Monday, October 22, 2007

Top 10 unusual cookbooks

In her new book Taste: The Story of Britain through Its Food, Kate Colquhoun apparently "asks and answers a fascinating range of questions from the weighty to the lighthearted. Did the Romans use pepper? How did the Black Death lead to the beginning of rural baking? Why was the sale of fruit banned in 1569? What linked roasted meats and morality in the 1790s? When did we move from serving everything at once to the succession of courses we know today?"

The author recently named her top 10 unusual cookbooks for the Guardian.

One title to make her list:
Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson

This 2004 novel by the award-winning author of Gerontius and Loving Monsters follows the life of Gerald Samper, a snobbish ghost writer and aspiring gourmet. It's a marvellous comic bad dream of a book, set in Italy and stuffed with appalling recipes all using the ghastly bitter aperitif Fernet Branca. Famously, there are mussels in chocolate, garlic ice cream and smoked cat. I've never wanted to cook any of it, but it has had me laughing at the supermarket checkout weeks after I finished reading it.
Read about the other titles on Colquhoun's list.

--Marshal Zeringue