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10 fascinating Wikipedia food pages

Some of you might find this ever so boring, but a few of us (including myself) will find these fascinating and could get lost on these pages (#foodgeek). From etymology, to history and production, you'll find (nearly) everything you need to know about these food ingredients.



The egg

Fun facts: "Egg scrambled with acidic fruit juices were popular in France in the seventeenth century; this may have been the origin of lemon curd.


The dried egg industry developed in the nineteenth century, before the rise of the frozen egg industry. In 1878, a company in St. Louis, Missouri started to transform egg yolk and egg white into a light-brown, meal-like substance by using a drying process. The production of dried eggs significantly expanded during World War II, for use by the United States Armed Forces and its allies.


In 1911, the egg carton was invented by Joseph Coyle in Smithers, British Columbia, to solve a dispute about broken eggs between a farmer in Bulkley Valley and the owner of the Aldermere Hotel. Early egg cartons were made of paper."


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Carrots

Fun facts: "Both written history and molecular genetic studies indicate that the domestic carrot has a single origin in Central Asia. Its wild ancestors probably originated in Persia (regions of which are now Iran and Afghanistan), which remains the centre of diversity for the wild carrot Daucus carota. A naturally occurring subspecies of the wild carrot was presumably bred selectively over the centuries to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness and minimise the woody core; this process produced the familiar garden vegetable.


When they were first cultivated, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds rather than their roots. Carrot seeds have been found in Switzerland and Southern Germany dating back to 2000–3000 BC. Some close relatives of the carrot are still grown for their leaves and seeds, such as parsley, cilantro, coriander, fennel, anise, dill and cumin. The first mention of the root in classical sources is from the 1st century AD; the Romans ate a root vegetable called pastinaca, which may have been either the carrot or the closely related parsnip."


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Beer

Fun facts: "Beer is one of the world's oldest prepared drinks. The earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation consists of 13,000 year old residues of a beer with the consistency of gruel, used by the semi-nomadic Natufians for ritual feasting, at the Raqefet Cave in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa in Israel. There is evidence that beer was produced at Göbekli Tepe during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (around 8500 BC to 5500 BC). The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, from the site of Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. It is possible, but not proven, that it dates back even further—to about 10,000 BC, when cereal was first farmed. Beer is recorded in the written history of ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt, and archaeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations. Approximately 5000 years ago, workers in the city of Uruk (modern day Iraq) were paid by their employers in beer. During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five litres of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids' construction."


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Rice

Fun facts: "There are two most likely centers of domestication for rice as well as the development of the wetland agriculture technology. The first, and most likely, is in the lower Yangtze River, believed to be the homelands of the pre-Austronesians and possibly also the Kra-Dai, and associated with the Kauhuqiao, Hemudu, Majiabang, Songze, Liangzhu, and Maquiao cultures. It is characterized by pre-Austronesian features, including stilt houses, jade carving, and boat technologies. Their diet were also supplemented by acorns, water chestnuts, foxnuts, and pig domestication."


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Ice cream

Fun facts: "The first recipe in French for flavoured ices appears in 1674, in Nicholas Lemery's Recueil de curiositéz rares et nouvelles de plus admirables effets de la nature. Recipes for sorbetti saw publication in the 1694 edition of Antonio Latini's Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward). Recipes for flavoured ices begin to appear in François Massialot's Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits, starting with the 1692 edition. Massialot's recipes result in a coarse, pebbly texture. Latini claims that the results of his recipes should have the fine consistency of sugar and snow."


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Maize

Fun facts: "After the arrival of Europeans in 1492, Spanish settlers consumed maize and explorers and traders carried it back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Spanish settlers far preferred wheat bread to maize, cassava, or potatoes. Maize flour could not be substituted for wheat for communion bread, since in Christian belief only wheat could undergo transubstantiation and be transformed into the body of Christ. Some Spaniards worried that by eating indigenous foods, which they did not consider nutritious, they would weaken and risk turning into Indians. "In the view of Europeans, it was the food they ate, even more than the environment in which they lived, that gave Amerindians and Spaniards both their distinctive physical characteristics and their characteristic personalities." Despite these worries, Spaniards did consume maize. Archeological evidence from Florida sites indicate they cultivated it as well."


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Avocado

Fun facts: "Persea americana, or the avocado, possibly originated in the Tehuacan Valley in the state of Puebla, Mexico, although fossil evidence suggests similar species were much more widespread millions of years ago. However, there is evidence for three possible separate domestications of the avocado, resulting in the currently recognized Mexican (aoacatl), Guatemalan (quilaoacatl), and West Indian (tlacacolaocatl) landraces. The Mexican and Guatemalan landraces originated in the highlands of those countries, while the West Indian landrace is a lowland variety that ranges from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador to Peru, achieving a wide range through human agency before the arrival of the Europeans. The three separate landraces were most likely to have already intermingled in pre-Columbian America and were described in the Florentine Codex."


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Butter

Fun facts: "Commercial butter is about 80% butterfat and 15% water; traditionally made butter may have as little as 65% fat and 30% water. Butterfat is a mixture of triglyceride, a triester derived from glycerol and three of any of several fatty acid groups. Butter becomes rancid when these chains break down into smaller components, like butyric acid and diacetyl. The density of butter is 0.911 g/cm3 (0.527 oz/in3), about the same as ice. In some countries, butter is given a grade before commercial distribution."


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Pasta

Fun facts: "In the 1st century AD writings of Horace, lagana (singular:laganum) were fine sheets of fried dough and were an everyday foodstuff. Writing in the 2nd century Athenaeus of Naucratis provides a recipe for lagana which he attributes to the 1st century Chrysippus of Tyana: sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavoured with spices and deep-fried in oil. An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish called lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing, an ancestor of modern-day lasagna. However, the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to our modern definition of either a fresh or dry pasta product, which only had similar basic ingredients and perhaps the shape. The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the 13th or 14th century."


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Yogurt

Fun facts: " The cuisine of ancient Greece included a dairy product known as oxygala(οξύγαλα) which was similar to yogurt. Galen (AD 129 – c. 200/c. 216) mentioned that oxygala was consumed with honey, similar to the way thickened Greek yogurt is eaten today. The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, who remarked that certain "barbarous nations" knew how "to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity". The use of yogurt by medieval Turks is recorded in the books Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk by Mahmud Kashgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib written in the 11th century. Both texts mention the word "yogurt" in different sections and describe its use by nomadic Turks. The earliest yogurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria in goat skin bags."


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