Albert Jack's book What Caesar Did for My Salad is a fascinating explanation of the curious stories behind our favourite food. This is a book for food and language lovers.
Although this book is about food, it is not a recipe book. It explores the background and origins of many of our favourites meals, dishes and drinks. Cooks will get ideas from the descriptions but not detailed instructions as to how to prepare them; for that, they will have to seek other references.
Cultural, Social and Linguistic Background to our Food
What Caesar Did for My Salad is as much a cultural and social history and so should interest anyone with an interest in the way we live. It also illustrates how cultural influences are propagated around the world as groups of people migrate. As an example coleslaw is an American dish that has Dutch roots and marmalade has a Portuguese origin.
Other groups who will enjoy What Caesar Did for My Salad are lovers of language as the names of many dishes featured in the book are based on corruptions of their original name. Albert Jack also debunks many theories as to the origin of both dishes and their names. It is a fascinating investigation of language with a culinary focus. A final group to whom What Caesar Did for My Salad will appeal are all lovers of trivia and quizzes; it will provide many new opportunities for quiz-masters.What Caesar Did for My Salad is organised around the main meals with additional sections picking up main ethnic cuisines such as those from Italy, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East, particularly China. Before lovers of French cooking get concerned that they are not represented it should be appreciated that no treatise on food can ignore France. Albert Jack does not need to consider French food separately as, inevitably; it is a thread that features throughout the book.
Albert Jack Explores Familiar Things that are Close to Our Hearts
Albert Jack is an author of several best-selling books that explore the stories behind familiar things that we take for granted as we have grown up with them. His books include Pop Goes the Weasel, the origin of nursery rhymes, to the sources of everyday phrases in Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep.
What Caesar Did for My Salad is a book that can be read from cover to cover or dipped into as the mood takes the reader. It will sit well with a cook's collection of recipe books and alongside other key references such the Penguin Companion to Food.
Surprises and Challenges Assumptions
It may surprise the reader that Caesar Salad originated in Mexico, not America, but to find out the full story you will need to read the book. If you are interested in food, trivia or language you will not regret it.
What Caesar Did for My Salad, Not to Mention the Earl's Sandwich, Pavlova's Meringue and Other Curious Stories Behind our Favourite Food (2010, ISBN: 978-1-846-14254-3) by Albert Jack is published in hardback by Penguin at £12.99 (Can$22).
First appeared on Suite101