From lobster to oysters, it is surprising to think that the luxurious food we are now served in some of the top restaurants and cocktail bars was once the equivalent to spam. Read on to discover four gourmet foods that were once as cheap as chips…
1. Sushi – Sushi was not popular until the 17th century when a Japanese doctor had the idea to add vinegar to fermented rice so that the rice was edible. Prior to this, the rice was wrapped around the fish to preserve it, but no one wanted to consume it. Once the dish became edible, the popularity of it obviously soared, but it wasn’t until sushi arrived in the US that it became expensive because it had the word exotic attached to it.
2. Oysters – Oysters are now viewed as a lavish food and an aphrodisiac, yet that was not always the case. In the olden days, it was virtually impossible to get the oyster open, which was one of the main reasons why it was so cheap. It was during the industrial age that this delicacy began to boom; yet the price increase occurred because oysters are now scarce. Foreign oysters were imported to different countries during the 18th century without any consideration for the fact that they may carry diseases, which lead to a depletion in the number of oysters. Today, oysters are the ultimate luxury food. It’s good to have Gaviscon dual action handy, though, as they can cause acid reflux.
3. Polenta – For a lack of a better word, Polenta was viewed as gruel. It was food that those in working-class families depended on to survive, with richer people turning their nose up at the corn mush. Only recently has Polenta gone from rags to riches, with many restaurants putting a fine-dining spin on it.
4. Lobster – You may not be too surprised to learn that this food was once cheap in price considering it is literally a sea insect, meaning it falls into the same group of animals as the common bug and spider. In the past, fishermen viewed lobsters as giant hassles that got in the way of them capturing different species of fish. In fact, it was even ground up and used as a fertiliser because people were so averse to eating it. But when the railroad was invented, rich people were essentially tricked into buying sea insects, because they didn’t realise that it simply wasn’t the thing to do. And the rest is history!
Wash this down with a traditional drink: whiskey
1. Old Fashioned – This is one of the most famous whisky drinks that are available all over the world. There are many different variations of Old Fashioned. For a drink to quality as this cocktail, it simply needs to involve bitters being muddled with sugar and then alcohol being added, with brandy or whisky being the most common options. One of the most widely used recipes involves blended whisky, bitters, a cherry, a slice of orange, a slice of lemon and a sugar cube.
2. Mint Julep – This drink is like a whisky version of the Mojito, with whisky replacing white rum. Other ingredients include sprigs of mint, powdered sugar, and water. Whilst it comes from the south of the US, the origins of this drink are clouded, although it appears in literature as early as 1784 when it was prescribed to help with sickness.
3. Sazerac – This drink is a delicious blend of bourbon whisky, Peychaud bitters, superfine sugar, water, Ricard Pastis and a twist of lemon peel. It is served in an Old Fashioned glass, straight up without ice. With origins in pre-civil war New Orleans, it is believed that this is actually the oldest known American cocktail.
4. Manhattan – The Manhattan consists of bourbon whisky, angostura bitters, sweet vermouth, a maraschino cherry and a twist of orange peel. This drink can either be served on the rocks in a lowball glass or stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. It originated in the early 187-s at the Manhattan Club in New York City. Dr Iain Marshall is credited as creating this drink for a popular banquet.
5. Whisky Sour – Lastly, it’s all in the name with the Whisky Sour – if you like your drinks sour then you are guaranteed to love this cocktail. It is a mix of blended whisky, a slice of lemon, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. A lot of bartenders opt to include a dash egg white as well, which gives the drink a delicious frothiness. The oldest mention of this drink was in 19870 when it was referred to in a Wisconsin-based newspaper.