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A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

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April 2012 Food and Drink Book of the Month.

It’s the second part of the title – “in 100 Recipes” that makes this stand out from the usual plod from hunter-gathering to yesterdays sushi craze. Instead we start with flat bread and gradually follow man’s culinary progress through “Muscules in shelle”, Trifle, Peas Soope, Brussels Sprouts, Rice Krispies treats and ending with Heston Blumenthal’s Meat Fruit. A switch-back of a journey through food good and bad, cooks wild and wily and a public palate that knows no bounds. Contained within the history is a progress through the communication of recipes, how they were first written down and how they changed and developed to encompass radio, TV, magazines and now the computer and aps. I had doubts about the format when I first started reading it but soon settled in and while it lasted A History of Food in 100 Recipes was an excellent bedtime reading treat.

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Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. The story of food and our attitudes to eating and cooking reveals much about humanity and domestic arrangements. Every dish tells a story: the sandwich, for example, first eaten by the Earl of Sandwich because it was easy to hold at the gambling table, acquired its name by others saying they’ll have what Sandwich is having. It is not a modern phenomenon that recipe books claim to educate the populace in transformative ways. Cookery books of 1500 and 1747 state they are far better, clearer and simpler than anything written before. Some food preparation techniques, however – like how to cook and eat a live goose – are thankfully obsolete.
~ The Good Book Guide


A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell

The ingredients, cooks, techniques and tools that have shaped our love of food. We all love cooking -- to some degree -- and each one of us has a favourite meal, or ingredient we favour above all others. In today's world it is easy to get what we desire to eat in our 24-hour consumer society. But do we know how these everyday recipes came from, who invented them, from which countries, and using what techniques? This book will provide a colourful and entertaining whirlwind journey through the history of cuisine, as described by the rising star of the subject in William Sitwell, editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated. It will be equally a celebration of the great dishes, techniques and indeed, the great chefs who have innovated over the centuries. He will also bring it right up to date to discuss the rise of the Michelin Star, gourmet cooking, and of course the 21st-century phenomenon of the celeb chef. The book is one hundred essays, of approximately 1,000 words, each taking the reader logically and chronologically the next step on the path of how food has ended up where we are today. Asking such questions as: When was bread first produced? When did we start using herbs, spices, salt and pepper in our food? Who wrote down the first recipe for a meat dish? Who invented spaghetti? Did the Magyars really invent goulash? Who first put orange into a duck, or an apple into a pig's mouth? The first cheese-based dish? What is the origin of the noodle? Who first decided to use a wok? What was the first mass-produced meal? And many, many more!


'Sitwell is without doubt one of the great food writers of our day. Every serious cook should read this book at least once.'
Marco Pierre White

'Both bon vivant and connoisseur, William Sitwell is the one person I would trust to tell the ultimate story of the history of food'. - Raymond Blanc OBE

About the Author

William Sitwell came to prominence in the food world when he joined the magazine Waitrose Food Illustrated in 1999. He had previously worked for newspapers such as the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Times and London's Evening Standard having first joined the Sunday Express in 1994. He became editor of WFI in 2002 and won a string of awards for the magazine's writing, stories, design and photography. Now re-named Waitrose Kitchen he divides his time between editing the magazine and writing about food for a variety of other magazines and newspapers and making forays into television. He has appeared on a variety of programmes as food critic and presenter. He spends his spare time growing vegetables, cooking food and making cider at the home in Northamptonshire that he shares with his wife Laura and their children Alice and Albert. 'A History of Food in 100 Recipes' is his first book.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th April 2012


William Sitwell

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Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


352 pages


Cookery, Food and Drink
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