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The Food of Spain Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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“After a series of fascinating essays on the historical forces that led to the creation of various Spanish cuisines (among others: Celts and Jews, Frenchmen, monks, peasants and royals), Roden slips into the kitchen to deliver the goods.” (Sam Sifton, New York Times Book Review)
From the Back Cover
In The Food of Spain, Claudia Roden, the James Beard award-winning author of the classics A Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food, and one of our foremost authorities on Mediterranean, North African, and Italian cooking, brings her incomparable authenticity, vision, and immense knowledge to bear in this cookbook on the cuisines of Spain.
New York Times bestselling cookbook author Claudia Roden believes that through food a cook can reconstruct an entire world. And in her classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food–eight hundred recipes long, a treasure trove of folk tales, proverbs, stories, poetry, and local history–that's just what she did. Historian and critic Simon Schama has said of her that "Claudia Roden is no more a simple cookbook writer than Marcel Proust was a biscuit baker." The Book of Jewish Food, another classic, is equally magnificent in its span, a cookbook that is also a history of Jewish life and settlement, told through the story of what Jews ate, and where, and why, and how they made it.
Now, in The Food of Spain, Claudia Roden applies that same remarkable insight, scope, and authority to a cuisine marked by its regionalism and suffused with an unusually particular culinary history. In hundreds of exquisite recipes, Roden explores both the little known and the classic dishes of Spain–from Andalusia to Asturias, from Catalonia to Galicia. And whether she's writing about smoky, nutty Catalan Romesco sauce, Cordero a la Miel–sweet and hot tender lamb stew with honey–or the iconic, emblematic national dish of Spain, saffron-perfumed Paella Valenciana, her clear, elegant, humorous, and passionate voice is a reader's delight, a guide not only to delicious food but to the peoples and cultures that produced it.
Both comprehensive and timeless, The Food of Spain is one of the most important books on this tremendous cuisine to appear in the last fifty years. A classic in the making, it is an essential work not only for fans of Spanish and Mediterranean food but for every serious cook as well as discerning armchair travelers.
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Top customer reviews
This will be one of the most attractive cookbooks that you own - looks good among my 55 volumes. If you read it, you will learn much about the geography and history of Spanish food over the past thousand years. If you cook from it, your enjoyment will know no bounds.
This is about the food of European Spain, not the also-wonderful food of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking areas of the New World. For your next block party, do paella, perhaps the best-known example of Spanish communal feasting.
The medium-grain rice, sweet paprika, chorizo sausage, and other important Spanish ingredients can be hard to find. Use Amazon gourmet foods to find these items until you learn the substitutions available at your supermarket.
There are important French influences in Spanish cooking but less to fear. Eating is celebrated in Spanish cooking more than culinary arts - you can do it!
Why only four stars? I cook seriously (as does Roden)but I may be a bit 'jaded', a bit more interested in 'knockout' recipe and flavor or texture ideas. This book is wonderfully traditional. Her prose is not as rigorously edited as it used to be and there are some repetitions that pall on the careful reader.
Roden has also become a culinary 'goddess' by dint of her unremitting hard work and her text has acquired a bit of baggage: she is modest enough to feel she needs to recognize all the people in Spain who have helped her along the way and through the years. Notable names are dropped but there are also magic moments when she recognizes, for example, the president of a local gastronomic society of men, a man of humble origins but of enormous self-study and acheivement and a man of noble hospitality. 'Visiting' good people who love good food is one of the pleasures served up by this book; a pleasure seldom found elsewhere.
Obviously, I had to add this book to my collection and I feel you won't be sorry to do the same. For those who are seeking something a bit less ambitious and a bit more path-breaking, may I suggest Jose Andres' works 'Made in Spain' or 'Tapas?' The dishes he offers make me want to get in the kitchen and cook something for dinner tonight!