Monday, August 26, 2013

Culinary Pioneering

I came across a quote from Jonathan Swift this week:

"It was a brave man who first tried an oyster."

I've often had similar thoughts.  So much of what we take for granted in our food and cooking must have seemed so strange when it was tried for the first time.

Who first tried mushrooms?  How did they figure out which ones were poisonous and which weren't?

Who first decided to put yeast in bread, and what on earth did he think was going to happen when he did?  How did we figure out that the texture of bread improved if you kneaded it?

Who decided that pickles and mustard would be good together on hamburgers?

What made someone think that crawfish would be fit for human consumption?  For that matter, what about fish eggs, squid, snails, and stomach lining?

Who thought of breading meat and cooking it in a pool of hot fat?

Whose idea was ketchup?  Since when should tomato sauce be sweet, and who would have thought that it would become the standard topping for fried potatoes?

Someone had to be first in all these things.

The tremendous variety seen in the foods of the world is a testimony to the inventiveness and creativity given to man by God.  The desire to try new things and to use available resources in better ways has not only impacted the history of food, but these are the same desires that have motivated all kinds of exploration and discovery throughout history.

This is the work of man as he is created in the image of God.  The creativity of man shows nothing if not the creativity of the One who made him.

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