As the Georgian Era progressed, the middle class expanded in size and wealth, emulating the opulent lifestyle of the aristocracy as they could. To that end, Hannah Glasse, who grew up with the life of a land-owner's daughter, then married a soldier and ended up serving an earl's household, brought her knowledge of high living to the middle classes and their households in three books. The most notable was The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy, for which she earned the titles the first domestic goddess, the queen of the dinner party and the most important cookery writer to know about. [more inside]
Have you ever looked at a recipe in a mid-century cookbook and thought, “Ew. That is so nasty.” But you couldn’t stop looking at the recipe. Or thinking about it. As time went on, you kept going back to the book, thinking, “I wonder what it tastes like?” Then the Mid-Century Menu is for you. And so is: Barbecue Bean Jello Mold. Spaghetti Subs. Candied Crackers. Oh, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! [more inside]
The robot cookbook: can a supercomputer write recipes? Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, has (with help from the Institute of Culinary Education) written what IBM's Florian Pinel calls "the first specimen of a new generation of smarter cookbooks". Do the unusual ingredient combinations work, or is plum pancetta cider really as disgusting as it sounds? IBM sent a food truck to SXSW to (ahem) road-test the recipes. Reports are, the Bengali butternut BBQ sauce is delicious. Of course, there's a TED talk.
Eating healthy food and eating together is important. But if you hate to cook, what's the best way to do that? (SLNYT)
At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom "When I go back and read her books now, I feel I plagiarized them. All of it seeped in so much, it's embarrassing to read them now." Alice Waters [more inside]
Take oysters, parboile hem in her owne broth, make a lyour of crustes of brede & drawe it up wiþ the broth and vynegur mynce oynouns & do þerto with erbes. & cast the oysters þerinne. boile it. & do þerto powdour fort & salt. & messe it forth.
Three European 14th Century cookbooks: [more inside]
Three European 14th Century cookbooks: [more inside]
Looking for a new project? Wish you were a better cook? Why not try cooking every recipe in a cookbook? Originally started by Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame, people now register domain names for anticipated cookbooks in advance of the release date. As daunting as it seems to tackle the entirety of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that challenge seems to pale in comparison to the epic quest of cooking all 1000+ recipes in the Gourmet cookbook. For the chef who wants a different sort of challenge, there are the particular demands of Heston Blumenthal's $250, 11.6 pound molecular gastronomy bible, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. While the bloggers cooking through Alinea are working with isomalt and sorghum flour, the daring souls blogging Nose to Tail are wrestling with noses, tails, and all the offal parts in between. If this seems like a lonely road, maybe you'd like to join one of the group baking projects such as Tuesdays with Dorie or The Bread Baker's Apprentice.
For Men by Men, the Stag Cookbook helped those who had previously tried their hand at cooking, but "weakened under a fire of feminine raillery & sarcasm." Contributors included: William Jennings Bryan, Warren G. Harding, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Jules Jusserand, Reed Smoot, Jerome Kern, and Houdini.
With the advent of December comes the annual ranking of the book industry's over-saturated market. Along with the garden variety Best Books of 2008 lists, niche critics weigh in on the best cookbooks (baking and regular), most trustworthy business publications, best children's book illustrations, safest bets for literary holiday gifts, and, of course, the prettiest book covers.
If geeks talked about cookbooks the way they talk about RPG books, the results would not be pretty.
Encyclopedia Repulsica, a/k/a The Family Circle Illustrated Library of Cooking (1972 edition): A peanut butter and lettuce sandwich, with a pickle on top • The Weiner Tiara Bake • Watercress Frappé (with optional radish rose) • How not to serve a Hamburger • [These, and many more, via a blog-full of eye-and-gut wrenching (and occasionally sublime) offerings from MeFi's Own™ Mael Oui, a/k/a Curly Wurly] [more inside]
I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways.
Ted Allen interview! The food and wine expert on Queer Eye has a new cookbook out, and he talks to Slashfood about...well, everything: favorite foods, music, books, beer, birds, and other things.
The Company Cookbook. Have you ever attended a company potluck? Did you vote on recipes and create a cookbook to send as promo to unsuspecting clients? Warning: If you select to read this post, you take "pot luck" - what was available, not knowing for sure what you might receive. (But be sure that, with this cookbook, it will include shredded cheese). And as a bonus, things you shouldn't bring to the company potluck.
Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project "...an online collection of some of the most important and influential American cookbooks from the late 18th to early 20th century." Includes scanned, searchable, and downloadable copies of such titles as "The Virginia Housewife, Or, Methodical Cook," "Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking Adapted to Persons of Moderate and Small Means," and "Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent."
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century. Because you never know when you'll need to make Marrow Without Marrow (Which No One Will Suspect), forget how to grease your Chicken Called Madhûna, or need to rustle up something for the in-laws (A Dish Praised in Springtime for Those with Fulness and Those with Burning Blood).