The importance of the banquet in the late Renaissance is impossible to overlook. Banquets showcased a host’s wealth and power, provided an occasion for nobles from distant places to gather together, and even served as a form of political propaganda. But what was it really like to cater to the tastes and habits of high society at the banquets of nobles, royalty, and popes? What did they eat and how did they eat it?
In The Banquet, Ken Albala covers the transitional period between the heavily spiced and colored cuisine of the Middle Ages and classical French haute cuisine. This development involved increasing use of dairy products, a move toward lighter meats such as veal and chicken, increasing identification of national food customs, more sweetness and aromatics, and a refined aesthetic sense, surprisingly in line with the late-Renaissance styles found in other arts.
Once synonymous with food novelty, gelatin has re-emerged as an attention-grabbing element of creative cuisine and avant-garde drinkology. Ken Albala’s most fearless food exploration yet takes readers into the sublime world of aspics past and present. Blending history with his trademark zeal for experimentation, Albala traces gelatin’s ever-changing fortunes alongside one-of-a-kind recipes that inspire, delight, and terrify as only jello can do. Gelatin’s wondrous arrival in the medieval era was part of a technological watershed. Today, it reflects our high-tech zeitgeist. Albala encourages readers to celebrate gelatin's return with advice on creating a base and making silicone molds while his outrageous original creations dare you to add some jiggle to breakfast (Eggs Benedict in Champagne Jello), a nightcap (Froot Loop Negroni), or any culinary moment in between.
A lighthearted manifesto for the new age of aspics, The Great Gelatin Revival rattles our very understanding of what food can be.
Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is a practical food history lesson, an editorial on our use of packaged convenience foods, and a call to arms—of the kitchen variety. Mixing food writing and history, adding a dash of cookbook, author and scholar Ken Albala shares the story of what happened when he started taking food history seriously and embarked on a mission to grow, cook, and share food in the ways that people did in the past.
Albala considers what the traditions we have needlessly lost have to offer us today: a serious appreciation for the generative power of the earth, the great pleasures of cooking food, and the joy of sharing food with family, friends, and even strangers. In Albala’s compelling book, obscure seventeenth-century Italian farmer-nobles, Roman statesmen, and quirky cheesemakers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries all offer lessons about our relationship with the food we eat.
A rare form of historical activism, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food is written for anyone who likes to eat, loves to cook, and knows how to throw a great dinner party.
An OSU Press Horning Visiting Scholars Publication.
Every day, noodle shops around the globe ladle out quick meals that fuel our go-go lives. But Ken Albala has a mission: to get YOU in the kitchen making noodle soup.
This primer offers the recipes and techniques for mastering quick-slurper staples and luxurious from-scratch feasts. Albala made a different noodle soup every day for two years. His obsession yielded all you need to know about making stock bases, using dried or fresh noodles, and choosing from a huge variety of garnishes, flavorings, and accompaniments. He lays out innovative techniques for mixing and matching bases and noodles with grains, vegetables, and other ingredients drawn from an international array of cuisines. In addition to recipes both cutting edge and classic, Albala describes new soup discoveries he created along the way. There's advice on utensils, cooking tools, and the oft-overlooked necessity of matching a soup to the proper bowl. Finally, he sprinkles in charming historical details that cover everything from ancient Chinese millet noodles to that off-brand Malaysian ramen at the back of the ethnic grocery store.
Filled with more than seventy color photos and dozens of recipes, Noodle Soup is an indispensable guide for cooking, eating, and loving a universal favorite.
From almonds and pecans to pistachios, cashews, and macadamias, nuts are as basic as food gets—just pop them out of the shell and into your mouth. The original health food, the vitamin-packed nut is now used industrially, in confectionary, and in all sorts of cooking. The first book to tell the full story of how nuts came to be in almost everything, Nuts takes readers on a gastronomic, botanical, and cultural tour of the world.
Tracking these fruits and seeds through cultivation, harvesting, processing, and consumption—or non-consumption, in the case of those with nut allergies—award-winning food writer Ken Albala provides a fascinating account on how they have been cooked, prepared, and exploited. He reveals the social and cultural meaning of nuts during various periods in history, while also immersing us in their modern uses. Packing scrumptious recipes, surprising facts, and fascinating nuggets inside its hardcover shell, this entertaining and informative book will delight lovers of almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts, and more.
Round, thin, and made of starchy batter cooked on a flat surface, it is a food that goes by many names: flapjack, crêpe, and okonomiyaki, to name just a few. The pancake is a treasured food the world over, and now Ken Albala unearths the surprisingly rich history of pancakes and their sizzling goodness.
Pancake traverses over centuries and civilizations to examine the culinary and cultural importance of pancakes in human history. From the Russian blini to the Ethiopian injera, Albala reveals how pancakes have been a perennial source of sustenance from Greek and Roman eras to the Middle Ages through to the present day. He explores how the pancake has gained symbolic currency in diverse societies as a comfort food, a portable victual for travelers, a celebratory dish, and a breakfast meal. The book also features a number of historic and modern recipes—tracing the first official pancake recipe to a sixteenth-century Dutch cook—and is accompanied by a rich selection of illustrations.
Pancake is a witty and erudite history of a well-known favorite and will ensure that the pancake will never be flattened under the shadow of better known foods.