A Food Lover’s Life List
So let me get the food metaphors out of the way by saying this book is yummy – do not read on an empty stomach!
I remember when Mimi Sheraton was the restaurant critic for the New York Times, back in the 1970’s (yes, I am that old!) She is a James Beard award winning journalist and has written about food for more magazines that I can name. Oh, and she’s also written several cookbooks. So what I’m saying is Mimi Sheraton is uniquely qualified to write this book. And it was a joy reading it.
So what’s in this book? Lots. Laura Kiniry of Smithsonian Magazine said it succinctly; “1,000 must-try dishes, restaurants, markets, cultural feasts, and even some relatively universal foods (such as bananas, olive oil, and whipped cream) that transcend regional categorization.” Sit down with this book, a pen and paper (or tablet or computer) and start making your own food bucket list.
Sure, it won’t be easy to get to some of these things. I think all the Chinese dishes are meant to be eaten in the various provinces of China, German food in Germany, and so forth but with many dishes, there are recommended restaurants in major cities like New York as well.
The book is organized more or less geographically, so if you’re an expert on French and Italian, skip over to the chapters on Belgian & Dutch or Scandinavian food or even Jewish food, for example. Lots of recipes are included if you want to try making some magic yourself. And if the recipe isn’t provided, there are usually notes on particular recipes that work. For instance, Candied Citrus Peel, not the dreck you find stuffed in fruitcakes but handmade candied citrus is explained, but then the notes suggest recipes from Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling, The Joy of Cooking (2006), The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (13th edition,) and Mimi’s own My Mother’s Kitchen.
The foods range from the simple – Sour Cream, Cape Cod Potato Chips, Oreos! to the sublime – the “great cheeses of Spain”, caviar, truffles. The research is meticulous. I’ve been eating Gefilte Fish my whole life and never knew its history, or even how it’s made. Even though a recipe isn’t provided, the basic steps are, as well as where to buy it – Barney Greengrass in NY, Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen in Houston, and where to “dine-in” or mail order it, and finally referrals to recipes in The New York Times Jewish Cookbook, Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook, and so forth.
This book is to be savored and is a real treat. (Sorry, thought I got the food metaphors out of the way earlier, guess not!) Buy it for your favorite foodie and they will thank you.
4/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
1,000 FOODS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE by Mimi Sheraton. Pinnacle (March 31, 2015). ISBN: 978-0786034239. 352p.