Monday, September 05, 2005

How France Gave Chicory to America

Chicory is a blue-flowered European herb related to endive. The long white root is roasted, ground, and can be brewed by itself to make a drink that resembles coffee. The French started using chicory widely around 1806 when Napoleon was trying to make France self-sufficient. Unfortunately, coffee could not be grown in France, but chicory was everywhere. The Creole French of New Orleans had used chicory as far back as 1688 as a sort of pioneering coffee substitute, but after the Napoleonic declarations, chicory use became a sentimental part of their cuisine as well.
I thought that New Orleans really was the only place that anyone used chicory. I had no clue it came from France in the first place.

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