A culinary history of the seven food staples that have shaped human history, including 63 original recipes
The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World is a global culinary history told through the stories of seven essential ingredients found in cuisines all over the world: honey, salt, chile, pork, rice, cacao, and tomato. Each of these foundational ingredients has played a long and valuable role in human foodways and culture, and each has its own fascinating history.
This engagingly illustrated book traces the journeys of these foodstuffs as they were transported from their regions of origin to faraway cultures and countries, there to take up starring roles in new cuisines. The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World explores each food in depth, beautifully illustrated by specially commissioned artworks, and views them through a number of prisms–social, cultural, historical, and botanical–to offer readers fresh, informative insights into seemingly everyday foods that reveal themselves as wondrous. The rich and diverse cultural stories of these seven ingredients are also told, from the magical and aphrodisiac powers associated with cacao in Mesoamerican culture to the introduction of tomatoes to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century and the earliest cultivation of rice in China’s Pearl Valley. Readers can take the seven ingredients into their own kitchens via 63 original recipes for dishes both traditional and innovative.
Named one of the ten best books about food in 2018 by Smithsonian magazine
“Linford (editor, 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die) focuses on seven ubiquitous ingredients often taken for granted: honey, salt, chile, pork, rice, cacao, and tomato. Her book tells their fascinating histories and helps foster a new appreciation for them, relating some of their first recorded uses and how the ingredients spread worldwide through exploration and trade routes. The author shows how human ingenuity transformed them from expensive, exotic luxuries into affordable staples. The inclusion of folklore, facts of cultural and religious significance, and novel illustrations make the book both informative and pleasurable. Though over 60 easy recipes from a range of countries are included, the book’s real value is the entertaining history lesson. Linford’s idea is original and well-executed, making this a perfect read for a curious food lover who wants to know just a bit more but who would be overwhelmed by tomes devoted to a single ingredient.” —Library Journal