As we gleefully glide into January 2016, I would first like to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. It has been quite a year hasn’t it?
They say, people who look back are not moving forward. I disagree. I believe attempting to understand the past may present an edge to the future. Perhaps, food writer and cookbook author, Damon Lee Fowler says it better. (Dining at Monticello, and Classical Southern Cooking, are just two of his gems:)
It’s usually a mistake to assume that someone who looks back to history is somehow bound and gagged by the past. Yet, the prejudice is commonplace, and seems to be especially prominent in the culinary community, where so-called “cutting edge” trends whiz past at light speed, seemingly leaving us dusty old historians behind to stew in our own marmite.
The mistake is the assumption that anyone who looks back is not moving forward, but all too often the opposite is true, and ignorance of the past (or a summary dismissal of it as irrelevant) leads not to daring innovation, but ill-advised caprice. And contrary to popular belief, a thorough understanding of the past, of how cooks have traditionally used ingredients and paired flavors is never confining to an open minded cook: indeed, it can be wonderfully liberating.
Understanding the past doesn’t confine one to it; quite the contrary. It actually frees us. Once the principles of a particular tradition are mastered, they channel the imagination, providing a solid foundation on which to build real and lasting innovation.
With that said, I thought today a golden opportunity to share a few bites of the past. But first, a New Year’s Editorial from American Cookery Magazine January 1916. (That’s 100 years ago folks!)
Here’s a tidbit for you. The premier issue of Gourmet Magazine which is sadly no longer in publication, was 75 years ago in January of 1941. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the first issue but, I do have the January 1961 issue…
…which pays tribute to the magazine’s twentieth anniversary.
Curiously, Gourmet’s main competitor at the time was American Cookery formerly the Boston Cooking School Magazine which had been published since 1896. Regular readers will be more than aware of my “love affair” with American Cookery:) Here’s a “balanced” menu for a week in January 1916.
I wish the January issue of American Cookery would have had a New Year’s Menu but it didn’t. I “dug” up this New Year’s Day Collation in The American Heritage Cookbook which makes reference to a Pennsylvania tradition during the “reign” of George Washington. (around 225 years ago:)
From the menu we have New Year’s Cookies!!!
On to the future!!!
Happy New Year Everyone!!! Yes, I made another calendar. No, this one isn’t clickable but I must admit, it was waaaay more fun to create!!! I’ll be back on Wednesday for National Bean Day. Stay safe, Louise:)