Champagne

Author: Becky Sue Epstein
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861899637
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From the smash of a bottle on the side of a new ship to the pop of the cork at a New Year’s Eve party champagne signals celebration, fun, and camaraderie all over the world. Bubbly, as we affectionately call it, is a symbol of luxury and decadence and the go-to drink whenever there is an important toast. This history from Becky Sue Epstein is a celebration of the world’s most celebratory drink. Here, Epstein chronicles champagne’s story, from the world’s first sparkling wine, produced in Limoux, Languedoc, in 1531 by monks at an abbey in Saint-Hilaire to the celebrities who made champagnes famous and continue to do so today— from Dom Perignon to the widow Veuve Cliquot. Most important, Epstein fully explains the distinction between champagne and sparkling wine. In this informative chronicle, she answers whether French champagne is really better than other sparkling wines and elucidates the science behind that characteristic fizz and bubble. She takes the reader on a tour of vineyards in wine regions around the world and teaches the correct techniques for storing and serving champagne and sparkling wines. Whether you prefer magnums of Cristal or the affordable thrill of Cold Duck, Champagne is an invaluable complement to any bubbly glass and an informative, elegant gift for connoisseurs, beginners, and wine lovers of all kinds.

Edible Flowers

Author: Constance L. Kirker
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780236840
Format: PDF, ePub
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Most of us like to look at them, but why on earth would anyone want to eat them? As Constance L. Kirker and Mary Newman show in this book, however, flowers have a long history as a tasty ingredient in a variety of cuisines. The Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottomans, Mayans, Chinese, and Indians all knew how to cook with them for centuries, and today contemporary chefs use them to add something special to their dishes. Edible Flowers is the fascinating history of how flowers have been used in cooking, from ancient Greek dishes to the today’s molecular gastronomy and farm-to-table restaurants. Looking at flowers’ natural qualities: their unique and beautiful appearance, their pungent fragrance, and their surprisingly good taste, Kirker and Newman proffer a bouquet of dishes—from soups to stews to desserts to beverages—that use them in interesting ways. Tying this culinary history into a larger cultural one, they show how flowers’ cultural, symbolic, and religious connotations have added value and meaning to dishes in daily life and special occasions. From fried squash blossoms to marigold dressings, this book rediscovers the flower not just as something beautiful but as something absolutely delicious.

Brandy

Author: Becky Sue Epstein
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780233485
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Made from distilled wine, brandy has a long, noble tradition of refined consumption, but it has also recently experienced a surge in popularity thanks to new cocktail trends. Brandy chronicles the history of this very popular spirit, traveling from medieval alchemists to present-day drink mixologists and exploring brandy’s production and consumption from the Middle Ages to today. Delving into brandy’s fascinating story, Becky Sue Epstein reveals that many cultures have contributed to the history of the beverage, from the Dutch calling the drink “burnt wine” to the Spanish colonials in Peru and California who produced the first brandies in the New World. She also explores the distillation and aging processes, and she discusses the spirit’s many varieties, including the elegant, amber Cognac and the more overlooked Armagnac. In addition, Epstein offers advice on buying, storing, and serving brandy, while also providing recipes for both classic and new cocktails. Taken neat or mixed in a sidecar, Brandy is a tasty book for both connoisseurs and first-time drinkers to enjoy.

Herring

Author: Kathy Hunt
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780238673
Format: PDF, ePub
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Though tiny, the herring has played an enormous role in history. Battles have been waged over it. International economic alliances have formed over it. Major cities owe their prosperity to it. Political powers have risen and fallen with herring’s own rise and fall in population. How can this all be attributed to this unassuming little animal? In Herring: A Global History, Kathy Hunt looks at the environmental, historical, political, and culinary background of this prolific and easily caught fish. Over the centuries, herring have sustained populations in times of war and hardship, and the fish’s rich flavor, delicate texture, and nutritious meat have made it a culinary favorite. Its ease of preparation—just grill, broil, fry, pickle, salt, or smoke and serve—have won it further acclaim. Engaging and informative, the book features fifteen mouth-watering recipes. It will appeal to food lovers, history buffs, and anyone who has ever enjoyed a British kipper, German Bismarck, Dutch matjes, or Jewish chopped-herring.

Honey

Author: Lucy Long
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780237804
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Whether drizzled into our tea or spread atop our terms of endearment, there’s one thing that is always true about honey: it is sweet. As Lucy M. Long shows in this book, while honey is definitely the natural sweetener par excellence, it has a long history in our world as much more, serving in different settings as a food, tonic, medicine, and even preservative. It features in many religions as a sacred food of the gods. In this luscious history, she traces the uses and meanings of honey in myriad cultures throughout time. Long points to a crucial fact about honey: it can be enjoyed with very little human processing, which makes it one of the most natural foods we consume. Its nutritional qualities and flavors dramatically reflect the surroundings in which it is produced, and those who produce it—bees—are some of the most important insects in the world, the chief pollinators of wild plants and domesticated crops alike. Showing how honey has figured in politics, religion, economics, and popular culture, Long also directly explores its tastiest use—in our food and drink—offering a history of its culinary place in the world, one sweetened with an assortment of delicious recipes. Lively and engaged, her account will give even the saltiest of us an insatiable sweet tooth.

Pomegranate

Author: Damien Stone
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780237952
Format: PDF, Docs
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Supple but crunchy, sweet but tart—with its strange construction of seeds filled with delicious garnet juice so vibrant it’s hard not think it is some otherworldly blood—no wonder the pomegranate has appealed so much to the human imagination throughout the centuries. Holding aloft this singular fruit in the light of human history, Damien Stone offers a unique look at an alluring fruit that has figured in our culinary consciousness from the gardens of the ancient world to the health-food section of supermarkets. Stone takes us back to the early polytheistic religions and the important role that pomegranates had in their rituals. From there he shows how they came to be held in high esteem in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike, examining exciting new findings that further cement their importance: for instance, many historians believe now that it was a pomegranate, not an apple, that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Stone examines the allure that the pomegranate has had to a fascinating cast of famous figures, from ancient Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal to Tudor Queen Anne Boleyn, from Sandro Botticelli to Salvador Dalí. Drawing on text, image, and taste, Pomegranate is a cornucopia of strange and fascinating stories about a very special fruit.

Figs

Author: David C. Sutton
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780233922
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Lusciously sweet and with a complex texture, figs are both a nutritious culinary delicacy and an important symbol in religion and culture. Associated with Christmas since the time of Charles Dickens—not to mention Dionysus or the Garden of Eden—the fig is steeped in history. In this account of the festive fruit, David C. Sutton places the fig in its historical context, examining its peculiar origins and the importance it has garnered in so many countries. Sutton begins by describing the fig’s strange biology—botanically, it is not a fruit, but rather a cluster of ingrowing flowers—then considers its Arabian origins, including the possibility that the earliest seeds were transported from Yemen to Mesopotamia in the dung of donkeys. Exploring the history of the fruit in fascinating detail, Sutton postulates that the “forbidden fruit” eaten by Adam and Eve was not an apple, but a fig; and he discusses the role figs played for the Crusaders and guides readers toward the wonderful fig festivals held today. Chock full of tasty recipes, intriguing facts, and bizarre stories, Figs is a toothsome book of delights.

Oranges

Author: Clarissa Hyman
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780231350
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The tangy, juicy sweetness of oranges has made them a mainstay on our breakfast tables, as snacks, and even as healthy desserts. Indeed, oranges and orange juices are so ubiquitous nowadays that we take them for granted—but their journey to our supermarket shelves is a long and tantalizing story, as Clarissa Hyman reveals in Oranges. Following the orange from its origins in the Mediterranean world to the grocery produce section, Hyman illuminates the wide-ranging cultural resonance and culinary presence of the popular fruit. Charting the arrival of bitter and sweet oranges in the Mediterranean, where they were seen as a gift from the gods, Hyman chronicles their dramatic voyage to the Americas and the impact they had on agriculture, garden design, and architecture along the way. She surveys the many varieties of oranges that now exist and analyzes their status as symbols of great wealth in art, an inspiration for poets and painters, and a source of natural health. Dealing with the practical complexities of orange cultivation, she details the challenges facing modern producers and consumers across the globe. Packed with delicious recipes and luscious photos, Oranges is a refreshing look at the king of citrus.

Salmon

Author: Nicolaas Mink
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780232209
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, cheap, and widely available, salmon is often listed as an essential part of any diet. A delicious and versatile fish, it can be used to make sashimi, cold smoked for lox, or shaped into a fishcake as an alternative to hamburgers. But while salmon is enjoyed all over the globe, it also swims at the center of controversy, with commercial fishing, global warming, and loss of freshwater habitats all threatening salmon populations and the ecological and health impacts of intense salmon farming under fire. In this beautifully illustrated book, Nicolaas Mink takes readers on a culinary journey from the coast of Alaska to the rivers of Scotland, tracing salmon’s history from the earliest known records to the present. He tells the story of how the salmon was transformed from an abundant fish found seasonally along coastal regions to a mass-produced canned food and a highly prized culinary delight. Exploring the nutritional benefits of this fish, he examines recent studies that show how these benefits diminish in farm-raised salmon. With many delicious recipes, Salmon is the perfect gift for every fish lover.