"PC" wrong in Sunday NY TImes-19th Century Food

Ittaob at AOL.COM Ittaob at AOL.COM
Mon Aug 20 03:44:19 UTC 2001

In a message dated 8/19/01 6:14:14 PM, Bapopik at aol.com writes:

<< "19th Century people didn't write down what they had for
dinner."--archaeologist Diani diZenga Wall in _The New York Times_, 8-18-2001.

   I'm a scholar on food history, and this is news to me.

   _The Cook, a weekly handbook of domestic culinary art for all
housekeepers_, published by Connelly & Curtis in New York City in 1885, of
which I've read every issue, must not have existed.

   _The Epicurean: A complete treatise of analytical and practical studies on
the culinary art, including table and wine service, how to prepare and cook
dishes, etc., and a selection of interesting bills of fare of Delmonico's
from 1862 to 1894_, published by Charles Ranhofer in New York City in 1894,
must not have existed either.

   I've gone through every 19th century menu in the great collections of the
New York Public Library and the New York Historical Society's library, but
they must not exist, either. >>

It seems to me that what Ms. diZenga Wall was saying, in context, was that in
the 19th century, average people, and in particular poor people, did not
record what they had for dinner at home, and that thus archeology was a
valuable tool for discerning this. I suspect what they had for dinner at home
is not necessarily indicated by the content of articles in culinary magazines
or Delmonico's menus.

Steve Boatti

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