And in the beginning…

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Sobrino de Botin in Madrid, Spain, is the oldest restaurant in existence today. It claims to have opened in 1725, though in a different location. The restaurant Tavares, in Lisbon, Portugal, continuously open since 1784 in the same location (thought not the same building), claims to be the second oldest in the Iberian Peninsula.
There is, however, evidence that Henry III of France ate at the still-extant Tour d’Argent, in Paris, France, on March 4, 1582. Another claim to be the world’s oldest restaurant is made by Stiftskeller St. Peter, in Salzburg, Austria, which has been in existence since 803 AD, since the time of emperor Charlemagne, as an inn.


500 years ago, sugar was rare and mostly sourced from India. Then it became an expensive commodity primarily produced in tropical colonies.  It later grew into a less-costly commodity produced and traded among countries, and finally became a cheap everyday commodity, produced from both sugarcane and sugar beets. By about 1970, approximately 9% of all available food calories in the world, were in the form of sucrose. No other food in world history has had a comparable performance.


According to a survey amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.


One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.


Mayonnaise is said to be the invention of the French chef of the Duke de Richelieu in 1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon, his chef was creating a victory feast that included a sauce made of cream and eggs. When the chef realized that there was no cream in the kitchen, he improvised, substituting olive oil for the cream. A new culinary masterpiece was born, and the chef named it “Mayonnaise” in honor of the Duke’s victory.


Caffeine – there are 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of brewed

coffee, 10 milligrams in a six-ounce cup of cocoa, 5 to 10 milligrams in one ounce of bittersweet chocolate, and 5 milligrams in one ounce of milk chocolate.

Mmmmm chocolate…


Lord Henry and his lady were the hosts;

The party we have touched on were the guests:

Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts

To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.

I will not dwell upon ragouts or roasts,

Albeit all human history attests

That happiness for man—the hungry sinner!

Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.


from Don Juan, Canto the Thirteenth
by Lord Byron 1788-1824

Casu Marzu

The preparation of this cheese is quite simple. Just wrap it in cheesecloth and leave it outside. The cheese fly, piophila casei, will soon find it and turn it into a hatchery. Once the larvae have hatched they feed on the cheese and cause the cheese to partially decompose. It is then eaten maggots and all.
If the decomposition is allowed to continue for too long the cheese becomes toxic. Another problem is the larvae can pass through the stomach and embed itself in the intestinal lining of the consumer.

Never tried it – never will.

Coal Tar on the Menu

Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than regular sugar and is often recommended to diabetics and slimmers.  Sold in tablets and granular form it is most commonly used to sweeten beverages.

It can be used in cooking also however great care must be taken as too much will give a bitter taste.

And yes, it is manufactured from coal tar.  Coal tar is a thick, dark liquid that is a by- product of processing coal into coke and coal gas.