A Global History (Edible)
Food historian William rubel focuses on the intersection of life, culture, cooking and taste. His first book, The Magic of Fire, explored open hearth cooking and it grabbed my attention until my chimney sweep told me I needed extensive chimney repairs. In Bread: A Global History (Edible), Rubel follows bread from the dawn of history to modern times. Rubel looks at flat bread, loaf, bread, fried bread, bean bread, and corn bread. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin,18th century food writer, lawyer, and politician, wrote "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Rubel does that through the lens of bread. Throughout history the bread we eat tells us much about our the world we live in and how we live in it. Rubel The type of bread we eat identifies our class and who makes the bread - male or female - says something about our sexual roles. Rubel divides modern bread into home, craft and industrial breads, each with different cultural roles. Rubel makes an interesting point that loaf bread and beer evolved together. Societies that have learned to make beer all have loaf bread. He gives us a travelogue of bread and examines six loaf bread cultures: France, Mexico, Germany, Russian, Britain and the US. He concludes with recipes and provides some good bread making advice. He peppers the bread with fascinating insights like why we started using salt in bread making and the impact of the coarseness of the flour on the finished loaf. Rubel also describes several breads that will have you scouring ethnic bakeries for the treasures he mentions. Rubel's broad background and focus makes this an interesting book to almost any reader. Bread bakers will especially enjoy the recipes while Ruben will capture all readers with his fascination for his subject matter.