The Winter 2023 issue of Food & Dining Magazine is now available in all the familiar places: Louisville area eateries and food shops, newsstands and online.

Gastro Obscura is a division of Atlas Obscura; they’re endlessly entertaining and educational websites, and the center of the target in terms of my own interests. The challenge for me is refraining from linking to Gastro Obscura each Sunday.

Highly recommended, folks.

The Fantastical Feasts of England’s First Celebrity Chef, by Amanda Herbert (Gastro Obscura)

People who love extreme dining praise it as gritty and high-octane, a way to push back against older dining traditions imagined as stuffy and overly refined. But dining in the past was more dazzling, and more dangerous, than we could ever imagine. Robert May (c. 1588–1664), a celebrity chef in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, made his name by staging elaborate feasts full of atmospheric effects, sensory experiences, and dramatic, even downright risky, stunts. At May’s banquets, clouds of gunpowder smoke choked the air. Animals hopped along the table. And diners were never really sure if the food on their plate was dead or alive.