All posts about Food history

You can cook, even very good food, with­out know­ing any­thing about the his­to­ry of food. But I find this last fas­ci­nat­ing: how, lit­tle by lit­tle, human food has become glob­al­ized, through trade, con­quests, the work of gar­den­ers, seed grow­ers and botanists who have allowed plants to adapt out­side of their home environment.

Food is the basis of our his­to­ry. It is the search for food and water which guides the nomads, the com­pe­ti­tion for the best lands which is at the base of the wars. Trade is orga­nized first and fore­most around the exchange of food prod­ucts: the real name of the Silk Road is "the Silk and Tea Road", orig­i­nat­ing in China, it ends after many stages, in the heart of Africa, on the tracks of Azalaï, the salt road. Famines cause revolts and regime changes, they also cause great migrations.

Finally, food is part of a cul­ture, shaped by its his­to­ry and religions.

So, because I am pas­sion­ate about his­to­ry, from time to time I will tell you the his­to­ry of the kitchens I am telling you about.

Saffron brought wealth and opu­lence to the cities that trad­ed or grew it. And some­times, it even gave them their name!

How did peo­ple eat in the past? Food evolves with the ingre­di­ents avail­able, but also with tech­niques, which will lead to changes in recipes. A BBC series shows, among oth­er things, how food evolved from the Middle Ages to the mod­ern era, with more and more meat, dif­fer­ent cook­ing meth­ods, the arrival of spices.…

The his­to­ry of saf­fron is that of a lux­u­ry prod­uct, sought after for its med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties as well as for its flavour, and reg­u­lat­ed to avoid coun­ter­feit­ing. During the Renaissance, it was used through­out the known world.