My Food Encyclopedia Fetish

9:46 am

As you may know, I’m not only a restaurant reviewer, but I looove to cook.

So a little while ago, I started an online food magazine and a little collection of food encyclopedias.

My fella for Christmas and birthdays always indulges me with books about food history and trivia. And I have been finding some great new encyclopedias that I thought I would share with those of you that want to have on hand information about Red Mullet fish or German American foods in the Mainstream.

These four books are just the beginning…


Field Guide to Seafood: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fish and Shellfish at the Market
Aliza Green

Not only is this book fantastic, but it’s small (read: portable!!!!) and includes photos.

Each entry has the fish’s name, the other names it might be known by, a general description, locale and season, characteristics, how to choose, storages, preparations, serving suggestions, and flavour affinities.

Here’s a fun note from page 21 about Blowfish:

“Do not prepare blowfish at home. Eat blowfish only at the most reputable establishments that specialize in this fish, and be aware that it is a risky undertaking.”

The Oxford Companion to American Food & Drink
Edited by Andrew F. Smith

One of the best reference books on everything food and drink that you can get. I love the entry on Moon Pie and that there is actually an entry on Moon Pie.

You can read about the history of Mescal, how California Rolls came to be, and combat food during the Civil and Spanish-American Wars.

You could spend the rest of your days reading it.

That’s what I’m going to be doing anyway.

The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8,000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People
Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors

This fantabulous book has colour painted illustrations so you can immediately identify tamarillos, cherimoya and mamey sapota.

It’s also got the terms in read and large print, so you don’t have to squint and hover over the tome like an old lady.

It’s got all of the definitions you’ll need – Prairie Oyster, Natal plum, melegueta pepper - and a photograph and short biography of Paul Bocuse, the French chef who brought us Nouvelle Cuisine, among others.

What a great find.

I’ll be using this a lot.

In fact, I’m thinking of getting a back up copy, just in case.

Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of Food & Cookery: The Complete Kitchen Companion From A to Z – Revised and Updated with More Than 1500 Recipes

This is part dictionary, encyclopedia, cookbook and storybook.

It’s just lovely.

The entry for Nesselrode Pudding explains the history of the pudding (invented by a chef of a Russian statesman, Count Nesselrode), and how to make it (you’re going to need cream, canned crushed pineapple and dark chocolate, to name just a few.

There’s no recipe for Port but a great description. But there’s tons of receipes under Boiled New Potatoes.

I’m going to make the Crispy Olive Potatoes tonight.

Page 381 if you want to make them too.

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