Posts Tagged ‘food’
Several things are interesting about Dr. Louis Bakay. The first being that he is a brain surgeon and historian on the Faculty of Harvard Medical School, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery of the University of Buffalo. The second is that in his past time he enjoys reading and writing about a history of epicures and societies obsession and love for all things food-related. The third is that he is not even a passable cook but an enthusiastic gourmet.
Random books are the best and I stumbled across this in the food section a week ago while browsing for some gifts for a few of my friends. Dr. Bakay takes the reader through a history of eating from the Stone Age where “the bones of animals found during excavations in Europe reveal what man ate in prehistoric times” all the way to modern French cuisine.
The book is full of interesting facts and random information surrounding the history of how society (mainly Western) has consumed food. For example:
“A typical example of feudal meals was one recorded of the wedding of Wilhelm von Rosenberg at his castle in Bohemia in 1578: 370 oxen; 98 wild boar; 2,292 hares; 3,910 patridge; 22,687 thrushes; 12,887 chickens; 3,000 capons; a large number of eel, carp, salmon, and pike. Also 5 tons of oysters and 40,837 eggs. It was washed down by 6,405 pails of wine.”
You have to love the excess of it all. Not that much has changed since then, but still all of that for a single wedding is impressive.
If you can find this book, it seems to be out of print, or if you can find me and remind me to lend it out, this is definitely a fascinating review of how we eat through the ages. Cheers.
Anthony Bourdain, (world famous chef/writer/journalist/documentarian) has an essay on “Food Porn” and what it constitutes that can be found here. For those too lazy to read, “Food Porn” can be defined as follows:
Food porn, the glorification of food as a substitute for sex, is not an entirely new phenomenon. Nor, perhaps, is the “objectification” of food: displays or descriptions of food — and its preparation — for an audience that has no intention of actually cooking or eating any of it.
I was listening to the CBC the other day and the topic on The Point was “Food Porn” or these viral videos that exist on the internet that teach people how to make these monstrosities:
What you see above is called the Thunderdome: Three stacks of bacon, sausage, elk meat, onions and cheese between tortillas all topped with sour cream, two fried eggs and scallions.
Click on the pic and head over to the website to see many more creations (abominations).
Or you can view such horrors, here:
I am unsure as to why we have such creations in society, but I still felt obligated to share them with all of you, my dear blog readers.
If you were feeling badly about the ice-cream or that extra cake slice that you had last night, you can at least feel better about yourself knowing that you’re not ingesting the Bacon Explosion. I’m fairly certain that my blog readers do not fall under the category of those who would consume such monstrosities, but if you happen to be someone that enjoys this type of food, well to each their own, I personally find them to be in poor taste. (yes Erin, I did just make that pun).
It amazes me what people will do when they find themselves too drunk or too bored (maybe a combination of the two). “I have an idea guys, let’s stuff 10 pounds of ground beef and cheese inside of two meatlovers pizzas and then fry the whole thing.”
Anthony Bourdain is a writer, chef, and traveller of the world. What is he searching for? He attempts to answer this with his book A Cook’s Tour – Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine. Author of Kitchen Confidential, which I’ve only read sporadically and in sections before re-gifting to someone else, Anthony Bourdain is searching for the “perfect” meal. He freely admits that this may not exist but it will not stop him from searching. This book was the inspiration for a reality television show on the Food Network which followed him around for two years as he traveled the world and sampled exotic dishes and experienced the culture of the people around him.
The book is divided up into various sections, miniature essays about the individual places that he’s travelled to. I just finished a section where he travelled to Portugal to visit his boss’s family. They live on a farm and there is a tradition each year where they fatten up a pig for 6 months, and then proceed to butcher him. Bourdain goes into great detail the amount of work this butchering entails and how nothing, nothing, is wasted.
It took four strong men, experts at this sort of thing, to restrain the pig, then drag and wrestle him up onto his side and onto a heavy wooden horse cart. It was not easy. With the weight of two men pinning him down and another holding his hind legs, the main man with the knife, gripping him by the head, leaned over and plunged the knife all the way into the beast’s thorax, just above the heart. The pig went wild. The screaming penetrated the fillings in my teeth, echoed through the valley. With an incredible shower of fresh blood flying in every direction, the shrieking, squealing, struggling animal heaved himself off the cart, forcefully kicking one of his tormentors in the groin repeatedly. Spraying great gouts of blood, the pig fought mightily, four men desperately attempting to gain purchase on his kicking legs, bucking abdomen, and blood -smeared rearing head.
The images and scene he presents is visceral and a bit unsettling. Well worth picking up if you enjoy travel literature or books that celebrate the joy of cooking and food.
A hearty thanks to Miss Jenn for this Christmas gift, huzzah.