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.
"The 'O.C.F' is so entertainingly written that it's easy to forget it's a work of true scholarship. Published in 1999, it was received with great enthusiasm in and out of the food world and found its way onto thousands of bookshelves."--The New York Times Magazine
"From the day it was published--no, from the day the bound proofs arrived--it became the one basic reference work of food scholarship, the volume to which we will all turn first whenever we have a question about food--historical, cultural, or botanical.... It is undoubtedly the most important encyclopedic volume about food published in our lifetimes."--Vogue
"A food book for all time.... The canon of great food literature just got one fat volume greater.... A must-have for any serious food follower."--Gourmet
"The publishing event of the year, if not the decade.... Alan Davidson, the legendarily learned (and eccentric) former British diplomat and international authority on seafood...and godfather to food scholars around the world, has written most of the 2,650 entries, in itself a stupendous feat.... Everyone seriously interested in food must own this book.... A great achievement."--Corby Kummer, The New York Times Book Review
"It is hard to imagine a more congenial companion than Davidson.... This massive volume is nothing short of the grandest of SMORGASBORDS, a sumptuous BUFFET with more SAVORIES, ZAKUSKI and SWEETIES than your typical state dinner. Davidson spent 23 years working on this book, and one can see why: many of the 2,650 entries are worth a separate volume of their own, if not dozens.... A road map to food with a truly global reach... For serious food historians, this will no doubt become an irreplaceable companion. For those amateurs who are merely fascinated by food and who appreciate lucid and witty writing that seeks to deflate the pretensions of your average gastronome, it will provide hours of amusement."--Time Magazine
"A masterly work with a variety of voices, from the straightforward, almost dry, to the quirky and the witty. It will anchor my other research materials, nudging aside 'Larousse Gastronomique' and Waverly Root's 'Food'.... It's hard not to be awed by 892 pages dense with extremely thorough and well-written entries, enhanced by cross-references and indexes and larded with anecdotes and strong opinions."--Florence Fabricant, The New York Times
"Serendipity is a rewarding way to negotiate this colossal volume. Looking up 'chuck' will lead you to 'chuck wagon,' to 'sourdough,' and to 'sonofabitch stew, a cowboy dish of unusual character'.... Some day the field of food history...will achieve full academic status and respectability. This will be largely thanks to Mr. Davidson's labors and 'The Oxford Companion to Food.'" --Paul Levy, The Wall Street Journal
"A culinary sine qua non.... This 892-page tour de force will enlighten you as to the history, cultivation, and flavor of every edible you've ever heard of and hundreds more you never even knew existed." --Men's Journal
"Outstanding.... Davidson deserves the eternal gratitude of researchers everywhere.... Destined to become a classic." --Library Journal
A feast of information on foods from around the globe is provided in this useful authority that's packed with 2,650 delightfully written entries, including 39 feature articles on staple foods. 178 illustrations.
Food historian and author Alan Davidson has written 80 per cent of this food reference book, with additional articles by over 50 specialist authors from as far afield as the Philippines, Norway, and Australia.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -884) and index.
About the Author
is a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired from the Diplomatic Service--after serving in, amongst other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador--to pursue a fruitful third career (his first was in the Navy in World War II) as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire
. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood
and Mediterranean Seafood
. He and his American wife Jane live at World's End in Chelsea, London.
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