Food History, Tradition, and Combinations

It occurred to me some time ago that traditional food combinations were not only made because of taste, but also because of availability. It’s obvious if you think about it, but we live in a culture where avocados & pineapple are available in the North, mid-winter.

Combinations like these:

  • peas & pearl onions
  • tomatoes & chilis
  • storage onions & aged cheeses
  • potatoes & leeks

It seemed that a good way to find these combinations was to look for traditional feast foods. Of course people would save that special piece of whatever for a feast, but without refrigeration, canning, or other means of preservation, the ability to hold onto something was limited and so the foods had to be in season, yes?

What seasonal combinations are used by your family/tradition? What do you especially like? What  foods do you wait for that are only available for a short time?

My favorite  spring & summer dishes are below.

Spring

Ham and asparagus risotto with Parmesan.

Variations: loin bacon or Canadian bacon for the meat. Peas, if I couldn’t get asparagus. Asiago can be used instead of Parmesan.

Summer

4Ps: pesto, pasta, and peas, with Parmesan.

Variations: pesto & butter, just peas & pasta with Parmesan.

While researching this, I also found an interesting site. Here:

http://www.foodmuseum.com/

J

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