A Recipe from Cato that Requires Common Sense

A Very Basic Early Bread Recipe Recipe for kneaded bread: wash both your hands and a bowl thoroughly.  Pour flour into the bowl, add water gradually, and knead well.  When it is well kneaded, roll it out and bake it under an earthenware lid. -Cato, On Agriculture, 74 [check] De Agri Cultura (On Farming or On Agriculture[1]),…

An Early White Roll Recipe: 1594

I think it fair to say that the two recipes in The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (1594) are the first fully fleshed out English language cookbook bread recipes intended for humans. In the 1570s, William Harrison, in the spirit of the Roman author Cato, included bread recipes in the history of England volume…

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…

Seminar #28 The Fabulous Breads of John Cochrane, 1797

John Cochrane’s portrait dating to the 1780s doesn’t suggest suggest someone who was passionate about bread. He kind of looks like a stuffed shirt sitting there with his wig and frilly collar and cuffs. He is a good one to apply the adage, Don’t judge a book by its over. Cochrane’s Seaman’s Guide was published…

Dozens of Bread Shapes from Ancient Greece!

This paper documents and reproduces images of dozens of terracotta bread figurines excavated from a Sanctuary of Demeter and Kora on Acrocorinth. I think that most of these would have been maza, barley cakes. This is reference material for my November 22, 2021 talk on the breads of ancient Greece. Whenever you find this page…

Greek Breads Part 1

These are the recipes for my Bread History Seminar #27, Introduction to the breads of Ancient Greece, November 11, 2021. This week we are making easy breads and are not stressing authenticity in baking method or getting too finicky with the flour. We will get more focused on detail in the next talk on Greek…

Athenaeus’ “Cappadocian” Bread circa 300 CE

“The Greeks use the term “soft” for a type of bread prepared with a little milk, oil, and just enough salt; you need to make the dough soft and spongy. This type of bread is called Cappadocian, since soft bread is for the most part produced in Cappadocia.” From “Deipnosophistae” Book III circa 300 CE…

Rethinking Weeds

What is a weed? Most people define a weed as a plant that is out of place. This is what everyone I have asked has responded. And this is generally what one finds online. When thinking about weeds and gardens it is helpful to think of the garden as being surrounded by a wall. At…