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The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan…
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The Oxford Companion to Food

by Alan Davidson

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A great reference book to have, when you are looking up some relatively obscure plant or ingredient. ( )
  KVHardy | Jan 2, 2015 |
the editorial review above has the whole concept covered quite accurately. this is the encyclopedia of food: individual ingredients, techniques on cooking them, what different cultures have done with them. i've spent the past couple of evenings with this one on my kitchen table, looking up what i was making for dinner that night, and being both intrigued by the depth of knowledge one could have on pita (for example) and amused at the way that knowledge is presented. i don't know that anyone would be able to just sit down and read straight through this one. much like any other encyclopedia, you'd pull it off the shelf to look something specific up. unlike the traditional encyclopedia, you'd stay to wander off somewhere else, like a foodie hardcopy version of the wikipedia. ( )
  fireweaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
See my review dated 31 Jan 2010 on the Amazon website ( )
  lestermay | May 12, 2012 |
Bought this in a bargain bookshop in Bloomsbury's Southampton Row. A really useful book by a major food writer. ( )
  Jennifertapir | May 17, 2009 |
This is an essential reference work for the foodie who wants to know the history of the food they eat. This is not a book with recipes, but an encyclopedia of ingredients and foodstuffs. ( )
  lilinah | Oct 26, 2007 |
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Wikipedia in English (116)

A New System of Domestic Cookery

Abernethy biscuit

Acehnese people

Adobo

Advieh

Agave

Dinuguan

Duqqa

Durian

Elizabeth Marshall (cook)

Fat-tailed sheep

Filo

Nixtamalization

Nostoc

Olivier salad

Peasemeal

Petits Propos Culinaires

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0192115790, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"The 2,650 alphabetical entries in this compendium represent 20 years of Davidson's work. They include information on specific foods, cooking terms, culinary tools, countries, traditions, and biographies of chefs and cookbook authors. The entries for countries cover foods, habits, and holidays with special foods. The entries about traditions cover religious laws that deal with food and/or fasting, such as Ramadan and kosher laws. There are 39 longer articles about staple foods such as rice and apples. A comprehensive bibliography provides access to further information. The book does not contain recipes, but it is an excellent companion for sources such as the Larousse Gastronomique."--"Outstanding reference sources 2000", American Libraries, May 2000. Comp. by the Reference Sources Committee, RUSA, ALA.… (more)

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