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Feasts, banquets, and grand dinners have always played a vital role in our lives. They oil the wheels of diplomacy, smooth the paths of the ambitious, and spread joy at family celebrations. They lift the spirits, involve all our senses and, at times, transport us to other fantastical worlds. Some feasts have given rise to hilarious misunderstandings, at others competitive elements take over. Some are purely for pleasure, some connect uncomfortably with death, but all are interesting. Nichola Fletcher has written a captivating history of feasts and entertaining throughout the ages that includes the dramatic failures along with the dazzling successes. From a humble meal of potatoes provided by an angel, to the extravagance of the high medieval and Renaissance tables groaning with red deer and wild boar, to the exquisite refinement of the Japanese tea ceremony, Charlemagne's Tablecloth covers them all. In her gustatory exploration of history's great feasting tables, Fletcher also answers more than a few riddles, such as "Why did Charlemagne use an asbestos tablecloth at his feasts?" and "Where did the current craze for the elegant Japanese Kaiseki meal begin?" Fletcher answers these questions and many more while inviting readers to a feasting table that extends all the way from Charlemagne's castle to her own millennium feast in Scotland. This is an eclectic collection of food and feasts from the flamboyant to the eccentric, the delicious to the disgusting, and sometimes just the touchingly ordinary. For anyone who has ever sat down at a banquet dining table and wondered, "Why?" Nichola Fletcher provides the delicious answer in a book that is a feast all its own.
Make history come alive! This book helps librarians and teachers as well as readers themselves find books they will enjoy—titles that will animate and explain the past, entertain, and expand their minds.
An essential tool for assisting leisure readers interested in topics surrounding food, this unique book contains annotations and read-alikes for hundreds of nonfiction titles about the joys of comestibles and cooking.
As Long as we Both Shall Eat is a culinary history of wedding feasts. Examining the various food customs associated with weddings in America and around the world, Claire Stewart not only provides a rich account of the foods most loved and frequently served at wedding celebrations, she also offers a glimpse into the customs and celebrations themselves, as they are experienced in the West and in various other cultures. She sheds light on the historical and contemporary significance of wedding food, and explores patterns of the varieties of conspicuous consumption linked to American wedding feasts in particular. There are stories of celebrity excess, and the book is peppered with accounts of lavish strange-but-true wedding tales. The antics of wealthy socialites and celebrities is a topic rich for exploration, and the telling of their exploits can be used to track the fads and changes in conventional and contemporary wedding feasts and celebrations. From cocktail hours to wedding cakes, showers to brunches, the food we enjoy to celebrate the joining of life partners helps bring us together, no matter our differences. Readers are treated to a tasty trip down the aisle in this entertaining and lively account of nuptial noshing.
From obscure Pre-Columbian beginnings in the Andes Mountains to global popularity today, the story of the potato is one of rags to riches. In Potato, esteemed culinary historian Andrew F. Smith reveals the captivating story of a once lowly vegetable that has changed—and continues to change—the world. First domesticated by prehistoric people in the Andes, the potato has since been adopted by cultures around the globe. For instance, the potato was aggressively adopted by cooks in India and China, where it has become a dietary staple. In fact, these two countries now stand as the world’s largest potato producers. Nonetheless, despite its popularity, in this era of both fast food and health consciousness, the potato is now suffering negative publicity regarding its low nutritional value. Its health benefits continue to be debated, especially considering that the potato is most often associated with the ubiquitous but high-calorie french fry. Potato is a captivating read that provides a concisely written but thoroughly researched account of the history, economy, politics, and gastronomy behind this beloved starch—as well as recipes. As loaded with goodies as a well-dressed baked potato, this book is comforting and satisfying.

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