The Great Gatsby, Prohibition, and Fitzgerald

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald circa 1920

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, and what F. Scott Fitzgerald would later describe as “the greatest, gaudiest spree in history” have all come to describe America under the influence of Prohibition. In Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, we are introduced to the opulent lives of wealthy east coasters during one of the rowdiest periods in American history. How accurate is this portrait of Prohibition America, and what influences led our country into an era of drunken excess?

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William Randolph Hearst’s Welsh Rarebit

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

Hearst Castle - William Randolph Hearst’s Welsh Rarebit

Hearst Castle

I grew up near San Luis Obispo, an idyllic town on the Central Coast of California. The rugged Pacific coastline, dark sapphire waves and golden hills provided me a bountiful natural playground. I spent countless childhood weekends hunting for seashells, fishing for sanddabs and exploring the tide pools. Growing up surrounded by natural beauty was a privilege, one I appreciate all the more now that I’m living in the noise and traffic jams of Los Angeles. Every so often, I feel the need to return to my roots… to the open spaces and bracing ocean breeze of the Central Coast. In the summer of 2012 I did just that, taking a road trip up the coast of California. My first stop was Hearst Castle, the historical ranch home of William Randolph Hearst. Nestled in the hills above Highway One, 42 miles north of San Luis Obispo and 94 miles south of Monterey, this magnificent estate was Hearst’s dream home, an unfinished 28-year construction project that now stands as a state historic park and museum. Today, the castle receives roughly 1 million visitors per year.

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The Caffeinated History of Coffee

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

History of Coffee

Second only to oil, coffee is the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world. We love it, we rely on it, and we drink it in massive quantities. It is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day worldwide. New Yorkers are said to drink 7 times the amount of any other U.S. city, which is why it may seem like there is a Starbucks on every corner of Manhattan. Famed French writer and philosopher Voltaire was rumored to have drunk 40 – 50 cups per day. Coffee is a daily ritual in the lives of millions of humans around the globe. Where exactly did this caffeinated phenomenon begin?

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Passover: Healthy Recipes for a Meaningful Seder

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

Passover is a celebration of freedom, and an opportunity for the Jewish people to connect to their shared spiritual history. The eight day long Passover holiday commemorates the Biblical story of Exodus, in which the Israelite Jewish slaves of Ancient Egypt are liberated from slavery. The holiday originated in the Torah, where the word pesach refers to the ancient Passover sacrifice (known as the Paschal Lamb); it is also said to refer to the idea that God “passed over” (pasach) the houses of the Jews during the 10th plague on the Egyptians, the slaying of the first born. In a ritual feast known as the Passover Seder, the story of Exodus is told. Prayers and blessings are recited, songs fill the air, and traditions are kept alive through ancient customs. For Jews, the ritual of a Passover Seder meal is filled with reverence. The same prayers and stories have been said over the Passover table for centuries. It’s a symbolic, meaningful holiday that never fails to fill me with joy. The celebration of Passover is one of the many reasons I connected to Judaism, and eventually converted.

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Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn Studio Portrait ca. 1941.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

As a resident of Los Angeles, I pass by that famous white Hollywood sign every time I go for a hike or make a run to the grocery store. Living in the middle of Tinseltown can make one feel somewhat jaded, particularly when Oscar season rolls around. In my neck of the woods, the Academy Awards ceremony means helicopters flying overhead day and night, incessant local news coverage and traffic jams. Cynical as I might feel about the fanfare, I always watch the Oscars, and I always get a little flutter inside when the ceremony begins. There is something magical about the movies… a dark theater, the smell of popcorn, the music of a beautiful soundtrack sending shivers through your core. I love the experience of watching a movie. Unfortunately, the majority of films today fail to move or excite me. If I could, I’d travel back in time to the “good old days,” when movie stars kept it classy and talent was the name of the game. I’m talking about old Hollywood, the silver screen, and the days of Katharine Hepburn. Katharine is currently the record holder for the most Leading Actress Oscar awards (4 to be exact). She was beautiful. She was smart. She was unafraid to express her opinion. All this, and the woman knew how to make killer chocolate brownies. They broke the mold with Katharine Hepburn.

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Who Was Betty Crocker?

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker, 1936-1969

Before Betty Crocker was synonymous with boxed cake mix and canned frosting, she was a “kitchen confidante,” a maternal and guiding presence in kitchens across America. She was the “Dear Abby” of cooking, a woman people could trust with their most frustrating kitchen woes. She had answers to the questions that plagued so many home cooks—questions like, “Why won’t my cake rise?” or “Do you have a great recipe for blueberry pie?” or “How can I make my pancakes fluffy?” Betty was there to answer all of these questions and more. She encouraged women to get in the kitchen and try something new. Home cooks could take comfort in the fact that when problems arose, Betty would be there to help them along the way.

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Speakeasies, Sofas, and the History of Finger Foods

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

Super Bowl Finger Food

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. For most football fans, that means covering the coffee table with a variety of miniature, caloric, tasty finger foods. This annual tradition was born of convenience; with a room full of people sitting on couches, it would be awkward to serve a multi-course meal. Finger foods, also known as canapés, are the perfect solution. They’re portable, easy to handle, and you don’t need a fork to enjoy them. They allow you to taste a large variety of foods in one sitting. As it happens, finger foods rose in popularity around the same time cocktail parties became fashionable. And, if you think about it, Super Bowl Sunday is sort of like a cocktail party… only instead of martinis and little black dresses, jerseys and beer rule the day.

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Discover the History of Chicken and Waffles

On her website ToriAvey.com, Tori Avey explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the recipes of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s recipes can inspire us in the kitchen today. Learn more about Tori and The History Kitchen.

History of Chicken and Waffles

If you’ve ever tried the unlikely pairing of chicken and waffles, you understand the appeal. It’s a delectable union of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, maple and… chicken? I realize it might sound strange to the uninitiated. As somebody who has repeatedly enjoyed this improbable creation, I must insist– don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Chicken and waffles are a dynamic culinary duo.

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