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Historic Gastronomy: the New Trend in Haute Cuisine

Chef Heston Blumenthal's take on "meat fruit" (c.1500) at London's Mandarin Oriental.
Chef Heston Blumenthal's take on "meat fruit" (c.1500) at London's Mandarin Oriental.
http://foodists.ca/2011/06/05/a-london-lunch-at-dinner.html

If you've had quite enough, thank you, of hi-tech food manipulation techniques and long for simpler, perhaps more barbaric times when you might drown sparrows in brandy to prepare it for roasting or order a Mexican chicken tamale from a NYC street vendor made with ground veal, meet your newest food trend obsession.

We ran across this Wall Street Journal article outlining chefs and restaurants around the world introducing new/old recipes to serve their guests like London's Mandarin Oriental in London, specializing in "dishes from Britain's past: Rice and Flesh (c. 1390), Savoury Porridge (c. 1660), Roast Marrowbone (c. 1720) and Spiced Pigeon (c. 1780)."

Historic is haute and seems to overlap appropriately on the current homesteading movement, but is it worth bringing the recipes back from the dead? Some say that the food can be quite bland but what a better way of traveling back in time than deciphering and creating dishes just as they were eaten years before our grandparents' generation.

Queens is home to Sarah Lohman, a historic gastronomist who blogs at Four Pounds Flour about historically interesting food discoveries to make personal connections and encourage others to try it in their own homes. She calls it "temporal fusion cuisine."

Do you have an affinity for old cookbooks/recipes? What do you think about this trend?


Editor's Note: We have corrected the original publication to reflect Sarah Lohman's hometown of Queens, not Brooklyn.

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