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Rare Bits: Unusual Origins Of Popular Recipes Hardcover – October 10, 1998
All Books, All the Time
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From Library Journal
This is primarily a culinary history and only secondarily a cookbook?not surprisingly, since the author is a historian. The stories of how particular recipes developed and were named are extremely interesting and well written, particularly regarding baked goods. The preparations of cakes, pies, breads, and cookies are clear and easy to follow, and the stories behind them are fascinating. Recipes for savory foods are not as well presented. A bibliography covering culinary and more general historical sources is included. Other titles, such as John Mariani's The Dictionary of American Food and Drink (LJ 2/15/94) are more comprehensive though not as much fun to read. Recommended for collections with a strong interest in food history. Index not seen.?Mary Martin, CAPCON Lib. Network, Washington, DC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
This book contains recipes for breads, sandwiches, soups, salads, salad dressings,. seafood, meats, poultry, supper dishes, side dishes, sauces., candy, cookies, cakes, pies and beverages.
The last recipe my late grandmother ever taught me was Chicken Divan. I had no idea where she would have learned the recipe, but found three or four handwritten cards with various recipes on them. I figured she must have adapted the recipe over a few years to come up with the perfect recipe.
I was pleased to find more information about the Chicken Divan recipe in Rare Bits. I know it is one of the tastiest dishes, but had no idea that it takes its name from the long-gone New York restaurant, the Divan Parisienne. She also gives the origin of the word divan and gives a recipe for Chicken Divan that uses a Hollandaise Sauce. She also tells why they call it Hollandaise! We use canned soup for convenience, however it was fun to read how it was originally made.
Patricia has really outdone herself. The headers are really paragraphs and sometimes take up pages and pages, which is just delicious to read and savor. There are recipes in this book I have never seen before. Anzacs, Hussar's Kisses, Hamantaschen? There is also a gourmet quality about many of the recipes. You will find Babas Au Rhum and Charlotte Russe hanging out with a recipe for Sloppy Joes, all in the same book. There is great variety in the recipes, just as there is in the cultures they originated in. A recipe for Heaven & Earth caught my attention, how about Angels on Horseback.
You will find out where mom's recipe for Beef Stroganoff (Russian, but she also tells some info you won't find anywhere else.) originated or how to make a Shirley Temple drink. Since I had never eaten a Manhattan Clam Chowder, I didn't realize you just don't add tomatoes to the cream clam chowder, it is a completely different recipe. Patricia also gives the variation so you can make both the New England and Manhattan version.
If you are looking for a recipe for Pavlova, you will find it here. I had just made the recipe and was reading that Anna Pavlova was famous for her performance in The Dying Swan so we made swan meringues. Patricia gave me more info and explained why this meringue dessert was such a hit in Australia. There is so much to learn, but what a delicious way to learn it. Who knew the Chinese gooseberry (kiwifruit) was originally called mihoutao or monkey peach and that the seeds came from China. She also gives information on how the name was changed. That name change information is also in the Purple Kiwi Cookbook, written by Karen Caplan. Her mother, Frieda, actually named the Chinese gooseberry, a kiwifruit!
If you are a cookbook collector, enjoy food history or want to find some unique recipes, this is the book for you. No color pictures, but you will be reading this like a novel! The cover is pretty, they should put up a picture.
If you love this book, look for books by Sharon Tyler Herbst. Her Food Lover's Companion now has more cooking terms than ever. Also look for The Cambridge World History of Food which comes in two volumes. Webster's New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts might also be something you would enjoy having around as a reference if you are a food writer.
~The Rebecca Review