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what FOOD is associated with history? or perhaps a piece HISTORY associated with food?

Mooncake season just passed with the end of the Autumn Festival. The mooncake is served for the full enjoyment of the Moon's splendor and to celebrate the end of a harvest season. Historically, it is also a reminder of a time when Chinese revolutionaries utilized this pastry to overthrow the Mongolian rulers occupying their country. Messages were hidden within the cake or were printed as code on top of the pastry. The moon is mysterious in many cultures and for the chinese, there are many myths and legends that speak of the moon.

What are some other specific pieces of history or perhaps myths that is associated with a food you know?

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  1. No meat on Fridays during Lent.

    1. I have heard (though can't find any sources)that classic French cuisine, which developed by leaps and bounds during the reign of Louis XIV, was used by the Sun-King as a political weapon. One of the biggest threats to his rule was powerful, rebellious aristocrats. So... he held the most lavish banquets with the best food at Versailles, with all aristos invited... except if you challenged his power, no banquet for you!! Plus, the expense to the aristocrats of maintaining the lavish retinue required to appear at court took the money that could otherwise be used to foment rebellion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Brian S

        Actually the founder of French food is really a Florentine when Catherine de Medeci married Henry the II. She thought the food in France was dreadful and she bought her own cooks into France.

        Louis XIV favorite food was peas out of all things he could of had.

        1. re: designerboy01

          You should read 'Heat'. He debunks that chestnut.

      2. Most food eaten at a religious observance/ritual would fall into this category (not necessarily historical).
        Latkes re miracle of oil after the destruction of the temple.
        Hamentashen to remind us of the evil Hamen at Purim. Makes me laugh when I think of it. You know, you're biting into the evil Hamen.
        Food eaten at Passover - i.e. salt for tears, radish for bitterness, shank's bone re sacrifice, matzoh because they didn't have time to let the bread rise before fleeing into the desert...

        1. How about Mama Cass choking on a ham sandwich?

          4 Replies
            1. re: ciaobella

              That's a myth. And a rather unpleasant one. She died of a major heart attack.

              1. re: bryan

                well, it's still food associated with history- unpleasant or not

              2. For Dragon Boat Festival in China/Hong Kong we ate "tzung tze" - parcels of steamed glutinous rice with duck egg/meat filling wrapped in bamboo leaves, tied and steamed: http://www.gio.gov.tw/info/festival_c...

                It's to commemorate a poet & patriot who drowned himself because the emperor refused to see the light. The populace, who loved him, were supposed to have dropped these into the lake so that the fishes would have something to eat instead of his body.