Stencil on Bread

I am interested in the surfaces of breads. When we think back on the history of bread, how often is surface decoration part of one’s vision? I bought this stencil at a stationary store. This is an experiment I made when writing an article for Mother Earth News about stencilling breads. Shouldn’t we imagine stencilled…

Bacon Sandwich, circa 1747

Totally serendipitous find form a Google Books search. This is from the completely obscure “Soldier’s Vade Mecum; Or the Method of Curing the Diseases and Preserving Health in Soldiers” by Luca Antonia Prozio. In terms of diet, Ponzio seems to imagine Calabria as a kind of Arctic. A greasy bacon sandwich is the staple food….

Male Bias in the History of Bread: Logo for Fleischmann’s Yeast

When The American yeast company, Fleischmann’s, had a pictorial logo in the first decades of the twentieth-century, they made it male. From the Neolithic and up until very recently, women were responsible for most of the process of producing bread. With the limited exception of baking bread in commercial operations and certain grain planting processes,…

Recipes for Bread History Seminar #14, Domestication of the Bread Grains

Natufian & Pre Pottery Neolithic The first breads were made by Natufian hunter gatherers around 14,000 years ago. Naatufians are the people in southwest Asia that we know for sure first utilized bread grains for bread. We know this because we have proof in the form of archeological remains. Natufians, and the early Neolithic peoples,…

Maslin Bread for August 20, 2020 Seminar

Tony Shahan, historian of milling, and director of the Newlin Grist Mill, suggests we make a maslin bread — a bread of mixed wheat and rye OR a bread that somehow reflects the trade in export flour between North American and the United Kingdom in the later decades of the 18th century. The first cookbook…

Zadock Steele, starving, eats too much bread.

Zadock Steele  was captured by Mohawk Indians allied with the British in a raid in Vermont in 1780. It was called the Royalton raid. Zadock was transferred to British custody and eventually escapes. Starving, he and a companion are taken in by a “poor widow”.  In this short scene he  describes over eating what she…

Making Cake from Bread Dough circa 1880

I’ve been reading the bread section from The Thrift Book: A Cyclopaedia of Cottage Management, a British book published in the 1880s. It is interesting for being written during a transitional period in home baking when bakers were shifting to tinned breads. The recipe for a cake couldn’t be more different from modern bread and cake recipes…

Spit Roast Bread — The Kneaded Loaf of 1823

Today, as part of my work on the glossary section of the history of bread I’m writing for UC Press, I have been researching the British Northern dialect term knodden cake, and its Standard English parallel, kneaded cake. I’m still working on the words and can today only say that I think they were enriched…

Bread in Italy circa 1894

I was searching Google Books for information on military bread ovens in the 19th century, a process my girlfriend refers to as “wooden cowing,” and came across this sketch regarding bread in Italy circa 1894. It was written by Olive May Eager, a minor American writer who lived in Italy and seems to have supported…