Gravy: International Emulsified Sauce of Mystery

Pan drippings did not originate in France. Just sayin. Photo from tastesbetterfromscratch.

 Leg of mutton, but no other meat is used. Prepare water; add fat; dodder [wild licorice] as desired; salt to taste; cypress [juniper berries]; onion; samidu [semolina]; cumin; coriander; leek and garlic, mashed with kisimmu [sour cream or yogurt]. It is ready to serve.

From “Three Babylonian Recipes You Can Make Today”

This is a recipe that starts with a gravy. Boil animal fat, water, and spices together, using semolina and yogurt as thickening agents. Combine with meat. It’s a recipe that is 3,600 years old, from ancient Babylon. Hammurabi and friends knew how to eat.

According to several internet cooking references, gravy was created in France because the medieval French wrote many cookbooks that used the technique. Gravé is a word from Middle English, which for some reason is credited to the French. Of course, one of the better techniques for making gravy involves using a roux–flour browned in meat drippings–and since roux is a French word (though it’s based on the Latin russet or red/brown), then obviously the French invented gravy! Certainly, that’s what the French would tell you.

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The Potato that Circumnavigated the Globe

An oldie but a goodie — from November 2019…

A potato, a yam, and a sweet potato were sitting in a bar. The sweet potato said, I think I’ve had a few too many… better call me a Tuber….

Fozzie Bear: What is the potato’s least favorite day of the week? Fry-Day! I’ll be here all week. Photo from Pinterest.

Did you know that yams and sweet potatoes are not the same–oh you did? Did you know that potatoes and sweet potatoes are not the same species–oh you did? Ok, did you know that sweet potatoes sailed to Polynesia? Gotcha there.

Also, potatoes once made Queen Elizabeth ill. Yams, which are more clever, once ruled the world. And, since those bastard potato plants pretty much destroyed an entire country and created a big chunk of a new one, that makes the lowly potato pretty down powerful. Yep, I started poking around to find out why potatoes and sweet potatoes aren’t related and I found all sorts of interesting stuff. We’re goin’ in!

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Whither Bacon?

Bacon Shortage? see Grist.com…from 2013

Coffee, then gas, paint, cars, toilet paper, artificial sweetener–my Diet Vanilla Coke!! my Starbuck’s Lite Bottled Frappaccinos, my Diet Mountain Dewwwwwwww— and, now, BACON?!?!?

Have we reached the end of civilization? Will this bacon shortage finally break our collective will?

I have news for all of us. While the pandemic has created and intensified shortages–supply and demand fluctuations–in some of our favorite products, a good chunk of the news around the Current Bacon Terror is manufactured. How do I know? Because we’ve been here before. Price spikes and shortages aren’t always related to the actual resource in demand.

Britain’s Gas Crisis, Explained! shouts The New York Times

However Will I Drive to the Grand Canyon?

Chances are, you’ve seen or heard about gas lines at some point in your lifetime. The first one I recall was way back in 1973, and, ever since then, gas shortages crop up with regularity in some part of the world, such as when hurricanes are forecast. This, despite gasoline consumption per person being down some 20-40% since the 1980s. We use less gas; gas costs more; temporary shortages cost spikes.

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