Well. There's nothing to blog about here. Unless you want to hear about the lousy weather and my sinuses. Still working on the gift knitting and binding off the doily. So I thought I'd flip through the book I'm reading ("Food in History") for something interesting. You eat. You ought to find the subject vaguely interesting, I'm thinking.
--As you probably know, the ancient Romans (as in, Romans living in Rome) suffered from lead poisoning due to their use of lead water pipes. Their nutty behavior is well documented, but it's less known that lead poisoning also causes a metallic taste in the mouth. It's thought that a lot of the crazy, super-spiced foods of the Romans was due to that metallic taste, and trying to get rid of it.
--The Chinese royal kitchens in the second century BCE had 2,271 people working there. 128 everyday chefs, 128 entertainment chefs, 94 ice men, 62 pickle and sauce chefs, and 62 salt men, among others.
--As far back as 1300 BCE (and I'll bet as far back as the idea of trading for food goes), there were clever ways to rip each other off, including padding truffles with dirt and roasts with extra fat (sometimes off an entirely different animal). They also would stuff internal organs with anything they had, to make them look more appetizing; it wasn't uncommon to get a kidney home and find out it was stuffed full of rags. (And you thought the butcher cheated when he laid the bacon fat-side down in the package.)
--Almost no one in recorded history has been able to put together a fully balanced diet based entirely on things grown in a five mile radius. Even in the copper and bronze ages, grains and beans and other foods were often imported or exported over very long distances. Egypt supplied most of the grain that kept Rome running; the colonies did the same for England during the British Empire.
--As late as 1897 CE, using knives and forks was forbidden in the British Navy; real men eat with their fingers.
--Potatos, native to South America, were actually introduced to North America from EUROPE. The Spaniards took potatos to Europe, and after years of growing them there, Colonial settlers to N America brought them along when they went to North America.
--Guacamole is pretty much exactly the same as it was when the Aztecs ate it five hundred years ago.
--The clam bake is thought to have come from the Polynesian tradition of cooking luau food in a pit oven, but no one can explain how it came to be a major party food/cooking method in New England at such an early date. Personally I think it was invented in New England independently.
Is that enough odd food information for one day? Probably. Now I want some guacamole.
EDITED TO FIX: The date on the British Navy bit. Thanks to Lynne for pointing it out. (Who knew one letter could make such a difference? Other than knitters, I mean?)
Still want some guacamole.