1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton

9 Apr

1000foodsFormat: e-ARC, 1009 pages

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company

Published: January 13, 2015

ISBN: 9780761141686

Genre: Cooking, Food and Wine

Back cover blurb: The ultimate gift for the food lover. In the same way that 1,000 Places to See Before You Die reinvented the travel book, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die is a joyous, informative, dazzling, mouthwatering life list of the world’s best food. The long-awaited new book in the phenomenal 1,000 . . . Before You Die series, it’s the marriage of an irresistible subject with the perfect writer, Mimi Sheraton—award-winning cookbook author, grande dame of food journalism, and former restaurant critic for The New York Times.

1,000 Foods fully delivers on the promise of its title, selecting from the best cuisines around the world (French, Italian, Chinese, of course, but also Senegalese, Lebanese, Mongolian, Peruvian, and many more)—the tastes, ingredients, dishes, and restaurants that every reader should experience and dream about, whether it’s dinner at Chicago’s Alinea or the perfect empanada. In more than 1,000 pages and over 550 full-color photographs, it celebrates haute and snack, comforting and exotic, hyper-local and the universally enjoyed: a Tuscan plate of Fritto Misto. Saffron Buns for breakfast in downtown Stockholm. Bird’s Nest Soup. A frozen Milky Way. Black truffles from Le Périgord.

Mimi Sheraton is highly opinionated, and has a gift for supporting her recommendations with smart, sensuous descriptions—you can almost taste what she’s tasted. You’ll want to eat your way through the book (after searching first for what you have already tried, and comparing notes). Then, following the romance, the practical: where to taste the dish or find the ingredient, and where to go for the best recipes, websites included.

My review: At over 1000 pages, this is a comprehensive look at the foods of the world. I must confess to just browsing some sections, but I suspect that is what most people will do, looking for the food or regions which interest them. This book is definitely aimed at an American audience, which I am not, and at times it seemed clear the author is elderly because of her recommendations.

I would have to query some of the definitions and spellings, and most certainly some of the countries of origin. To say bread and butter, pork scratchings, fried eggs, and – for heaven’s sake – English muffins are American dishes is ridiculous, and to recommend going all the way to Austria for whipped cream seems a little excessive.

What peeved me the most was the Australia and New Zealand section, being my part of the world. The author recommends only one New Zealand restaurant to try all its cuisine, Logan Brown in my city of Wellington, which is a lovely place but I don’t think you need to be seated at a fine dining establishment to get Anzac biscuits or an afghan, as she suggests. She also says afghan biscuits “have a special place on the Christmas dessert table” which would be complete news to any Kiwi. And no, our nickname does not come from the fruit, but from the flightless bird. Sigh.

Despite all this, it’s a worthy resource and would be valuable for any traveller.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5






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