Rubel Spring 2022 Bread History Seminar Series

This Spring 2022 seminar series taking us from Seminar #29 through #34 starts with an in depth look at the history of written bread recipes starting with Ancient Egypt and ending in the late 19th century. There are three talks in my “close reading” series where I read from historic texts and then talk about…

American Soda Bread

It was in the 1830s that leavening bread with an alkaline salt first became an important leavening. There was substantive uptake of this modern leavening — calcium carbonate mixed with muriatic acid was the first popular alkaline leavening for bread — in both Ireland and in United States. Less so elsewhere in the Anglophone world….

Recipes for American Bread 1620-2022 Talk October 27, 20202

Recreating historic breads enables us to taste the past. Sometimes, that tasting answers questions and sometimes the tasting inspires questions. The deeper one gets into a period, the more I think understanding the breads of the period yields insights. For example, I think it is probably significant that the 1840s bread, below that is made…

Flatbread for Bread History Seminar #34

Flatbreads. The geography of bread is divided between the peoples of the loaf bread, and peoples of the flatbread. This last seminar of the Spring 2022 session is the second seminar devoted to flatbreads. The talk is being given by Mohad Ahmar Alvi. The subject concerns purity in Hindu bread culture. As there is a…

Galen (129 – c. CE 216) The Key to Early Modern Bread Recipes

Galen was the most important medical writer prior to the modern era. All of the Early Modern health manuals and medical texts relied on his work. The shadow of his writings on bread influence us still. When one goes to a bakery and fails to find barley bread, rye bread, and flatbreads one is seeing…

Thomas Cogan: Frumenty is Natural, while Bread is Artificial (1584)

I am working through the Thomas Cogan (1545?-1607) bread and grain sections from his influential work, Haven of Health (1584). Like the author of health manuals today, Cogan declares himself academically qualified to write on medical matters. He had two Oxford degrees, a Master of Arts, and a Batcheler of Physicke. He was a working…

Maison Rustique 1619 Markham Edition

I want to start our entry into this astonishingly amazing text with the following paragraph. As you see, it is not the first paragraph of this chapter. It is the most all encompassing poetically written description of what bread meant in Early Modern European culture that I have come across. Amongst many of us, the…

The Coarse Cheat, Maison Rustique, 1619, Gervase Markham, ed.

(Notes for my talk on the Markham edition of Maison Rustique March 31, 2022) ” the next to this is course cheate bread, the which is made of the coursest meale as being boulted as cleane from the branne as it can possibly be got, and the boulter which is for this purpose must bee a…

Markham on Manchet, 1616

Gevas16e Markahm is well known in the world of culinary history for the bread recipes he published in his English Housewife, 1614. An insightful summary of his manchet recipe was published by Markham in his 1616 edition of Maison Rustique. “Besides these breads made of these seuerall cornes, you shall vnderstand that generally the breads…

A Taste of Insights from the 1616 Edition of Maison Rustique

This is is an exact transliteration of the text for the 1616 edition of Maison Rustique, which was revised and edited by Gervase Markham. As a exact transliteration, some words like wet are written vvet. In this period, if the typesetter ran out of the w letters, they could improvise by using vv instead. All…