Civil War Cooking: What the Union Soldiers Ate

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.

Caption: Army of the Potomac – Union soldiers cooking dinner in camp (Library of Congress)

We grab our plates and cups, and wait for no second invitation. We each get a piece of meat and a potato, a chunk of bread and a cup of coffee with a spoonful of brown sugar in it. Milk and butter we buy, or go without. We settle down, generally in groups, and the meal is soon over… We save a piece of bread for the last, with which we wipe up everything, and then eat the dish rag. Dinner and breakfast are alike, only sometimes the meat and potatoes are cut up and cooked together, which makes a really delicious stew. Supper is the same, minus the meat and potatoes.

- Lawrence VanAlstyne, Union Soldier, 128th New York Volunteer Infantry

The biggest culinary problem during the Civil War, for both the North and the South, was inexperience. Men of this time were accustomed to the women of the house, or female slaves, preparing the food. For a male army soldier, cooking was a completely foreign concept. Thrust into the bleak reality of war, soldiers were forced to adjust to a new way of life—and eating—on the battlefield.

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Discover the History of Sushi

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.

As with many ancient foods, the history of sushi is surrounded by legends and folklore. In an ancient Japanese wives’ tale, an elderly woman began hiding her pots of rice in osprey nests, fearing that thieves would steal them. Over time, she collected her pots and found the rice had begun to ferment. She also discovered that fish scraps from the osprey’s meal had mixed into the rice. Not only was the mixture tasty, the rice served as a way of preserving the fish, thus starting a new way of extending the shelf life of seafood.

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Opera, Escoffier, and Peaches: The Story Behind the Peach Melba

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 Peach Melba

The Peach Melba

The Peach Melba is one of the most famous and beloved desserts in the world. This creamy and cool dish – a simple and classic preparation of vanilla ice cream, sugary peaches, and raspberry sauce – has graced restaurant menus for decades. While many people are familiar with this delectable dessert, few know the story behind the dish. It all starts with famed French chef Auguste Escoffier and his friendship with an Australian opera singer named Nellie Melba.

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Brave, Curious, Bright and Fearless: A Tribute to Julia Child

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.

This past weekend, I took my first Zumba class. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Zumba (or the silly infomercials it inspired), it’s a Latin-style calorie-burning dance/exercise class. As a food blogger, I most definitely need to burn some extra calories every week. Zumba seemed like a fun idea, but I have the unfortunate disadvantage of being born with two left feet. While I wanted to jump in and try something new, I was also mildly terrified I would look like an idiot and make a fool of myself.

Enter Julia Child, the culinary angel on my shoulder, reminding me I have nothing to fear but fear itself. Ever since I started cooking, I’ve drawn inspiration and delight from Julia’s cooking shows and books. Her teaching style was encouraging and kind, a constant reminder that nobody is perfect. She brightened the kitchen with her wit and charm. And while Julia doesn’t have anything to do with Zumba, she has an awful lot to do with inspiring my inner confidence—both as a cook and as a person.

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Uncover The History of Pasta

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.

Pasta is one of my great food weaknesses. In my world, there are few dishes that can compete with the yum-factor of angel hair pasta topped with creamy vodka sauce. That’s why I was so happy to hear about the “Pasta Diet.” It really works! There are just a few simple rules… make sure you memorize them with an Italian accent:

  1. Walk-a pasta the bakery;
  2. Walk-a pasta the ice cream shop;
  3. Walk-a pasta the refrigerator;

You will lose-a the weight!

Practical advice, no?! Too bad it’s so difficult to follow!

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Explore The Delicious History of Ice Cream

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.

If you grew up in America, odds are you know this little foodie rhyme:

“You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!”

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What is “The History Kitchen”?

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.

Visit The History Kitchen for even more fascinating posts from Tori.

What is The History Kitchen?

The History Kitchen is the culmination of a journey that started when I was a little girl. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents, Grandpa Clarence and Grandma Lois. Grandma and Grandpa did their best to enrich my days with art, music, film, and history. Their influence helped to shape my interest in all things cultural. Growing up, I was one of those nerdy kids who adored history; I read historical novels, watched period dramas, performed in Shakespearean festivals, and had a secret desire to live in another decade. When I taught myself how to cook, I became curious about the origins of the foods we eat. I began to collect vintage and antique cookbooks. My natural interest in all things historical led me to become a food sleuth. Each recipe proved to be a tantalizing mystery, and I made it my mission to dig up the roots and origins of every dish I cooked.

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