Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun. If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.
Title: Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat
Author: Bee Wilson
The most amusing chapter for me to read on a personal level was about measurements. The idea of standardized measures at all, let alone in the kitchen, is actually a relatively recent human development. Many accomplished cooks, my wife included, eschew the idea of specific measurements with food unless absolutely necessary. She feels she can pretty well judge a tablespoon of oil without getting out the measuring spoons and, to be fair, I believe she probably can. Even if she can't really, the resulting food that comes out of the kitchen is proof enough for me that she definitely knows what she's doing. On the other hand, I have no such faith in my own capacities. If the recipe says a cup, I want to be as on the dot as I can possibly manage. Once, as a joke, my late grandmother-in-law gave me a set of measuring spoons with indications for a dash, a pinch and a smidgen. The real joke? I use the spoons faithfully. Drink recipes call for a dash of something all the time - sometimes multiple dashes. How am I supposed to judge three dashes of bitters without a spoon?!!!
According to Wilson, we're both full of it. There's more science in my wife's eyeball measuring than she'd admit and my spoons and cups aren't nearly as exact as I believe. She is, hands-down, the better cook so at least at our house, I suppose she wins the philosophical argument.
Consider the Fork is a keeper. With so many books about the history of particular ingredients, an exploration of preparation is essential to a broader study of food. Wilson's writing is both informative and engaging, reflecting thorough research and a genuine passion for cooking.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post April's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is April 27th.