Testicles: Balls in Cooking and Culture

Testicles: Balls in Cooking and Culture

by Blandine Vie
     
 

This sparkling book was first published in France in 2005 and has been magnificently translated into English by the food writer and historian Giles MacDonogh. It is part cookery book, part dictionary and part cultural study of testicles: human and animal. Their culinary use is the bedrock, although it would be impossible to ignore the wider implications of

Overview

This sparkling book was first published in France in 2005 and has been magnificently translated into English by the food writer and historian Giles MacDonogh. It is part cookery book, part dictionary and part cultural study of testicles: human and animal. Their culinary use is the bedrock, although it would be impossible to ignore the wider implications of these anatomical jewels. Blandine Vié has a delicious way with words, and a delight in exploring the furthest corners of our vocabulary, both scurrilous and euphemistic.The book opens with a discussion of balls, of pairs, of virility and the general significance thereof; it then delves more deeply into the culinary use of testicles, in history and across cultures; there follows a recipe section that ranges the continents in search of good dishes, from lamb’s fry with mushrooms, to balls with citrus fruit, to the criadillas beloved of bullfighters, and Potatoes Léontine, stuffed with cocks’ stones. (There are, however, no recipes for cannibals.) To close, there is an extensive dictionary or glossary, drawing on many languages, which illustrates the linguistic richness that attaches to this part of the body. It is in this section particularly that the ingenuity and intelligence of the translator is on display as he converts the French original into something entirely accessible to the English reader.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
French food writer Vie tenders a panoramic profile of the testicle as totem and tasty. Certainly in the world of one-note food books--salt, cod, milk, eggs, etc.--there is room for this tribute to the testicle, for balls hardly figure at all in cookbooks, which has more to do with fancy than fact: Testicles were among the choicest morsels in the French courts of the 17th and 18th centuries; they were esteemed as hors d'oeuvres in the classic and bourgeois cooking of the 19th century; they were the offal of choice in the American cowboy community; perhaps most importantly, they were the offal of choice among butchers, who know the best and kept it to themselves. The purpose of the book, writes Vie, is to honor and rehabilitate the testicle, and she writes of it (or them) with wit. She proceeds through a short course of testicles in mythology, in the Bible and the Koran and as metaphors, then shifts into an annotated lexicon of the anatomical, culinary and fantastic terms to describe the edible little things. The degree of detail is mesmerizing, and Vie provides a rangy section on preparation: recipes in the Tunisian style and the Moroccan fashion, how to freeze testicles, how to cook them with citrus and much more. MacDonogh delivers a lively translation as well as added valuable marginalia. A delightful mix of good humor and scholarship.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781903018835
Publisher:
Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Publication date:
01/09/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Blandine Vié is the author of many cookery books in France. Giles MacDonogh has written extensively on the history of food (especially his biographies of Grimod de la Reynière and Brillat-Savarin) as well as on the history of Germany.

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