Monthly Archive for February, 2013

Events: Between the Bread! MSG Talks Sandwiches

188185_307950029327071_1169368664_nThe Masters of Social Gastronomy Love Sandwiches!

Tuesday, February 26th, 7pm
Public Assembly (70 North 6th Street) in Williamsburg

The history of sandwiches is laced with vice, ingenuity, and industry.

Sarah will relate this sordid tale via the PB&J, perhaps the sandwich Americans feel the most passionate about. But jelly wasn’t always thought to be peanut butter’s natural companion and at MSG you’ll get to experience long-forgotten peanut butter sandwiches of the past.

Later, Soma will take us on a tour of America’s best sandwiches, from national standbys like the BLT to regional treasures like the Po’ Boy. He’ll go to bat for thegrilled cheese as the greatest sandwich of all time, and use the power of experimentation to uncover the Perfect Grilled Cheese.

During Storytime, former-Sandwich-Artist Soma will spill the beans on Subway’s secrets, because we know you’ve always wondered what exactly that “Subway smell” is. Afterward, they’ll put on their brave faces while tasting the most bizarre and innovative sandwich combinations history has to offer.

RSVP HERE. So we know how many free samples to bring.

Party Time Reenactor: Hobo Party

hobo part


During World War II, the Betty Crocker company distributed a series of pamphlets to help war-time housewives, suggesting recipes for meatless meals and sugarless cakes.  My favorite pamphlet is “Hospitality in War Time,”  which offers helpful tips on how to entertain during food shortages and rationing.

One of the parties Betty suggests is a “hobo party”.  I’ve always been tempted to recreate it…but find it borderline offensive?  You can read her instructions for the party above, and do with it what you will.

Kitchen Histories: The Measuring Spoon


My latest Kitchen History for Etsy focuses on the history of recipes–you can read it here. By the time these little spoons were manufactured c. 1900, recipes were orderly and measurements were exact–they look much like a recipe does today.  But that wasn’t always the case.

Take a look at the recipe below for Common Gingerbread from Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches by Eliza Leslie, 1844.  It’s such a wonderful window into life in the 1840s–dropping hints on everything to how to process sugar to how professional bakers made gingerbread.  It’s almost a novel in the life of a gingerbread. 

Is it better, or worse, than a modern recipe?  What do you think?

COMMON GINGERBREAD Cut up a pound of butter in a quart of West India molasses, which must be perfectly sweet; sugar house molasses will make it hard and heavy. Warm it slightly, just enough to melt the butter. Crush with the rolling pin, on the paste board, half a pound of brown sugar, and add it by degrees to the molasses and butter; then stir in a tea cup full of powdered ginger, a large tea spoonful of powdered cloves, and a table spoonful of powdered cinnamon. Add gradually sufficient flour to make a dough stiff enough to roll out easily; and lastly, a small tea spoonful of pearl ash melted in a little sour milk Mix and stir the dough very hard with a spaddle, or a wooden spoon; but do not knead it. Then divide it with a knife into equal portions; and, having floured your hands, roll it out on the paste board into long even strips. Place them in shallow tin pans that have been buttered; either laying the strips side by side in straight round sticks, (uniting them at both ends,) or coil them into rings one within another, as you see them at the cake shops. Bake them in a brisk oven taking care that they do not burn gingerbread; scorching sooner than any other cake.

To save time and trouble, you may roll out the dough into a sheet near an inch thick, and cut it into round flat cake with a tin cutter, or with the edge of a tumbler.

Ground ginger loses much of its strength by keeping. Therefore it will be frequently found necessary to put in more than the quantity given in the receipt.

See the original recipe here.

Events: A Culinary History of New Amsterdam


Before New York Was New York: A Culinary History of New Amsterdam 
Tuesday, February 19th, 7:30 PM
@ The Farm on Adderley, 1108 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn
$60 (+ beverages, tax & gratuity)
To sign-up, send an e-mail to

The Farm on Adderley is thrilled to welcome ‘historic gastronomist’ Sarah Lohman to host a meal inspired by what people were eating in New York in the 1600s and the lasting influence of Dutch tastes. The meal will be inspired by a cookbook compiled by the Lefferts family, who had a stronghold on land in the Flatbush (“Vlacke Bos”) area of Brooklyn.


House Made Breads/Butter/Cheese
rye + beer + walnut preserves

Smoked Eel
roasted apples, baby turnips
Kale & Bread Soup “Sop”
yellow eye beans, hominy

Salted Beef
pumpkin, parsnips
Corn “Panne­koeken”
“Koolsla” – cabbage, butter, vinegar
Crullers – cinnamon, apple, raisin
Caraway “koeckjes” w/ quince preserves

To sign-up, send an e-mail to