Monthly Archive for May, 2011

Events: Gin in June, a Historical Gin Tasting!

This is the season for fun food events! Check out the gin cocktail party I’m doing at the Old Stone House on June 10th:

Gin in June: An Historic Gin Tasting at the Old Stone House
Friday, June 10th at 6:30pm
5th Ave. at 3rd St., Brooklyn NY
Purchase tickets here.
Join us for an evening of historic cocktails at a fundraiser to benefit the Old Stone House & Washington Park!
Food historian Sarah Lohman will present a flight of traditional gin cocktails.  Guests will sample four gins, including two historic gins and two contemporary gins distilled locally in Brooklyn.  Lohman will speak on the history of each liquor and mix it into a cocktail from the past.
While guests sip on a Gin Sling or a Martinez cocktail, they can also graze on 1880s bar food:  Fresh bread and butter, Pickled Walnuts, Mushroom Ketchup, Beef Tongue, Roast Beef, Pickled Pig’s Feet and Ham.
So come drink in history while supporting a local park and museum.  Purchase tickets here!

The Gallery: Tavern Drinks and Diversions

1830's bartendin'1830’s Bartendin’

I wanted to share a few images from last week’s sold-out Tavern Drinks and Diversion event at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum.  Delicious drinks and food in an historic 1830s bar = pretty awesome.  We’re planning another event with hot cocktails for the fall.

But in the meantime, if you missed the event and are totally jelly; or if you were there and would like to do it all over, then come to Gin in June at the Old Stone House! On Friday, June 10th, we’ll be tasting four historic gins in four historic cocktails, accompanied by 1880s bar food.  Get your tickets here!

Guests enjoying a tavern supper of ham, fresh bread and butter, and venison.

I made a ham so good. This ham was the best ham. I'm making it again for Gin in June.

Mushroom ketchup: salty mushroom sauce. Also available at Gin in June.

The scene at the bar.

Mad crowded.

A lovely bowel of Green Tea Punch in the garden.


Press: “You’re Never Too Old to Learn Shoemaking.” The NYTimes

A class on historic gastronomy at the Brooklyn Brainery, which offers cheap, low-commitment classes on a variety of topics, like tying knots.  Ramin Talaie for The New York Times.

Got my picture in the paper today–a lovely image in the New York Times from the Historic Gastronomy class I’m teaching at the Brooklyn Brainery.  You can read the full text of the article here.

The Brainery offers low cost courses on just about anything, from card games to physics.  I’m going to teach a couple more classes over the summer and fall, so get on their mailing list to find out when registration opens.

Events: Cocktails, Meat, and Waffles

Two great events coming up this week!

Tavern Drinks and Diversions: An evening of 19th century carousing

Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 PM
The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
421 East 61st St., New York, NY

$35 Adults, $30 Members. Buy tickets here.

Learn the fine art of toasting (and roasting) while enjoying historic cocktails with “historic gastronomist” and artist Sarah Lohman of the Four Pounds Flour blog.  Guests can enjoy three different 1830s imbibements in the Museum’s fully restored tavern room and period appropriate bar, including the original Cock-Tail and a glass of Punch made with rum, citrus, and green tea.
A light tavern supper will be available, including cold meats, game, and fresh bread with butter, served with homemade pickled walnuts and mushroom ketchup.
Ms. Lohman will also lead participants in parlour games sure to delight all that are assembled. Space is limited, so Buy Tickets Now!
Waffles @ Wyckoff
Sunday, May 15th at Noon
5816 Clarendon Road, Brooklyn, NY
Free, first come first serve.
Join us on Sunday, May 15, to enjoy, experience and learn about the Dutch contribution to gastronomy! 

Sarah Lohman of will be discussing Dutch contributions to food! Join her to make your own waffle over an open fire using a real “waffle iron” and an old Dutch recipe until 3 pm or the waffle batter runs out!

This will be the first in series of four events at the museum entitled “Historic Gastronomy at the Wyckoff Museum.”

Look out for our next event! Sarah will be making and serving old Wyckoff family recipes! Fun and filling for the whole family.

The Gallery: Data Visualization of a Timeline of Taste

The Popularity of Vanilla vs. Rosewater

Starting Tuesday night, I’m teaching a three-part course on Historic Gastronomy at the Brookyln Brainery. It’s going to involve a lot of history, a lot of nerdery, and a lot of eating.  You can read the full course description and sign up here (new spots were recently opened for students due to high demand; at the time of the writing, there were three spots left.  Sign up here.)

My first class is called A Timeline of Taste; we’re going to explore the history of American food through flavor: we’ll travel from 1796-1950, making a pit stop every 50 years to explore the tastes of a particular time. Participants will smell and sample the spices, fruits, extracts, and other ingredients that defined the flavors of different time periods. We’ll discuss why each of these flavors were popular and how they were used in day to day cooking.

Many ingredients have a flash point that sends them soaring in popularity, pushing other tastes out of vogue: an increase in production, a decrease in cost, a popular recipe, etc.  As I was researching the histories of American ingredients, like rosewater, vanilla, curry and ketchup, I realized the results would be a really cool data visualization project.  I wanted to see  a timeline of when ingredients were the most popular.

A quick and dirty way to do this is through Google Ngram Viewer, one of the coolest toys on the web.  Google says:  “When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books.”

I plugged  in search terms, I was astounded by the visualization of the results.  You could often see the exact historical moment an ingredient became popular.

For example, from about 1750-1840, rose water was the primary flavoring for cakes and other confections in the United State.  While today we associate it with Middle Eastern cuisine, for English colonists it was used as a cheap alternative to vanilla. Vanilla was only grown in Mexico because its pollination was very closely linked to a certain species of Mexican bee.  In 1841, a twelve year old slave discovers how to hand pollinate vanilla flowers.  Vanilla cultivation is moved outside of Mexico and the product became much cheaper.

Look at the chart above: rose water is more or as popular as vanilla until 1841.  Then vanilla takes off while rosewater flat lines.

A few more fun charts are below.  We’ll be talking about these ingredients, and so much more, at the Brooklyn Brainery Tuesday night.

Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, and Clove

Curry Powder, Soy Sauce, Chili Powder

Mayonnaise, Mustard, Tomato (ketchup was originally not made from tomatoes)