Let the Meatballs Rest: And Other Stories About Food and Culture

Let the Meatballs Rest: And Other Stories About Food and Culture

by Massimo Montanari
     
 

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Known for his idiosyncratic, entertaining investigations into culinary practice, Massimo Montanari turns his hungry eye to the phenomenon of food culture, food lore, cooking methods, and eating habits throughout history. An irresistible buffet of one hundred concise and engaging essays, this collection provides stimulating food for thought for those curious about

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Overview

Known for his idiosyncratic, entertaining investigations into culinary practice, Massimo Montanari turns his hungry eye to the phenomenon of food culture, food lore, cooking methods, and eating habits throughout history. An irresistible buffet of one hundred concise and engaging essays, this collection provides stimulating food for thought for those curious about one of life's most fundamental pleasures.

Focusing on the selection, preparation, and mythology of food, Montanari traverses such subjects as the status of the pantry over the centuries, the various strategies of cooking deployed by humans over time, the gastronomy of famine, the science of flavors, the changing characteristics of convivial rituals, the customs of the table, and the ever-evolving identity of food. He shows that cooking is not only a decisive part of our cultural heritage but also communicates essential information about our material and intellectual selves. From the invention of basic bread-making to chocolate's acquired reputation for decadence, Montanari positions food culture as a lens through which we can plot changes in historical values and social and economic trends. Even the biblical story of Jacob buying Esau's birthright for a bowl of lentils is a text full of essential meaning for Montanari, representing human civilization's all-important shift from a hunting to an agrarian society. Readers of all backgrounds will enjoy these delectable insights and their easy consumption in one companionable volume.

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Editorial Reviews

Lidia Bastianich

The more I cook, the more I realize and discover how the food that we eat is much more than nourishment. It is culture; it is our story as human beings, and Massimo Montanari has made it his life's mission to make that connection. Here, in this informative, intelligible, and delightful book, Let the Meatballs Rest and Other Stories About Food and Culture, Massimo shares those very stories and the resounding message that food is culture, and culture is nourished by food.

Booklist

Montanari's erudition is manifest throughout the book. He assiduously avoids both commonplaces and pedantry and provokes thought, thrilling anyone looking to understand on a profound level why we eat what we eat.

Times Literary Supplement - Andrew F. Smith

...delectable...

Boston Globe - Ted Weesner

a textured, surprising, and brightly astringent read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231157322
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Series:
Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Pietro Frassica

Letting meatballs rest before cooking them--as Massimo Montanari writes--is like letting thoughts rest: if you wait a bit, they turn out better. Therefore, the kitchen is at once a place to nourish the body and a place to train the mind. Montanari's fascinating book is a cogent demonstration of the relations between the culinary and the sociological.

Massimo Ciavolella

Massimo Montanari, Italy's major food historian and one of the world's foremost authorities on early modern eating practices, presents informative and amusing articles written in the best journalistic style.

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