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The Pharaoh's Feast: From Pit-boiled Roots to Pickled Herring. Cooking Through the Ages with 100 Simple Recipes Paperback – 3 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows; New title edition (3 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156858282X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568582825
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,373,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Egyptian Tomatos???? 8 Nov 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a serious book for a serious historical recreationist! The author doesn't restrict himself to historically accurate recipes or ingredients. He suggests Babylonian tomato paste? Sliced Egyptian tomatos in a salad? (Tomatos are a New World ingredient). Imaginary "lead" cookware is an added distraction! (Did you ever try heating a lead pot?)

The author says his inspiration was various Hollywood movies and Classic Comics. He also admits he knows that his stuff isn't accurate, but it is created to give a feel for the cuisine. The recipes will be different than what you probably are accustomed to eating, but historically accuracy is less than excellent. I would use this for making a high school "feast" but serious re-enactors and living historians can give this book a miss.
As a historian, he's a good cook (sigh!) 28 April 2009
By Catherine A. McClarey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As an after-school and summers-only homeschooler, my kids & I do theme units on different historical periods each summer, capped by a "feast" of dishes typical of the period. I liked the comprehensive coverage of this overview of historical cookery, but . . . I've read too much history (including various period-specific historical cookbooks) to be comfortable with the numerous glitches and inaccuracies in Mr. Rivera's cookbook. The author sounds like he's a working chef in NYC with some interest in history; however, either he hasn't read very deeply in history, or his editor was too woefully ignorant of history to catch typos (Pope Alexander VI Borgia becomes a "Gorgia" in the following chapter, for example) and encourage Mr. Rivera to research cuisines he's not intimately familiar with a bit more thoroughly (f.ex., the "Rich Chocolate Cake" recipe he adapts at the very end of the book is from a 1950s-vintage British cookbook by Marguerite Patten, but he guesses at substitutes for unfamiliar ingredients such as "golden syrup" without ever realizing that it's a BRITISH cookbook using British cooking terminology).
I don't mind so much that the author uses some contemporary recipes from some of the cultures he covers -- but I do have a problem with anachronistic required ingredients (such as tomatoes in a Biblical lentil stew, or potatoes as the only suggested side dish for a roast duck recipe in the ancient Egypt chapter). I can even deal with some of the gross-but-historically-accurate culinary anecdotes included (such as a traveller's description of how gauchos roasted beef on the pampas) -- but the occasional four-letter words (starting in the 1st paragraph of the introduction!) are totally unnecessary.
This book is OK for someone with a casual interest in historical cookery (say a party meal to accompany a favorite Hollywood costume drama, or a classroom "feast" to conclude a history theme unit), as long as one doesn't use this as their only source of historical information about the period they're interested in. Reenactors and true history buffs will be much happier with a period-specific cookbook which adapts authentic period recipes throughout and sticks to period ingredients. (A few of my favorites: Marguerite Patten's We'll Eat Again: A Collection of Recipes from the War Years (Hamlyn Food & Drink S.), Barbara M. Walker's The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories, and Odile Redon's The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy.)
poorly written, poorly researched 27 Dec 2010
By Reader/Shopper/Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cover art is the nicest part of this book. There is no real organization to the book, recipe sources are varied and given in a conversational tone, as in "I came across this recipe in a book I found on the street", or "these are my mother's meatballs" mixed in with the author's interpretation (with substitutions as available in his kitchen) of recipes from historical and literary sources. I stopped reading when I came across a recipe that included the ingredient "golden syrup" along with the author's comment that he didn't know what golden syrup was, and he decided to substitute honey. OK, well, honey may be used as a substitute for this product common in the UK, as may corn syrup, but there is really no excuse not to look up an ingredient to find out what it is, before including it in a cookbook! Not that difficult. And a recipe for breadcrumb stuffed hotdogs as a stretcher meal may be a simple recipe, but would not be my choice to include in a sampling of cooking through the ages as found in "The Pharoah's Feast". There are many better sources for historically accurate meals out there, annotated with source and background information, in reputable cookbooks.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Highlighting the history of food preparation 4 April 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Impressively compiled and presented by Oswald Rivera, The Pharaoh's Feast is a unique and impressive collection of 110 simple recipes that have been passed down from antiquity to the present day. The recipes comprising this enthusiastically recommended addition to any adventurous cookbook collection range from Pears Cooked without Coals or Water; Pigeon Stew; and Poached Sturgeon; to Indian Pudding; Baked Frankfurters with Stuffing; and Tropical Salad. Highlighting the history of food preparation from a biblical Mess of Pottage to colonial American Cornpone and Johnnycakes, The Pharaoh's Feast is a unique source of culinary inspiration and a heritage recipe collection for cooks of all passions to sample and better understand longstanding culinary traditions and sources from around the world and down through time.
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