03 April 2007

Cookbook as literature

The following is an excerpt of a book: Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections: Literature, Culture, and Food Among the Early Moderns by Robert Appelbaum

It may only be of true interest to culinarians and foodies, but there ya go.


Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup tells the story of how early modern Europeans put into words these complex and evolving relationships between cooks and diners, hosts and guests, palates and tastes, food and humankind. Named after two memorable characters in Twelfth Night, this lively history of food and literature draws on sources ranging from cookbooks and medical texts to comic novels and Renaissance tragedies. Robert Appelbaum expertly weaves such sources together to show how people invented new genres and ways of speaking to express interest in food. He also recounts the evolution of culinary practices and attitudes toward food, connecting them with contemporaneous developments in medical science, economics, and colonial expansion. As he does so, Appelbaum paints a colorful picture of a remarkably conflicted culture in which food was many things—from a symbol of happy sociability to a token of selfish gluttony, from an icon of cultural life to a cause for social struggle.


Bibliochef said...

Nice excerpt. I am going to do a bit of a review of this same book on my site --Cooking With Ideas -- http://www.cookingwithideas.typepad.com

Dixie said...

I'm just a basic sort of cook but I do like reading anything that has a good mix of history and trivia and having it involve food would make it extra interesting to me.