12 August 2010

Consuming Passions

Consuming Passions is more of a food history than a straight up cookbook. Philippa Pullar takes the reader on a romp from the earliest of Roman foods to the throes of DDT in the 1970's. As you may be able to tell from the title, Pullar is interested in the passionate side of food.

Her detailed accounts of the Romans is quite fascinating if not the lest bit nauseating. There was a lot of eating with your hands and relieving yourself at the table and eating until you puked. She cites an early book on etiquette that offers this advice. When at dinner avoid digging into your codpiece. Rules to live by!

The sixteenth century saw a new appreciation for and fascination with fruit. Fruits were not simple served but adorned to fit a kings table. During Christmas, Sir William Petrie's household consumed one ton of cheese, 17 oxen, 14 steers, 5 bacon hogs, 13 bucks, 4 cows, 29 calfs, 129 sheep, 3 goats, 5 does, 54 lambs, 2 boars, 9 porks, 7 kids and a stag. That was some Christmas party!

Sir Alfred Munnings, Taggs Island

In the 1920's, a flourishing restaurant trade grew up in Britain. In her diaries, Lady Cynthia Asquith rarely lunches alone. For the poor, times were grave with most families subsisting on just over a shilling a week to buy food.

Consuming Passions is a great book if you have an interest in the history of food and how it is consumed. The recipes are culled for old cookery books. Here is a recipe worth the title alone.

Meat Roly Poly

Make a suet crust. Cover it with a mixture of minced meat and kidneys, a little liver if liked, onions and herbs and a few oysters, Roll up and boil. Serve with a good brown gravy.

Grab a glass of wine and remember, don't dig in your cod piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin