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Bought, Borrowed, Stolen Hardcover – October 5, 2011
"100 Million Years of Food" by Stephen Le
A fascinating tour through the evolution of the human diet, and how we can improve our health by understanding our complicated history with food. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
The format of the book is that the author takes us to 19 different locations which she has visited and which are quite far flung and include, for example, Burma, Japan and the Norwegian Arctic Circle. For each country we start off with a page or two about the author's personal experience of that place and a fact file containing information about the population, geography etc and some information about the cuisine. This is followed by a couple of pages on the knife or knives she has acquired there, one page of which is a picture, and the next a description of how she acquired it, how it was made, its use etc. Then we have the recipes, normally between 5 and 8 per country.
I have some reservations about how useful this is as a cookbook in that the recipes are not, in general, ones which you look at and really want to try out. We are quite adventurous in our culinary tastes, so it is really not a question of ethnic dishes not appealing to us, or that many required ingredients were not readily obtainable as by and large they were not that obscure although there are some which may be a challenge to acquire. I think the main issue is that although there were beautiful full page pictures of the final dishes, many did not really appeal very much to our personal tastes.
This is, however, a well produced book with thick pages and is much thicker than you would expect for 340 pages odd as befits a book which will be handled a lot if you do use the recipes regularly. It is unlikely to join the small group of recipe books which we use on a regular basis though.
The journal/explanations of the authors travels and how she found the recipes within each of the countries is very interesting. There is no order to the book. It jumps from a country such as Burma to the city of San Francisco then to Brazil and starts with Turkey going then to New York. This can be a bit disconcerting and if the travel bits are being read like a book, it appears to be disjointed.
The recipes themselves are not ones I would rush out and make myself. The reason for this is threefold, they either require ingredients that I and my family do not like, or ingredients that are difficult to get, or finally they are complex and time consuming to make but each recipe is well illustrated and described.
This cook book is a great travel based book, giving a little flavour of each country visited. The recipes are quirky and different but can be time consuming ad complex to make. Many people will find them interesting and quite unique. I suppose given time and maybe the need to prepare a dinner party that required this quirkiness I would attempt some of the dishes, but I feel this is not a book that can be used on a daily basis to cook family meals that everyone would enjoy.
Interesting, but not practical in many cases as a cook book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard this mentioned on 'Splendid Table' and bought for friend who is a wonderful cook. I'll still pass on but would have to explain my choice. Read morePublished on April 14, 2013 by Vermont artist
I bought this for my hipster brother in law and his wife. It has great photos and I think appeals to their San Francisco lifestyle.Published on February 21, 2013 by Pacific North West