Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cooks, Gluttons, and Gourmets

Cooks, Gluttons and GourmetsCooks, Gluttons and Gourmets by Betty Wason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a charming history of cooking. I was interested to see from the introduction that the author went to considerable trouble back in 1962 to unearth much of the information in the book ... including finding a Chinese translator to read a 14th century Chinese cooking text. She writes in a personable way that makes you feel as if you have found a new friend.

This is a fairly comprehensive overview of the history of cooking from cavemen to Asia to Europe to New Orleans to 1962 ... and much more. A lifetime of reading food writing and history (especially the Time Life Foods of the World series) meant that little of the information was actually new to me. However, Wason tended to focus upon personalities to carry her histories forward and that is whence issued much of the book's charm. Many of the little anecdotes on the way were new and I very much enjoyed reading the history overall because of them.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Go-To Snacks of Literary Greats

Wendy MacNaughton loves to snack on garlic croutons when working and began wondering about what the literary greats snacked on.
Walt Whitman began the day with oysters and meat, while Gustave Flaubert started off with what passed for a light breakfast in his day: eggs, vegetables, cheese or fruit, and a cup of cold chocolate. The novelist Vendela Vida told me she swears by pistachios, and Mark Kurlansky, the author of “Salt” and “Cod,” likes to write under the influence of espresso, “as black as possible.”
Luckily for us, she did a charming sketch of some of the great writers' favorite snacks. Check it out at the New York Times.

Via Scott Danielson on Google+