The Foodlover's Atlas of the World

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9781552975718: The Foodlover's Atlas of the World
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Food contains the history of the world. Without words, it tells a thousand stories of political struggle, of ethnology, religion, geography and migration. Tastes, flavors and textures uncover centuries-old events; local specialties unlock the mysteries of agriculture and climate; foods foreign to a region reveal the effect of expansion and commerce. The Foodlover's Atlas of the World weaves an intricate portrait of the food regions of the world today and how they came to be. Renowned cookbook author Martha Rose Schulman lends her expertise to an intimate look at what makes each cuisine unique, engaging the mind as much as the taste buds.

A journey across many lands, The Foodlover's Atlas of the World gives in-depth details on local customs and lore, typical menus and traditional ingredients for each region. For the cook, the casual food reader, the gastronomic fanatic and the cultural historian, there is no other book on the food of the world that packs such a visual, cultural and culinary punch.

The Foodlover's Atlas of the World features forty-three distinctive regions and subregions that go beyond political boundaries to gastronomic borders; and close to 300 evocative photographs, 90 special recipes, plus sample menus, dish definitions, local food lore and historical detail.

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About the Author:

Martha Rose Shulman, famous for her Parisian supper clubs, has spent a lifetime catering, teaching and entertaining on a grand scale. Her knowledge of the world's foods and their origins is astounding, as evidenced by her many successful cookbooks, including: Supper Club: Chez Martha Rose; The Vegetarian Feast; Mexican Light: Exciting, Healthy Recipes from the Border and Beyond; Provençal Light: Traditional Recipes from Provence for Today's Healthy Lifestyle; Mediterranean Light: Delicious Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine; Entertaining Light: Healthy Company Menus With Great Style, among many more. She is a well-recognized and trusted name whose loyal fans will be excited about this latest book.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

This is a book about the flavors of the countries of today's world. And being that, it is a geography and history, a story of migrations, religions, commerce, farming, ethnology, and culture. For one cannot consider the food of, say, Central Asia without talking about the influences of the Persian Empire and the impact of the windswept, inhospitable nature of its environment; or that of the Balkan Peninsula without understanding the reach of the Ottoman Empire. We cannot look at the cooking of China and Southeast Asia without taking note of the chile pepper, which arrived with European traders during the Age of Discovery and became so linked with local cooking that it is almost impossible to imagine these cuisines without that fiery ingredient. The cuisines of the Mediterranean owe much to the Arab expansion of the Middle Ages, and what would they be without the foods that came from the Americas, particularly the tomato?

Foodways migrate with peoples, whether that migration is the result of emigration (Chinese into Southeast Asia; Europeans to the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand), imperial expansion (Romans, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and Europeans), or commerce (the medieval and colonial spice trade and the New World sugar boom). Even forced emigration -- such as the African slave trade -- contributes to the evolution of the cuisines of a place, and the influences work in both directions. In parts of Brazil, the Caribbean, and the American South, signature dishes mirror their African counterparts.

Religion, too, has a profound effect on diet. Throughout the orthodox Christian world, for example, a wide range of vegetable dishes became a necessity because of the stringent fasting requirements of the Church. The vegetarian traditions of India, China, and much of Southeast Asia evolved because of similar requirements imposed by Hinduism and Buddhism. In countries where Islam and Judaism have dominated, pork is not part of the repertoire. And, of course, every place in the world has its special dishes associated with particular religious vacations and festivals.

Weather and geography are the great determining factors when it comes to the traditional staples of a place. If a land is not conducive to farming, societies may depend on grazing animals for their sustenance, and the foodways that result accommodate the nomadic lifestyle of a herder. Staples might consist of unleavened flat breads, which can be quickly made, fermented dairy products, and broiled and wind-dried meats. Maritime countries and regions depend on fish, both fresh and preserved. The richer the agriculture of a place, the more possibilities there are for a varied cuisine.

Often geography, climate, and the course of history have worked hand in hand. New staples were introduced into many countries from the outside and took hold because they thrived. Olives, for example, were planted throughout the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians and the Romans; the Romans cultivated wheat throughout their empire; and the Arabs brought rice to Spain. While it sometimes took time for these new foods to catch on, eventually they became defining ingredients, This type of evolution is still happening today -- perhaps more than ever because of the huge and rapid migrations of large numbers of people. Today, one would be hard-pressed to find a country whose food did not reflect outside influences of one kind or another.

With this in mind, I set out to write this book about food in its geographical context. It asks the question: What do places taste like, and why? What are their key ingredients, their signature dishes, and how and why did these evolve? It is a formidable project, one that could take a lifetime, and obviously I have barely scratched the surface here. Yet my own learning curve has been tremendous; understanding authentic flavors entailed a crash course in world history and ethnographics. And because I've included a smattering of recipes to illustrate the text, I've eaten very well along the way.

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A WORD ABOUT GASTRONOMIC BORDERS

I could have drawn The Foodlover's Atlas of the World in different ways. Gastronomic regions are not always easily defined by political borders, which are often drawn and then redrawn by statesmen at the end of a conflict. I would have found it difficult, before the break-up of the Soviet Union, for example, to include the Middle Eastern-influenced Caucasian cuisines in a chapter on Russia. For this reason, countries are grouped according to their influences rather than their locations and, where further links exist, these are referred to in the text. Regionalism within a country illustrates another way in which the map of the world doesn't always define the map of its cuisines. One cannot, for example, talk about the cuisine of China, Italy, France, and the United States without looking closely at the cooking of particular regions. Italy was not even a unified country until quite recently, and the food varies considerably from one area to another. These countries are subdivided into areas of culinary similarity.

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9781554074259: The Foodlover's Atlas of the World

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ISBN 10:  1554074258 ISBN 13:  9781554074259
Publisher: Firefly Books, 2009
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