Kim Bayer | AnnArbor.com Contributor
Until recently I had not heard of "culinary historians". Nor could I have imagined the passion such a calling could generate. That was before my introduction to CHAA. The program on my first visit was a lecture about The Egg! Did you know there are many similarities between human and chicken reproductive systems? That was just the first of many startling and fascinating facts presented that day. And our lecturer was so knowledgeable and entertaining that after the Q&A members followed him to his car with more questions!
There's even a blog written by an Atlanta nutritional anthropologist (another unusual field of study) - The Culinary Historian. Dig a little deeper and you will find whole sections in some libraries devoted to food preparation and consumption dating back as far as the Greeks and Romans. A fine example is our own University of Michigan Clements Library's archive. There a small and devoted volunteer staff works tirelessly to gather and catalog information relating to American culinary history, as well as presenting the occasional program.
And speaking of "the spice of life", according to a recent lecture it was spices from the East that literally made life bearable for the Greeks and Romans. Theirs was a "fragrant" existence without plumbing or many other waste disposal conveniences that we take for granted. To counteract that situation they regularly dispatched fleets of ships and land-based caravans to the Orient to procure for them huge quantities of rich spices. This vast and steady traffic resulted in the creation of a whole system of enterprise and travel along routes still in use today.
FLASH This just in, a new book compiled in part by going through Lincoln's grocery bills: