A forward to this post:
Recently I have become more and more engrossed with history, and one area of history in particular, which often receives less attention than I personally believe it merits. This area of history, though rarely studied by the common man, is one I find most engaging: Culinary History.
Yes, the history of advances and digressions, the patterns and spontaneity, the origins of food. But my area of interest is one in particular. The naming of food.
For instance, where do the names "barley," "cauliflower," "twinkies," or "corn" come from?
I have spent several weeks tracking down the origins of certain food names, and in this article share with you the three most interesting and obscure origin stories of food names.
Lorenzo Bread: Father of the Loaf.
Lorenzo Bread was born in Sicily in 1847. Bread-like products existed at the time, but Lorenzo Bread advanced all bread technologies to the extent of man's imagination. he advanced not only the cooking technology (Previously they had simply mashed a bunch of wheat stalks into a ball and thrown it at a fire), but also the manner in which bread existed. before it was a blackened wad of wheat viewed with disgust, but he made it into a delicacy fit for a sandwich. The people were so grateful, they named the product "bread" after him. Incidentally, his great grandson, Otto Frederick Bread Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, invented the product known as "sliced bread." He spent 17 years developing this sliced bread technology until it was finally available for mass purchase in 1928.
Jameson C. Meat: Discoverer of Meat.
Not much to say about him. Discovered meat. Remarkable fellow. He died of a heart attack in 1807.
Lawrence Refrigerator: Pioneer of chilling technology.
Lawrence "Jimmy" Refrigerator, also known as "Jim Fridge" was born in 1899. He came from a large family. Eleven parents and eight brothers and sisters. He was inspired by his father, who originally came up with the idea for the refrigerator in 1877. His father tried and tried all his life, but was never able to build a functional cooling device because the technology was not available. He died in 1912 in his workshop trying to build a prototype. His last words were reportedly "This blasted device! How can man survive this eternal maze of warm foods! It must... be... remedied." Lawrence Refrigerator is the one who found his father and dedicated his life to developing the cooling device. He spent many years finding and developing the technology for it, and finally finished his first prototype in 1945. He had dedicated his life so intensely and fervently that he died in 1946, only having built 3 functional refrigerators. After he died, his family was left penniless. They sold the patent for the cooling device for $4,000. The man who bought it named it after Lawrence Refrigerator, calling it the "refrigerator." However, no other credit was given to him, and he and his hard work were lost in the cryptic and obscure passages of history.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief overview of some Culinary Cornerstones, and feel free to ask any questions that you may have on this subject. Next week I have scheduled an interview with Lawrence Refrigerator III, the great-great grandson of the inventor of the refrigerator, and I will share with you the fruits of this upcoming interview session.