When we think of the phrase “historical recipes,” many of us would think about the recipes passed down in our families. These would be dishes you would make on special occasions and remind you of memories of loved ones. But what about recipes from so far back in the past that no one alive remembers who wrote down the recipes? The recipes that can only be found in history books and manuscripts? Max Miller has taken the arduous task of trying to bring some of these recipes back from the past to the modern age through his Youtube channel, and now this cookbook, “Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4,000 Years of Recipes.”
After watching B. Dylan Hollis’ videos, I was introduced to the Tasting History with Max Miller Youtube channel. I binged watched Miller’s videos for weeks because I enjoyed how he balanced the recipes with the historical facts surrounding the dishes and the period they came from to give his viewers a deeper understanding of the past. When I heard about this cookbook, I knew I wanted to read it to support Miller’s research into history.
Miller begins his cookbook with an explanation of how his Youtube channel began and a list of ingredients uncommon to modern cooks but prevalent in historical recipes. He then breaks his book into five sections; The Ancient World, The British Isles, Continental Europe, The Near & Far East, and The New World. Each section is organized chronologically, with the oldest recipe he has chosen to highlight to the newest (as new as 1914). Each recipe is easy to read, and instructions are easy to follow, with a touch of history that makes Tasting History so unique.
There are some recipes that I would like to try from a historical perspective, like Mead, Gingerbread, Hippocras, Rapey, Soul Cakes, Lasagne, and a Tart of Apples. Then, there are recipes I would like to try because they sound simply delicious, such as Parthian Chicken, Sally Lunn Buns, Parmesan Cheese Ice Cream, Aztec Chocolate, Precedella, and Samosas. I probably will not try the Spartan Black Broth any time soon.
This is the first time I have ever read a cookbook cover to cover, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Full of stunning photographs, fascinating history facts, and mouthwatering recipes, Max Miller has shone a new light into the taste palettes of the past. Suppose you want to explore another element of sensory history, discovering the past through taste. In that case, I highly recommend that you read and try the recipes in “Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4,000 Years of Recipes” by Max Miller.