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The Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford Companions)
 
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The Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford Companions) [Kindle Edition]

Alan Davidson , Tom Jaine , Jane Davidson , Helen Saberi
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £20.60 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food has been over 20 years in the assembling, but here it is; and it is superlatively worth the wait. In fact, superlatives fall silent. A huge and authoritative dictionary of 2,650 entries on just about every conceivable foodstuff, seasoning, cuisine, cooking method, historical survey, significant personage and explication of myth, it is supplemented by some 40 longer articles on key items. Davidson himself (no relation) contributes approximately 80% of the 2,650 entries, thereby guaranteeing high levels of erudition, readability and deadpan feline wit. Since this is a monument intended to last, nothing so frivolous as a recipe is included. A decision taken early in the development of the project to abjure issues whose significance is largely topical has also ensured an agreeable high-mindedness--nothing on those crucial but essentially dreary topics BSE and GM foods, for example.

If a fault could be found, it would only be that it's often difficult to read to the end of an entry, as the abundant cross-referencing all too easily sends one off to another entry, thence bouncing off to another, and all too soon the original is forgotten. A random alphabet of seductions might include: Aardvark, Botulism, Cup Cake, David (Elizabeth), Enzymes, Fat-Tailed Sheep, Gender/Sex and Food, Hallucinogenic Mushrooms, Ice Cream Sundae, Jewish Dietary Laws, Kangaroos, Lobscouse, Microwave Cooking, Norway, Offal, Puffin, Queen of Puddings, Roti, Scurvy, Termite Heap Mushroom (or Taillevant), Umeboshi, Vegetarianism, Washing up (a very elegant little article), sadly no X, Yin-yang and Zabaglione. As this might show, Alan Davidson's aim, borrowed from Dumas' great Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, that his work would appeal not only to persons of "serious character" but also those "of a much lighter disposition", is utterly fulfilled. --Robin Davidson

Review

'seriously fascinating' -- Independent, 10 Dec 2006

"The Oxford Companion to Wine - like the Food Companion it is detailed, scholarly and endlessly fascinating." -- Tom Jaine, Country Landowner Magazine

"essential reference guide" -- Daily Express

"seriously fascinating" -- Cathy Pryor, Independent

An absorbing culinary reference book, worth its weight in foie
gras.
-- Image magazine Ireland, Nov/Dec 2006

An astonishing encyclopaedia of food, food history and culinary
knowledge. -- Food Magazine, October 11, 2006

Brilliantly original
-- Sunday Telegraph 'Stella' Magazine, October 22, 2006

Enjoyable to read, enlivened by Alan Davidson's easy wit and
humour... -- Food Magazine, October 11, 2006

No kitchen should be without The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd
Edition -- Image magazine Ireland, Nov/Dec 2006

This gem of food reference retains the wit, elegance, erudition
and style that made the first edition so memorable.
-- Mail on Sunday (Live- Night and Day), January 28, 2007

Product Description

The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, first published in 1999, became, almost overnight, an immense success, winning prizes and accolades around the world. Its combination of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, with each page offering an infinity of perspectives, was recognized as unique.

The study of food and food history is a new discipline, but one that has developed exponentially in the last twenty years. There are now university departments, international societies, learned journals, and a wide-ranging literature exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people around the world, and seeking to introduce food and the process of nourishment into our understanding of almost every compartment of human life, whether politics, high culture, street life, agriculture, or
life and death issues such as conflict and war.

The great quality of this Companion is the way it includes both an exhaustive catalogue of the foods that nourish humankind - whether they be fruit from tropical forests, mosses scraped from adamantine granite in Siberian wastes, or body parts such as eyeballs and testicles - and a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, whether expressed in literature and cookery books, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community.

The new edition has not sought to dim the brilliance of Davidson's prose. Rather, it has updated to keep ahead of a fast-moving area, and has taken the opportunity to alert readers to new avenues in food studies.

About the Author

Alan Davidson was a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired early from the diplomatic serivice - after serving in, among other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador - to pursue a fruitful second career as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterrranean Seafood. In 2003, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture. Tom Jaine is an independent writer and publisher, specializing in food and food history. He is the author of numerous books, including Cooking in the Country, Making Bread at Home, and Traditional Country House Cooking. He frequently writes for The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Evening Standard, and many magazines and journals. He was editor of The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994, has presented 'The Food Programme' on Radio 4, and has frequently participated in discussions of food on radio and television. Jane Davidson is Alan Davidson's widow, and assisted him in his work, in particular as co-author of Dumas on Food. She has written many reviews of food books for Petits Propos Culinaires. She has also worked for the British Council. Helen Saberi was Alan Davidson's personal assistant, and worked very closely with him on the first edition of the Companion, as contributor, researcher, fact-checker, and proofreader. She is co-author with Alan Davidson of Trifle and The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy.
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