A History of Food in 100 Recipes

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

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by William Sitwell
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Here food writer and BBC personality Sitwell manages to trace culinary history from ancient Egypt to Heston Blumenthal's 2011 "meat fruit" in 100 steps. First published in the UK last year (and thus somewhat British in focus), this volume presents a series of informative, often playful, and nearly always opinionated essays, each focusing on a particular recipe or dish chosen to illustrate an important shift or trend in food or cooking. Entries include a recipe for salad dressing from 1699, the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree (1845), and Rice Krispies Treats (1941). Some recipes are detailed enough to cook from; others—particularly the older ones—are more basic sketches. But high-brow or low-brow, basic or gourmet, the 100 points of focus Stillwell brings before the reader are widely sourced from various cultural traditions and together constitute an enjoyably meandering and thought-provoking journey through the role of cooking in daily life. VERDICT More a good read than a recipe book (though both in a pinch), this title ought to interest foodies, especially Anglophiles.—Courtney Greene, Indiana Univ. Lib., Bloomington
Publishers Weekly
In this U.S. version of British food writer Sitwell’s trek through culinary space and time, dishes like fish and chips and toad in the hole are still of major import, adding quirky charm to this entertaining and well-researched compendium. From recipes based on Egyptian tomb wall paintings and the Bible up to those of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, the author’s timeline covers such foodie milestones as the first written reference to pasta, the first pie, the advent of the fork, a 17th-century meditation on salad dressing, and the realization that the Earl of Sandwich was more a discoverer than an inventor. Along the way, meals and the presentation of recipes grow ever more sophisticated. There’s a palatable change in specificity between a 1660s recipe for pea soup calling for “about two quarts of peas... and a little slice of bacon” and a 1900s Scotch barley broth calling for one-and-a-quarter pounds of beef and five ounces of barley. In an intriguing chapter focusing on a butter crawfish recipe written circa 1604 by a Lady Elinore Fettiplace, Sitwell points out how, in her recipe collection, she “separates the sweet from the savory, moving away from the medieval habit of laying everything on the table at once. ” With such instances of cultural insight, Sitwell elevates this collection from curious cookbook to a serious study. Agent: Caroline Michel, PFD. (June)
The Observer
William Sitwell has pulled off something clever: a thoroughly researched and witty history that is both compelling and teeming with scholarly facts...you don't even need to be a raging foodie to enjoy this.
From the Publisher
What a splendid book: it manages to be a recipe collection, a history of cooking and, in passing, a history of the world all at once.—Tom Standage, author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity

Sitwell is without doubt one of the great food writers of our day. Every serious cook should read this book at least once.—Marco Pierre White

Almost every sentence of his scrupulously researched and breezily confident book oozes with a passion for eating...what it has over all its predecessors is structural as well as stylish: a pick-up-and-smile quality.—The Times

William Sitwell has pulled off something clever: a thoroughly researched and witty history that is both compelling and teeming with scholarly facts...you don't even need to be a raging foodie to enjoy this.—The Observer

An enjoyably meandering and thought-provoking journey through the role of cooking in everyday life...this title ought to interest foodies, especially Anglophiles — Library Journal

Sitwell elevates this collection from curious cookbook to a serious study — Publisher's Weekly

Sitwell deftly inserts interesting tidbits ranging from the changes wrought by such appliances as refrigerators and gas stoves to the impact of online technology...Good fun — Kirkus Reviews"

Quirky, entertaining, educational and downright gastronomic good fun...Sitwell's flawless presentation makes this a delightful treat full of interesting if little remembered facts. Anyone with an interest in food or history will enjoy this colorful, thoroughly researched tour through time, fads and groceries."——Sandy Amazeen, Monsters and Critics"

A generous tasting menu that evokes the people, places, influences, intrigues, and inventions that have guided the story of food through the millennia."
— Elle Magazine

What food lovers will be reading at the beach; the format delivers culture in fascinating, digestible chunks.—The Washington Post

A captivating romp through time punctuated with recipes—SimplyRecipes.com

--Sandy Amazeen
"Quirky, entertaining, educational and downright gastronomic good fun...Sitwell's flawless presentation makes this a delightful treat full of interesting if little remembered facts. Anyone with an interest in food or history will enjoy this colorful, thoroughly researched tour through time, fads and groceries."
-- Elle Magazine
"A generous tasting menu that evokes the people, places, influences, intrigues, and inventions that have guided the story of food through the millennia."
The Washington Post
What food lovers will be reading at the beach; the format delivers culture in fascinating, digestible chunks.
SimplyRecipes.com
A captivating romp through time punctuated with recipes
—Sandy Amazeen
"Quirky, entertaining, educational and downright gastronomic good fun...Sitwell's flawless presentation makes this a delightful treat full of interesting if little remembered facts. Anyone with an interest in food or history will enjoy this colorful, thoroughly researched tour through time, fads and groceries."
— Elle Magazine
"A generous tasting menu that evokes the people, places, influences, intrigues, and inventions that have guided the story of food through the millennia."
The Times
Almost every sentence of his scrupulously researched and breezily confident book oozes with a passion for eating...what it has over all its predecessors is structural as well as stylish: a pick-up-and-smile quality.
Tom Standage
What a splendid book: it manages to be a recipe collection, a history of cooking and, in passing, a history of the world all at once.
Marco Pierre White
Sitwell is without doubt one of the great food writers of our day. Every serious cook should read this book at least once.
Kirkus Reviews
British food writer/editor Sitwell explores shifting tastes and styles in cooking through individual dishes. The author begins in the second millennia B.C. with a bread recipe, including an ancient Egyptian wall painting to illustrate the methods involved. The early recipes are quite vague; Sitwell notes that well into the 19th century, with fine cuisine limited to aristocratic mansions, published cookbooks were generally expositions of food philosophy by male chefs who "wouldn't want [their] rivals to get hold of [their] kitchen secrets." Cooking times began to appear during the Renaissance, and it was the influential Victorian manual for anxious wives Beeton's Book of Household Management that popularized the practice of listing the ingredients separately from instructions. Mrs. Beeton's roly-poly jam pudding (1861) joins a cavalcade of quintessentially British items, including "peas soope" (1669), but Sitwell gives ample space to such revered Frenchmen as Brillat-Savarin (stuffed roast pheasant, 1825) and Escoffier (peach Melba, 1903). No-nonsense Americans like Fannie Farmer (strawberry shortcake, 1896) and The Joy of Cooking's Irma Rombauer (quick oatmeal cookies, 1931) also get their due, though Sitwell is dubious about modern shortcuts like microwaves and bagged salads. Virtually all the big names of the late-20th-century food revolution are here, from Alice Waters (plum tart, 1971) to Ferran Adrià (an extremely elaborate brioche with rose-scented mozzarella, 2008), as well as such mass-market stalwarts of the Food Network as Emeril Lagasse (pecan waffles, 1998) and Nigella Lawson (fairy cakes, 2000). Sitwell deftly inserts interesting tidbits ranging from the changes wrought by such appliances as refrigerators and gas stoves to the impact of online technology. Indeed, the recipes are basically an excuse for the history, which is fine when the history is this engaging. Good fun, though best taken in small bites; the chatty tone can be cloying in large amounts.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316255707
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
06/18/2013
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
716,861
File size:
14 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Marco Pierre White
Sitwell is without doubt one of the great food writers of our day. Every serious cook should read this book at least once.

Meet the Author

William Sitwell is a respected food writer, author and head of Waitrose Illustrated. He is the resident food expert on the BBC's new food-themed quiz program, A Question of Taste. He lives in England.

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A History of Food in 100 Recipes 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Raine_Devries More than 1 year ago
William Sitwell has done a phenomenal job on researching the subject matter for this book. A noted personality on the U.K. cuisine scene, this books is first to be published and this edition has been modified to the U.S. market to include more "nods" to the culinary wonders in this country. Sitwell does not provide 100 recipes per se, but rather goes all the way back to the beginning to when the first supposed "recipe" was discovered on the walls of an Egyptian tomb. He works his way up through the ages from the invention of pasta in 1154 in Sicily to party planning in the 1420's and more! This is a solid book that should be equally appealing to the foodies and history buffs alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago