I do a lot of cooking and I am often caused to wonder how certain culinary matters were invented or developed. Who first mashed potatoes, for example? Or who, indeed, first thought those ugly brown tubers were of any value at all?
One day I made a meringue topping for a cake I was experimenting with. As I was whisking the egg whites my mind automatically wondered who on earth could ever have thought to do that first? After all, without a mechanical whisk, beating egg whites to a stiff peak takes an age of hard work; it isn’t something you would stumble across accidentally. It turns out, of course, that the discovery of meringue is disputed but it apparently took place sometime between 1604 and 1692.
Fair enough. But taking one further step back, who’s idea was it to separate egg whites and egg yolks in the first place? Once again it is a less than obvious notion, and I have no answer yet. Does anyone know how this came about?