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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Napoleon Bonaparte "The Father Of Canned Food"!

A little bit of canning history...
While food preservation goes back to times when man was still living in hunter gatherer communities - using cold to freeze and heat to dry foods therefore elongating the shelf life of that food - and while food preservation is a progressive art that evolved in heaps since those days, canning in this regards is a relatively new method. However, and while it existed in the world way before the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, he is considered "the father" of canning!

Sir Bonaparte as it appears had offered 12,000 French francs to anyone who could find a way to prevent military food supplies from spoiling. Napoleon himself presented the prize in 1795 to Chef Nicholas Appert, who invented the process of packing meat and poultry in glass bottles, corking them, and submerging them in boiling water. Without realising it, he sterilised them, stopping bacterial spoilage and growth.

This military secret soon reached England where, in 1810, Peter Durance patented the use of metal containers for canning. Englishman William Underwood migrated to Boston and established a canning plant in 1821. This was the beginning of canning in the United States. Underwood (even today, a brand of "deviled ham") is America's oldest canning company.

I find these stories tremendously interesting, to see how the food we have today and take for granted was actually a creative process at those times popping up out of necessities. I tell you some of my country's canning stories and show you how to make some of the oldest traditional recipes in chapter 2 of my book Plated Heirlooms. Really an interesting read into the culture and history of Palestinian cuisine. You can buy #PlatedHeirlooms at Jashanmal bookstores, Kinokuniya, SCAFA cooking school, Book Munch Cafe and through Gulf News online store who will deliver it straight to you.
I also give you a taster of these ancient techniques and recipes through my line of Organic Mooneh Essentials ( #OMEbyDimaSharif ) which you will be able to buy straight from me at the Farmers' Market On The Terrace starting November. You can also purchase these from Al Falamanki Cafe (Dubai), Al Maeda Restaurant in Double Tree by Hilton JBR and soon from Lafayette Gourmet (Dubai). Do give them a try I know you will love them and your body will love you for it as they are organic and packed with probiotics and fermented goodness.