History through food?

Can one relate to the historical elements of a place from the food scene it has? This article set us to think. Do we think about how the cuisine we take for granted today came about?

We recall a story about how pig trotters soup became popular in Chinese cuisine.

It was said that during the period of the northern and southern dynasties in China (~AD 317-589), there was an emperor whose army had been anniliated during battle. This emperor fled from defeat seeking to return to his capital and had to find shelter while disguising himself as a beggar. He came upon a farmer’s hut and sought refuge. And the poor farmer despite having nothing, offered to share some pig trotters soup with the fallen emperor. It was said that since that time this soup has gained popularity, because the emperor put it on the imperial menu…heheh. We cannot seem to verify this story on the web (perhaps it is only in Chinese), so take this with a pinch of salt…as seasoning lol.

Perhaps the article we cited (in the link above) was not suggesting about how food is intertwined with history. But the point of our post is about how we as travelers may appreciate more the food of a place we travel to, if we were to know a little about how it came to be. Wouldn’t that be part of the experience just as much as knowing about the sights we see?

Like the time we read Ken’s article about Bologna, isn’t it intriguing to know that the origin of the term Spaghetti Bolognese was a mis-interpretation? Btw, it’s always a pleasure to read Ken’s posts. Check his blog out at Journeys of Len.

And we are sure that many such stories abound in other cultures and countries about why certain foods are to be prepared and eaten in a specific way. Do you have any juicy stories from your travels to share?

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

14 thoughts on “History through food?”

  1. It’s even described in Homers ‘The Odyssey’:
    “As when a man besides a gravid blast has filled a sausage with fat and profligate and turns it this manner and that and is very eager to incur it quickly roasted…”
    So sometimes when we corrode a blackened pud at a silicon chip shop class we can revalue the long history behind it 🙂 I’ll definitely arrest out the blog you linked – anything combining human experience with intellectual nourishment will be on my to-read leaning!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Food definitely reflects history. In the Philippines, all the influences from colonizers and other settlers have made the “Filipino food” category. Specific food’s history? I’ll have to do some research. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why yes! The cuisine of a nation is frequently shaped by its “masters”. And they leave an indelible trace of their once presence. Language and dress is also another which we intend to write about soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ohh, the link between food and history is something I’ve been fascinated by for a really long time. Food is significant to many people – there are foods you eat to sate your hunger, ways of eating that denote rank and relationships (like in banquets and wedding dinners), and methods of preparation adapted to time and place that can say a lot about how a society lives and evolves. I think the more interesting thing for me would be about the things we eat shaping the way we view ourselves socially and culturally (e.g. eating rice as a staple instead of bread, for example). I’ll definitely check out the blog you linked – anything combining human experience with food will be on my to-read list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy this is pointing you to a good source in our view. Yes, in every place we touch we try to taste and understand the food. It tells a side of the human story that distinct from politics though in many ways affected bu it. But you are right, food preparation and presentation tells something about the culture and how it has changed!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a nice story and I think it’s good to understand the history behind food.

    In scotland ‘black pudding’ is quite popular and I think it has a history as far back as roman times. It’s blood sausage using pork / beef / oatmeal etc.

    It’s even described in Homers ‘The Odyssey’:

    “As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted…”

    So sometimes when we eat a black pudding at a chip shop we can appreciate the long history behind it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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