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The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand's Culinary History Hardcover – January 1, 2008


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About the Author

Helen Leach is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Otago. Her research interests include the evolution of the human diet and prehistoric horticulture. She has written two garden history books: Cultivating Myths: Fiction, Fact and Fashion in Garden History (2000) and 1,000 Years of Gardening in New Zealand (1984), co-authored nine others, and published over 60 articles in international and New Zealand journals.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Otago University Press (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1877372579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1877372575
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,458,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Persnickety one on August 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not a cookbook in the standard sense. It is the story of the pavlova (the iconic Kiwi / Aussie national dessert -- although it documents many variants from the "standard" pav). As any good story, it has a subject (the pavlova) but also a theme and a message. In this case the theme is the irrepressible creativity of the New Zealand housewife. But the take home message of the book is that the origins of the pavlova were a cooperative evolution, not a competition and any attempt to cast this history as a competition dishonors the many contributions that were made on both sides of the Tasman sea.

As for how to make pavlovas, the book goes beyond "just do what I say" recipes (although there are dozens of recipes given, both historical and adapted for modern ingredients such as the change in composition of baking powders). There are many helpful tips and it documents as much as is known of the mechanisms involved. As soon as my diet (triggered by my recent trip to New Zealand) is over, I have every intention of seeing if I can add my own wrinkle to the pavlova story. A great read that offers the promise of many "just desserts".
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Format: Hardcover
A New Zealand culinary invention that became enormously popular throughout Australia, Pavlova is a large meringue dessert cake named after Anna Pavlova, the accomplished and internationally renowned ballerina. In "The Pavlova Story: A Slice Of New Zealand's Culinary History" by Helen Leach (Professor of Anthropology at the University of Otago) begins with the ballerina's visit to the Antipodes and adds a great deal of previously obscure or unknown information including the emergence of three different pavlovas, the contributions of a gelatine manufacturer, a Dunedin spinster, a bevy of housewives, and other New Zealand influences that created and transformed a fashionable afternoon tea cake into a truly iconic and generations spanning dessert. Enhanced with occasional illustrations by photographer Mary Brown, and featuring classic pavlova recipes, "The Pavlova Story" is a superbly written, informed and informative, making it highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in distinctive regional and cultural culinary traditions in general, and the pavlova tea cake in particular.
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The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand's Culinary History
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