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Culinary Biographies: A Dictionary of the World's Great Historic Chefs, Cookbook Authors and Collectors, Farmers, Gourmets, Home Economists, Nutritionists, Restaurateurs, Philosophers, Physicians, Scientists, Writers, and Others Who Influenced the Way We Eat Today Hardcover – April 11, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
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What fun! It's about time a book looked at the culinary world from a biographical perspective. This volume is an eclectic dictionary of influential people in the culinary fields throughout history, from the sixth century B.C.E. to the twenty-first century. Among the subjects are famous characters, for example, Juan Altamiras, an eighteenth-century Franciscan monk and cook who wrote Nuevo Arte de Cocina; Josephine Cochrane, who patented the idea for the dishwasher in 1893; Auguste Escoffier, whose name has come to represent haute cuisine; Edouard de Pomiane, a pioneer food scientist and food anthropologist; and two Childs: Lydia Maria, author of the Frugal Housewife, first published in 1829, and Julia, the doyenne of television cooking shows. Each entry offers pertinent biographical details and a description of how the person fits into culinary history. A short bibliography of the person's writings about food and cooking is also included when warranted. Most entries are accompanied by black-and-white photographs or drawings.
Editor Arndt is also the author of Seasoning Savvy: How to Cook with Herbs, Spices and Other Seasonings, (Hayworth, 1999). Contributors include a who's who of culinary historians, anthropologists, and food writers such as Karen Hess, author of the Carolina Rice Kitchen: The African Connection (University of South Carolina Press, 1998) and Anne Mendelson, author of Stand Facing the Stove: The Story of the Women Who Gave America The Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 2003). The volume concludes with a categorical listing of the people covered by occupations (chef, cookbook author, food historian, nutritionist), followed by a list of the culinary texts mentioned within the entries. The index is perhaps the only thing to disappoint, as it is only an index of names, those mentioned in the entries as well as those who are the subjects of entries, and does not include topics, such as dishwasher.
Recommended for public and academic libraries as an enjoyable read as well as a good basic introduction to culinary research. Diana Shonrock
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"[A]n indispensable research tool that will have an honored place next to your Oxford English Dictionary and your computer." --Joe Carin, Boston Culinary Historians Newsletter, March 2006
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Culinary Biographies is an encyclopedia of hundreds of people who had a major influence on the history of food. Mostly chefs and cookbook writers, but also some major patrons, nutritionist and doctors.
Why I was thrilled to get the book -- and why I corresponded with Alice before it was published -- is that it contains the most material I've ever seen on the influential people of Asian cuisine. This is information I've been unable to find elsewhere (see some earlier posts on this board).
So, if you are into food history, you need this book. Better, if you have a friend who's into food and history, it would make a great gift.