If you have been following my journeys for a while you may have noticed that food features heavily in all parts of my travels. I am b y nature fascinated by food, and have realised that what we take on face value of a dish isn’t always what we assume.
Similar book review: A Moveable Feast
I picked up this book because it intrigued me. What Caesar Did For My Salad contains the sort of stories that have always plagued my mind: what if Chinese food isn’t Chinese food? Why do we insist that bread must be part of certain diet and have such national pride about certain dishes that might not actually be our own?
The book is structured in courses – a clever idea that got me extremely hungry as I read it around bedtime. Not only does Albert Jack explore the ideas of some of the most iconic dishes that are so familiar to us, such as ‘French Fries’ (which we all know by know isn’t French) and the ‘Hamburger’ (which surprising is actually German related), he also explains the history and many political movements that has influenced the way we eat and treat food.
The book is Europe-centric, naturally, as Albert Jack is an English historian and will therefore, be a little confusing or less interesting to those not familiar with the European (mainly British) way of eating. However there are enough common and widely known items such as the Caesar Salad and the Croissant to still entertain those whom have an interest in such trivial, yet intriguing tales of food.
I like this book because just as what travel can teach us about our similarities around the globe, the book essentially touches on some of the ‘prejudices’ that can also happen in the culinary world. There are subtle hints that remind us why certain foods are eaten in certain ways, and why your way of cooking may not be the only way of doing the same dish else where.
I would love to see a similar book written about other regions – such as Asia. If anyone has any reading recommendations, please let me know!