This is What People Ate through History
Ever looked into your great-grandma’s recipe box and been surprised? Although some contemporary chefs like to think that culinary creativity is new, food culture has always been diverse. Things that our ancestors ate may not sound the tiniest bit delicious, but we can’t judge until we try. Throughout the ages, people have eaten just about everything they could from the land, sea, and air, so before you push away the idea of making your great-grandmother’s cake or roasted meat, think twice, maybe it would be nice.
1 Fish bladder jelly
Okay, this sounds terrible, we admit. The Victorians gave the world many things such as piano covers, huge advances in plumbing but, they were not known for their culinary advances. They used the bladder of the sturgeon fish to make a sweet jelly dessert. The process involved isolating a substance called isinglass from the bladder. It was originally an ingredient in glue but gained popularity in England as a foodstuff in the late 18th century. It is still used to make some beers and wines, including Guinness beer. Isinglass acts like gelatin or pectin to congeal liquid and make it thick. To make sugary jellies, Victorians boiled down filtered isinglass with water, sugar, lemon juice, and fruit. The time-consuming process took a lot of labor, but people have been known to do a lot more to satisfy a sweet tooth.
For people living in the Arctic, the ocean is the source of most food. Traditionally, people fish year-round, with seasonal whale and seal hunts. Muktuk is a dish consisting of whale skin with the layer of blubber attached. The skin of the bowhead whale is considered the most delicious, even though it may sounds repulsing. It can be eaten many different ways: salted, fresh, fried, or pickled. The flavor of the whale fat is described as nutty, with the skin a little rubbery.The food played an important role in traditional diets, since muktuk contains a huge amount of vitamin C, which prevents illnesses like scurvy. Many Arctic cultures have their own traditions of eating muktuk, including aboriginal Greenlanders, Canadians, Siberians, and Alaskans. In the recent years, this recipe is not prepared and consumed as before because of the ocean toxins.
3 Vinegar pie
It isn’t exactly a known fact who first made a vinegar-flavored pie, or where, but it dates back to at least the mid-1800s and probably originated in the Deep South. People think that thrifty cooks first started to use apple cider vinegar as a flavoring because it was cheaper than fruit or lemon juice. Vinegar pie is nicknamed “the poor man’s lemon pie.” During the Great Depression, people combined crackers and lemon juice in their pies to make a filling that tasted like apple. In recent years, vinegar pie has experienced a comeback, and some restaurants serve upscale versions with flavored balsamic vinegars.
4 Stuffed dormice
Okay, we are now seriously disturbed but, in ancient Rome, dormice were roasted as a special delicacy. The Romans raised them in a special terra cotta jar called a glirarium. In the wild, dormice hibernate for the entire winter. In the glirarium, which was kept dark, the dormice hibernated all year, which is how they were fattened. The jars had little staircases for the dormice, places for them to deposit food, and air holes. When they were really fat, the dormice would be stuffed with nuts and roasted with honey and spices. Usually, they were served as an appetizer. Consuming dormice was eventually banned, but Romans still went on mouse hunts for dinner.Today, wild dormice are still hunted and eaten in some parts of Slovenia and Croatia and considered a delicacy.
5 Black Iguana eggs
It is exactly what you think – a reptile egg. The leathery, rough exterior of the black iguana’s egg makes it seem inedible to most people, but in the Mayan culture, iguanas were farmed for their rich, all-yolk eggs. The first Europeans to make contact with the Maya said that they ate very little meat. The Maya domesticated plants, bees, and insects but had no large mammals for protein sources. The black iguana spends less time in the water than the green iguana, and it is possible to keep one alive for a long time without food or water, which made them an ideal provision for the trip back home. Today, hunting and farming iguanas is illegal in many parts of Central and South America.