Another blog post from Talia, the Master of Many Blogs. Today she’s working on a subject which began with a post on her latest food blog, I Eat Alone. Her previous guest posts can be found here and here.
It began with trying to figure out how to make my own tomato sauce, and turned into one of my historical research adventures. After noticing a citation that the first recipe for tomato sauce was included in a 17th century Italian cookbook by Antonio Latini, I had to track it down. I finally located the correct passage, in translation:
“Salsa di pomodoro alla spagnola (tomato sauce, Spanish style). Take half a dozen ripe tomatoes and roast them in embers, and when they are charred, carefully remove the skin, and mince them finely with a knife. Add as many onions, finely minced, as desired; chilies [peparolo, in Neapolitan dialect], also finely minced; and a small amount of thyme. After mixing everything together, add a little salt, oil, and vinegar as needed. It is a very tasty sauce, for boiled dishes or anything else.”
Despite the fact that I really like Indian food, I don’t think I’ve made any Indian recipes for the blog yet, so typically I’ve now done two. The first is chicken curry, Britain’s Most Popular Dinner (according to every arm of the food industry with a finger in the pie of Indian food retail. Wait, hang on…).
I’m not going to go into how curry is not actually a dish and trade routes between England and India are hundreds of years old, because other people have done that already and better. (I found a fantastic concise history of all this on an old website, but then my virus software went berzerk, so you’ll have to make do with Wikipedia.)
Hannah Glasse was one of the first famous English women of domestic writing, pre-dating Eliza Acton by almost a century (this is a cracking article about her).
This recipe is actually one of the very first vintage recipes I attempted, before even this blog existed. It’s from Florence White’s Good Things in England, which has been featured here many times before, and is probably one of my favourite books – not only did it spark my interest in vintage cookery but it also introduced me to the wonderful Persephone Books, who’ve republished it. Briefly, because I’m sure I’m repeating myself, Good Things in England was White’s attempt in the late 1920s to record traditional English recipes that she felt were in danger of being lost – the resulting book is a glorious compendium of regional and ancient recipes, and is a pleasure to read regardless of whether you plan to cook from it.