Let the Meatballs Rest: And Other Stories About Food and Culture.pdf
Known for his entertaining investigations into culinary practice, Massimo Montanari turns his hungry eye to the phenomenon of food culture, food lore, cooking methods, and eating habits throughout history. An irresistible buffet of one hundred concise and engaging essays, this collection provides stimulating food for thought for those curious about one of life's most fundamental pleasures. Focusing on the selection, preparation, and mythology of food, Montanari traverses such subjects as the status of the pantry over the centuries, the various strategies of cooking over time, the gastronomy of famine, the science of flavors, the changing characteristics of convivial rituals, the customs of the table, and the ever-evolving identity of food. He shows that cooking not only is a decisive part of our cultural heritage but also communicates essential information about our material and intellectual well-being. From the invention of basic bread making to chocolate's reputation for decadence, Montanari positions food culture as a lens through which we can plot changes in historical values and social and economic trends. Even the biblical tale of Jacob buying Esau's birthright for a bowl of lentils is a text full of essential meaning, representing civilization's important shift from a hunting to an agrarian society. Readers of all backgrounds will enjoy these delectable insights and their easy consumption in one companionable volume.
The more I cook, the more I realize and discover how the food that we eat is much more than nourishment. It is culture; it is our story as human beings, and Massimo Montanari has made it his life's mission to make that connection. Here, in this informative, intelligible, and delightful book, Let the Meatballs Rest and Other Stories About Food and Culture, Massimo shares those very stories and the resounding message that food is culture, and culture is nourished by food. -- Lidia Bastianich, chef, cookbook author, television personality, and restaurateur Montanari's erudition is manifest throughout the book. He assiduously avoids both commonplaces and pedantry and provokes thought, thrilling anyone looking to understand on a profound level why we eat what we eat. Booklist 10/1/2012 ...delectable... -- Andrew F. Smith Times Literary Supplement 11/23/2012 a textured, surprising, and brightly astringent read. -- Ted Weesner, Jr. Boston Globe 1/8/2013
Massimo Montanari is professor of medieval history and the history of food at the Institute of Paleography and Medieval Studies, University of Bologna. He has authored and coauthored more than a dozen books, including Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb; Food Is Culture; Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History; Food: A Culinary History; and Famine and Plenty: The History of Food in Europe. Beth Archer Brombert is the author of two widely acclaimed biographies: Cristina:Portraits of a Princess and Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat, which was a NewYork Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent work is a memoir of her decades of living, traveling, and cooking in Italy, Journey to the World of the BlackRooster. Her many translations from French and Italian include Italo Svevo's Senilita ( Emilio's Carnival) and Eri de Lucca's Tu, Mio ( You, Mine).
IntroductionThings and IdeasBeing and eating / The invention of bread / Our daily bread / Festive bread / Bread unites or divides? / Divide meatThe Status of FoodsEsau's lentilsAdventures in CookingFrom raw to cooked (and back) / The prefect recipe / Cappelletti and tortellini: the retro- taste of history / macaroniThe Gastronomy of HungerNameless plants / Field herbs / Forgotten fruitsFlavorsFlavor and knowledge / How many flavors are there? / A longing for sweet / Sweet and/or salty / Bitter to the taste / When sour was fashionable / The taste for spices (and hot pepper) / The taste of smoke / How chocolate became sweet / The taste of canned foodsPleasure and Health"What tastes good is good for you" / The law of oppositesThe Beautiful and the GoodThe making of colors / White or red? / Carrot red / Culinary artifices / Compositions and compotes / Confetti (sugarcoated almondsConvivial RitualsThe call of the wild (around the barbecue) / A masculine ritual / Rucola in the White House / Christmas dinner / A hundred cappelletti / Carnival and Lent / Lenten dietTable Practices and MannersThe fork and the hands / The missing cutlery / The pot on the table / First or second? / The wheel of food / Imbiber / The ancient art of pairing wine with food / How to taste wine (without making an ass of oneself) / Cold drinks"Identity" Declined in the PluralSpaghetti with tomato sauceIndex