Português - Portugal
Remembering railroad cuisine, trying the Medieval diet, and more.
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Reviving America’s Forgotten Election Cake
While paging through the first cookbook ever published in the United States, Amelia Simmons’s
1796 American Cookery
, there are quite a few familiar recipes—pumpkin pie, roast turkey, and even the ‘cooky’. But one recipe stands out, both due to its name and its gargantuan proportions: the Election Cake, which calls for 14 pounds of sugar, 12 pounds of raisins, and oodles of spices, along with both wine and brandy.
Dine in the Seat of Power
When visiting a government institution, you’d be entirely justified to not expect too much, food-wise. A dank hallway lined with vending machines or a fluorescent Subway counter most likely awaits you. But at these six halls of government, employees, locals, and even tourists flock to these spots below, inside, and above their political institutions.
The Politics of Pie Cutting
Until the mid-1990s, freshmen at the United States Military Academy—better known as West Point—always knew when pie would be on the menu. In fact, they always knew when everything was on the menu; part of their job as the punching bags of the United States’s finest military academy was to know what was for lunch.
America’s Lost Railroad Cuisine
Once, Americans rode the rails for charbroiled steak, golden French toast, and prunes. Now, a digitized menu collection shows off some of the meals that were lost when Amtrak announced that it would gradually eliminate the traditional dining car on its routes as a cost-saving measure. It’s part of a long slide that’s seen dining cars say farewell to fresh French toast and hello to prepackaged chicken fettuccini.
Senate Bean Soup
According to legend, either Senate Democrat Frank Dubois or Republican Knute Nelson loved this soup enough to request it be available every day at the Senate dining room, where it’s stayed on the menu for more than a hundred years. Its ingredients include creamy navy beans, pig knuckle meat, butter, and chopped onion. It’s homey and filling, if not glamorous. But this is the Senate, and lobbying may have solidified its presence.
Most political scandals tell the same story: Peel back the sweet, innocuous surface and there’s nothing but a bunch of nuts beneath. The same could be said of Watergate cake, a cosmic-green dessert that allows you to indulge your sweet tooth along with your nostalgia for the break-in that brought down a president.
The Health Manual of the Middle Ages
Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum
was created, allegedly, by famous doctors for English royalty and disseminated in the form of a poem. It specifically recommends red wine, fresh eggs, figs and grapes. In many ways, it’s the antithesis of today’s health fads—it celebrates wheat, emphasizes meat, and involves two significant meals, with no mention of snacking. Water is looked on with suspicion, and juice is nowhere to be found.
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