Photo credit: California Sunday Magazine

History is a subject that interested me in school, but I had trouble retaining the information. I’d read the text and listen to the lecture, yet when it came down to take the test my rewards for my efforts rarely reaped top marks.

I love history for providing a framework for why the world is, context for why it isn’t and a blueprint for what it could be. When history unfolds through the lens of food, its lessons stick with me much longer than a stubborn jar peanut butter. Even more so when I’m in an interactive experience, like the tapas tour in Madrid where I learned that the origins of the Spanish tapa may have began as a small snack to tide over field workers when they got too tipsy during their lunch break.

We soaked in this factoid while sipping a vermouth and chowing down on tostas at Los Gatos in the historic Huertas neighborhood, a more appealing environment than a sterile lecture hall by spades.

This weekend, I’ve rounded up a handful of nuggets that look at the origins of things using food as a flashpoint for historical, cultural momentum:

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Weekend Reads is an almost-weekly series on The Curious Passport and features a round-up of travel news, features and other related links (probably related to food, fitness or the outdoors) I’ve either found around the internet or has been sent my way by friends and family.