A History of Cooks and Cooking
I picked this book up because I thought it was by the shaved head TV Chef and owner of several restaurants, Michael Symon. This book is actually by the Australian Michael Symons, 24 years older with a full head of gray hair. Michael Symons is an author, journalist and and restaurateur. In A History of Cooks and Cooking Michael Symons starts in the kitchen of a well known Sydney chef, they explores how some novelists have portrayed women cooks, and then ventures into the appreciation of the gastronomic tradition, followed by a history of the cooking fire, then examines our assumptions about what cooks do, discusses why cooks specialize in sauces, why the knife is their key tool and the role of cooks in festivals, beauty and love. If you are looking for a coherent history of cooks and cooking for a course on cooking, for instance, this is not your book. It runs a little short on cohesion and focus, wandering through literature, history, art and actual cooking. This is more like a long walk in a park or a few afternoons in a pub where an old man revels you with all he knows about cooks and cooking. We quickly learn that we need food to survive and our activities that involve food touch art, history, philosophy, and many other areas. He takes on tangents that wander through literature, back to ancient Greece and Rome and concludes that having to cook it the price we pay for being human but it also helps make us human and adds much to our existence. Even though this book does not live up to its title, it is an entertaining and interesting book.