In case you missed it at this blog, I described some of the different ways food and other ingested substances were managed at Eastern State when it was a penitentiary: How and what the inmates were fed in the 19th century, and how and what the inmates were fed in the 20th century. That’s it for now, but it’s possible that I’ll add to this series eventually; I’ve been skimming oral history transcripts and annual reports so I am better equipped to answer questions on my evening tours, and I learn something new each visit. At the same time, there are many questions I have not yet been able to answer–for example, what was sold in the commissary (aside from salt, cigarettes, and snacks)? When was that practice established and where did the goods come from? Many interviews reference this important service, but details are scarce in the official reports I’ve read.
Modern Farmer investigates the trend of putting salt in coffee, and includes this little experiment You Can Do At Home!
Take a glass of tonic water, a very bitter drink due to the presence of quinine, and add salt. Taste it again, and what you’ll find is that the tonic tastes both less bitter and much sweeter. (Tonic water is already extremely sweet, but it’s hard to tell because of the overpowering bitterness.)
Keep adding salt, and the tonic will taste sweeter and sweeter, until eventually you’ve salted it too much, and it’ll taste salty.
It seems that space food has become a regular theme of these link roundups, but seriously: there is a comet called Lovejoy that spews sugar and alcohol as it burns across the great galactic void.
The Inquisitive Eater has been posting some delectable food poems by dead poets (hence “Medium of the Month”); this month they channel W. H. Auden, with a shout-out to M. F. K. Fisher.
You may count me among the legions who loathe candy corn, but I was still interested in The Plate’s history of this seasonal treat. I didn’t know that candy corn was probably invented in Philadelphia, for example! And once, long ago, someone brought me some fancy-flavored candy corn–raspberry and caramel apple, among other flavors–and while those weren’t terrible, I have wondered ever since what regular candy corn is supposed to taste like. Now I know:
The recipe, still pretty much what it was in the 1880s, is a mix of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla, and marshmallow creme, variously colored yellow, orange, and white, and poured into kernel-shaped molds.
If you’re now feeling nostalgic for the Halloween candies of our youth, you’ll enjoy this series of photorealistic oil paintings by Margaret Morrison: