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Archive for Food Facts – Food History

RECIPE: Homemade Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers
[1] Bake these graham crackers with an easy recipe from Go Bold With Butter.

Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers

[2] If you don’t like to dip, you can buy these pretty grahams from Chocolat in Savannah.

Graham Flour
[3] You can also use graham flour for breads and pie crusts (photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill).

Graham Cracker Crust

[4] If you don’t want to smash graham crackers for a pie crust, use graham flour; here’s a recipe. Here’s the recipe for the lovely pie crust in the photo, from Boston Girl Bakes.

 

July 5th is National Graham Cracker Day.

The history of graham crackers is ironic. They started out as a savory cracker to curb lust. They turned into a food we lust after, whether plain, dipped in chocolate, or made into S’mores and pie crusts.

The history of the graham cracker is below.

The recipe for the sweet graham cracker was edited by Marion Cunningham, who updated the classic Fannie Farmer cookbooks starting in the 1980s.

These crackers are snappy and so much more flavorful than the perfectly-shaped factory graham crackers. The thinner you roll the dough, the crisper they will be.
 
RECIPE: CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS

Ingredients For About 2 Dozen Crackers

  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a large rimmed baking sheet.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy; beat in the egg, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda. Lower the mixer speed and add half the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and stir for a few seconds to incorporate before adding the rest of the flour on slow speed, mixing until the dough just comes together.

    3. GENEROUSLY FLOUR a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Scrape the dough onto the paper and sprinkle the top with a little more flour. Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment or plastic and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Check if you need to sprinkle the dough with a bit more flour while rolling (you should be able to peel back the paper without any sticking).

    4. REMOVE the top sheet of parchment and transfer the dough by gently peeling it off the bottom piece of parchment, wrapping it around a rolling pin and unrolling it onto the baking sheet. Trim off the edges of the dough with a sharp knife to make a neat rectangle, and without cutting all the way through, lightly score the dough into approximately 2½-inch squares.

    5. PRICK each square with the tines of a fork to make a pattern of holes. Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar. Bake 15 minutes, or until the dough is slightly firm to the touch and the edges are beginning to turn golden. Cool the pan on a rack until completely cool, then break or cut the crackers on the scored lines.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF GRAHAM CRACKERS
     
    Graham crackers were actually invented to control lust. The creation of the flour was inspired by The Reverend Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), who focused his ministry on health.
     
    One of 17 children, this eccentric Presbyterian minister from Connecticut (we would replace that adjective with “repressed”), Graham believed that physical lust was the cause of maladies, from major illnesses like consumption, spinal disease, epilepsy and insanity, to everyday indispositions such as headaches and indigestion.

     
    His “cure” was to suppress carnal urges, for which he prescribed a strict vegetarian diet and the avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and refined white flour. Toward this latter end, a miller created the eponymous graham flour, from which came graham bread and the graham cracker.

    Graham flour is a special type of whole wheat flour in which finely milled white flour is mixed with coarsely milled bran and wheat germ, reuniting the three parts of the wheat kernel (the parts of a kernel).

    The result was a coarse, brown flour with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that baked and kept well (Grape Nuts cereal is made from graham flour).

    The original graham crackers were not like contemporary ones. They were made without sugar or spice (ingredients prohibited by Graham’s diet). But over time, someone added sugar and cinnamon and created a tasty cookie that appeared in Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

    Unfortunately, today’s large commercial graham cracker brands are a bland derivative, with little graham flavor. A good comparison is Wonder Bread and the best artisan loaf you can find.

    Seek artisan brands from bakers and confectioners, or make your own.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: A Blueberry-Blackberry Pie With Meringue Dot Topping

    Fun and beauty combine in this blueberry-blackberry pie, from Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina.

    Just looking at the cuisine at Kindred makes us want to head to the charming lakeside college town for a week’s vacation of dining and enjoying the view.

    For now, we’ll have to content ourself with copying the pie, which is pretty easy to follow:

  • Graham cracker crust
  • Custard or lemon meringue base
  • Topping of blueberries and blackberries (the textural differences add to the charm, and you can substitute strawberries and raspberries)
  • Soft meringue and a piping bag
  •  
    You don’t need piping skills: The whole idea is different sizes of meringues.

    We’ll try a light garnish, too: a bit of lemon zest or a chiffonade of basil.
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MERINGUE

    There are three basic types of meringue: French, Italian and Swiss. A sub-tip of the day is to try them all, and decide which you prefer.

    Here are meringue details.
     
    THE HISTORY OF MERINGUE TOPPING & COOKIES

    Some sources say that that meringue (muh-RANG) was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen in the 18th century, and subsequently improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini.

    Not all experts agree: The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, states that the French word is of unknown* origin. Meringue wasn’t invented in France.

    Even Larousse Gastronomique, The New American Edition of the World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, acknowledges the Swiss possibility along with:

  • Poland: Created by an unknown chef in the court of King Stanislas I Leszcy?ski of Poland, who later became Duke of Lorraine. While this theory says that “meringue” derives from the Polish marzynka, we were unable to find that word in a Polish dictionary.
  • England: The earliest written recipe for a baked “beaten-egg-white-and-sugar confection” is a handwritten recipe from 1604 called white bisket bread, from Lady Elinor Poole Fettiplace (1570-c.1647) of Oxfordshire, which later appeared in her book, “Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book — Elizabethan Country House Cooking.”
  • In a later generation, Lady Rachel Fane (c. 1612–1680) of Kent has a recipe called “pets.” Slowly-baked meringues are still referred to as pets in the Loire region of France (the reference appears to be their light fluffiness, perhaps like a bunny or kitten, or for pétillant [sparkling] wine).
  • The first evidence of the confection called meringue first appeared in print in Chef François Massialot’s seminal 1691 cookbook, available in translation as . The English first saw the word in 1706, in an English translation of Massialot’s book.
  •  

    Blueberry Meringue Pie
    [1] Blueberry and blackberry pie with meringue garnish, at Kindred restaurant in North Carolina.

    Passionfruit Meringue Pie
    [2] One of the benefits of dots of meringue (photo #1) is that you don’t need the skill to pipe evenly (photo by Hannah Kaminsky, Bittersweet Blog).

    Piping Meringue

    [3] Meringues can be baked into hard cookies or pavlovas, or cooked or torched briefly as a soft topping (here’s the recipe from Raw Spice Bar).

     
    Until the early 19th century, meringues cooked in the oven were shaped between two large spoons. Meringue piped through a pastry bag was introduced by the great French chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833—he preferred to be called Antonin), the founder of the concept of haute cuisine and the four mother sauces. He invented mayonnaise and many other recipes, including charlotte Russe, coeur à la crème, croquembouche, éclairs, mille-feuille and other iconic French recipes.

    No one can find a historical derivation of the word “meringue*,” but the latest suggestion is that it comes from Middle Dutch meringue, meaning light evening meal—possibly from the Latin merenda, “light evening meal.”

    Our personal favorite is the Middle Low German “meringe,” from mern, “to dip bread in wine.” Who wouldn’t like to dip a meringue in a glass of wine?
     
    ________________
    *Contenders from include 1700 on include, from the Walloon dialect, maringue, shepherd’s loaf; marinde, food for the town of Meiringen (Bern canton, Switzerland). While they have a few letters in common with meringue, evidence for both is completely lacking. A source that makes more sense is the Latin merenda, the feminine gerund of merere, to merit. Who doesn’t merit a delicious confection? But as our mother often said: “Who cares; let’s eat!”
     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Mai Tai & Other Tiki Drinks

    June 30th is National Mai Tai Day, a drink that is attributed by most experts to Victor J. Bergeron, a.k.a. Trader Vic (1902-1984).

    Bergeron was the founder of the Trader Vic’s restaurant chain that was so popular in the 1950s and 1960s, which grew to some 30 Trader Vic restaurants worldwide, plus a wholesale food products business.

    Trader Vic and his “amicable rival,” Don The Beachcomber, introduced mainland America to “tiki” drinks: plenty of rum and sweet mixers, garnished with baby orchids and perhaps a mini Japanese paper umbrella.

    Bergeron, son of a San Francisco grocer, entered the restaurant business at age 32 in 1934—the year following the end of Prohibition. He used $300 of his own money and $800 borrowed from an aunt to open Hinky Dink’s, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and beer joint in Oakland.

    He began inventing and improving his vision of South Seas food—largely, the Cantonese cooking he had come across there.

    To go with the food, he invented the exotic, rum-based drinks with catchy names, such as Doctor Funk of Tahiti, Mai Tai, Missionary’s Revenge, Queen’s Park Swizzle, Scorpion and Sufferin’ Bastard, among others.

    Trader Vic’s Is Born

    In 1937, Hinky Dink’s morphed into an upscale South Pacific theme restaurant with menu and Polynesian decor, intended to provide “complete escape and relaxation.” [source]

    Theme-oriented restaurants had been established a few years before then (the history of theme restaurants), based on concepts from hot rods to fishing villages. Don The Beachcomber, and then Vic Bergeron, pioneered the Polynesian theme restaurant.
     
    THE ORIGIN OF TIKI DRINKS

    Polynesian restaurants were known for their “tiki drinks,” so-called because the restaurants decorated with tiki statues, along with other theme items such as South Seas-style wood surfboards, fake palm trees and fish-shaped lights floating above, “trapped” in fishing nets.

    The exotic drinks added excitement to the overall category of rum drinks, which was focused on the Daiquiri, Dark and Stormy, Mojito, and Rum and Coke/Cuba Libre (the Hurricane, Piña Colada and others had not yet seen the light of day).

    Others included Navy Grog, invented by Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood in 1944; Planter’s Punch, invented in Jamaica by 1878); Rum Runner, created in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida; Tahitian Rum Punch, invented by Don The Beachcomber; and the Zombie, invented by Don the Beachcomber and popularized at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

    Tiki-inspired ceramic glasses, mugs and drink bowls were designed to fan the flames, as it were. Some bowls even had a center well into which Sterno could be poured for flaming drinks. Other drinks were flamed with a tablespoon of high proof rum, added to the surface.
     
     
    THE INVENTION OF THE MAI TAI

    The Mai Tai (pronounced my tie), was created in 1944 by Trader Vic. He tested the recipe on two friends from Tahiti, one of whom exclaimed “Maita’i roa a’e”, or “out of this world—the best” in Tahitian. Bergeron shortened that to Mai Tai—“the best.”

    Trader Vic’s recipe is the one that endured, combining dark and light rums, lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup (almond-flavored simple syrup) and regular simple syrup. The original had a simple garnish (a mint spring) or none at all.

    There is another drink called Mai Tai Swizzle, from Don the Beachcomber. It was invented in 1933, but it seems to have disappeared from his menu sometime before 1937 [source]. But the recipe was quite different, augmenting the rum with grapefruit juice, lime juice, Pernod and bitters (here’s the recipe).

       

    Mai Tai Cocktail
    [1] A Mai Tai based on the original recipe—except for the orchid, a later addition (photo courtesy The Mercury | Atlanta; here’s the recipe).

    Mai Tai With Flowers
    [2] A Mai Tai based on the original recipe—except for the flowers (photo courtesy Turntable Kitchen).

    Mai Tai Cocktail

    [3] A modern Mai Tai, looking like a Tequila Sunset—not what Trader Vic created (photo courtesy Real Restaurant Recipes).

     

    Over the years, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai has been further “developed” by bartenders, into a fruitier and more colorful drink.

    As with every drink called Margarita or Martini—when in fact the ingredients stray far from those recipes—these recipes “borrow” the Mai Tai name but give you a very different rum drink, with pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine.

    Why? Because fruity drinks are downed more quickly, leading to another and another (i.e., more drinks sold). To add to the colorful drink, a baby orchid and/or miniature Japanese umbrella appeared as garnish; or at least, a pineapple slice, orange slice and/or maraschino cherry.

    As one article noted, “The flavor is often dominated by fruit and that helps hide the heavy taste of alcohol. This is perfect for drinkers who prefer less alcohol flavor….They end up tasting so good that a person can almost forget how potent they really are.” [source]
     
     
    The Original Mai Tai Recipe

    Bergeron invented the Mai Tai to showcase a favorite aged rum—the 17-year-old J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. Jamaican rum, golden and medium-bodied (the brand is now owned by Campari America).

    He also used rock candy syrup, which is sweeter and thicker than regular simple syrup: a 2 parts sugar and 1 part water instead of a 1:1 ratio (recipe).

    However, the Mai Tai was such a smash hit that “A couple of years after the cocktail’s invention, the world ran out of the 17-year-old rum…so [Bergeron substituted] a 15-year-old J. Wray and Nephew.” [source]

    But once that, too, dwindled in supply, Bergeron created a blend of Jamaican rum and aged molasses-based Martinique rum to emulate the Wray and Nephew rum.

     

    Mai Tai With Umbrella
    [4] Not an authentic Mai Tai: The original had no orange juice, no umbrella (photo courtesy FlickRiver.com).

    Blue Hawaii Cocktail
    [5] If it uses blue curaçao, it’s not an authentic Mai Tai. A Mai Tai uses orange curaçao, not blue curaçao, and no pineapple or cherry (but here’s the recipe for this “Blue Hawaii” from Culinary Creative).

    Flaming Tiki Drink

    [6] As tiki culture evolved, so did the drinks—into flaming bowls equivalent to six or more drinks, served with jumbo straws (here’s the recipe for this Volcano Bowl from Kitchen Riffs).

     

    Thus, here’s a current approximation of Bergeron’s revised Mai Tai:

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3/4 ounce gold rum*
  • 3/4 ounce dark rum*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons orange curaçao**
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons orgeat syrup†
  • 1-1/2 (1/2 ounce)teaspoons simple syrup‡
  • Juice of one fresh lime (1-1/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 ounce overproof rum
  • Optional garnish: mint sprig (later, lime wheel and sugar cane stick became options)
  • Shaved ice
  • ________________

    *Original recipe: 2 ounces 17-year old J. Wray & Nephew Rum.

    **Original brand: Holland DeKuyper Orange Curaçao.

    †Original recipe: 1/4 ounce Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup (sweeter than orgeat, which is almond-flavored simple syrup).

    ‡Original brand: Garnier Orgeat (orgeat is the preferred simple syrup in France. This brand no longer exists.)
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    SHAKE the ingredients vigorously with the ice. Strain into an ice-filled double-old fashioned glass. Add a sprig of fresh mint

    Regarding the subsequent fruity, colorful modifications to his drink, Bergeron said:

    “The flavor of this great rum wasn’t meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings.” Alas, bar owners and bar tenders could care less [source].

    THE HISTORY OF THE TIKI BAR

    Ernest Raymond Beaumont Grant (1907-1989) a Texas native, began to travel the world—including the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific—in 1926. A bootlegger during Prohibition, he moved to Hollywood and when Prohibition in 1933, opened a bar called Don’s Beachcomber, the first tiki bar.

    Grant changed his name to Donn Beach, and in 1937 changed the name of the establishment to Don the Beachcomber.

    He then opened what became a very popular bar on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was decorated with items from the South Pacific, and Beach developed a cocktail menu that developed “secret recipes” inspired by the many types of rum drinks he had experienced during his years of island travel.

    In 1934, Victor Bergeron, who had also toured the South Seas, transformed his Oakland, California saloon Hinky Dinks into Trader Vic’s upscale Polynesian bar and restaurant. He created a his own menu of rum drinks.

    Located some 380 miles apart, the two pioneers of “tiki culture” became amicable rivals.

    Following World War II, the interest in South Pacific culture blossomed and the tiki boom took off. Tiki bars popped up all over the country, each attempting to outshine one another with lavish decor and rum cocktails served in mammoth bowls with floating orchids and tiny paper umbrellas [source].

    Both of the original bars expanded into restaurant chains. Don The Beachcomber had 25 locations, the last of which closed in the 1980s (two short-lived locations opened in 2001 and 2004, and a restaurant in Huntington Beach licensed the name in 2009 [source].

     
    Tiki culture peaked in the 1970s, and if you were of drinking age at the time, you may be missing those delightful drinks.

    So throw together a Mai Tai, and celebrate National Mai Tai Day.

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Firecracker Hot Dogs

    Firecracker Hot Dogs

    July 4th Hot Dogs

    Skip the hot dog roll this year, in favor of these fun firecrackers (photos courtesy USA Pan).

     

    Why stick a hot dog in a roll?

    These Hot Dog Firecrackers are an easy recipe to serve over 4th of July weekend, fun for all age.

    You don’t need a roll to hold the ketchup or mustard. You can neatly add them to the “firecracker” via a squeeze bottle or a knife.

    This recipe came to us from USA Pan, makers of fine bakeware.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    You don’t need a grill: These firecrackers are baked in the oven.

    RECIPE: FIRECRACKER HOT DOGS FOR JULY 4TH

    Ingredients For 16 Hot Dogs

  • 1 refrigerated crescent dough sheet
  • 16 hot dogs
  • 16 slices thick slices of cheddar, colby or jack cheese
  • 16 wooden skewers, soaked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Stick the skewers through the center of the hot dogs until there is an inch and a half of the skewer coming out from the top of each dog.

    2. PLACE the crescent dough on flat surface. With a knife, cut ¾ inch thick strips.

    3. WRAP each hot dog with a strip of dough, leaving a gap between each spiral. Place the hot dogs on a half sheet pan (see below), leaving a small amount of space between each hot dog. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. While the hot dogs are cooking…

    4. CUT stars from the cheese. Assemble on top of the finished hot dogs and serve.

     

    THE HISTORY OF SHEET PANS

    A sheet pan, baking tray or baking sheet is a flat, rectangular metal pan used in an oven. It is typically used for baking bread rolls, pastries and flat products such as cookies, sheet cakes, swiss rolls and pizzas.

    The most basic sheet pan is literally a sheet of metal, hence the name. If you have a cookie sheet with no continuous lip around the edges, you have a sheet pan.

    One or two edges are rolled to enable easy handling in and out of the oven. The open sides allow you to remove the warm cookies without disturbing their shape.

    Modern sheet pans used in commercial kitchens typically are made of aluminum, with a 1 inch lip around the edge.

    The Sheet Pan Evolves

    The next step in the development of the sheet pan was to include a lip on one or more edges, to prevent food from sliding off. Some pans add handles to aid in placing the pan in, and removing it from, the oven.

    A sheet pan that has a continuous lip around all four sides is also called a jelly roll pan. It can be used to make the flat cake layer used for jelly rolls and roulades with other fillings.

    Today, there are specialty sheet pans that include a layer of insulation or air (an “air bake pan”), designed to protect delicate food like macarons from burning.

    Sheet Pan Sizes

    In the U.S.:

  • A full-size sheet pan is 26 by 18 inches—too large for most home ovens.
  • A two-thirds sheet pan (also called a three quarter size sheet pan) is 21 by 15 inches.
  • A half sheet pan, which most of us use in our home ovens, is 18 by 13 inches (photo #2).
  • A jelly roll pan, typically 10½ by 15½ inches, is a smaller version of a half sheet. The proportions produces a layer of cake size that is ideal for rolling.
  • A quarter sheet pan is 9 by 13 inches, and can be used for rectangular, single-layer cakes.
  •  
    Sheet Pans Vs. Cookie Sheets

    Cookie sheets are different from baking pans. Baking pans have rolled edges, and cookie sheets do not.

    Cookie sheets offer the advantage of a large surface area with no edges to impede removing the baked cookies. But their lack of edges limits their uses:

    You can bake cookies in a baking pan, but you can’t cook a roast (or anything else that expels juice) on a cookie sheet.

    Baking pans for roasts, called roasting pans, are deeper, to accommodate the size of the roast plus the juices it emits.
     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Ceviche & The Different Types Of Raw Fish Dishes

    Deconstructed Ceviche
    [1] Deconstructed ceviche at Seviche | Louisville.

    Ceviche Trio
    [2] A trio of ceviches with different mixes of seafood and vegetables, from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

    Sea Bass Ceviche
    [3] Sea bass ceviche with traditional ingredients from Coya | London.

    White Fish Tiradito

    [4] Tiradito: a fusion preparation with sashimi-cut fish and a non-traditional garnish (fried capers), at Raymi | NYC.

     

    June 28th is National Ceviche Day, so let’s have some fun with it.

    Ceviche is delicious “health food.”

  • Fish and seafood are high in protein.
  • Citrus juice is high in antioxidants including vitamin C; and is a good source of potassium and folate.
  • There’s no sugar or added fat.
  • Ceviche is low in calories. Most fish have 30-40 calories per ounce; shrimp and lobster have 30 calories, bay scallops 25 calories and octopus 35 calories per ounce. Other ingredients such as chile, cucumber, herbs, onion and tomato add negligible calories.
  •  
    And perhaps most important to some:

  • Ceviche is not raw fish. The fish is cured by marinating in citrus juice.
  •  
     
    DECONSTRUCTED CEVICHE

    Seviche Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky serves a different ceviche any day. While there are traditional presentations, they’ve also served it deconstructed (photo #1).

    Instead of serving it traditionally—in a bowl or other container, resting in its marinade/curing liquid and topped with garnishes—the deconstruction in Photo #1 comprises:

  • Slices of cured fish set directly on a plate.
  • Topped with minced vegetables, instead of diced vegetables mixed in with the fish.
  • The marinade becomes a sauce, artistically place on the plate.
  • The plate is garnished with non-traditional garnishes—herbs, edible flowers, jicama, radishes, etc.—instead of cilantro or parsley, diced avocado, lime wedge or sliced onions.
  •  
     
    THE DIFFERENCES AMONG RAW FISH DISHES

  • Carpaccio is Italian for raw fillet of beef, not fish. Crudo is the term for raw fish or seafood. You will find fish “crudo” on restaurant menus, but that doesn’t make it correct. While raw fish consumption is ancient, beef carpaccio was based on the Piedmont speciality, carne cruda all’albese (raw beef Alba-style), created by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Using fine Piedmontese beef, he originally prepared it for a countess whose doctors had recommended that she eat raw meat. At the time, there was a local exhibition of the 15th-century Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio; hence the name of the dish.
  • Ceviche, seviche or sebiche, from South America, is a marinated raw fish dish that date to pre-Colombian times. Then, seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn. The Spanish brought onions limes, which are essential to today’s ceviche.
  • Crudo is analogous to sashimi—plain raw fish, although the fish is cut differently.
  • Escabeche is not raw, but seared fish (or meat) that is then marinated it in a vinegar-based sauce redolent of herbs and spices. As with ceviche, there is always an acidic marinade. It is served cold or at room temperature.
  • Poke is a Hawaiian dish that recently has made its way from coast to coast. A mix of raw fish and vegetables are served as an appetizer or salad course. It is different from tiradito or ceviche in that the fish is cubed with a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing, and Hawaiian garnishes like roasted crushed candlenut and limu seaweed, along with chopped chiles. It is pronounced poe-KEH. Here’s more about it.
  • Sashimi is Japanese-style sliced raw fish, generally served with a bowl of plain, steamed rice (not sushi rice, which is prepared with vinegar and sugar). The word literally means “pierced body.” No one is certain of the origin, but it may have come from the former practice of sticking the tail and fin of the fish on the slices, to let it be known which fish one was eating.
  • Tataki is a fillet of fish that is lightly seared: Just the surface is cooked, with the majority of the fish eaten in its raw state.
  • Tiradito is a more recent dish, fusing the concepts of ceviche and sashimi. Fish is sliced in pieces that are longer and thinner than sashimi. They are artfully arranged on a plate on top of a light sauce, and garnished (with cilantro, fresh corn kernels, thin slices of hot chile, etc.). The name derives from the Spanish verb tirar, which means to throw (i.e., throwing together raw fish with a sauce). Here’s a recipe.
  •  
    Don’t worry if you can’t keep these straight: We saw a dish called carpaccio at New York City’s top seafood restaurant, that was clearly tiradito (with sauce and chile garnishes).
     

     

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CEVICHE & TIRADITO

    In South America, marinated raw fish dishes date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn.

    In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived with limes, onions and bell peppers, three essential ingredients in basic modern ceviche. Lime juice cured the fish, and marinating the sliced/diced onions and bell peppers mixed in with the seafood. Large kernels of roasted Inca corn are a common garnish.

    Ceviche is found in almost all restaurants on the coast of Peru, typically served with camote (sweet potato, which originated in Peru). It has been called “the flagship dish of coastal cuisine,” and is one of the most popular dishes in Peru [source].

    Over time, fruits were incorporated; most popularly, tomatoes (native to Peru) and mango.

    The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru in the 1970s brought with it chefs who cut and treated the fish in the manner of sashimi. A fusion dish developed called tiradito, with seafood cut sashimi-style (but thinner and longer), a spicy dressing incorporating Peruvian chiles, and more elaborate garnishes.
     
     
    CEVICHE, CEBICHE, SEBICHE, SEVICHE

    Ceviche is variously spelled with a c or an s, with a v or a b.

    In Peru, cebiche is the spelling in Lima; although ceviche is used elsewhere in the country, and is the most common internationally.

    However, seviche was actually declared the proper spelling in 2004, by Peru’s National Institute of Culture.

    Additionally, historical texts refer to the dish as seviche, including those by the Academia Peruana de la Lengua (Peruvian Language Academy), founded in 1887 [source].

    Since even in its homeland, the national dish has multiple spellings, don’t argue with anyone over which one is “correct.”

    Lobster Ceviche recipe
    Make Your Signature Ceviche Recipe
    More History Of Ceviche
    Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
    Trout Ceviche Recipe
    Wasabi Ceviche Recipe

     

    Ceviche MartinI Glass
    [5] Presentation in a Martini glass with plantain chips, at Elegant Affairs Caterers.

    Ceviche Grilled Lime

    [6] A modern update garnished with fresh tarragon, fried Chinese noodles and a grilled lime wheel.

     

      

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