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Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout Historyby Mark Kurlansky
Synopses & Reviews
“Every once in awhile a writer of particular skills takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight.” That’s how David McCullough described Mark Kurlansky’s Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, a work that revealed how a meal can be as important as it is edible. Salt: A World History, its successor, did the same for a seasoning, and confirmed Kurlansky as one of our most erudite and entertaining food authors. Now, the winner of the James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing shares a varied selection of “choice cuts” by others, as he leads us on a mouthwatering culinary tour around the world and through history and culture from the fifth century B.C. to the present day.
Choice Cuts features more than two hundred pieces, from Cato to Cab Calloway. Here are essays by Plato on the art of cooking . . . Pablo Neruda on french fries . . . Alice B. Toklas on killing a carp . . . M. F. K. Fisher on the virility of Turkish desserts . . . Alexandre Dumas on coffee . . . W. H. Auden on Icelandic food . . . Elizabeth David on the downward march of English pizza . . . Claude Lévi-Strauss on “the idea of rotten” . . . James Beard on scrambled eggs . . . Balzac, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Chekhov, and many other famous gourmands and gourmets, accomplished cooks, or just plain ravenous writers on the passions of cuisine.
"Insightful comments and explanations by Kurlansky precede each piece; the resulting volume provides a wide range of tastes certain to tempt any literary palate." Publishers Weekly
"An exhaustive and lively assemblage, best for snacking rather than gorging." Kirkus Reviews
"By organizing these selections around topics rather than chronologically, Kurlansky has made his anthology more harmoniously literary than merely historical." Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
"A good choice for food studies collections and where anthologies like Endless Feasts...are popular." Library Journal
Presented by subject — including "Food and Sex," "Bread," "Rants," and "Dessert" — and illustrated with Kurlansky's own pen-and-ink drawings as well as classic photographs, Choice Cuts also features such curios as a first-century dinner invitation, "The Story of Crisco" (circa 1913), and "Gelatin Hints from Knox Dainty Dishes for Delicate People." In short, his wonderful collection, like the very best meal, is both nutritious and delicious.
About the Author
Mark Kurlansky is a columnist for Food & Wine magazine and is included in Best Food Writing 2000. Winner of the James Beard and Glenfiddich Awards, he is the author of Salt: A World History; The Basque History of the World; the New York Times bestseller Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World; A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry; A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny; a collection of stories, The White Man in the Tree; and a children's book, The Cod's Tale. He lives in New York City.
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