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Menus from History: Historic Meals and Recipes for Every Day of the Year [Hardcover]

Janet Clarkson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

14 July 2009
Menus from History: Historic Meals and Recipes for Every Day of the Year offers a fascinating exploration of dining history through historic menus from more than 35 countries. Ranging from discussion of a Roman banquet in A.D. 70 to a meal for former South African President Nelson Mandela in the 1990s, the menus offer students and general readers a thoroughly delightful way to learn more about events and the cultures in which they occurred. Royal feasts, soldier grub, shipboard and spaceship meals, and state dinners are just some of the occasions discussed. Arranged chronologically, each entry covers a day of the year and provides a menu from a significant meal that took place. An entry begins with the name, location, and date of the event, plus a brief explanation of its significance. Next comes the menu, followed by an analysis and, where possible, several recipes from the menu.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood Press (14 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313349304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313349300
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,252,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Janet Clarkson, a food historian and writer in Australia, has created a unique reference source that combines food with history... Menus from History will be useful in both public and academic libraries for culinary students, historians, social scientists, and students doing reports." - ARBAonline "Each entry has a name, description, significance, and menu and analysis, with the provenance authenticated on all but a small handful with a "best guess." Since menus lend themselves nicely to an online environment, the ebook version of this work would present itself well in function and usability. BOTTOM LINE More comprehensive than The Food Timeline ( free food history reference site...this is recommended for culinary institutions as well as school and public libraries." - Library Journal "What did Jane Austen and Abraham Lincoln have for supper? What do menus teach us about people and the societies in which they lived? This work compiles 365 menus from 35 countries and from all sorts of historic occasions. Ranging from a Roman banquet in A.D. 70, to spaceship meals, to Elvis and Priscilla's wedding celebration, the menus offer students and general readers a fun way to learn about significant events and cultures. Each menu includes a brief description of the original historic occasion, plus notes on the dishes and preparations, and instructions from period cookbooks. The book includes a glossary of food terms and names of dishes. To aid in finding specific items, menus are listed chronologically, by country, and by occasion." - Reference & Research Book News "Overall, the set is unique and interesting to read. It is of more interest as social history than as a cookbook and is recommended for libraries with cookery-history collections. It might also find a home in a public library where patrons seek out unusual menu and recipe ideas." - Booklist

About the Author

Janet Clarkson is a culinary historian and columnist in Australia. Her food blog is The Old Foodie.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC BOOK!!! 15 May 2011
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I love to cook, especially 'historic' recipes that make me feel like I can travel in time with each meal, and this amazing book helps me do exactly that.

This excellently written and researched book is basically a calendar, with every day of the year, from the 1st of January until the 31st of December, associated with one historical event and the menu from that event. For each day's event, there is a concise historical note and brief biographical notes of the people involved, followed by a reproduction of the menu or the reference of what was served, and sometimes by pictures. Apart from the menu, there are the recipes of some or all the dishes mentioned. The recipes are reprinted from cookbooks, letters or references written at the time of each event or when something like that is not available, from cookbooks about the time of the event.

The menus the author chose to include are from various times in history; from ancient and medieval feasts to modern events. For instance, on the 22nd of August, in the year 70BC, the menu for the feast given in honour of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Niger, included among other things, "Sow's Udder or Belly" and "A Dish of Sea-Nettles" for which the recipes are provided. More close to home, Jane Austen wrote a letter to her sister Cassandra on the 14th of September 1813, describing her diner of that same day which consisted of "soup, fish, bouille'e, partridges, and an apple tart". Judging by the recipes provided for the delicious apple tart and the rich partridges with mushroom sauce, the novelist must have enjoyed her meal very much.
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