example), but it can be meat or fish salad, pâté, or deviled eggs. The garnish can range from a leaf of parsley or caper ( just to add more color and flavor) to something more substantial such as ham or anchovy. In other words, in some applications, the spread is the main component and the garnish is a little decoration, for example, smoked salmon salad for spread and caper for garnish, and in other applications, vice versa, for example, horseradish mayonnaise for spread and a piece of ham for garnish. The possibilities are endless.

Marty Martindale


Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés

INTERNATIONAL VARIATIONS OF HORS D’OEUVRES AND CANAPÉS Savory English savory, which came to be served at the end of a meal in recent centuries, was typically a hors d’oeuvre in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. More specifically, it was a type of canapé in that it usually consisted of a piece of toasted bread and some savory topping. An example from the mid-eighteenth century is anchovy fillets on fried bread sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and Seville orange juice. From the nineteenth century, one finds a rather elaborate preparation in which a piece of toasted bread, covered with butter, mustard, cheese, and ham, is fried and then placed in a Dutch oven. The savory enjoyed its heyday in Victorian and Edwardian times, and popular items included Scotch woodcook, chopped up anchovy, and fried oysters wrapped in bacon, all served on a piece of toast. Mezze The tradition of mezze (or meze) covers a wide area from Turkey to Lebanon, Morocco to Greece. The term has a Persian origin in the word meza, which were “small bites” (first a piece of sour fruit, later extending to include roasted meat and nuts) eaten together with wine to alleviate its bitter taste. In Turkey, meze is enjoyed with raki, an anise-flavored spirit. The tradition boasts over two hundred different dishes, and it used to be enjoyed at a table separate from a dining table, called the raki table. The variety includes eggplant purée with mint (baba ghanoush), roasted vegetables with tomato sauce, zucchini fritters, and beets with yogurt. An assortment of meze is often served with pita bread, which might qualify at least some of meze as a variation of canapé. In Lebanon, mezze also plays an important part in social activities, where it is enjoyed in conjunction with arak, wine scented with anise seed. Lebanon mezze include a wide variety of dishes, such as grilled or puréed vegetables, hummus, and tabbouleh. Bread is important in the Lebanese tradition as well; it is used to scoop up dip and pick up small morsels of food. While in Muslim countries one can observe a tendency toward making the mezze part of a meal, the original usage is preserved in Greece, where mezze is enjoyed in conjunction with wine, separate from a meal. Internationally famous examples include taramosalata and tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt salad). Smörgåsbord Smörgåsbord, from Sweden, can be either hors d’oeuvres or a full buffet meal. In the former case, various types of little morsels are presented on a table all at once, to be consumed as finger food. The term literally means “buttered-bread table,” and the assortment of food presented often includes small open sandwiches. Other typical items are cured herring, petit-choux

Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés with anchovy paste, fish in aspic, and pieces of cheese. Crispy bread pieces are served alongside. Tapas Tapas, from Spain, are close to traditional mezze in that they are enjoyed outside ( before) a complete meal and in that they are an integral part of socializing, wine-drinking occasions. Each tapas bar has different tapas specialties, and accordingly, tapas are often enjoyed in conjunction with bar hopping. While there are some tapas enjoyed nationally, for example, unpeeled prawn, each region contributes its own tradition, such as fried seafood and Serrano ham from Andalusia, blood pudding, chorizo a la plancha (grilled spicy pork sausage), and montados de lomo ( pieces of bread with a slice of meat on top) from Castile, pan con tomate ( bread with olive oil, tomato, and salt, sometimes with garlic as well) from Catalonia, and tortillas ( pancakes made with wheat and chickpea flours) topped with shrimp from Seville. Zakuski Zakuski from Russia, literally “little morsels,” is close to tapas in that it is enjoyed with alcohol (in this case vodka), between meals, or before ( but not as a part of ) a meal, in a bar called zakusochnaya. In previous centuries, grander houses had a room only used for zakuski, where guests would propose a toast and enjoy vodka with various finger foods. Zakuski can be hot or cold. Hot dishes include pirozhki; cold dishes include caviar or pickled herring on a piece of bread. PRACTICAL APPLICATION Many cultures have a long and cherished tradition of hors d’oeuvres, and while types of topping vary according to geographical regions, the ubiquity of bread to act as a vehicle is rather striking. Until recent centuries, silverware, especially for individual diners, was for the rich, and people often used a piece of bread to carry food to their mouths. Because hors d’oeuvres are typically eaten standing up, as a part of social, drinking events, perhaps the tradition of using bread, instead of plates, as the preferred vehicle for small bites of food developed as a way to ease the difficulty of trying to eat, drink, and socialize while roaming from one place to another. This aspect of socialization is of importance to modern practical applications. Hors d’oeuvres should be served in a small size, in order to facilitate carrying and eating, and should be relatively light, especially if they are to be followed by a meal. Hosts should strive for variety in order to accommodate guests’ various needs and to whet their appetite. When choosing items to serve as hors d’oeuvres, it is important to consider various food orientations and allergies, such as vegetarianism and veganism, wheat and



Hors D’oeuvres and Canapés

dairy allergies, and to prepare enough options for those with specific needs. The whole assortment should also have a good visual appeal, as is evident from the fact that food is enjoyed by the eye first and that beautiful presentation adds to the conviviality of the overall experience of an event. Across cultural boundaries, it is difficult to find descriptions or instructions of hors d’oeuvres that do not start with the emphasis on the importance of elegant presentation that showcases abundance and variety. Further Reading: Casas, Penelope. Tapas: the Little Dishes of Spain. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007; Gisslen, Wayne. Le Cordon Bleu Professional Cooking. 5th ed. New York: Wiley, 2002; Hazelton, Nika Standen. Classic Scandinavian Cooking. New York: Scribner, 1987; Roden, Claudia. Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006; Saulnier, L. Le Répertoire de la Cuisine. Woodbury: Barron’s Educational Series, 1976.

Chika M. Jenkins

I Inca The food that fed the Incas is the stuff of legends. According to myth, potatoes came into being with the “birth” of the founders of the Inca empire, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo in the massive Lake Titicaca. The god Wiracocha taught them how to plant potatoes. There are thousands of varieties of potatoes and tubers native to the highlands of Peru and Bolivia; they were the so-called bread of life for the people who lived there in ancient times. And for people living there today the same holds true. In addition to potatoes, the foods that made up the daily diet of the Incas included corn, chili, squash, beans, tomato, sweet potato, manioc, avocado, peanuts, and various greens and meats. Chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega in his The Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru describes the eating arrangements of the ruler, called The Inca. Because The Inca’s household was so large, tremendous amounts of food were prepared and served for the main meal of the day in the early morning, around 8 A.M. Concubines or wives cooked The Inca’s food and what he did not eat was distributed to the entourage of noblemen who attended him and others in the household, including servants. Another meal was served at nightfall. Dishes that The Inca might have enjoyed included humitas or tamales, each made with ground corn from either boiled fresh corn or dried kernels.



The usual manner of preparing corn was boiling, but it was also often toasted. Roasted meats included huanaco ( llama, a mammal of the camel family), pacollama (alpaca), deer, and various fowl, of which one resembled the European goose and was called nunuma. Common people ate guinea pigs (cuy) and saved their skins to dry and then chop up to make charqui, which was used in soups and stews. The Inca received his food from the people in the form of tribute, farmed on land that each family owned and worked. Very similar to a welfare state, the Inca empire inspired awe in the Spanish conquerors, who marveled that no one starved, that the state took care of everyone. Laws for what and how much was to be planted, as well as provisions for storage and the handling of food were part of the system. That the Incas could feed everyone without problems was due to their method of storing surplus food in warehouses and holding redistribution banquets, started by the mythological Inca, Pachacuti. These banquets, really ordinary meals, took place in public in the plaza, according to Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Fed by their wives or concubines, The Inca and his nobles ate off wooden plates and drank from beaker-like containers called keros sitting on mats on the ground. Keros found in archeological sites indicate that some were painted with intricate and symbolic designs. Servants, both male and female, served the leftover food to those who had not yet eaten. Beverages were drunk after meals. Water was not drunk. Whatever The Inca left on his wooden plate was then stored in

Pen and ink illustration of Inca farmers harvesting a potato crop in June 1515. The Art Archive /John Meek.

Inca a warehouse and burned once a year, so that no one would touch the items he had touched. Bernabé Cobo, who was born in 1580 and wrote much later after the conquest of Peru ended in 1549, stated that Incan kitchens used very little fuel in their small clay stoves. Although the kitchens contained grinding stones similar to those used in Mexico, women ground corn only for maize bread called sanco, which they used for two festivals, Raimi and Citua. According to Guamán Poma de Ayala, an Indian chronicler, wealthy nobles ate deer meat, duck, fish, and fruit like bananas and guavas, while peasants ate squash, stewed vegetables, and greens. Both groups also ate corn, potatoes, cassava, chili, and a tuber called oca, native to the high Andes. Meat, when available, was often cooked in the pachamanca style that is still an important cooking method in the Andes, because it was fuel efficient and many other dishes could be cooked at the same time. Llama meat was not eaten often, partly because their slaughter was highly regulated under Incan laws. As in any culture, the Incas of all classes devised special meals for special occasions. Plantings and harvests were two of those occasions. Planting potatoes in the highlands utilized both chicha and coca leaves, as well as sheep’s manure for fertilizer. Digging holes with chaki takllas, or shovel-like tools, the Inca farmers sprinkled the potatoes with the chicha, dropped in some sheep manure. Later, a potato and coca leaf were buried together to symbolize union. Afterwards, the planting party enjoyed music and a soup the women made with beans, tubers, guinea pig, quinoa, and toasted maize kernels. Harvest time, as with all agrarian cultures, was also a time of festivals, a time to honor the Corn Goddess, Mamasara, and to let loose by imbibing copious quantities of chicha, an alcoholic beverage created in part from pre-masticated corn kernels chewed by women chicha makers even today. Peasants as well as nobles drank chicha; however, according to the early chroniclers, drinking until a person lost judgment was a punishable offense. Drinking chicha was not simply a matter of getting drunk. There were certain religious and ritual connotations involved. Our understanding of the ritualistic aspects of drinking has been diluted somewhat by the prejudices of the early Spanish chroniclers. The planting ritual mentioned above is one example of this ceremonial usage. The drinking vessels for chicha could be of many different materials, ceramic, silver, or gold, or even the skulls of vanquished enemies. Further Reading: Betanzos, Juan de. Narrative of the Incas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996; Cieza de León, Pedro de. Discovery and Conquest of Peru. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998; Cobo, Bernabé, and Roland Hamilton. History of the Inca Empire: An Account of the Indians’ Customs and Their Origin, Together with a Treatise on Inca Legends, History, and Social Institutions. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979; Coe, Sophie D. America’s First Cuisines. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994; Crosby, Alfred W., Jr. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972; Garcilaso de la Vega, El Inca. The Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of




Peru. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966; Guamán Poma de Ayala, Felipe. Letter to a King: A Peruvian Chief’s Account of Life under the Incas and under Spanish Rule. New York: Dutton, 1978; The International Potato Center: http:// www.cipotato.org/; Moseley, Michael E. Incas and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Peru. Rev. ed. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001; Xeres, Francisco de. Reports on the Discovery of Peru. Boston: Adamant Media Corporation, 2001 [reprint of 1872 edition].

Cynthia D. Bertelsen

India The Sanskrit phrase atithi devo bhava, or “the guest is God,” permeates Indian dining and entertaining practices. Sharing food with anybody who comes to the door or hosting feasts and celebrations, not only for entertainment but also as a way of thanks to God almighty, is considered a human being’s duty, the best karma (action). There is a story about Lord Krishna when he was a little boy. Once it rained for several days and the people sought refuge in his care to save them from drowning. He lifted the nearby mountain high on his index finger so that humans as well as animals could take shelter under it. The people were very grateful. When the rain stopped, they brought 56 types of food to thank him. Since then 56 has become an auspicious number for types of food to be offered to God and honored guests. Entertaining practices in India have evolved over time. It was customary to invite friends and family at the birth of a child (especially a son), at weddings, religious festivals, and other joyous occasions. The guests brought gifts, generally money or jewelry, while the host made it a pleasing experience for all those who came. Besides inviting guests to their home, people also distributed sweet and salty treats to all acquaintances. The royalty and the rich of course entertained a larger number of guests. Some opened their kitchens to the poor to come and eat to their heart’s content. While the rich were known to use silver or gold vessels, the common practice was to serve food on banana leaves or other large leaves pinned together as plates. The practice still continues at some places though the preferred way to serve food is on stainless steel or metal plates called thali with katori (small bowls) that are filled with different vegetable entrées, yogurt, and pickles and served with rice, sweets, and hot flat breads. Alcoholic drinks were not very common. Though vegetarian food was the norm, there were instances of a lamb or goat used as a sacrifice to the gods and served to guests. Beef and pork were never used. The advent in A.D. 1526 of the Mughal kings who ruled India for about 200 years largely influenced the entertaining practices and foods. Biryani (rice cooked with meat and vegetables) and some meat dishes were brought from the royal kitchens of Persia by the Mughals. The Muslim warriors established themselves as landed aristocracy. The banquets arranged by the

India noblemen at the Mughal court are described by some English authors who traveled to India after the British settled in the country around 1611. The splendor of the Mughal courts is described in detail. Entertainment at the courts included dancing, drinking, and playing elaborate games. It is said that 50 silver bowls containing different delicacies were placed before the honored guest. The British dominated in India for more than 200 years. The practice of eating formally in a dining room with a complete place setting was introduced by the British. They brought their own butlers and cooks, who prepared a number of meat dishes. The British cooks also worked with Indian cooks to prepare Indian-style dishes with aromatic spices and called them curry. Some say that curry comes from the Hindi word kar-hi, named after the karhi leaves that were one of the spices widely used. The most widely found origin of the word curry indicates that it comes from the Tamil kari which means “sauce, relish for rice.” In India today curry is considered a sauce rather than a spice. The British also promoted the cultivation of tea, which has since become a national drink in India. Any time is tea-time for Indians. In spite of a plethora of external influences, many traditions have remained in Indian dining practices. In general, people wash their hands before eating and eat with their hands. This is based on the philosophy that eating is a very sensual activity in which as many of the senses as possible— taste, smell, sight, and touch—should be involved. However, especially in northern India, it is impolite to use more than the first two segments of the fingers while eating. Another practice is that food must be taken with the right hand and the left hand should be used to serve food or to pass a dish to someone else. In some castes, such as the priestly or Brahmin, upper-class Hindu society, it is believed that the right hand and the food eaten by that hand becomes jhootha (used or soiled) and cannot be shared by anybody else. But in other parts of Indian society, such as in aristocratic Muslim families, it is more a question of courtesy and hospitality that one does not touch dishes that are passed on to others with the jhootha hand, than an attempt to maintain religious purity. People from India, living in their native land or other countries, have carried on most Indian celebration practices. Besides parties at home, larger occasions like anniversaries and weddings are held in restaurants, party halls, and sometimes on open country farms. Naturally a fusion of customs and foods has occurred. Sweet sixteen parties, bridal showers, and baby showers are also celebrated. Noodles cooked in Chinese-Indian style, pizza and different types of burgers have become popular, especially for children. The host makes all efforts to please the guests, not only with delectable food, but also an attractive setting decorated with flowers, lights, streamers, and other welcoming signs. Based on the occasion, light or classical vocal and instrumental music and dances are arranged. It is common for people to dance to lively music at parties. The host and hostess greet the guests on arrival. Guests generally eat first. If a guest is accompanied with a personal




driver or the children’s nanny, they are also served food. The guests bring appropriate gifts and thank the host before leaving. A box of sweet delicacies or other small favors may be returned to the guests. Weddings are a prime occasion to invite friends and relatives and thus provide an opportunity for the elite to show off their fortunes. Decorating for the weddings, especially the mandap, the structure under which the marriage ceremony is held, is a business in itself. It is not uncommon to be invited to three or four related events that are part of the wedding ceremony. Besides the engagement party with dance, music, and food, a special music program, and mehndi ( henna) are organized before marriage. Applying henna is considered auspicious and is more prevalent in North India. Generally an expert is invited to apply intricate henna designs on the hands and feet of the bride as well as friends and relatives. The elaborate wedding ceremony is accompanied with snacks or lunch, and finally a reception, replete with alcoholic drinks, foods from different parts of India, and dancing to lively music. Some weddings boast 1,000 guests under a marquee that’s the size of a cricket field. Individual booths are set up for dishes from around the world. Wedding celebrations vary from region to region. For example, you may find dance and music at most Hindu and Sikh weddings, but it is very unlikely that you would find them in Muslim weddings (apart from weddings that take place in cosmopolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai), and

An Indian marriage. © Nikhil Gangavane | Dreams time.com.


Typical stage of an Indian wedding. © Gansham Ramchandani | Dreamstime.com.

in some cases, in traditional Hindu, Jain, and Sikh weddings as well. Christian weddings have church ceremonies and church music, sometimes followed by the traditional wedding dance. But conservative Christians often skip the dance entirely. Marriage customs in India vary from absolutely conservative behind-the-veil-segregated ceremonies to completely modern ceremonies with Bollywood-style dances and bachelor / bachelorette parties. Buffets are becoming more of a norm nowadays. Men and women mingle freely though people of the same sex tend to congregate together. Fine china or paper goods are used to serve food. It is a personal preference whether to eat with your hands or with a spoon or fork. The practice to prepare fresh food as much as possible continues. The caterers come with large griddles, gas stoves, and portable ovens. Appetizers can be deep fried or steamed. Baked vegetables, chicken, and fish, along with well-known samosas ( potato or meat stuffed triangular patties) and papad ( large spicy wafers made from lentils), are available as starters. Chat papdi and Bhel, mixtures of flour chips, fried noodles, and chutney, alu-tikki ( potato and peas patties), idli and dhokla (rice and lentil cakes) are popular too. Most of the appetizers are served with sweet and sour chutney made from fresh mint, cilantro, and tamarind. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, combined with lentils and beans, full of fresh ginger, aromatic spices, hot green chilies or chili flakes,




and herbs like green coriander (cilantro) and curry leaves (sweet and bitter leaves from a tree), make a memorable symphony of tastes. The menu always includes a cooling yogurt-based dish; various sour, sweet, and pungent pickles and chutney; and aromatic basmati rice. Different types of round or oblong flat breads are a trademark of Indian cuisine and must be served as they come piping hot from the griddle or oven. Some popular dishes include paneer (cheese chunks made by curdling milk) cooked with spinach, spicy lamb vindaloo and tandoori chicken ( baked marinated pieces of chicken), and stir-fried kadai (wok) vegetables. Ras Malai (milk cakes in thickened milk) tops the list of desserts. There is a variety of burfi (fudge-like delicacies), round cakes called laddu, and halvah (flour, lentils, or carrots slowly browned in butter and mixed with nuts and sugar). The sweets are generally covered with delicate sheets of beaten silver, which besides being a decoration are also considered healthy. Tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas are used in salads and ice creams. Besides water, mango lassi (a yogurt drink, that can be drunk with or without the fruit flavoring), Masala chai (spiced tea with milk), original Darjeeling tea, and coffee with milk are popular drinks. The meals end with paan ( beetle

Indian vegetable curries. © Paul Cowan | Dreamstime.com.

Invitations leaf folded around assorted digestive ingredients), which also acts as mouth freshener. Typical foods served vary from region to region due to climate and traditions. While in one area most of the dishes are onion- and garlic-based, coconut and tamarind ( pulp of a sour pod ) may be more commonly used in another area. Seafood is the staple food in coastal areas. However, the use of spices, the variety of sweets and snacks, and the pleasure of entertaining a guest are what binds the whole country. Further Reading: Baljekar, Mridula. Great Indian Feasts: 130 Wonderful, Simple Recipes for Every Festive Occasion. London: England: John Blake, 2005; Collingham, E. M. Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006; Jaffrey, Madhur. From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2003; Jordan, Michele Ann, and Susan Brody. The World is a Kitchen: Cooking your Way through Culture, Stories, Recipes, Resources. Palo Alto, CA: Travelers’ Tales, 2006; Rani. Feast of India— A Legacy of Recipes and Fables. Contemporary Books, 1991; Wickramasinghe, Priya, and Carol Selva Rajah. The Foods of India: A Journey for Food Lovers. North Vancouver, B.C.: Whitecap, 2005.

Kusum Gupta

Invitations Inviting others to share our food and company has probably been around as long as mankind. The word invite first seems to appear in the Sanskrit language, the classical language of India, from the words in (toward) and vitas ( pleasant). As early as the eighth century B.C., hosting social events was of enormous social importance. Who was invited to dine with the host was often carefully considered and still is to this day. However, how different societies have gone about inviting their guests has varied and evolved through the years. The first known form of invitation was given verbally. When a Sherpa host, or the early explorers and mountain people of the Himalayan region, wanted to give what would have been the beginnings of the modern-day dinner party, he would send a small child to act as a messenger to call on the local neighbors. The small children were probably the only persons who didn’t have some other type of work to do. In ancient Athens, Greece, most invitations were offered in the public place of assembly referred to as the agora. The agora, or marketplace, was the hub of a city’s trade, political, and social activities. There were sections for merchants to sell their products, parks with the orchestra, or dancing floor, for dramatic presentations, and various gymnasia. The gymnasia were as much a place for socializing as for exercising. For a large social event, where the host could afford to accommodate many guests, a town crier would be called upon to loudly circulate the announcement in the agora. Or a host may decide to have a smaller, more casual symposium, or drinking party, and spontaneously invite friends in passing at the gymnasium. Here, it is first seen that it




was customary for the host to inscribe the names of guests on a wax tablet, along with the day and hour for the symposium, and have a servant make the rounds to the guests’ homes. As history shows, the first form of the postal system appears to have started in Ancient Greece. Private messages, such as techniques of war, were written on stone, but carrying these message slabs proved to be a difficult task at best. It was probably the ancient Egyptians, who invented the first paper, called papyrus, that delivered the first light-weight messages. The first credible claim for the structuring of a message delivery system comes from Persia, present-day Iran, around 550 B.C. A message carrier would ride a horse from one station to the next, swap his horse for a fresh one, and continue onto the next. China also developed a mail delivery system; credit given to the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C. This was an expansion of the previously random system of delivery that dated back to Confucius in 551 B.C. The first well-documented postal service is that of Rome. Organized at the time of Augustus Caesar (62 B.C.–A.D. 14) it is probably the first true mail service. Posta, meaning “place of rest,” comes from the stations where messengers used to rest during their travels. Modern-day mail is organized by national and privatized services, and mail can be sent to almost any country of the world easily. During the times of the New Testament, invitations were offered in two steps. The first invitations were formal and always refused with thanks. There would then follow a second and more personal request from the host until the guest would acquiesce to the offer. Illiteracy was still widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. Similar to practices in ancient Greece, social events were announced by a town crier, or bidder. This was usually a finely dressed gentleman who would walk the streets and markets and loudly announce the news of the day. Anyone happening to hear the announcement would become part of the celebration. The kings and queens and those members of high society in England and France were the first to invite their guests to weddings with formally written invitations. Neighboring monks, skilled in the art of calligraphy, were often commissioned to write the invitations. The lady of the house or her secretary might also pen the invitations, signifying education and grace. These royal invitations often carried the cote d’armes or coat of arms of the family. These personal crests arose out of the need to identify a person, similar to a signature today. Today, invitations may still carry the family crest at the top to add a touch of class and honor to a society wedding. These invitations needed to be delivered on horseback by one of the servants or couriers. To protect the fragile and beautiful invitations, an outer envelope was used. This would protect the inner envelope from water and dirt. The courier would ride up on horseback, hand it to the butler, who discarded the outer envelope, and placed the inner envelope on a silver tray. This ensured the madam’s hands would never come into contact with the

Invitations grime of the road. The double envelope remains a tradition for many to this day. In 1447 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Some of the elite, fascinated with industrialization, tried “mass produced” invitations as a novelty and another expression of wealth. But because the ink was just stamped onto poor-quality paper, the look of the invitation was less than ideal and often found unacceptable for stylish invitations. So the novelty dwindled and handwritten invitations continued to be the tradition. During the early 1600s local newspapers started to be widely printed as literacy rose. Not long after, couples started announcing their engagements and upcoming wedding plans to the public, a practice still popular today. In 1642, Ludwig von Siegen created metal-plate engraving. With this method, an artisan was required to “hand write” in reverse onto a metal plate using a carving tool. When “printed” on the paper, engraving actually cuts the surface on the paper and deposits the ink into the cuts. This allowed the invitations to look more stylish and beautiful. A sheet of tissue paper was placed on top of the engraving to keep the ink from smudging. The tradition of a piece of tissue paper is still used today for most wedding invitations. The invention of lithography by Alois Senefelder in 1798 made it possible to produce very sharp and distinct inking without the need for engraving. Thus, the invitations were produced in the marked fashion we are familiar with today. “Dinner-parties rank first among all entertainments” is taken from the English manners book Member of the Aristocracy, dated 1879. The anonymous writer goes on to say, “An invitation to dinner conveys a greater mark of esteem than being asked to any other gathering could do.” Such was the height of social entertaining in the European countries where dinner parties were one of the primary ways to advance socially. Invitations could be tricky, because people on the host’s list might be insulted if someone of a lower class was invited, or if an invitee of certain ambition denied the invitation, it could ruin the whole schematics of the party. The first mass-printed invitations in the United States were probably for large events hosted by the wealthy industrialist wishing to exploit “new technology.“Gradually, the combination of democracy with industrialization led to the common man having the ability to mimic the lifestyles of the socially elite. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the entire U.S. population began to commercially print wedding invitations. The most socially elite will still choose either engraved or handwritten invitations. For those of lesser means, a cheaper version of engraving called thermography, or “raised ink” printing, is available. Unlike engraving, thermography printed paper is removed from the press with wet ink and a plastic powder is sprayed on the wet ink and blown off. The plastic powder absorbs the ink color. It is then heated until the plastic powder melts and leaves a raised ink, which one can feel when brushing their finger across the paper.




PAPER SELECTION AND WORDING In the mid-nineteenth century, Victorians sent engraved wedding invitations printed on fine stationary of either white or cream color. Today, white or cream paper is still selected for the most formal occasions. For lesser occasions, a wide range of color options is available, from pastels for baby showers to electric silvers and golds for anniversaries. Since the written invitation emerged in aristocratic society, proper wording has been essential in signifying the degree of formality. The actual wording used then is still very similar to the socially correct wording used today. Emily Post dictates that formal invitations be phrased in the third person. Invitations to a ceremony should request the “honour of your presence.” Honour is spelled the British way. “Requests the pleasure of your company” is the standard wording for formal social events. Names are always written in full, not initials or nicknames. Courtesy titles are abbreviated (Mrs., Ms., Miss., Mr.) as well as “Dr.” Numbers for dates and times are written out, often retaining conservative language, such as “half after seven o‘clock.” Month and state names are written in full, as are addresses. Invitations should include any additional details, such as: “You are welcome to join us for drinks before dinner starting at six o’clock.” Proper wedding invitations include the names of the bride’s parents. Since etiquette rules have relaxed, the groom’s parents are often included, especially if hosting the event. If the parents are divorced and remarried, all their names can be included. If the bride and groom are hosting the wedding themselves, the parents’ names might not be included at all. In the advent of invitations, when all were handwritten, the invitee’s name was always written on the invitation, as well as the inner envelope. Today, to defray cost, seldom is each guest’s name included on their invitation, except on the most elite occasions. In European society, the inner envelope was often affixed with a hot wax seal to ensure the privacy and heighten anticipation for the invitee. The wax seal was often the coat of arms of the host. Today using a hot wax seal adds a touch of class and portrays the importance of sealing each envelope. In the Victorian era, separate reception cards became popular. Today, these additional cards are used to receive an accurate count of guests to such things as dinner parties and receptions so the host can be well prepared. For formal events, cards will be included with the invitations stating, “the favour of a reply is requested.” To less formal and more spontaneous events, a phone call or email may be appropriate. Given the popularity of the Internet and text messaging one might wonder if the tradition of mailing formal invitations is at risk of extinction. This seems unlikely, as there are hundreds of competing companies to choose from to print a personalized invitation. Handmade invitations are becoming more popular, thanks to the efficiency of home computer printing programs and scrap booking techniques. Really, the imagination is the

Italy limit when it comes to options for invitations. Thus, it appears the craft and tradition of mailing invitations is as likely to be part of our future history as is our continuing to socialize. Further Reading: Flaceliere, Robert. Daily Life in Greece at the Time of Pericles. London: Phoenix Press [1959], 1996; Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991; Garland, Robert. Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998; Post, Peggy, and Emily Post. Emily Post’s Etiquette. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.

WEB SITES “Invitation Cards.” http://www.creativeweddingcards.com. “The History of the Social Invitation.” http://www.ed-it.com. “History of the Wedding Invitation.” http://www.myexpression.com. “Renaissance Writings.” http://www.renaissancewritings.com. “The Past.” http://www.thinkquest.org.

Shannon Heffern

Italy Italian cuisine is one of the best known outside of its country of origin. Pasta, risotto, and pizza are eaten worldwide, and Italian cheese and cold cuts are available in supermarkets everywhere. Many factors have contributed to the success of Italian cooking. First, Italians cook seasonally, using the freshest ingredients available, which are cooked in a way that enhances, rather than smothers, their particular flavors. Second, Italian cuisine has benefited from the wealth and diversity of local culinary traditions and ingredients that characterize most areas of the country. Each Italian regional culinary tradition carries the legacy of past invaders and settlers. In Sicily, for example, some distinctive traits of its culinary tradition, marzipan and nougat, were introduced by the Islamic Saracens, who invaded Sicily in the Middle Ages. Third, geography has also been equally important. From the cheese in the North to the sun-ripened fruits and vegetables of the South, Italian morphology has enhanced such diversity. Finally, food plays a special role in Italian society. It is not seen as a mere way to obtain pleasure. Rather, it is considered a form of art that plays an important role in the way that Italians socialize and identify themselves as a nation. Thus, although Italian food habits may have changed over the centuries due to exogenous factors triggered by the process of modernization, the notion of culinary identity and its role in society has remained almost intact, making it one of the enduring traits of Italian culture.




HISTORICAL OVERVIEW Italian cuisine is characterized by a variety of culinary identities that in some cases share very little in common. Each rural area, town, and region has developed its unique style and recipes, and passed these traditions to future generations. Used as an adjective, as in the expression all’italiana ( Italian style), so-called Italian cooking is rarely associated with a particular dish. On the contrary, images evoking regionalism are plentiful, such as the risotto alla milanese (risotto with saffron, traditionally served with ossobuco); pesto alla genovese ( basil, salt, garlic, Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano); and “Neapolitan pizza” ( pizza topped with sunripened tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, and basil ). On the other hand, Italy has increasingly seen the emergence of a so-called national diet, which has led to what we now call la cucina italiana. The reason for these apparently contradictory trends can be traced to Italy’s political and historical evolution as a nation. Until 1861, when the kingdom of Italy was established, the country was a divided political entity that had suffered foreign domination at the hands of French, Spaniards, and Austrians. Although a sense of national identity started flourishing in the Middle Ages, this sentiment was limited to few intellectuals, writers, and scholars. The masses were left out from this process to the extent that, when Italy reached its unification, Massimo D’Azeglio noted in the inaugural session of the parliament, “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians.” Thus, for the next 50 years, Italian authorities implemented a series of measures to build a national identity. In this historical context, Pellegrino Artusi wrote the first and most successful attempt to create a national culinary tradition: the famous cookbook The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well (La scienza in cucina e l’arte del mangiar bene). Artusi’s book, published in 1891, was inspired mainly by his desire to create a national cuisine that could reclaim its autonomy from foreign influences. Drawing mostly from the Florentine and Bolognese cuisine (with few references to Neapolitan dishes, such as pizza and pasta), Artusi created a new national vocabulary that until that moment had been quite fragmentary. If the first edition was not a hit with the public, success eventually arrived, mostly due to the interest of a newly emerging middle class in need of being properly trained in food preparation and taste. In the 20 years following the book’s publication, 14 editions were printed, and by 1931 it had reached 32 editions, making The Science of Cooking the most read book in Italy together with the I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) and Pinocchio. The emergence of the bourgeoisie also had a strong impact on the structure of lunch and the sequence of courses. Since the eighteenth century, banquets consisted in having all dishes on the table simultaneously, and guests were introduced to food without observing any order, each obeying their own taste and appetite. This style of service was known as French style service. Tables were abundantly decorated to reflect the taste of the aristocracy, who were more interested in showing their wealth than in enjoying the

Italy meal. However, by the mid-1800s, French service was replaced by Russian service, where dishes were served one after the other, according to a hierarchical order. The reasons for the success of the Russian service were twofold. To begin with, it reflected a change in taste. Russian service rejected the cacophonic ensemble characterizing the French style, in favor of a more coherent order. From a culinary point of view, the advantages of Russian style service were obvious: dishes arrived at the table cooked to perfection to enhance the flavor and fragrance. Moreover, the bourgeoisie was less concerned with the formalities of proper etiquette and more focused on the pleasures of eating. As a result, the ceremonial went out of fashion, proving that eating well could be achieved without a display of luxury. The contemporary Italian meal owes its structure to the Russian service. A slow progression of dishes and courses still characterize Italian lunches and dinners, especially for special occasions, such as during il pranzo della Domenica (Sunday lunch), when extended families eat together. A Sunday lunch must include pasta fresca ( homemade pasta) as a first course, fish or meat and side dishes as a second one, followed by a dessert. However, social changes and the fast pace of today’s life have increasingly encouraged a more flexible way of consumption, such as making only one dish per meal. Il piatto unico (single dish) indicates “a substantial dish that is easy to prepare—or indeed the opposite—as a very rich and highly appreciated dish served at a dinner among friends” (Capatti and Montanari 151). Originally most popular with poor communities in need of creating a meal at the lowest cost, today’s single dish is eaten by many Italians. Condensing a meal into a single portion saves time and money. Since the 1950s, Italians have rediscovered regional traditions and folklore. Local food festivals, such as sagre, feste, and fiere, have become extremely popular. Centered on local products such as fruit, vegetables, or meat, festivals have become an opportunity to celebrate food, art, and culture. During these celebrations, mostly staged in old fortified villages and rural communities, old country fairs and entertainment are revived, sometimes after many years of oblivion. Simple dishes have been also rediscovered by younger generations. One of the most successful examples of this is spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil, and hot pepper), which has turned into a favorite midnight snack for many, as immortalized by Federico Fellini in his movie, La dolce vita. However, the peculiarity of the Italian search for traditional flavors and smells is not purely hedonistic. Culture and food are strongly tied in Italy. Conviviality is not reduced to a sterilized set of good manners. In the Italian collective imagination, good food is not pretentious, expensive food; good food is tied to the table of the poor peasant family. Food is inextricably linked with the joys of family and sharing. In the 1954 Italian movie Un americano a Roma (An American in Rome), Alberto Sordi plays Nando Moriconi, a young aspiring artist in love with American models and myths: he wants “to eat like an American” (mustard, milk, and jam), and he renounces his mom’s spaghetti. However, at the end of the hilarious scene in which Sordi




converses with a plate of spaghetti, he throws away the American food and goes back to his pasta. This scene is like a gastronomic hymn to the spirit of Italy and of Italian families everywhere. Although still persisting, this ideal of good food has been challenged from time to time. In the 1980s, there was an obsession for lean bodies and diets. Suddenly, pasta and bread became unhealthy, and dietetic products swept through the country as a storm. One paradox that characterized this process was the role played by media. On one hand, they promoted athletes and models as living examples of a new lifestyle for the common citizen. On the other hand, the same media encouraged consumerism and unconstrained abandonment to the pleasures of eating. This trend became pathological in the 1990s. Anorexia and obesity increased, especially among young people. Despite all these problems, traditional food fundamentally remains an anchor in Italian society. Roberto Benigni wonderfully portrayed this widespread feeling among Italians in his movie La vita è bella (Life Is Beautiful ). Benigni, playing a Jewish prisoner in a German concentration camp, uses food as a way of protecting his son from the cruelty of the camp. In a comically tragic scene, Benigni acts as interpreter to protect his son. He transforms the speech of a German soldier from a list of punishments for those who disobey the orders into a game. He does so by introducing foodrelated words in his translation, such as merendine (snacks) and leccalecca (suckers), which diminish the severity of the experience for his son. However, the turn to traditional food has not just been the result of a spontaneous popular initiative. Parliamentarians and scientists have also recognized the need to preserve certain traditions and the authenticity of Italian food. Italians are highly resistant to the influences of American food. They feel that an Americanization of Italian cuisine, through fast food and pre-cooked meals, would corrupt the unique taste of Italian food, destroy traditional differences, and compromise good nutrition. As a result of this national awareness, a number of institutions and associations, such as the slow food movement and l’Accademia Italiana della Cucina (Italian Academy of Cuisine), have emerged. Founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, the slow food movement is an attempt to combat fast food by preserving regional cuisine and by linking food production to each ecological region. Although it started as a response to domestic concerns, today the slow food movement is present in more than 100 countries with over 83,000 members.

Traditional Italian pub food. Gianluca Figliola Fantini/Shutterstock.

Italy In contrast to this popular organization, L’Accademia Italiana della Cucina is a more formal institution. Recognized in 2003 by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs for its cultural merits, the Accademia earned the denomination of “Cultural Institution,” thus placing it among the largest and most important Italian cultural organizations. Even though Accademia’s goals and objectives are plentiful and diversified, they believe that the appreciation for Italian food goes beyond the mere act of eating. For the Accademia, preserving Italian culinary traditions means: Discovering or rediscovering the culture of conviviality, also in one’s own home, with friends; acquiring or renewing the awareness of sitting at the same table, united by the participation in what might be defined as a common celebration—almost a re-experiencing of the spiritual significance of the rite of the communion, where the act of being together also has the function of reciprocal support, of solidarity expressed in the gesture of offering—is also a way of valorising oneself, a valid educational principle not to be dispersed. (Accademia Italiana della Cucina Web site)


Il Cenone (The Italian Christmas Feast) In Italy the spirit of Natale (Christmas) begins around the first day of December. Il presepio (a Nativity scene) is a common sight in smaller towns, where a sense of awe for the day’s profound religious meaning is strongest. For the religious and the secular alike, the celebration is likely to include two important traditions: midnight Mass and il cenone, the Christmas feast, served on Christmas Eve. Many Italian Catholics hold to the Church tradition of abstaining from meat the day before Christmas. Thus il cenone is entirely fish based. Antipasto (appetizers) may include oysters, mussels, clams, shrimp, crab, or smoked salmon. The first course, either rice or pasta, is served with a sauce made with regional seafood. Entrées range from lobster to sea bass to the humble sardine. Baccalà (salted cod) appears on many tables in northern Italy. Eels are specialties of Venice and in the city of Naples. FURTHER READING Christmas in Italy. Chicago: World Book. 1995. Esposito, Mary Ann. Celebrations Italian Style: Recipes and Menus for Special Occasions and Seasons of the Year. New York: Hearst Books, 1995. Kasper, Lynne Rossetto. The Splendid Table: Recipes from EmiliaRomana, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1992. Kasper, Lynne Rossetto. The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy’s Farmhouse Kitchens. New York: Scribner, 1999. Parmiani, Floria. “Christmas Tradition in Italy: Christmas Customs Split Italy in Two.” Floria Publications. January 13, 2007. January 15, 2007. http://www.floria-publications.com / italy/ life_and_customs /christ mas_tradition_in_italy.html. Plotkin, Fred. Italy for the Gourmet Traveler. London: Kyle Cathie, 2003.

Despite the heterogeneity in the goals and objectives of the slow food movement and the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, they share the notion that the unique Italian culinary experience should be protected. Despite the efforts of many Italians to rediscover their culinary roots, Italian cooking became more homogenized due to the proliferation of mass media, especially television. Local products became popular nationwide. Panettone was until the 1930s a cake exclusively consumed in Milan. The stiff competition between the two leading producers, Motta and Alemagna, which contributed to lower the price of the product, followed by a massive commercial campaign, allowed panettone to become today the country’s

Christine Venzon



leading Christmas sweet. Another example of a successful marketing campaign is Barilla’s Mulino Bianco ( White Mill ) cookies and baked goods in the 1980s. By the 1990s, Barilla, a world-leading Italian food company, controlled 37 percent of the Italian market, mostly due to the ability of its commercials to connect its baked goods with the idea of a modern family—represented by a picture of a stylized family (father, mother, boy, and girl) living in the countryside in a “white mill” and enjoying a rural cuisine (wholesome products and healthy food). Finally, Nutella, a hazelnut-based sweet spread produced by Ferrero, has exceeded the most optimistic expectations by becoming not only the leading product in its segment, but also a cultural and social phenomenon, celebrated in books and movies. HOLIDAYS Dietary habits mark the pace of life experienced by a given community. Studying how a past culture prepared food can remind us of how for most of human history consumption was marked by the harvesting of seasonal crops. Italian holidays are a living example of this tradition. Although today we can find a wide selection of products, detached from their country of origin or traditional seasonal harvesting, Italian holidays and festivities are still true to their origins. This phenomenon is clearly evident on the occasion of national holidays and celebrations, when Italians turn to traditional cuisine. Carnevale is one of the most famous Italian festivities and surely the most joyful. Although its origins can be traced back to ancient Rome ( Saturnalia), Carnevale as a modern festivity appeared in the Middle Ages and marked the last possible opportunity for people to celebrate before Lent, when fasting and austerity were enforced as a way to become spiritually prepared to commemorate the Passion of Christ at Easter. During Carnevale everything is permitted—dancing, entertainment, and food. One saying says it all: A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale (All’s fair at Carnival ). Even though Carnevale is celebrated with parades and dancing in the streets everywhere in Italy; in some cities these celebrations are so unique that they draw tourists and visitors from all over the world. In Ivrea (Piedmont), one can find the “battle of oranges,” in which oranges are used as bloodless weapons in a “war” between those on carnival floats and those attending the parade. In Viareggio ( Tuscany), majestic allegorical floats, representing big names in show business and politics, are represented with satire and irony. Finally, in Venice, home of the most famous Carnevale in the country, squares and streets are filled with tourists who come to attend the parades and events organized each year. Each region has special culinary recipes for the occasion, but sweets play the leading role, and among them, fried sweets seem better to incarnate this desire for transgression. The most popular recipe is le chiacchere (gossips). They can be found everywhere in Italy, although with different names: in Friuli they are called grostoli, sfrappole in Emilia, galani in Veneto, frappe in Marche, and cenci in Tuscany. Other popular sweets include la cicerchiata (a fried pastry ball cake with honey and almond coating), typical in Central Italy, and gli struffoli, Naples’ answer to la cicerchiata.

Italy Although both sweets seem similar, the two recipes contain many differences, with the latter garnished with diavulilli (candy-coated almonds). Tradition and ritual play a strong role in Italian culture, especially during Pasqua ( Easter). The week preceding Easter is dominated by the numerous solemn dramatizations and processions commemorating Christ’s passion. Pasqua, on the other hand, detonates with joyful celebrations. For example, the annual Scoppio del Carro (explosion of the cart) is a 300-yearold Florentine tradition, during which the Archbishop lights a dove-shaped rocket that crosses the entire cathedral and collides with a cart in the square. Pasqua plays an important role in Italian society not only because of its religious significance but also because of its marking the unofficial beginning of spring. Thus, as the common saying Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi (Christmas with your family, Easter with your friends) suggests, Italians take advantage of the good season to celebrate Pasqua and Pasquetta ( Easter Monday) away from the cities, maybe in somebody’s cottage or in countryside restaurants. During these celebrations, lamb is the main course on Italian tables. After a primo ( pasta or soup), an Easter lunch includes either capretto o agnellino al forno (roasted goat or baby lamb) or costolette d’agnello fritto ( lamb ribs breaded and deep fried ), followed by a wide selection of sautéed and fried vegetables, such as carciofi fritti (fried artichokes). A holiday meal in Italy would not be complete without a traditional dessert, and during Easter there are several. La pastiera is the classic Neapolitan grain pie. Another treat is the Colomba, a sweet, yeasted bread (like panettone plus candied orange peel, minus the raisins, and topped with sugared and sliced almonds) baked in a dove shape. Finally, there is the children’s favorite sweet, l’Uovo di Pasqua, a milk chocolate Easter egg, that, while it may change in size (the range varies from few grams to several kilos), always includes a present hidden inside. Between May and September, Italians like to commemorate two days in particular: la Festa dei Lavoratori ( Workers’ Day) on May 1, and Ferragosto on August 15. Workers’ Day was established by the Second International

Italian candy shop. © Agno_agnus | Dreamstime.com.




Congress in July 1889 as a living reminder of the sacrifice of hundreds of American workers killed by the police in Chicago on May 1, 1886 during a demonstration, and it became a holiday in Italy in 1891. Although the Fascist regime moved the day to April 21, by 1945 Workers’ Day was moved back to May 1, becoming one of the most cherished holidays in the country. During the Cold War la Festa dei Lavoratori had strong political connotations (the Italian Communist party was the second largest party in Italy and the biggest outside of the Soviet bloc). Today la Festa has lost its revolutionary edge, but it remains a constant reminder of the workers’ struggle. Workers’ Day is now often associated with the rediscovery of the pleasure of eating outdoors. In the countryside, equipped with picnic baskets, Italians enjoy pasta salads, cold cuts, local cheese, sometimes paired with fresh vegetables, such as the classic combination of lima beans and fresh pecorino (goat cheese). Ferragosto commemorates the day when the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed in Heaven. Ferragosto’s popularity comes in part from the fact that the holiday is celebrated in the middle of the Italian holiday season (August) when millions of Italians leave urban areas for the mountains and beaches to find relief from the stress of daily life. Each region has its own typical dish for August: l’anatra (duck) in Lombardy, la bomba di riso (rice mould with pigeon sauce) in Piacenza, and arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with ground beef, mozzarella, tomatoes, and peas) in Sicily. In November, Italians celebrate Il Giorno dei Morti (All Souls’ Day). On November 2, Italians remember their dear ones who died by going to cemeteries and attending masses for them. Far from being a gloomy celebration, Il Giorno dei Morti is instead a happy celebration. Many Italians take advantage of the holiday to return to their places of origin, allowing them to reconnect with relatives and friends. During this holiday, Italians like to celebrate by eating typical desserts. The most popular one is le fave dei morti (the beans of the dead ), bean-shaped cakes made of ground almonds, sugar, egg, butter, and flour. Although celebrated throughout the country, Il Giorno dei Morti assumes a particular meaning in Sicily, where the festivity is associated with gifts and children. According to Sicilian tradition, the dead bring presents to children who behaved well during the previous year. Thus, on November 1, parents prepare and hide sweets and gifts that children must find on the next day. At the end of the game, the entire family goes to the cemetery to thank the relatives for the presents left. Finally, we have Christmas, the most important holiday in Italy, during which Italians like to indulge, showing up the best of the Italian repertoire in food and drinks. Christmas is devoted to family and friends and, from a culinary point of view, to tradition. Christmas season in Italy starts on December 24, called la vigilia (eve), when Italians abstain from meat. Whereas lunch is very simple, such as pasta e ceci (chickpeas soup with pasta), Christmas Eve dinner is a great indulgence. Tradition dictates that fish be the main course. Thus, throughout the entire country, menus include, among others, spaghetti agli scogli (spaghetti with mussels and clams), baccalà (salted dried cod fish), roasted or fried eel, la caponata di pesce (fish salad). On Christmas

Italy day and Santo Stefano ( December 26), meat is the reigning ingredient. Lunch will start with baked pasta ( lasagne, cannelloni, ravioli) or cappelletti in brodo ( little hat pasta stuffed with a mix of beef, pork, chicken, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg, cooked in chicken or beef broth), followed by mixed boiled meats served with different sauces, roasted beef or pork, vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce), insalata russa ( pieces of boiled peas, carrots and potatoes, mixed with mayonnaise), different salads, and roasted potatoes. Traditional sweets are also important items for the Christmas menu in Italy. Among others, you can find dried figs, candied almonds, chestnuts, panforte (traditional Sienese cake), pandolce (a specialty of Genoa), and panettone. On New Year’s Eve, Italians pour into restaurants, night clubs, and convention centers to celebrate the coming of the New Year by eating lavish buffets that must include, among the other courses, lenticchie con il cotechino (a lentil soup and pork sausage made from cotica, or pork rind mixed with lean pork meat, fat, and spices), a dish associated with good luck and money. Christmas season ends on January 6 with l’Epifania ( Epiphany), when la Befana (an ugly old woman) brings gifts to good children. Originated in Rome, the visit of la Befana has now become one of the most loved celebrations in Italy. On January 5 ( Epiphany Eve), Italian families hang stockings that la Befana fills up with sweets for those children who have been good in the previous year or with coal-shaped sweets (traditionally coal) for those who have been bad. CONCLUSION “What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?” the scholar Guiseppe Prezzolini wondered when he noted in 1954 that pasta had “entered many American homes where the name of Dante is never pronounced” (quoted in Capatti and Montanari xx). If comparisons in popularity between culinary and literary traditions would not find too much ground in many countries, in Italy they are more than legitimate. Food defines Italians both at home and in the world, because it has become an integral part of their cultural background. However, what makes Italian cuisine really unique is the capacity to unite a sophisticated and immense selection of dishes with the spontaneity and genuine enthusiasm of its humble origins. The Italian culinary tradition is thus not only the domain of a small elite but of an entire nation, which prides itself on this legacy. Further Reading: Alberini, Massimo. Storia della cucina italiana. Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1992; Capatti, Alberto, and Massimo Montanari. Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003; Helstosky, Carol. Garlic and Oil: Politics and Food in Italy. Oxford: Berg, 2004; Killinger, Charles. Culture and Customs in Italy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005; Accademia della Cucina Italiana, http://www.accademiaitalianacucina.it /.

Pietro Pirani


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J Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival Viewing the beautiful pink blooms that emerge each year on the cherry trees of Japan is synonymous with the arrival of spring. There are several hundred varieties of cherry trees in Japan, with some existing only in particular locations because the Japanese have long enjoyed cultivating special varieties. To them, the emergence of the cherry blossom (sakura) signifies the fleeting yet spectacular beauty of youth and the fragility of life. Out of this tradition of flower viewing evolved the practice of picnicking under the gorgeous pink trees—hanami. For this occasion, elaborate lunchboxes— bento—are the traditional choice of packed food. Sakura mochi—sakura leaf preserved in salt, wrapped around a glutinous rice (mochi) dumpling—are also consumed at this time of the year. More recently the bento have been supplemented or replaced by sandwiches, stuffed rice balls (onigiri), and processed snack foods such as potato chips and biscuits. Sake (Japanese rice wine) and beer flow freely and sometimes picnickers may become a little boisterous. If the picnic is a gathering of the family, usually the mother or grandmother prepares the food. If it is an office gathering or a group of friends, people are assigned to bring certain things, potluck style. The picnics


Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival

usually last for a couple of hours on weekends or after work during the short week or two that the trees are in flower. During this time, friends, family, and coworkers gather together on a blanket under the prettiest tree they can find. Many Japanese schoolchildren also picnic under the trees with their teachers and classmates in arranged outings. While some locations, such as temples, shrines, and parks, are famous for spectacular groves of cherry trees and enjoy many visitors during the festival, outings can also be low-key affairs with people simply settling under a neighborhood stand or lone tree. The modern practice of flower appreciation evolved from a long history of celebrations centered around the trees and the concept of rebirth. The Hitachinokuni Fudoki, an eighth-century guide to famous places, describes singing and dancing among the flowers after climbing Mount Tsukuba. During the Heian period (795–1192), the Imperial court held a banquet on the day of o-hanami to mark the change of seasons, but it was during the Edo period (1603–1867) that flower viewing became common among all Japanese, with much dancing, singing, and enjoyment of sake. Thus food, rice wine, and flower viewing are intimately linked, with the most commonly quoted poems at these parties being “Hana yori dango” (“Better than the flowers is the food”) and “Sake nakute, nanno, onorega sakura kana” (“Without the wine, the flowers have no attraction”). Today’s Japanese cherry blossom festivals (hana matsuri) feature dance and music concerts that celebrate the cherry blossom and the arrival of spring with poetry competitions, calligraphy exhibits, and paintings that depict the viewing season. Nor is the festival celebrated solely in Japan. With the Japanese government’s gift of

Japanese Flower Hat Dance performance at a Cherry Blossom Festival. Jenny Mie Lau King /Shutterstock.

Juneteenth 3,020 cherry trees to the people of America in 1912, the festival has become a highly anticipated annual event in Washington, D.C., with parades, karaoke, musical performances, and other entertainment, all with the intent of celebrating Japanese culture and the amiable relationship between Japan and the United States. Further Reading: http://www.nps.gov/nacc/cherry/history.htm; Erskine, William Hugh. Japanese Festival and Calendar Lore. Tokyo, Japan: Kyo Bun Kwan, 1933; Dagaku, Kokugakuin, and Nihon Bunka Kenkyu¯jo. Matsuri: Festival and Rite in Japanese Life. Vol. 1. Tokyo: Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1988.

Karen Lau Taylor

Juneteenth In June of 1865, Union General, Gordon Granger, and 2,000 federal troops arrived by ship in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and to enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, the news and actual emancipation usually came to most states with the arrival of the Union army, so the dates of celebration of emancipation varied from state to state. Due to the small number of Union troops posted in Texas at the time, the Emancipation Proclamation had no impact on Texas when it was first signed. With the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the news finally reached the slaves of Texas. General Granger gathered a crowd on June 19, 1865, and read General Order #3 to the people of Galveston. General Order #3 stated: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations. The day was commemorated the following year and soon came to be known as Juneteenth, a melding of the words June and nineteenth. Juneteenth was observed mainly in eastern Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. Some other locales celebrated the day as Emancipation Day. In the late 1800s many former slaves migrated to what was to become Oklahoma. Many settled in all-black communities, and they brought their Juneteenth traditions with them. Others, who did not settle in communities where it was remembered, often returned to their former homes to commemorate the day.




Descriptions of initial emancipation celebrations include accounts of slaves tossing their ragged garments into creeks and rivers to redress in clothing taken from the plantations belonging to their former masters. Dress became an important element in early Juneteenth customs. This was in response to the days when there were laws on the books, in many areas, that restricted the kind of clothing worn by slaves. Most festivities took place around rivers, creeks, and on church grounds and usually lasted all day. These locations were perfect for activities such as fishing and picnics. More structured events such as rodeos and baseball were also common, as were dances, suppers, and parades. Education and selfimprovement were customary themes. Guest speakers were often brought in, and the elders were called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations. Today, Juneteenth continues to be a day of reflection, renewal, and cultural pride. It is a day to take time to appreciate the African American experience. In addition to traditional activities, many celebrations include: music and entertainment; parades and walks; community wellness and betterment forums; health booths for screening, testing, and information distribution by social service and mental health agencies; vendors of handmade arts and crafts; children’s activities and contests of skill and talent. Juneteenth’s Texas roots lead most event menus to include barbeque, and the barbeque pit is often established as the center of attention at celebrations. Meats such as lamb, pork, and beef, which were not commonly available to slaves, are often featured. Strawberry soda pop has also come to be synonymous with the day. Today, many events include foods familiar to African American southerners such as platters of barbequed chicken, long link sausages, and brisket-sized chunks of beef, bowls of brown beans seasoned with hunks of bacon, trays of white store-bought bread, and peach cobbler. Foods that reflect slave traditions are also popular at Juneteenth festivities. These foods, often referred to collectively as soul food, find their roots in West African ingredients and cooking methods that over time were blended with various European and Native American influences. Some believe that barbeque is actually the result of a convergence of African, European, and Native American culinary methods. Many traditional West African cooking ingredients made their way to the Americas and have become very closely associated with African American cooking. Okra, watermelon, leafy greens, and yams were staples of West African cuisine and are now part of American cooking as well. As the Africans began to assimilate into the American slave society, they learned how to make the most of whatever ingredients were at hand. Sweet potatoes took the place of yams in the slaves’ diet. The fresh vegetables found in Africa were replaced by the throwaway foods from the plantation house like the tops of turnips and beets and dandelions. Nothing was wasted. They began cooking with new types of greens such as collards, kale, cress, mustard, and pokeweed. With cast-off ingredients such as pig knuckles or jowls and lard for flavor from the slaughtered hog and cracklin’

Juneteenth from its skin, slaves made filling meals. These practices have evolved into culinary traditions that include soul food dishes such as carrot and raisin salad, fried corn, hush puppies, corn pone, red beans and rice, black-eyed peas, greens, lima beans with ham hocks, stewed okra and tomatoes, cornbread dipped in buttermilk, fried catfish, pickled pig’s feet, fried cabbage, neckbones, tongue, chittlin’s, tripe, and gumbo. In the early years, there was little interest outside the African American community for participating in Juneteenth celebrations. In some cases, there was outward resistance that included barring the use of public property for the revels. As African Americans became landowners, property was donated and dedicated for the use of these festivities. Reverend Jack Yates organized one of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth. His church, Antioch Baptist, and Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church formed the Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association. In 1872, they pooled $1,000 to put down on 10 acres of open land in Houston, Texas, as home for their Juneteenth celebration. In honor of their freedom, they named it Emancipation Park. In 1896 a group of 54 exslaves, who wanted a regular place where they could celebrate Juneteenth without any hassles, decided to purchase 30 acres of land in Limestone County, Texas. This site, Booker T. Washington Park, became the Juneteenth celebration site in 1898. For decades these annual celebrations flourished, growing continuously with each passing year. As many as 20,000 African Americans once flowed through Booker T. Washington Park, during the course of a week, making their celebration one of the state’s largest. Celebrations began to decline in the early 1900s. Formal education had replaced traditional home and family-taught practices, and there was less emphasis on the activities of former slaves. Classroom textbooks proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, as the date signaling the ending of slavery with little or no mention of the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19. Economic and cultural forces came into play as well. While there are accounts of early Juneteenth activities being interrupted by local landowners demanding that their laborers return to work, most allowed their workers the day off. Some even made donations of food and money to support the festivities. During the Depression, however, many African Americans left farms in search of work in the cities. Employers in the city were less likely to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday and grant their employees leave. Unless June 19 fell on a weekend, many people were unable to return for the festivities. July 4 was already the established national Independence Day holiday, and a rise in patriotism, especially during World War II, steered more toward this celebration. For many African Americans the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s brought about a rebirth of interest in the historical struggles of their ancestors. Some student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960s wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. In 1968, Juneteenth received a strong support through the Poor People’s March to Washington, D.C. Reverend Ralph Abernathy called for people of all races,




creeds, economic levels, and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas where they had never been celebrated. Two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations founded after this march are now held in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Juneteenth continued to enjoy a growing and healthy interest from communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Representative Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America. Several states, including Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, and Kentucky have issued proclamations recognizing the holiday, but the Lone Star State remains alone in granting it full state holiday status, when government employees have the day off. Nonetheless, supporters and celebrants of Juneteenth continue to grow in number and in diversity. Today, Juneteenth is promoted not only as a commemoration of African American freedom, but as an example and encouragement of self-development and respect for all cultures. Further Reading: Cohen, Hennig, and Tristram Potter Coffin, eds. The Folklore of American Holidays. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1987; Ellison, Ralph, Juneteenth: A Novel. New York: Random House, 1999; Harris, Jessica. The Welcome Table—African American Heritage Cooking. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996; Wiggins, William H., Jr. O Freedom! Afro-American Emancipation Celebrations. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

K Kaiseki Ryori Kaiseki Ryori is an elaborate multi-course meal developed in sixteenth-century Japan to serve as a prelude to the traditional tea ceremony. Today’s version, like the original, uses only the freshest, most seasonal ingredients combined with minimal seasoning to maximize the food’s natural flavors. Furthermore, each course’s presentation plays an important role in the ceremony, and the choice of serving dishes further complements the food. A Zen influence permeates the meal. Indeed, the word kaiseki comes from kai, meaning inside the neckband of the kimono, and seki meaning stone, because during the Muromachi period in Japan (ca. 1336–1573), when the custom of serving a light metal during the tea ceremony became widespread, Zen monks ate only twice a day—in the morning and at noon. To stave off hunger and keep warm, they would heat stones and place them in their kimonos above the chest. Kaiseki cuisine was originally vegetarian; however, the modern kaiseki meal is generally half vegetable, half meat. Depending on the formality of the ceremony, the number of courses varies, though the standard is between 6 and 15 courses, with little to no repetition of flavors or textures. All five tastes—sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami (the savory or meaty taste)— should be achieved in the meal, and the dishes must encompass different elements of nature: mountains, sea, rivers, and fields.


Kaiseki Ryori

The initial courses are served in three lacquer bowls positioned triangularly on a lacquer tray. The left-hand bowl is filled with one spoonful of rice (gohan); the bowl on the right with an equivalent portion of soup (misoshiru) that is usually white miso–based but could also be clear broth if the occasion is formal; and the bowl at the top of the triangle holds an equal portion of raw fish (mukozuki). The fourth dish served is the wanmori, or soup course, which is considered the heart and soul of the meal. It is said that if the wanmori is a success, then the whole meal may be considered an accomplishment. It is for this reason that only the finest ingredients are selected and painstaking effort is taken in the preparation. The fifth dish served is the yakimono, a grilled or broiled food (usually fish). Although various sauces may accompany the yakimono, it generally stands alone so that its delicate flavor does not get overshadowed. Following this course is one of simmered foods, usually vegetables, called azukebachi. Next is the hashiarai, or “chopstick wash,” which is usually a light stock flavored with kelp or pickled plum. The chopsticks are rinsed in the bowl, followed by sipping the stock in order for the palate to be refreshed and purified for the remaining courses. The meal continues with hassun, which are “piles” of food from the mountains and the sea that derives its name from the special tray upon which the food is served. Konomono, pickled vegetables, follows. The vinegar in the konomono helps to erase lingering odors and flavors from prior courses and prepares the guest for the formal tea drinking. Following the pickles, the diner may or may not receive kudamono, or fresh fruit. The kaiseki meal finally ends with kashi and ocha, sweets and tea, respectively. Sweets are served to offset the bitterness of the ground tea. To capture the harmony of nature, organic materials are used in the construction of the tearoom and also in the serving ware selected. The plates and bowls should reflect the seasons; brighter colors are showcased during summer months while muted colors are chosen during the winter. Moreover, the physical shapes of the dishes encapsulate the seasons, with summer wares being flatter and more open, while winter plates have lids and more vertical or sloped walls. The majority of serving dishes used in a kaiseki meal are lacquer or ceramic, though an exception is made for the hassun course, as hassun trays are usually made from unadorned Japanese cedar. The host takes great pains in showcasing a variety of dishes, all of which serve to highlight the food and complement one another. Just as the same food must never be offered in succession, the same is true of serving ware, and a range of shapes and styles is used to create a harmonious ambiance that touches all of the senses. The kaiseki meal should be served in a small, relatively unadorned room to help the guests achieve an elevated state of mind. For this reason, only a few guests and the host partake in a kaiseki meal. However, there will always be a principal guest who is the most knowledgeable in the “way of tea” and this guest is served first. The meal is a quiet affair with little talking, though usually after the azukebachi course, guests will comment on the meal and the serving ware. Business, politics, and loud talk are avoided,

Kentucky Derby


and there is little interaction between the host and the guests. The host is in charge of timing the meal properly, so he or she supervises the meal’s preparation in another room while the guests dine. During the hassun course, the host pours sake for the guests in order of rank beginning with the principal guest. Then the principal guest, in turn, offers the host sake, and they drink together, marking the only time in the meal that they partake together. At the end of the meal, the host rejoins everyone and apologizes for the meal’s inadequacy, which is, of course, a formality. The guests reply by thanking the host for his efforts and, especially, for all of the food served. The ritualized interplay between host and guests is a cornerstone of the kaiseki meal. The mid-1800s marked the end of the Edo period in Japan, and it was at this point that the traditional kaiseki meal shifted from being exclusively found in a tearoom to one served in a public restaurant. However, the meal’s tea component was itself gradually phased out, leaving what is today known as restaurant kaiseki. Although several temples in Kyoto and in other parts of Japan still offer traditional kaiseki meals, most such meals today are eaten in luxury hotel restaurants. Because such care is taken in preparing each course with only the finest ingredients used, it is very expensive and is reserved for truly special occasions. Nevertheless, the kaiseki meal remains an integral aspect of Japanese cuisine, an art form unto itself, for it sets the standards of excellence in food preparation and service, and it imbues all of the senses with the beauty and harmony of nature. Further Reading: Kakuzo, Okakura. The Book of Tea. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 2002; Tsuchiya, Yoshio, and Masaru Yamamoto. The Fine Art of Japanese Food Arrangement. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1985; Tsuji, Kaichi. Kaiseki: Zen Tastes in Japanese Cooking. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1972; Tsuji, Shizuo. Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Tokyo: Kodashana International, 1980.

Lauren Shockey

Kentucky Derby The Kentucky Derby is held the first Saturday in May every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The most famous horse race in the world, the derby is watched by millions on television and is the focus of The Day before Derby Day parties, balls, and galas in the LouAlice Cary Brown, wife of the former chairman of the board of isville area much like Mardi Gras Brown-Forman Corporation, whiskey manufacturers and owners features in the social life of New of the Jack Daniel’s brand, has been hosting the coveted lunch Orleans. slot on Friday, the day before the derby, and the day of the Modeled on England’s Epsom “race-before-the race,” the Kentucky Oaks—the filly counterpart Derby, the race was begun in 1875 of the derby. The Oaks features the best of the three-year-old filto revive Kentucky’s thoroughbred lies. Her husband, William Lee Lyons Brown, Jr., a fourth generahorse breeding industry, which was tion Brown-Forman businessman, inherited the coveted timeslot devastated by the Civil War. Fiffrom his parents, Sally Brown and William Lee Lyons Brown, Sr. teen horses ran on a 1.5-mile track.


Kentucky Derby

By the beginning of the twentieth century, it had become the most recognized horse race in America. Fame and attention brought rich horse breeders and racing fans to Louisville by private rail car for the race. Other attendees flocked to hotels and private homes for the race and the many breakfasts, parties, and balls during the weeks leading up to the race have become part of the Kentucky Derby tradition. Seating at Churchill Downs is limited and expensive, and many visitors never actually attend the race but come to Louisville for the festivities taking place during the two weeks leading up to the Ina B. Chadwick race and for derby day itself. The city is gripped by “horse fever,” and a carnival atmosphere prevails. The derby events begin two Horsey-set Party Saturdays before the derby with In 1953 famed jockeys Eddie Arcaro and Bill Shoemaker were Thunder Over Louisville, an air invited to Texas oilman Dick Andrade’s hotel suite for “shootshow and one of the largest fireers” before turning in for the night. The Texan, whose reputation works displays in the country; the as a lavish and strange host made his invites irresistible, had show is viewed annually by over not only asked the famous jockeys but, to set the stage for his half a million people. There are paelaborate themed party, he invited an unexpected A-list guest: rades, parties, concerts, steam boat a pony and its groomsman. The horse was outfitted in rubber races, and other activities so that shoes to keep the carpeting in the opulent Brown Hotel from the entire Louisville community getting soiled. It is reported that the horse was not allowed in may join in the festivities. Locals the lobby and had to enter via the service entrance. It rode up and serious horse people attend in the freight elevator where bon vivants and racing luminaries were ready to eat and imbibe. The impact on the party’s bottom the Kentucky Oaks, a race for filline for the one equine guest, without serving it food or liquor, lies held the day before the derby, was hefty for that era—$500. as tickets for the derby itself can be difficult to obtain. Ina B. Chadwick Jocularity and good will is fueled largely by beer at the concerts and outdoor events, and champagne flows freely at dinners and galas but for the race itself, bourbon whiskey is king. Kentucky’s pride and joy, bourbon appears in candies and desserts, and the mint julep is the official drink of the derby. Traditionally served in frosted silver cups, juleps are made of muddled mint, sugar, and the finest bourbon over shaved ice and are sipped through a straw. To most Louisvilleans, it just may be the best party timeslot, as it is more difficult to throw a derby-day party, and get to the races on time. For many decades and up until the sale of their home, Fincastle in Prospect, Kentucky, in 2005, 150 guests gathered around noon beneath a tent extending from the patio to the lawn. The party started with traditional pass-along hors d’oeuvres; cheese biscuits with pecans. The main course, turkey hash, which lends itself easily to cooking in advance, is a blend of onions and celery, mild spices and cooked shredded turkey in a light-colored creamy sauce. For three days prior to the race, the social set is steeped in customs passed on from family members. One of the most notorious events takes place on derby eve at Anita Madden’s Hamburg Place farm in Lexington, where Mr. Madden’s grandfather bred five derby winners. The Madden blowout is famous for its fanciful themes, such as a Greek Odyssey replete with imaginative recreations of Homeric scenes, and one year’s “Rapture of the Deep” with animated mermaids, an octopus, and a shadowy underwater atmosphere rising from dry ice.


Kentucky Derby Other regional favorite foods are showcased at derby parties. Benedictine spread is traditional to Louisville, a cucumber and cream cheese concoction often dyed bluegreen. Cheese grits star in brunch buffets as well as beaten biscuits with Kentucky’s prized country ham. Burgoo is traditional Kentucky fare that has become popular at derby time. A country stew of cooked meats and vegetables, burgoo is dished up from a steaming vat, preferably over an open fire. The Hot Brown, a turkey sandwich with bacon and melted cheese sauce developed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, is another regional favorite that is served at lunches and brunches. Henry Bain sauce (named for a legendary head waiter at a local club) tops beef tenderloin at the upper end of the social scale, and barbeque is showcased at backyard events. Pie made with bourbon, pecans, and chocolate has become associated with the derby and every restaurant and home cook has their own name and variation on the recipe. Kentucky blackberry jam cake is another favorite dessert. Decorating a hat for derby day is part of the race tradition, and hats range from custom millinery to homemade glue-gun fabrications. Dressing up for “Millionaire’s Row,” the seating for the elite, is part of the ritual, and many people assemble to gawk at the arriving celebrities in their finery. Race day begins with breakfast, whether served to thousands on the lawn of the governor’s mansion

Mint Julep While there is much lore on how the mint julep and the goblet it is served in became the symbols of the Kentucky Derby, it is safe to say that bourbon, the true whiskey of Kentucky, was the first choice in the fundamental recipe for a mint julep. The magazine The American Museum of 1787 contains the first known mention of a julep: the drink is reported as being a “draught with which to start the day.” Museum details the routine of Virginians (Virginia was once part of Kentucky) waking, and prior to starting their day, swallowing a julep made of rum, water, and sugar, “but very strong.” In 1803 an Englishman tutoring on a plantation in Northern Virginia recorded his most pleasurable quaffing experiences of the mornings, and detailed for the first time, the addition of perfect sprigs of mint to the drink. The classic silver Julep cup seems to have debuted when a wealthy, South Carolina gentleman, William Heyward Traipier, brought casks of bourbon to Oxford for his extended teaching stay. Once there, he asked his hosts’ servants to make him a mint julep. Of course, they couldn’t meet the request, and Traipier supposedly taught the English how to make one and he became a favorite son immediately. From then on, and with varying reports of how the custom was carried on, the New College at Oxford University has served free mint juleps once a year in June, as an endowment from the bountiful American, Traipier. From that legend, the commemorative silver julep cup, hammered from 1740 Georgian silver and then engraved, was born. The original cup, about 5½ inches high now rests among the treasures of New College in England. The inscription is dated 1845. More than a hundred years later in 1956, a visiting Englishman returned the silver cup favor, by bringing with him another cup similar in size to the original and presenting it to the University of South Carolina. Thus, a hundred years of tradition has been handed on to Southerners as the cup was forever deemed a mint julep cup. Exchanging cups as gifts is a derby tradition. FURTHER READING Harwell, Richard Barksdale. The Mint Julep. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

Ina B. Chadwick

Silver julep cup with roses and lace. John Clines/Shutterstock.


Kitchen Staff Dress

in nearby Frankfort or at a tailgate picnic in the parking lot of the racetrack. Many gather at private The W. L. Brown, Jr., family continues to entertain on Kentuckyhomes to start derby day activities designed dishes created especially for them by a local potter, and then proceed by mid-afternoon M. A. Hadley (1913–1991). Hadley, a Louisville resident for most of her adult life, became sought after in the 1940s, after a to the track if they have tickets or custom set of dishes she designed for her own luxury riverboat on to more parties to view the race, gained favor in the in crowd. Each Hadley piece—all plates, that, for all the ballyhoo surroundserving dishes, cups, and bowls—were, and still are, painted ing it, actually lasts less than three freehand by more than a dozen decorators on hand in the Louminutes. isville factory—all still replicating Hadley’s many designs (http:// The race at Churchill Downs www.wku.edu/Library/onlinexh/kwa/hadley.html). Mrs. Hadley is a two-tier social affair. In the sold the company in 1979 but very little changed. Hostesses stands and boxes are the rich and from the area still order custom dishes for their parties from famous that come from all over craftsmen who follow in the Hadley tradition. the world for this premiere race. Ina B. Chadwick Millionaire horse breeders, royalty, politicians, and celebrities mingle while waiters attend to their drink and food requests and elaborate buffets are set out in private boxes. At the other end of the spectrum is the infield crowd, where people dress in T-shirts and shorts and tote their coolers and chairs in for a day of revelry and fun that often becomes a boozy, muddy free-for-all. Few in the infield can actually see the track, and having a good time is the main event. But while the social division is evident, all stand for the traditional, misty-eyed singing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” Most people view the race on television at private parties in homes or at sports bars. The atmosphere is just as festive, and many celebrants spend the day going from party to party. Houseguests are numerous, and work grinds to a halt on Friday and Saturday of the derby weekend for the parades and parties as Louisville becomes the center of the world for a few brief hours.

Derby Dishes

Further Reading: Doolittle, Bill. The Kentucky Derby: Run for the Roses. New York: Time-Life Books, 1998; Hirsh, Joe, and Jim Bolus. Kentucky Derby: The Chance of a Lifetime. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988; Nold, James, Jr., and Bob Bahr. The Insiders’ Guide to Louisville and Southern Indiana. 2nd ed. Manteo, NC: Insiders’ Publishing, 1997; Derby Entertaining: A Celebration of Kentucky Derby Food Traditions. http://southernfood.about.com/library/weekly/aa043000a.htm. This site contains many links to food and drink associated with the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky food traditions.

Mary Sanker

Kitchen Staff Dress Clothing and hats were clear indications of one’s rank and social station among service staff in Western Europe. In the Middle Ages, long before public restaurants existed, male kitchen servants in wealthy homes and manor

Kitchen Staff Dress houses of the royals, wore doublets with shoulder capes and short tunics. They carried napkins, as did the male carvers, working from the sideboards to serve meats in the dining rooms. There are early images of fifteenth-century male cooks wearing aprons and white over-sleeves. The 1662 service manual for “Officers of the Mouth” included mention of uniforms, complete with swords for highest-ranking servants who presented food at formal dining. Rough fabrics in dark, dull colors were worn by lower-level household staff while those in public service positions were dressed in more formal, often more fashionable costumes. In the eighteenth century kitchen boys wore canvas shirts and loose over-jackets, as they fed fires, scrubbed pots and pans, and men wore jumps, informal, buttoned jackets over breeches and stockings. African pages, young male slaves, wore turbans, as they served in parlors, wearing formal tailcoats with silver collars tight around their necks bearing their masters’ names and addresses. Livery staff, those who tended to horses and carriages, were seen in public in formal uniforms similar to the buttoned-down military jackets with shoulder epaulets. In the eighteenth century, in modest households, female cooks wore long aprons covering plain, dark long skirts. Hats also signified individual status and reflected the fashions of the times, with the soft caps of Tudor times giving way to pointed caps for kitchen workers and then the tri-corner caps of the eighteenth century. Women wore white mob caps or smaller coifs in kitchen and parlor and men cooks wore white toques in the larger, wealthier homes. In the nineteenth century top hats were worn by senior livery staff sent on errands to shops on behalf of the household. More formal attire for servants seen in public often indicated the size and wealth of a household while the distinctions of apparel signified ranks and tasks of service staff. During the nineteenth century, women housekeepers served as household managers in modest homes. They carried keys to the larder, the silver service, and most of the valuable provisions under their long, white aprons. They acted as purchasing agents or stewards might in wealthier homes and in commercial kitchens today, controlling costs, dispersing luxury ingredients and liquors. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, in the wealthiest and most formal homes, male butlers wore evening dress suits at all times: the black coat with tails and trousers, white starched shirt, white waistcoat and tie. The British Museum and several European national and historic libraries have etchings and images of household staff dress as it changed from medieval times to the present. The chef’s costume today consists of several elements. The traditional jacket, worn in restaurant and hotel kitchens since the nineteenth century, is white cotton, to demonstrate cleanliness and absorb sweat, although current fashions include a range of styles, colors, fabrics, and detailed stitching. The classic chef’s coat is double-breasted and double buttoned, permitting chefs to reverse their coats if called upon to present themselves to diners, thereby appearing clean.



Kitchen Staff Dress

The toque, or puffed cloth cap, came in several different heights, indicative of kitchen brigade positions. The tallest erect toque signified the chef, the executive in charge of the kitchen, then a shorter toque was worn by the sous chef, or under-chef, responsible for the execution of most meats and the coordination of timing for delivering foods to guests. Flatter caps were worn by line cooks, those charged with preparation of fish, vegetables, side dishes, sauces, soups, and by the lowest station, where the condiments and cold salads are assembled, called garde mange. This use of hats as symbols of leadership has now merged with the newer requirements for all kitchen staff to cover hair when preparing and handling food for the public. The original purpose of the headgear was to prevent grease dripping from the kitchen ceiling onto chefs’ heads. Nowadays headgear includes baseball caps, kerchiefs, and hairnets as well as a variety of stylish and colorful cloth caps, designed to complement the variety of clothing options that abound. The traditional kerchief, worn around the neck, was intended to prevent sweat dripping into foods, and also served as a tourniquet handy for emergencies. This has now become optional in some kitchens, although it is generally included for formal appearances, when chefs participate in contests, and photographs. Checkered pants also indicated status of workers, but this signifier has changed as pants now come in many styles, colors, and patterns that reflect the tastes of the worker and are not always indicative of kitchen rank. Aprons, worn long to cover and protect cooks’ lower bodies and legs as they faced the heat, also served as convenient hand wipes, an extra cloth with which to grasp pans, and as cover to uniforms, to be changed quickly, if called into the dining room. Long white lab coats were used in large manufacturing facilities, in recipe research and development settings, in butcher shops, and by cheese mongers. In royal and aristocratic manor houses specific costumes existed for each service position. These costumes evolved into the formal attire worn by service staff working in the front of the house in formal or white table cloth dining establishments. When formal restaurants began to develop in the eighteenth century in England and Western Europe, men were trained for professional service work, and wore the formal tuxedo or white dinner jacket, adapted from the butler’s uniform to signify their positions. Women worked in home kitchens and served in homes, often wearing white aprons to cover black or gray skirts and dresses. They made pastry and sold food in retail shops and public street markets, wearing aprons, the dark, long skirt with white collar, cuffs and cap of the maid’s uniforms, or street clothes, but they did not serve food or wine in fine dining establishments. Women were not permitted to dine in most fine restaurants during the nineteenth century, except in the company of a gentleman. The exceptions to this rule were the tearooms, where the service was often performed by women (Kinchin 1998). Respectable women servers wore long dark skirts, white shirt-waists, and black bows at their buttoned-up necklines.

Kwanzaa As factory work increased, managers demanded the workers eat quickly and return to their jobs, requiring more casual eateries. Some allowed women to serve. Horn & Hardart was a famous New York City chain, and the Harvey Dining Rooms, along the Santa Fe railroad system, were another well-known example of the more casual establishments that hired women to serve. Some women donned uniforms similar to those worn by housekeepers and maids, complete with white collars, cuffs, and pocket trim. More contemporary dress codes allow both men and women service staff to wear both formal and less formal attire, such as black or khaki slacks, a vest, and colorful, stylish shirts. Some restaurants select theme costumes for service staff, as bizarre as bunny costumes, space suits, island bikinis with and without wraps. Although dress codes for many service staff have become less formal, black pants and a white button-down shirt remain the standard for many establishments. Further Reading: Cobble, Dorothy Sue. Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991; Culinary Institute of America. The Remarkable Service SM: A Guide to Winning and Keeping Customers for Servers, Managers, and Restaurant Owners. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001; Cunnington, Phillis. Costume of Household Servants From the Middle Ages to 1900. London: A and C Black, 1974; Drury, Elizabeth. The Butler’s Pantry Book, a Compendium of Household Secrets from the Victorian Age. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981; Ferry, Steven M. Butlers and Household Managers: 21st Century Professionals. North Charleston, SC: Book Surge, 2005; Halvorsen, Francine. Catering Like a Pro: From Planning to Profit. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2004; Kinchin, Perilla. Taking Tea with Mackintosh: The Story of Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms. Rohnert Park, CA: Pomegranate Communications, 1998; Poling-Kempes, Lesley. The Harvey Girls, Women Who Opened the West. New York: Paragon House, 1989; Roberts’ Guide for Butlers and Household Staff. Old Saybrook, CT: Applewood Books, 1988 [First published in 1827]; Ruhlman, Michael. The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America. New York: Henry Holt & Co, 1997.

Carol G. Durst-Wertheim

Kwanzaa Kwanzaa is a non-religious African American observance that celebrates family, community, and culture. It takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Harvest or first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies such as the Zulu or smaller societies and groups of southeastern Africa like the Matabele, Thonga, and Lovedu. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created the celebration in 1966. It was




designed to strengthen community and reaffirm common identity, purpose, and direction for African Americans as a people and a world community. Dr. Karenga combined facets of several different African harvest celebrations. Families celebrate Kwanzaa in many ways but common elements include songs, dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and traditional foods. African Americans of all religious faiths come together to celebrate based on the rich, ancient, and varied common ground of their cultural heritage. Kwanzaa reinforces seven basic values of African culture. These values are called the Nguzo Saba, which in Swahili means the “Seven Principles,” and stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa. The first is Umoja, or unity of family, community, nation, and race. The second is Kujichagulia, or self-determination to define oneself and to speak for oneself. Next is Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility. The principle of Ujima encourages community members to unite to solve one another’s problems. Ujamaa represents cooperative economics and encourages the creation of local businesses. Nia means to have purpose, particularly the collective vocation of a community to restore the pride of traditional cultural greatness. Lastly, the principle of Kuumba represents creativity to make the community more beautiful than it was. The greeting during Kwanzaa is in Swahili: “Habari gani?,” translated as “What’s the news?” The answer to this question is the principle of the day for each of the seven days. In this way awareness and commitment to the Seven Principles is reinforced. Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and essential to community building and reinforcement. Fruits, or Mazao, are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and the rewards of the season’s collective and productive labor. A straw mat, or Mkeka, is representative of tradition and history. The candleholder, or Kinara, symbolizes African roots. Corn, or Muhindi, stands for children and the future. An ear of corn is displayed for each child in the family. At least two ears of corn are placed down on the mat regardless of whether there are children in the immediate family or not, for the children of the community belong to all, and every adult in African tradition is considered an immediate or social parent to any child. The seven candles, or Mishumaa Saba, represent the seven principles. The unity cup, or Kikombe cha Umoja, commemorates the ancestors. Gifts, or Zawadi, are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children. The gifts are modest and should be chosen to encourage creativity, achievement, and success. The two supplemental symbols are the flag, or Bendera, and the poster of the seven principles, the Nguzo Saba. The colors of the Bendera are black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and the hope that comes from their struggle. The colors are the same as those in the Bendera Ya Taifa, the African American flag designed by Marcus Garvey in the early 1900s. In preparation for the celebration, a table in a central place in the home is spread with a piece of African cloth. The mat is positioned on it and all


Kwanzaa display featuring lit candles. Timothy R. Nichols/Shutterstock.

of the other symbols are placed on or immediately next to it. The candleholder contains one black, three green, and three red candles. The black candle represents the first principle of unity and is placed in the center of the candleholder. The red candles represent the principles of self-determination, cooperative economics, and creativity and are placed to the left of the black candle. The green candles represent the principles of collective work and responsibility, purpose, and faith and are placed to the right of the black candle. This order emphasizes the idea that the people come first, then the struggle, and then the hope that comes from the struggle. Lastly, African art objects and baskets and books on the life and culture of African people are also placed on or next to the mat to symbolize commitment to heritage and learning. On each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa, celebrants gather to light the candles and share their thoughts about that day’s principle. The black candle is lit first on the first day of the celebration. The remaining candles are lit from left to right on the following days. Each gathering includes discussions and activities representing Kwanzaa’s five fundamental concepts: unity of family, friends, and community; reverence for the creator and creation and respect for the environment; commemoration of the past and honoring one’s ancestors; commitment to the cultural ideals of the African community, which include truth, justice, and mutual respect; and celebration of the “Good of Life” and appreciation for the blessings of achievement, family, and community. The weeklong festival culminates in a feast on December 31 that draws on a variety of cuisines. At the center of the celebration is the table, set with a bowl of fruits and vegetables, the straw place mat, communal cup, and




candelabra. The feast includes a wide variety of dishes, many inspired by African foods. Recipes that feature sweet coconut are particularly popular. Foods that are traditionally served during Kwanzaa include chicken and fish dishes, plantains, sweet potatoes and yams, nuts, and greens. The last day of Kwanzaa is January 1. Historically, this first day of the New Year has been a time of self-reflection and self-assessment for African people. Following in this tradition, Kwanzaa celebrants observe a day of meditation and reflection. They ask themselves, “Who am I? Am I really who I say I am? Am I all I ought to be?” It is a time for reassessment and recommitment on a personal and family level. Further Reading: Angaza, Maitefa. Kwanzaa: From Holiday to Every Day. New York: Dafina, 2007; Karenga, Maulana. The African-American Holiday of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. Los Angeles, CA: The University of Sankore Press, 2007; Riley, C. Winbush. The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest. New York: Castle Books, 2002.

Dorothy Denneen Volo

L La Quinceanera La quinceanera is the celebration in many Hispanic cultures that marks a young woman’s 15th birthday and her passage from childhood into womanhood. In the past, it would signify her readiness to be married, but now it more often means that her parents will allow her to start dating. The festejada (the young woman celebrant) typically holds court with 14 maids (damas) and 15 escorts (chambelanes) to make 15 couples all together. This number is significant as it represents her 15 years of life. Depending on the economic means of the family of the celebrant, quinceanera celebrations can range from very simple get-togethers with home cooked food in the backyard to large and lavish events with designer gowns, live bands, and catered meals. One thing most quinceanera celebrations have in common is the church service that is held before the party begins. As a “coming of age” party, these celebrations can be compared to the American traditions of the sweet sixteen party and debutante ball and the Jewish celebrations of Bar/ Bat Mitzvahs. La quinceanera parties have their roots in ancient Aztec traditions. Aztec women, at age 15 or 16, would be celebrated as the future wives and mothers of the community. When the Spanish conquered areas of South America in the sixteenth century, this practice was combined with a Catholic ceremonial


La Quinceanera

Dozens of 15-year-old girls prepare for a government-sponsored mass coming-out ball in Mexico City, April 28, 2007. AP/ Wide World Photos.

tradition in which young women would either decide to devote their lives to God and join the church or vow to become good wives and mothers. This Catholic tradition had its roots in France where it was common for young girls to be debuted at debutante balls when they reach a marrying age. The aspects of each quinceanera celebration vary from family to family and from culture to culture, but the most important components of the celebration are always the same. A church service, as stated before, is almost always held before the party begins. Catholic families in Mexico attend a misa de accion de gracias (thanksgiving mass) in which the celebrant is the guest of honor. The celebrant arrives at the church in a formal dress, which traditionally is pink, and at some point during the mass she vows to remain a virgin until marriage. She also uses this occasion to give thanks to God for allowing her the opportunity to reach that age. When the mass is over, friends and family members of the celebrant may pass out favors, called bolos, to those in attendance. After the church service, the guests are led (sometimes by parade) to the place where the party will be held. A father/daughter waltz almost always begins the festivities, after which the celebrant is allowed to have her first coed dance with a boy her own age. In Peru and Argentina, tradition allows the birthday girl to choose her first dance partner by throwing

Luau a bouquet of flowers into a group of her male guests. Whoever catches the bouquet may dance with her. Sometimes, before this dance begins, the celebrant will change her shoes from flats to heels to signify that she has gone from childhood to womanhood. Her headpiece may be replaced with a tiara to indicate that, for the day, she is a princess in the eyes of God. She may also receive a doll, that is dressed in a gown that matches her own, suggesting that this is her last doll she will ever receive. In some quinceanera celebrations, the celebrant may even throw the doll into a crowd of her guests, symbolically ending her childhood. Another common tradition is that of a choreographed dance by the celebrant and her court. After their performance, all of the guests are invited to dance. Food, cake, and alcohol are commonly served, and the party could last well into the night. Further Reading: Arcaya, Sara. La Quinceañera: Performance of Race, Culture, Class and Religion in the Somerville Community. Medford, MA: Tufts University, 2004; Cantú, Norma Elia. La Quinceañera: Towards an Ethnographic Analysis of a LifeCycle Ritual. San Antonio, TX: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 2001; FormanBrunell, Miriam. Girlhood in America: An Encycolpedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2001.

Jessica Kokinos-Havel

Luau The luau was originally celebrated to please the ancient gods of Hawaii. The word luau, in Hawaiian, refers to the young, tender leaves of the taro plant that were eaten alone as a vegetable side dish or sometimes added to meat dishes. Current usage is the general term for any feast where Hawaiian food is served. The luau began as a ritualized and elegant event but also could be casual and informal. It was an outdoor event where most of the cooking occurred in a heated, underground pit known as the imu. Hawaii’s fertile soil, tropical climate, and clean salt waters of the Pacific provide a wide variety of vegetables, fish, seaweed, flowers, and other food. Sugarcane, indigenous to Hawaii, was used as the sweetener, and rock salt was the residue of ocean water washed into rock basins and evaporated by the sun. Initially, luaus were forbidden to women; men and women ate separately according to religious taboos. Foods were placed on the floor on a central decorated woven lauhala mat. Among royalty, luaus often lasted weeks—exhibiting unique foods, superior athletic talents of natives, and local customs of the population. Hawaiian games and hula dances were accompanied by ukuleles, guitars, drums, gourds, and other instruments introduced by foreign dignitaries to local arts and culture. The chores in preparation for the luau were many and varied. Gathering food from the ocean was essential, as abundant seafood was once the Hawaiians’ primary source of protein. The finest of fish caught was offered




Hawaiian women and children at a luau, c. 1900–1910. Library of Congress.

to the gods and religious men and then to royalty. Members of the community received the rest in accordance to their rank. Children picked opihi, a shellfish that clung to rocks on the shore, and gathered seaweed. Banana and ti leaves were picked for the imu, and flowers and vines were gathered and leis sewn. The taro root was harvested, steamed, and pounded for poi, a mashed taro dish common to luaus, and pineapples, breadfruit, coconuts, papayas, and so forth were picked and prepared. Musicians, hula dancers, and athletes also had to be recruited and organized for purposes of entertainment. Central to the feast was the kalua pig, prepared whole, gutted, dehaired, and drained, and then roasted in the imu. The imu is lined with red-hot lava rocks (lava being the foundation of all the Hawaiian Islands). The rocks are covered with a bed of banana leaves, on top of which lies the kalua pig. The pig’s cavity is also lined with hot rocks. Other items are added to the pit such as yams, breadfruit, laulau (made with butterfish, chicken and/or pork wrapped in ti leaves). Another layer of banana leaves tops the comestibles, and moistened bamboo poles protrude from this oven for the purpose of introducing water and allowing steam to escape. The bamboo is covered by a burlap canvas, which is itself covered with a layer of dirt to keep the internal heat of the imu insulated from ambient temperatures. At one time, a dog called the luau dog was raised specifically for consumption at luaus. No descendant of this dog now exists. In order to address the squeamish nature of this unfamiliar delicacy, the head of a hog was sewn onto the dog’s body and all other features that would have identified the

Luau cooked carcass as dog were removed; guests happily consumed the delicacy without complaint. Poi is a staple at luaus; it comes from the root of the taro plant. After it is steamed and pounded into a mash, water is added to form a paste that can be scooped using the index finger and one or two adjoining fingers to eat it. In fact, the fingers and hands are used instead of utensils except when the dish was too soft in which event coconut shells were fashioned into a spoon-like utensil. Fresh poi has a mild flavor; some prefer it fermented which yields a soured taste. Another typical luau dish is lomi lomi salmon. The salmon is cooked with fresh tomatoes and raw onion and scallions. Lomi lomi means “massage,” so lomi lomi salmon is salmon that has been massaged to accept tomato and other flavors of the dish. Aku poke (po’ ki) combines fresh raw tuna, seaweed, rock salt and fresh ginger with scallion and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Haupia is also commonly served at luaus and is made with coconut milk, sugar, and water congealed with gelatin. Outside of haupia, desserts, other than fresh fruits, were unusual in the early luau feasts. Luaus are no longer just for royalty (as there is no longer any royal family in Hawaii) and nearly any occasion for celebration can call for a kalua pig done in the traditional way along with poi, laulau, and poke.

Undated photo of hula dancers. Hiroyuki Saita/Shutterstock.




Foods served at luaus reflect the change in Hawaii’s population as laborers came to work the sugar cane and pineapple fields and brought with them new spices, animals, vegetables, and fruits from their homeland. Missionaries from New England brought cod; salmon comes from the Northwest to make lomi lomi salmon; Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Samoans, and European sailors added new ways of cooking indigenous and nonindigenous foods that added diversity and uniqueness to local cuisine. Even the kalua pig is sometimes not done in an imu but rather in the kitchen oven with liquid smoke to make it taste like the real thing! Further Reading: Handy, E. S. Craighill, and Elizabeth Green Handy. Native Plants in Old Hawaii: Their Life, Lore and Environment. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1972; Josselin, Jean-Marie. A Taste of Hawaii—New Cooking from the Crossroads of the Pacific. Honolulu: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1992; Keao, Lee, and Mae Keao. The Hawaiian Luau Book. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1988; Krauss, Beatrice H. Plants in Hawaiian Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993; Landau, Rachel. The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996; McClellan, Edwin North. “Ahaaina or Luau in Old Hawaii.” Paradise of the Pacific, Vol. 52,(1), (1940), p. 9–12; Mitchell, Donald D. Kilolani. Resource Units in Hawaiian Culture. (revised edition). Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press, 1992; Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Samuel H. Elbert. Hawaiian Dictionary. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986; Solomon, Jay. Taste of the Tropics: Traditional and Innovative Cooking from the Pacific and Caribbean. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2003; Titcomb, Margaret. Native Use of Fish in Hawaii. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1972; Wong, Alan, and John Harrison. Alan Wong’s New Wave Luau Recipes from Honolulu’s Award-Winning Chef. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1999; Yamaguchi, Roy, and John Harrison. Roy’s Feasts from Hawaii. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1995.

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Ruth Shibuya

M Mardi Gras In the Gulf of Mexico coastal region of the United States, Carnival refers to the period of festivity and public celebration immediately preceding the Christian period of Lent. Most famously celebrated in New Orleans and throughout southern Louisiana, but originally observed in Mobile, Alabama, Carnival the pre-Lenten holiday is not to be confused with a carnival—the traveling show of amusements or circus-type activities. Carnival, as celebrated worldwide traditionally in Roman Catholic communities and countries, is a Bacchanalian celebration of meat-eating and excess. Extraordinary displays of costuming, parading, and feasting are common occurrences of the Carnival season. Carnival ends on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of a period of fasting, piety, and penitence. RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE The first reference to the word or holiday occurs in A.D. 965: Carnelevare, from medieval Latin caro, meaning “flesh,” and levare, “to put away.” By 1140, Roman texts document public street parades followed by a ceremonial slaughter of cows and other animals in the presence of the Pope


Mardi Gras

and Roman patricians. Though more unmistakably discernable during the modern-day, infamous Mardi Gras celebrations of New Orleans, the pagan aspects of Carnival festivities undoubtedly have roots in pre-Christian rites. The early Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, the Greek Dionysian celebration, and rural springtime agricultural ceremonies all incorporated aspects of feasts and masquerades. Historically, the Carnival season developed as a popular Christian reaction against the prohibitions of the Church during the traditional 40 to 50 days (depending on the denomination) of Lent. Lent ends with the most holy of holidays on the Christian calendar, the Holy Week, the period of Christ’s suffering and execution (The Passion) and Resurrection ( Easter Sunday). As prescribed by the church, Lent is a period of human suffering and reflection, thus Lent is also a period of abstinence from selfindulgence—such as excessive eating, sex, and so on. As contrasted to the piety of Lent, Carnival encourages immoderation, sometimes leading to outright hedonism. Falling on different dates throughout the Western Christian calendar—anywhere from February 3 to March 9—Mardi Gras (from French gras for fat and Mardi for Tuesday) marks the final day of the weeks of Carnival excess. In Anglican countries, Mardi Gras is known as Shrove Tuesday—from shrive meaning “confess”—or Pancake Day—after the breakfast food that symbolizes one final hearty meal of eggs, butter, and sugar before the fast. On Ash Wednesday, the morning after Mardi Gras, repentant Christians return to church to receive upon the forehead the sign of the cross in ashes. Thus the present-day American Carnival celebration signifies a seasonal cycle of demise and rebirth, the abandonment of normal life and daily obligations, culminating in a final outburst of overindulgence ( by outwardly becoming someone or something else: through costuming, drunkenness, etc.), and finally resulting in a return to all that is familiar and sacred. FROM EUROPE TO THE GULF COAST As early as the thirteenth century, revelers in Venice attended formal masked balls during the Carnival season. From Italy the practice was carried elsewhere around Europe, especially Paris. The origins of Gulf Coast Carnival celebrations are traceable to the Parisian festivals of the eighteenth century. Wealthy and working class joined in the week-long festivities. Organized, exclusive masquerade balls and dinners for the aristocracy occurred separately from loosely arranged street parades and public costuming. Later adopted in New Orleans, a guild of butchers would march the garlanded boeuf gras (fat ox) through the streets to its slaughter. The authoritarian government of Napoleon III all but eliminated the private and public Parisian Carnivals upon seizing power in 1851. The institution of Carnival survived in the French colonization of Louisiana. Pierre Le Moyne (1661–1706; also called Sieur d’Iberville), a FrenchCanadian soldier of renown, was hired in the service of France to settle

Mardi Gras Louisiana. As legend follows, four ships commanded by d’Iberville, initially unable to sail too far up the Mississippi River, camped nearly 70 miles downriver from the future site of New Orleans. The date was March 3, Mardi Gras back in Paris; d’Iberville named the landing Pointe du Mardi Gras. However it is further east along the Gulf Coast that Carnival in the Americas first began. Mobile was settled in 1702 by d’Iberville and his younger brother JeanBaptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. As the first capital of French Louisiana, Mobile can historically claim the first New World Carnivals. In 1705, at Fort Louis de la Louisiana, just up the Mobile River from the capital, soldiers and colonists celebrated the first Mardi Gras with masking and feasting. The only other mention, in the archival record, of a Carnival during this era is of a faux-boeuf gras (a man wore a papier-mâché bull’s head) occurring in 1711. To find another mention of a Carnival celebration in the Americas one must fast-forward over a century to New Year’s Eve, 1831. That night several dozen costumed Mobilians paraded through the streets, ringing bells and carousing. They called themselves the Cowbellion de Rakin Society (historians speculate the name incorporates the words cowbell and rebellion with the phrase raising a commotion). As the crowd proceeded to be greeted by the mayor, members of the crowd joined in the festivities. Within a decade the Cowbellion Society had become gentrified. Mobile’s civic leaders controlled membership to the organization through invitation-only masquerade balls and official street parades. A direct line may be drawn that traces the Cowbellion de Rakin Society to the modern New Orleans Carnival. NEW ORLEANS CARNIVAL No one nationality or cultural group can claim to be the founders of the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition. Carnival in New Orleans, like its cuisine and musical traditions, was created by the city’s gallimaufry of people and cultures—French, Spanish, German, Italian, Indian, African, Caribbean, and black American. The first mention of a New Orleans Carnival dates to a 1781 edict that prohibited “people of color, both free and slaves . . . from taking advantage of carnival.” Undoubtedly, Carnival and Mardi Gras were being celebrated in New Orleans throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but more importantly this proclamation outlines the racial schisms that underscore Lou