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Pie: A Global History (The Edible Series) Hardcover – April 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1861894250 ISBN-10: 1861894252

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Pie: A Global History (The Edible Series) + Cake: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible) + Pudding: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861894252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861894250
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Clarkson's loving ode to pie is a rich, savory history of one of the world's oldest and most iconic dishes. Pie plates being, quite literally, the first baking container, virtually all baked goods that weren't bread were known as pie. While winnowing down the definition, Clarkson finds that the first pies-as-we-know-them offered an ingeniously efficient mode for preserving fillings like meat and vegetables. Portability was a bonus feature-workers and travelers have been carrying pies with them at least since Chaucer's time-making them stalwarts for cooks of all skill levels. The book's slim page count belies a wealth of information, including the science of flaky crust, recipes from yesteryear, the real-life inspirations for famous pie lovers like Georgie Porgie and Little Jack Horner, and a brief dissertation on why pie is so delicious ("biology makes us do it"). With enthusiasm and detailed research, Clarkson's entertaining history is a nutrient-rich meal for the mind, sure to be devoured as happily as its subject. 40 color plates.

Review

'This homage to the pie is stylishly presented. Clarkson's prose is clear and informative and there are dozens of fine illustrations - photos, drawings, etchings, diagrams and reproductions of paintings - many in striking colour. All depict a pie of some sort.' - The Australian 'relate[s] many wonderful stories about pies in a book that almost gives off the savoury, buttery aroma of flaky pastry and tasty fillings ... Pie is the latest in a series of small, engaging and beautifully illustrated books ... Clarkson weaves these tales, with arch wit, into a splendid story.' - Sydney Morning Herald 'Complete with historical recipes and a good dose of humour, this book is crammed full of delicious, mouth-watering facts that will appeal to history buffs and foodies alike.' - The Chronicle, Queensland 'Clarkson's loving ode to pie is a rich, savory history of one of the world's oldest and most iconic dishes ... With enthusiasm and detailed research, Clarkson's entertaining history is a nutrient-rich meal for the mind, sure to be devoured as happily as its subject' - Publishers Weekly 'an all-encompassing look at the world of pies in all their glorious pastry history. With lesser-known facts, period photos and recipes, this book is far from just a history lesson on the origin of pies.' - British Baker magazine 'I expected this book to be a good read and it does not disappoint. It would be a great gift for any lover of food, food history or history in general. Pie: A Global History is an attractive volume and a worthwhile addition to any serious book collection.' - MostlyFood.co.uk

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Beer on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read a lot of books on pies. If you don't know anything about pies you would probably like this better than I did but it just wasn't' anything that kept my interest.
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Format: Hardcover
The pie, to quote one Victorian writer, `is a great human discovery which has universal estimation among all civilized eaters'. Of course, there are a number of different views about how to define a pie and Ms Clarkson resorted to the following quote by Raymond A. Sokolov: `I may not be able to define a pie, but I know one when I see it.'

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the pie, or about the number of different varieties of pies available? If you like eating pies, do you enjoy making them? Is your favourite pie sweet, or savoury?

Janet Clarkson, who writes regularly on culinary history, has written this delightful book all about pies. Ms Clarkson begins by looking at the history of the pie and of pastry-making, and then discussing different pie designs and fillings.

`A pie is invariably acclaimed as a treat and a sign of a caring cook.'

Did you know, for example, that pies were sometimes called coffins? Or that early pies often had a crust several inches thick, and that this crust was not intended to be eaten, but to preserve the contents for up to a year? The pie was once a very pragmatic dish with a very long shelf-life. These days, pies are often an expression of creative culinary art.
Pies are adaptable and portable, and they can be nutritious and tasty. It all depends on the cook and the contents. The contents? A pie can be `an economical investment for all miscellaneous savings' as Charles Dickens wrote in `Our Mutual Friend', it can even contain blackbirds or dancing girls. Personally, I'd prefer chicken or fruit.

I enjoyed reading this book on a cold autumn afternoon. In addition to all of the wonderfully informative facts, and even a selection of historical recipes, there are some delightful illustrations.
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By Geraldtonjjeeper on December 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an Australian I have eaten pies all my life. From the grand celebratory pies cooked by my Mum and other older members of my family to small English pork pies and Star-Gazy-pudding in Cornwall and of course the famous Australian Meat Pie of local sport and musical fame! I also enjoy cooking a large dinner-table pie occasionally to share on cool winter evenings with family and friends.

This little book delves into the heritage and history of pies and their consumption, mainly in Europe, but also around the world in different guises. It was a fascinating journey full of interest and surprise!

The author introduced me to not just the different savoury and sweet pies, but also to the technical side of pastry and gluten required to make this apparently simple food presentable, edible and functional. I just can't imagine the grand decorated offerings and their wildly various fillings of yesteryear! Dining at a great house table must have been such an adventure on occasion!

As always, I have learned more about the world and the place this remarkable animal, man, and his creative brain occupies. We really are a clever creature!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Clampitt on March 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who is familiar with Clarkson's wonderful blog, The Old Foodie ([...]) will hardly be surprised that this book is a delight. It is carefully researched and presented with warm and charming intelligence. From the earliest crust-encased meats to modern fruit pies, with stops along the way for legend and lore, this is a truly tasty volume for anyone interested in how what we eat came to be.
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