Korean Cuisine: An Illustrated History

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The spicy tang of kimchi, the richness of Korean barbecue, the hearty flavors of bibimbap: Korean cuisine is savored the world over for its diversity of ingredients and flavors. Michael Pettid offers here a lushly illustrated historical account of Korean food and its intricate relationship with the nation’s culture.

Over the last twelve centuries, Korean food dishes and their complex preparations have evolved along with the larger cultural and political upheaval experienced by the nation. Pettid charts this historical development of the cuisine, exploring the ways that regional distinctions and historical transformations played out in the Korean diet—including the effects of wartime food shortages and preparation techniques. Underlying all these dishes are complicated philosophical and aesthetic considerations, and Pettid delves into their impact on everything from the rituals associated with group meals or drinks with friends to the strict rules governing combinations of dishes and ingredients according to temperature, texture, spices, color, and consistency.

Featuring a batch of mouthwatering recipes and over a hundred vivid photographs of a striking array of dishes, Korean Cuisine is an incisive and engaging investigation into the relationship between Korean culture and food that will spice up the bookshelves of foodies and scholars alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Acta Koreana
“If your opinions about Korean food and its international ‘image’ take stances on whether or not it is too spicy, too salty, too pungent, too odor-causing, or just ‘perfect,’ then this is the right book to learn the reasons why and how these traits have meaningfully evolved over time.”
James B. Lewis
"Pettid's book is an extensive collection of information lovingly presented. . . . The author introduces comments on food that appear in some of the great literary masterpieces of pre-modern Korea and thereby opens the reader a historical depth absent from many other introductions to Korean culture. . . . Many passages produce a mouthwatering resopnse in the reader and strong desire to go out and explore the Korean treasures of the palate."
Keith Pratt
I can think of no aspect of the subject that is not covered, and well illustrated, in Pettid's book. . . . Many Western readers may not have had the chance to eat Korean food, or may imagine that kimch'i is its sole constituent, so it is important for a book like this to persuade them that they should find a Korean restaurant and give it a try. Pettid will be their enthusiastic guide."
Charlotte Horlyck
"Michael Pettid's book presents an insightful and interesting account of Korean food in all its many guises as well as the various customs related to eating and drinking in past and present Korea. . . . With its unfussy language and detailed discussions, Pettid's volume will be of use and interest to the general as well as specialized reader."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861893482
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 820,894
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Pettid is assistant professor of Korean in the Department of German, Russian, and East Asian Languages at Binghampton University.

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Table of Contents

1. Daily Foods
2. Ritual and Seasonal Foods
3. Regional Specialities
4. Drinks
5. Foods of the Royal Palace
6. The Kitchen Space and Utensils
7. Food in Contemporary Korea
Photo Acknowledgements

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