French cuisine is such a staple in our understanding of fine food that we forget the accidents of history that led to its creation. Accounting for Taste brings these "accidents" to the surface, illuminating the magic of French cuisine and the mystery behind its historical development. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson explains how the food of France became French cuisine.
This momentous culinary journey begins with Ancien Régime cookbooks and ends with twenty-first-century cooking programs. It takes us from Carême, the "inventor" of modern French cuisine in the early nineteenth century, to top chefs today, such as Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pépin. Not a history of French cuisine, Accounting for Taste focuses on the people, places, and institutions that have made this cuisine what it is today: a privileged vehicle for national identity, a model of cultural ascendancy, and a pivotal site where practice and performance intersect. With sources as various as the novels of Balzac and Proust, interviews with contemporary chefs such as David Bouley and Charlie Trotter, and the film Babette's Feast, Ferguson maps the cultural field that structures culinary affairs in France and then exports its crucial ingredients. What's more, well beyond food, the intricate connections between cuisine and country, between local practice and national identity, illuminate the concept of culture itself.
To Brillat-Savarin's famous dictum—"Animals fill themselves, people eat, intelligent people alone know how to eat"—Priscilla Ferguson adds, and Accounting for Taste shows, how the truly intelligent also know why they eat the way they do.
“Parkhurst Ferguson has her nose in the right place, and an infectious lust for her subject that makes this trawl through the history and cultural significance of French food—from French Revolution to Babette’s Feast via Balzac’s suppers and Proust’s madeleines—a satisfying meal of varied courses.”—Ian Kelly, Times (UK)
We didn’t always eat the way we do today, or think and feel about eating as we now do. But we can trace the roots of our own eating culture back to the culinary world of early modern Europe, which invented cutlery, haute cuisine, the weight-loss diet, and much else besides. Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup tells the story of how early modern Europeans put food into words and words into food, and created an experience all their own. Named after characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, this lively study draws on sources ranging from cookbooks to comic novels, and examines both the highest ideals of culinary culture and its most grotesque, ridiculous and pathetic expressions. Robert Appelbaum paints a vivid picture of a world in which food was many things—from a symbol of prestige and sociability to a cause for religious and economic struggle—but always represented the primacy of materiality in life.
Peppered with illustrations and a handful of recipes, Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup will appeal to anyone interested in early modern literature or the history of food.
Spaghetti with meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, margherita pizzas, ricotta and parmesan cheeses—we have Italy to thank for some of our favorite comfort foods. Home to a dazzling array of wines, cheese, breads, vegetables, and salamis, Italy has become a mecca for foodies who flock to its pizzerias, gelateries, and family-style and Michelin-starred restaurants. Taking readers across the country’s regions and beyond in the first book in Reaktion’s new Foods and Nations series, Al Dente explores our obsession with Italian food and how the country’s cuisine became what it is today.
Fabio Parasecoli discovers that for centuries, southern Mediterranean countries such as Italy fought against food scarcity, wars, invasions, and an unfavorable agricultural environment. Lacking in meat and dairy, Italy developed foodways that depended on grains, legumes, and vegetables until a stronger economy in the late 1950s allowed the majority of Italians to afford a more diverse diet. Parasecoli elucidates how the last half century has seen new packaging, conservation techniques, industrial mass production, and more sophisticated systems of transportation and distribution, bringing about profound changes in how the country’s population thought about food. He also reveals that much of Italy’s culinary reputation hinged on the world’s discovery of it as a healthy eating model, which has led to the prevalence of high-end Italian restaurants in major cities around the globe.
Including historical recipes for delicious Italian dishes to enjoy alongside a glass of crisp Chianti, Al Dente is a fascinating survey of this country’s cuisine that sheds new light on why we should always leave the gun and take the cannoli.
In 1949, Iowa farm wife Evelyn Birkby began to write a weekly column entitled “Up a Country Lane” for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, now called the Valley News. Sixty-three years, one Royal typewriter, and five computers later, she is still creating a weekly record of the lives and interests of her family, friends, and neighbors. Her perceptive, closely observed columns provide a multigenerational biography of rural and small-town life in the Midwest over decades of change. Now she has sifted through thousands of columns to give us her favorites, guaranteed to delight her many longtime and newfound fans.
Evelyn begins with her very first column, whose focus on the Christmas box prepared by a companionable group of farm wives, the constant hard work of farming, and an encounter with an elderly stranger over a yard of red gingham sets the tone for future columns. Optimistic even in the wake of sorrow, generous-spirited but not smug, humorous but not folksy, wise but not preachy, Evelyn welcomes the adventures and connections that each new day brings, and she masterfully shares them with her readers.
Tales of separating cream on the back porch at Cottonwood Farm, raising a teddy bear of a puppy in addition to a menagerie of other animals, surviving an endless procession of Cub and Boy Scouts, appreciating a little boy’s need to take his toy tractor to church, blowing out eggs to make an Easter egg tree, shopping for bargains on the day before Christmas, camping in a converted Model T “house car,” and adjusting to the fact of one’s tenth decade of existence all merge to form a world composed of kindness and wisdom with just enough humor to keep it grounded. Recipes for such fare as Evelyn’s signature Hay Hand Rolls prove that the young woman who was daunted by her editor’s advice to “put in a recipe every week” became a talented cook. Each of the more than eighty columns in this warmhearted collection celebrates not a bygone era tinged with sentimentality but a continuing tradition of neighborliness, Midwest-nice and Midwest-sensible.
Nelson Algren University of Iowa Press, 1992 Library of Congress TX715.2.M53A44 1992 | Dewey Decimal 641.5977
Think of Nelson Algren, and many images come to mind—Chicago's unappreciated genius, champion of the poor and disenfranchised, lover of Simone de Beauvoir, author ofThe Man with the Golden Arm and A Walk on the Wild Side—but the author of a cookbook? Here it is: the never-before-published America Eats, a delightful, thoroughly entertaining look at who we are and what we love to eat.
The origins of America Eats are as fascinating as the book itself. In the late 1930s Nelson Algren joined such writers as Saul Bellow, Richard Wright, Margaret Alexander, and Arna Bontemps in the employ of the Illinois Writers Project, a branch of the federal Works Progress Administration. Algren's assignment: to collect information for the national "America Eats" program, a pioneering enterprise whose members hoped to produce a series of regional guides describing types of immigration, settlement, and customs as these factors related to the universal language of food. Algren completed his project, a look at the foodways of the Midwest, but by the early 1940s the fruits of "America Eats" had been filed away as the government mobilized for war.
Now at long last Algren's America Eats is published as one of the inaugural volumes in the Iowa Szathmáry Culinary Arts Series. This cookbook, part anecdotal history, part culinary commentary, is an engaging romp through the attitudes and activities surrounding food in the Midwest. An enticing and useful feature of the book is an all-new recipe section tested in the kitchens of the Culinary Arts Division of Johnson &Wales University under the watchful eye of Chef Laureate Louis Szathmáry.
Those same interviewing skills that led to Algren's successful depiction of Chicago's inner-city residents served him well as he spoke with a variety of cooks, casual and accomplished, and gathered all kinds of recipes, tried and traditional. Algren recorded it all in his inimitable style, and modern readers are richer for his efforts. From descriptions of the rituals at an Indiana family reunion ("When a slacking off in the first rush of eating is indicated by the gradual resumption of conversation, the servers start a second attack, urging everyone to have another helping of everything") to the holiday specialty on a Minnesota immigrant's table, lutefisk ("Any newcomer present will be assured, 'You won't like it, nobody likes lutefisk at first'"), America Eats offers all readers a true feast.
Gravenstein. Coe’s Golden Drop. Mendocino Cox. The names sound like something from the imagination of Tolkien or perhaps the ingredients in a dubious magical potion rather than what they are—varieties of apples. But as befits their enchanting names, apples have transfixed and beguiled humans for thousands of years.
Apple: A Global History explores the cultural and culinary importance of a fruit born in the mountains of Kazakhstan that has since traversed the globe to become a favorite almost everywhere. From the Garden of Eden and Homer’s Odyssey to Johnny Appleseed, William Tell, and even Apple Computer, Erika Janik shows how apples have become a universal source of sustenance, health, and symbolism from ancient times to the present day.
Featuring many mouthwatering illustrations, this exploration of the planet’s most popular fruit includes a guide to selecting the best apples, in addition to apple recipes from around the world, including what is believed to be the first recorded apple recipe from Roman gourmand Marcus Apicius. And Janik doesn’t let us forget that apples are not just good eating; their juice also makes for good drinking—as the history of cider in North America and Europe attests.
Janik grew up surrounded by apple iconography in Washington, the “apple state,” so there is no better author to tell this fascinating story. Readers will eat up this surprising and entertaining tale of a fruit intricately linked to human history.
Compiled by four sisters and based on their recollections of their childhood in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Apple Betty & Sloppy Joe captures the glow of memories formed while growing up in a midwestern kitchen. From Lemon Meringue Pie to Tomato Soup Cake, from Mom's Chicken Pie to Grandma Noffke's Sliced Cucumber Pickles, this charming book features hundreds of recipes (some classic, some quirky), plus dozens of food and cooking-related anecdotes, memories, humorous asides, and period photos that transport readers back to Mom's or Grandma's kitchen, circa 1950.
The Sanvidges share a legacy of beloved dishes and food memories that resonate not just for their family, but for readers everywhere who grew up in a small midwestern town - or wish they had. Nostalgic, funny, and warmhearted, Apple Betty & Sloppy Joe celebrates the ways food and food memories link us to our past, and to each other. A delightful gift for food lovers of any generation.
Craving dolphin meatballs? Can't find a reliable restaurant for boiled parrot? Have a hankering for jellyfish omelettes, sows' wombs in brine, sheep's brain pate, or stuffed mice? Look no further than Around the Roman Table, a unique hybrid cookbook and history lesson. A portrait of Roman society from the vantage point of the dining table, kitchen, and market stalls, Around the Roman Table offers both an account of Roman eating customs and 150 recipes reconstructed for the modern cook.
Faas guides readers through the culinary conquests of Roman invasions—as conquerors pillaged foodstuffs from faraway lands—to the decadence of Imperial Rome and its associated table manners, dining arrangements, spices, seasonings, and cooking techniques. With recipes for such appetizing dishes as chicken galantine with lambs' brains and fish relish, Around the Roman Table is ideal for food aficionados who wish to understand how the desire for power and conquest was manifested in Roman appetites.
"There are many misconceptions about the food of ancient Rome that Faas sets out to correct. The result is half cookbook, half history book and is entirely fascinating to both chef and antiquarian alike."—Washington Times
In Art, Culture, and Cuisine, Phyllis Pray Bober examines cooking through an assortment of recipes as well as the dual lens of archaeology and art history. Believing that the unity of a culture extends across all forms of expression, Bober seeks to understand the minds and hearts of those who practiced cookery or consumed it as reflected in the visual art of the time.
Bober draws on archaeology and art history to examine prehistoric eating customs in ancient Turkey; traditions of the great civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome; and rituals of the Middle Ages. Both elegant and entertaining, Art, Culture, and Cuisine reveals cuisine and dining's place at the heart of cultural, religious, and social activities that have shaped Western sensibilities.
"Using gastronomy as its focus, lacy language as its style, and illustrations to enchant, Art, Culture, and Cuisine researches exactly those subjects from the time of the 'first hominids' to the 15th century. . . . The writing is extremely witty, and the dinner menus with recipes are esoteric, delightful, and mostly doable."—Library Journal
"An ambitious attempt to find culinary echoes of visual and sociological movements throughout history. In sturdy, robust prose . . . the author marches us through every major civilization from prehistory through the late Gothic."—New York Times Book Review