We’ve become very disassociated with our food. We go to the store, buy packaged products, and return home and throw them in a pot or the microwave. But where did those products come from? Even if it’s in the produce section, knowing where those potatoes came from is important. Today I’m talking with Emmy-award winning cultural historian Libby O’Connell about a history of American Food.
If you want to be an interesting guest at your next dinner party, you’ll want to read Dr. Libby O’Connell’s book The American Plate (see the link below). You’ll dazzle your dinner companions with interesting facts like the origins of tomatoes.
Because most people think tomatoes originated in Italy, they’re really surprised to learn that through this discussion of a history of American food that tomatoes actually originated here, in North America. They were exported to Europe where they took well to the Italian and Spanish climates.
These kinds of culinary nuggets will impress everyone around you. And that’s what we’re all about. Right?
Dr. O’Connell talks with me about her background and how she came to write this book of the culinary history of America.
The past is like another country. It’s good to visit and try their food. — Libby O’Connell, PhD #namelymarly
The history of food is very handy for breaking ice. — Libby O’Connell, PhD #namelymarly
The past is like another country and you want try the food their too. — Libby O’Connell, PhD #namelymarly
Chocolate was consumed as a beverage for thousands of years before it was eaten as candy. — Libby O’Connell, PhD #namelymarly
There’s nothing like fresh herbs to brighten the flavors that you’re serving to your family. — Libby O’Connell, PhD #namelymarly
We talk about some of the foods that are outlined in her book, like potatoes, tomatoes, and even some more lesser known ingredients like sassafras.
Our goal at Namely Marly is to provide you with inspiring resources to take on a vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and inspired, energetic living. We hope today’s interview with Dr. Libby O’Connell about her book An American Plate has been helpful and informative.
Go be your best you!
Featured Content – A History of American Food
Here are some of the highlights of my discussion with Libby, where we discuss:
- Libby talks about her educational background which led her to have a passion for history
- Libby talks about how she helped found the History Channel
- We talk about how foods we associate with other countries, like tomatoes, actually originated in the Americas!
- Some foods went from the Americas to Europe and then 150 years later they bring food back with them
- We talk about the migration of potatoes…which are not native to Europe
- We talk about Columbus and the spice he was looking for when he “discovered” America
- We talk about the Mayian Spicy Drink!
- We talk about domesticated animals owned by American Indians, which did not include horses!
- We even talk about sassafras…and a nice trick you can use it for!
- Did you know about the medicinal value of herbs from a historical perspective?
- And then there’s the cleaning value of herbs, including Rue
- We also talk about which herbs you can grow inside
- We talk about the history of some of our favorite foods…cookies!
- Libby shares about Fanny Farmer who really began the science of cooking
- Libby talks about her next book which discusses American Presidents and the food they used to represent themselves to others
This episode includes references to some resources you might find interesting. Here they are:
- Check out the site Libby O’Connell
- Read Dr. O’Connell’s book The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites
- Related post: Listen to Tips for Dealing with Food, Family and Feelings with Dawn Lerman on the Namely Marly Podcast
- Give a shout-out to Libby and connect via Twitter and Instagram
- Check out Dr. O’Connell’s recipe for Red Cross War Cake
- Learn more about The History Channel
- Marly mentions the book Scourge by Jonathan B. Tucker, about the vaccination for Small Pox
- Learn about the herb Rue
- Learn about Fannie Farmer who created one of the first cookbooks
- Connect with Marly: Namely Marly | Instagram | Twitter
- Production, music, graphic art & sound design by Shawn Beelman
- Learn about future Namely Marly Podcast episodes, recipes, and thoughts on living an inspired life by subscribing to the Namely Marly newsletter. Just add your email in the subscribe section at the bottom of this page. You’ll be glad you did!
- Check out the other Namely Marly Podcast episodes.
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That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, thanks so much for joining in the discussion!