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Sweet Invention: A History of Dessertby Michael Krondl
Synopses & Reviews
From the sacred fudge served to Indias gods to the ephemeral baklava of Istanbuls harems, the towering sugar creations of Renaissance Italy, and the exotically scented macarons of twenty-first century Paris, the worlds confectionary arts have not only mirrored social, technological, and political revolutions, they have also, in many ways, been in their vanguard. Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert captures the stories of sweet makers past and present from India, the Middle East, Italy, France, Vienna, and the United States, as author Michael Krondl meets with confectioners around the globe, savoring and exploring the dessert icons of each tradition. Readers will be tantalized by the rich history of each regions unforgettable desserts and tempted to try their own hand at a time-honored recipe. A fascinating and rewarding read for any lover of sugar, butter, and cream, Sweet Invention embraces the pleasures of dessert while unveiling the secular, metaphysical, and even sexual uses that societies have found for it.
"A food historian and former chef, Krondl (The Taste of Conquest), combines copious research and skilled narrative in this delightful journey through the history of dessert. 'When you talk about dessert you step away from analyzing basic human needs to a conversation about culture,' Krondl writes. He begins his narrative in India, 'because of its national obsession with dessert.' Krondl then explores the habits and sweet predilections of the Middle East, Italy, France, Austria, and the U.S. Along this sugar-studded route, readers learn how at one time in France sugar was mainly used to season fish and was used as an additive to foods intended for invalids; why Paris confectioners tried rescuing Marie Antoinette from the guillotine; and why Austrians are the 'maestros of cake.' For those who want to indulge in more backstory, Krondl provides entertaining footnotes, a few recipes, and an extensive bibliography for further investigation. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sweet Invention is a social, cultural, and—above all—culinary history of dessert. It explores the worlds great dessert traditions, from ancient India to twenty-first century Indiana. Each chapter begins in the present with the author tasting and analyzing one of the dessert icons of each tradition—baklava in the Middle East, or macarons in France for example—before spinning a more ancient tale. Readers will meet the sweet makers of Persia who gave us the first donuts, the sugar sculptors of Renaissance Italy whose creativity (by way of Paris and London) gave birth to the modern wedding cake; and the hard-working (and wildly inventive) home economists of the early twentieth century who cooked up such unforgettable delights as chocolate chip cookies and rice crispy squares. A fun and enjoyable read that is groundbreaking in its scholarship, Sweet Invention embraces the pleasures of dessert while elucidating the uses—social, political, religious, and even sexual—that societies have found for it.
A social, cultural, and—above all—culinary history of dessert, Sweet Invention explores the world’s great dessert traditions, from ancient India to 21st-century Indiana. Each chapter begins with author Michael Krondl tasting and analyzing an icon of dessert, such as baklava from the Middle East or macarons from France, and then combines extensive scholarship with a lively writing style to spin an ancient tale of some of the world’s favorite treats and their creators. From the sweet makers of Persia who gave us the first donuts to the sugar sculptors of Renaissance Italy whose creativity gave rise to the modern-day wedding cake, this authoritative read clears up numerous misconceptions about the origins of various desserts, while elucidating their social, political, religious—and even sexual—uses through the ages.
About the Author
Michael Krondl is a food historian and the author of The Taste of Conquest, The Great Little Pumpkin Cookbook, and Around the American Table. He is an award-winning cooking instructor, food writer, and former chef. His writing credits include Gastronomica, New York Newsday, and Nations Restaurant News as well as multiple contributions to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. For more information visit www.sweetinvention.net
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