Thursday, 16 July 2009

Food for Thought

Today I found a treasure of a book at the Goodwill while stopping in for a few minutes with my grandma. It's The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages by William Harlan Hale. At first glance it reminded me of one of my favorite books--Art and Wonder: An Illustrated Anthology of Visionary Poetry--so I was drawn to it immediately. This book, though, is all about food. Since Lois was born I find myself thinking about food often and in a way I didn't before. When I refer to my baby feeding chart (at 4 months begin cereal; at 7 months begin yogurt; at 8 months finely milled meats), I wonder what people did hundreds and hundreds of years ago when they didn't have the handy Earth's Best feeding chart and a Whole Foods down the street. I know women nursed much longer than most women do now, but children had to start eating food at some point, and I'm sure mothers didn't always have many options. I'm so grateful to live when I do--a time when I don't have to grow or hunt for my own food to survive. This book takes you back through history when people did. From the evolution of markets, to the search for spices, to the bottling of bubbles, to the art of porcelain, to the ceremony of dining throughout the ages, this book is a gem for anyone who likes history, art, or food. It also has an extensive recipe section in the back. Most of the images here show pages with artwork, but the book is filled with more text than art. So far it's a scrumptious read, especially for the thrifty $2.50 price tag. You can click on the images to view them larger.


Kerri said...

I am coming to San Francisco this weekend and was wondering what are your favorite thrift stores.

Helen said...

Now, that's an *amazing* book! What a find.