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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Discover the History of the Sandwich

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.

Sandwich

You know you’ve got a favorite one. The one that makes your stomach growl just looking at it. The one that you’d like to sink your teeth into. Maybe it’s a hot pastrami on rye with spicy mustard, or perhaps a grilled cheese is more your style. Or maybe you can’t resist a French Dip with tender, juicy meat on a French roll… yeah, THAT one. Americans eat close to 200 sandwiches per year on average, so chances are you have a favorite of your own. Whatever sandwich happens to float your boat, the basic components are bound to be the same. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a sandwich as “an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with a filling between them, eaten as a light meal.” Seems like a simple enough concept. So, who came up with this innovative way of serving food? While I’m sure the Earl of Sandwich would like all the credit, the true history of the sandwich goes back much further.

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Eating and Drinking With Charles Dickens

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.

The moment Scrooge’s hand was on the lock, a strange voice called him by his name, and bade him enter. He obeyed. It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation… Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam…

- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)

As a young girl, my library card was my best friend. I read piles and piles of fiction in junior high and high school. There was nothing I loved more than escaping to the past by burying my nose in a classic novel. Some of the books I remember most are the ones with tantalizing food imagery, with passages so colorful they made me salivate in their luscious detail. Of all the fiction I enjoyed growing up, no author captured the sensory experience of a holiday meal better than Charles Dickens. 

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What’s for Breakfast? Discover the History of Cereal

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 Cereal

If you were born in America, chances are you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and eating breakfast cereal. I remember sitting in my PJ’s in front of the “boob tube,” digging into a bowl of crunchy goodness drenched in cold milk. I would stare sleepily at the word games and mazes on the back of the box, then dig for that cheap plastic prize inside. On television, cartoon spokespeople tempted me with their colorful, sugar-laden cereal treats. I begged my mom to buy them for me. She refused, pointing me toward the healthier varieties. I grew up eating Cheerios, Grape Nuts, and Rice Krispies while many of my peers enjoyed Cocoa Pebbles, Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops. Looking back, I am nothing but grateful for Mom’s diligence. That said, the targeted marketing of cereal companies was forever seared into my youthful mind. Cereal seems synonymous with being a kid, more like a sweet treat than a breakfast staple. Was it always this way? History tells us no. In fact, cereal started out very different than the colorful kid-friendly boxes we buy today.

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Thanksgiving, Lincoln and Pumpkin Pudding

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.

Pumpkin Pudding

 

Give thanks, all ye people, give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluias of freedom with joyful accord:
Let the East and the West, North and South roll along,
Sea, mountain and prairie, one thanksgiving song.

- from “The President’s Hymn” written by William Augustus Muhlenburg for President Abraham Lincoln, 1863

 

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, is celebrated for a great many achievements. The savior of our union, Lincoln guided our nation through the resolution of the Civil War. His leadership helped bring an end to slavery and peace to our war-torn nation. In addition to these historical achievements, few know that Lincoln also helped turn Thanksgiving into a nationally observed holiday.

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