The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World by Jenny Linford
The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World is an original and beautifully designed book that tells a global food history through seven essential ingredients from around the world: pork, honey, salt, chilli, rice, cacao and tomato. As the author, Jenny Linford, says in the introduction, ‘These are foods that over their history as part of the human diet, have acquired cultural and religious values and taken on symbolic and superstitious meanings.’
There is fascinating information in this book. Pigs were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated, and all domestic pigs are descended from the wild boar. Pigs were sacrificed to the gods in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as in China. But even though pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, around one-fifth of the world’s population does not eat pork for religious reasons. Honey, humanity’s historic sweetener, is highly prized. In the Bible, the Promised Land is ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ In the past salt was a source of social status, wealth and power. Rice is a staple food for over three and half billion people. The first encounter between Europeans and the chilli peppers of the New World came with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, on what is now Haiti. Drinks made from cacao were consumed by the Maya elite back in AD250 – 900. The tomato started life as a wild plant in South America.
There is more than just history and cultural stories in this handsome book, however. It boasts 63 tasty, traditional recipes, and the lovely illustrations ensure this book will remain a classic in the years to come.
Reviewer: Iain McKenzie
Quarto Group UK, RRP 39.99