A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell, Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (June 18, 2013)

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

A riveting narrative history of food as seen through 100 recipes, from ancient Egyptian bread to modernist cuisine.
We all love to eat, and most people have a favorite ingredient or dish. But how many of us know where our much-loved recipes come from, who invented them, and how they were originally cooked? In A HISTORY OF FOOD IN 100 RECIPES, culinary expert and BBC television personality William Sitwell explores the fascinating history of cuisine from the first cookbook to the first cupcake, from the invention of the sandwich to the rise of food television. A book you can read straight through and also use in the kitchen, A HISTORY OF FOOD IN 100 RECIPES is a perfect gift for any food lover who has ever wondered about the origins of the methods and recipes we now take for granted.

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I have not yet finished this book, but I’m up to #40 and am really adoring it. The recipes are not necessarily recipes that one could set out to make. They are historical, and sometimes obscure or almost impossible for us moderns. Also, much of the time the “recipe” is used merely as an introduction to an area of cooking that has not generally been documented. The tone of the book is gossipy,in the best way. While I am not fond of the partial sentences- I do like the chatty tone; it’s like inviting the author to a dinner party where he goes off on tangents that are interesting and may or may not address the food! This does make it a lot of fun to read, and it’s great for reading piecemeal. There are some recipes that I would really love to make… but that’s not the reason to read this; it’s definitely more about the history of food and cooking. I find this fascinating, and the author is very entertaining in his writing. Recommended for food nerds, especially, or for dedicated cooks. I just learned when the pressure cooker was invented! I will add more notes to this as I proceed through the book. Addendum 1: I am personally VERY intrigued that the first published recipe for puff pastry dough is actually a recipe for eht “quick-and-dirty” version! it makes sense, because the baker’s roots were in making pies, and the q&d puff paste is sort of a cross between modern laminated puff pastry and piecrust. The recipe cited is pretty much identical to the ones I’ve used myself. Addendum 2: The hollandaise sauce recipe here does not include egg yolks! It’s just butter and lemon juice and seasoning. I will have to try it. Addendum 3: I have now made the no-yolk hollandaise. Proportions and amounts were lacking in the recipe, so I used 1 stick- 4 oz.- of salted butter, melted in a double boiler. I then removed it from the heat to cool, and when it was room temp whisked in 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. I may add a fourth, and it could also use more salt. Still! it did emulsify (which I’d have bet it would not), and makes a tasty, albeit fairly runny, sauce if put on anything hot. I expect the yolks make it more viscous, and also less fussy about the emulsifying. At this point, mine is rather a cross between a hollandaise and a buerre blanc. It was excellent with steamed lobster, and would be wonderful with artichokes or grilled asparagus. I do not think it is thick enough for eggs benedict, unless one replaces the canadian bacon with smoked salmon. Addendum 4: At some point I really have to make the steamed brioche with the rose mozz. This is fascinating, and i don’t need extra equipment to so it. Also, the carbonara recipe looks really fantastic. I’m really happy with the proto-hollandaise- it’s SO EASY, and has a lot of potential uses, especially when one considers variations on it (like lime…). Summing up: It’s really not a cookbook to cook from- these recipes are the exception. It is, though, a fascinating look at the history of food tastes and techniques over several millenia. The tone is very chatty, though I would have appreciated some copy-editing to reduce the number of incomplete sentences! I suppose these did add to the gossi8py feel,though I found them distracting. It’s not a substitute for an in-depth look at a cooking era- Like Laura Shapiro’s books- but it’s a great and entertaining overview, and some of the recipes are actually cook-able and enticing. And I figure I’ll be making the proto-hollandaise a LOT.

  • Title: A History of Food in 100 Recipes
  • Autor: William Sitwell
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • Download File Format: PDF, EPUB, MOBI, AZW3 (Kindle)

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