Cooking Books -> Breakfast
The Penguin Companion to Food
Penguin USA (Paper)
Published: November 2002
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Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food has been over 20 years in the assembling, but here it is; and it is superlatively worth the wait. In fact, superlatives fall silent. A huge and authoritative dictionary of 2,650 entries on just about
every conceivable foodstuff, seasoning, cuisine, cooking method, historical survey, significant personage, and explication of myth, it is supplemented by some 40 longer articles on key items. Davidson himself (no relation to this reviewer) contributes
approximately 80 percent of the 2,650 entries, thereby guaranteeing high levels of erudition, readability, and deadpan feline wit. Since this is a monument intended to last, nothing so frivolous as a recipe is included. A decision taken early in the
development of the project to abjure issues whose significance is largely topical has also ensured an agreeable high-mindedness--nothing on those crucial but essentially dreary topics of BSE and GM foods, for example.
If a fault could be found, it
would only be that it's often difficult to read to the end of an entry, as the abundant cross-referencing all too easily sends one off to another entry, thence bouncing off to another, and all too soon the original is forgotten. A random alphabet of
seductions might include: Aardvark, Botulism, Cup Cake, David (Elizabeth), Enzymes, Fat-Tailed Sheep, Gender/Sex and Food, Hallucinogenic Mushrooms, Ice Cream Sundae, Jewish Dietary Laws, Kangaroos, Lobscouse, Microwave Cooking, Norway, Offal, Puffin,
Queen of Puddings, Roti, Scurvy, Termite Heap Mushroom (or Taillevant), Umeboshi, Vegetarianism, Washing up (a very elegant little article), sadly no X, Yin-yang, and Zabaglione. As this might show, Alan Davidson's aim, borrowed from Dumas's great Grand
Dictionnaire de Cuisine, that his work would appeal not only to persons of "serious character" but also those "of a much lighter disposition," is utterly fulfilled. --Robin Davidson, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
This outstanding culinary reference is destined to become a classic, and Davidson, the book's editor and the author of many of its entries, deserves the eternal gratitude of researchers everywhere. With its 2650
alphabetically arranged entries as well as 39 longer articles on staples such as rice, the range of the work is impressive. Everything from individual ingredients, cooking terms, and prepared dishes to national cuisines and cookbooks and their authors is
covered. Each entry is written in... read more --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Renowned food expert and cookbook writer Alan Davidson, along with more than fifty specialists from all over the world, packs this
fascinating volume with more than 2,600 entries on every type of food-from plant and dairy products, meats, poultry, and nuts to seafoods, cereals, and exotic foods. They examine famous dishes from around the world, from cassoulet to sonofabitch stew,
and include more than 140 entries on national and regional cuisines-even edibles from Antarctica. Handsomely illustrated and augmented with information on food preservation, food science, and more, this extraordinary book is an essential resource for
anyone with a serious interest in the central place of food in human life.
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