Cooks, 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.