A Hastiness of Cooks: A Practical Handbook for Use in Deciphering the Mysteries of Historic Recipes and Cookbooks

Cynthia Bertelsen. Turquoise Moon, $14.95 trade paper (226p) ISBN 978-0-692-19557-4
“Cookbooks reflect many facets of human culture, but do not necessarily record what people ate,” food writer Bertelsen (Mushrooms: A Global History) notes in this fascinating study of recipes dating back to the late 1300s. She explains how these recipes can be put to use in a variety of settings, whether it’s for research purposes, writing fiction, or for actual preparation by historians or for living-history events. Before the invention of the printing press, recipes were either taught to cooks or handwritten, with cookbook writing in medieval England being “remarkably vigorous.” Citing numerous historic works (among them A Proper New Booke of Cookery from 1575 England, and Libre de Sent Soví from 14th-century Catalonia), she selects a handful of recipes from England (capons with saffron; apple pie) and Spain (stuffed chickens; a meal of roasted pork loin, sausage, and partridge), translates them into English, and adapts them for use in modern kitchens. Bertelsen’s clear directions and wealth of experience make her an excellent instructor. Littered with insight and wealth of resources for those who want to dig deeper, this is a remarkable volume. (BookLife)
Reviewed on : 08/02/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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