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The Oxford Companion to Foodby Alan Davidson
Synopses & Reviews
Twenty years in the making, here is the long-awaited magnum opus from one of the world's great authorities on the history and use of food. This Companion is packed with 2,650 delightfully written A-Z entries--including 39 feature articles on staple foods--the vast majority penned by the renowned Alan Davidson, with additional articles by over fifty specialists from as far afield as the Philippines, Norway, and Australia.
The coverage is spectacular, with the most wide-ranging treatment ever of foods and food products and how to use them. Indeed, the Companion covers everything--plant products, meats, birds and eggs, dairy products, nuts, fish and all seafoods, plant foods, cereals, and exotic foods. Davidson examines famous dishes from around the world--from cassoulet, croque-monsieur, and couscous, to spam, sherbet, and sonofabitch stew. There are over 140 entries on national and regional cuisines (Cajun cooking, Pennsylvania Dutch). Even Antarctica is included in this unique panorama. Other subjects covered in depth include food preservation, culinary terms and techniques, food science and diet, cookbooks and their authors, and the role of food in culture and religion. The book is enhanced by some 180 exquisite illustrations of foods by Laotian artist Soun Vannithone, ranging from the comfortingly familiar to the bizarre and rare. In fact, the common and the exotic mingle throughout, with the everyday (apples, apricots) and the exotic (akee, ambarella, baobab) found side by side.
Here then is a true cornucopia, offering all the flavors, styles, and staples of the world, past and present, from classical Greek and Roman cookery to modern Australian and Hawaiian cuisines. Food historians, food scientists, food writers, chefs, restaurateurs, amateur cooks, and everyone with a serious interest in cooking--and eating--will feast on this authoritative reference on food.
Twenty years in the making, the first edition of Alan Davidson's magnum opus appeared in 1999 to worldwide acclaim. Its combination of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity was recognized as utterly unique. Including both an exhaustive catalogue of the foods that nourish humankind-fruit from tropical forests, mosses scraped from adamantine granite in Siberian wastes, or ears, eyeballs and testicles from a menagerie of animals-and a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, whether expressed in literature and cookbooks, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community, the Oxford Companion to Food immediately found distinction.
The study of food and food history was a new discipline at the time, but one that has developed exponentially in the years since. There are now university departments, international societies, and academic journals, in addition to a wide range of popular literature exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people around the world.
Alan Davidson famously wrote eighty percent of the first edition, which was praised for its wit as well as its wisdom. Tom Jaine, the editor of the second edition, worked closely with Jane Davidson and Helen Saberi to ensure that new contributions continue in the same style. The result is an expanded volume that remains faithful to Davidson's peerless work. The text has been updated where necessary to keep pace with a rapidly changing subject, and Jaine assiduously alerts readers to new avenues in food studies. Agriculture; archaeology; food in art, film, literature, and music; globalization; neuroanatomy; and the Silk Road are covered for the first time, and absorbing new articles on confetti; cutlery; doggy bags; elephant; myrrh; and potluck have also found their way into the Companion.
About the Author
Alan Davidson was a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired early from the diplomatic serivice - after serving in, among other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador - to pursue a fruitful second career as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterrranean Seafood. In 2003, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture. Tom Jaine is an independent writer and publisher, specializing in food and food history. He is the author of numerous books, including Cooking in the Country, Making Bread at Home, and Traditional Country House Cooking. He frequently writes for The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Evening Standard, and many magazines and journals. He was editor of The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994, has presented 'The Food Programme' on Radio 4, and has frequently participated in discussions of food on radio and television. Jane Davidson is Alan Davidson's widow, and assisted him in his work, in particular as co-author of Dumas on Food. She has written many reviews of food books for Petits Propos Culinaires. She has also worked for the British Council. Helen Saberi was Alan Davidson's personal assistant, and worked very closely with him on the first edition of the Companion, as contributor, researcher, fact-checker, and proofreader. She is co-author with Alan Davidson of Trifle and The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy.
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Note to the Reader
2650 alphabetically arranged entries
Listing of entries by subject
Index of alternate names and sub-topics
What Our Readers Are Saying
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