Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History

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9781590072844: Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History

This work was at least 3,000 years in the making as essays about food make your mouth water, your appetite build, and your appreciation for the art and history of cuisine grow by leaps and bounds. Mark Kurlansky, food historian and writer for Food and Wine magazine, comments about and introduces historical thoughts on everything from scrambled eggs to roast ribs of beef, souffles, and every category of food you can imagine. Some of the contributors include: Aristotle, Julia Child, James Beard, Gertrude Stein, and other famous authors, and historians. This enticing look at food is entertaining, amusing and fun.

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Review:

"Food is about agriculture, about ecology, about man's relationship with nature ... about nation-building, cultural struggles, friends and enemies ... and at times, even about sex." Thus Mark Kurlansky, author of the award-winning Cod and Salt, introduces Choice Cuts, his anthology of food writing throughout history. Kurlansky has cast his net very wide and presents a legion of food writers on every possible culinary subject.

The usual suspects are here, sometimes in triplicate: Brilliat Savarin on gourmets, female food-love, and how to gain weight; M.F.K. Fisher on bachelor cooking, the dislike of cabbage, and dinner at France's famed Monsieur Paul's in the 1940s; Elizabeth David on the folly of the garlic press, the glories of toast, and English pizza. But Kurlansky's trail starts much earlier with Plato on cooking (food as a branch of medicine, a notion shared by many modern advertisers), Heroditus on Egyptian dining, and, resoundingly, Mencius, a student of Confucius who, in the third century B.C., implored Chinese leaders to observe saner food and environmental policies.

There is a great deal to digest here, but readers can take small bites at their leisure. Enjoyed in this way, the book provides an endlessly fascinating glimpse of humankind's second--or is it the first?--greatest pleasure. --Arthur Boehm

From the Inside Flap:

once in awhile a writer of particular skills takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight.” That's how David McCullough described Mark Kurlansky's Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, a work that revealed how a meal can be as important as it is edible. Salt: A World History, its successor, did the same for a seasoning, and confirmed Kurlansky as one of our most erudite and entertaining food authors. Now, the winner of the James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing shares a varied selection of “choice cuts” by others, as he leads us on a mouthwatering culinary tour around the world and through history and culture from the fifth century B.C. to the present day.

Choice Cuts features more than two hundred pieces, from Cato to Cab Calloway. Here are essays by Plato on the art of cooking . . . Pablo Neruda on french fries . . . Alice B. Toklas on killing a carp . . . M. F

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