Originally published in London in 1859, this rare treasure of culinary history was recently brought to light in the award-winning Oxford Companion to Food, whose author, Alan Davidson, used it as a primary reference in researching some of the more obscure foodstuffs consumed across the globe. Davidson writes that "[CURIOSITIES] is in all probability the first attempt to write a general worldwide survey of animal products." Long out of print and scarce even in the antiquarian market, this lost classic of wit, erudition, and grand storytelling is now made available in a facsimile edition, with an introduction by Davidson. As Simmonds reveals in his charming culinary travelogue, just about everything that walks, swims, crawls, slithers, or flies has been eaten at one time or another, and the eminent Victorian scholar has the tasting notes. On lizards: "In Guatemala, there is a popular belief, that lizards eaten alive cure cancer. . . . The man who first eat a live oyster or clam, was certainly a venturous fellow, but the eccentric individual who allowed a live lizard to run down his throat was infinitely more so." Ä¢ One of the most important works of culinary history from the nineteenth century, and a significant primary source for Alan Davidson's award-winning Oxford Companion to Food.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson, food historian, distinguished author, and publisher, is one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterranean Seafood.
"Boredom will most likely not be on the menu while you are perusing CURIOSITIES OF FOOD." ÄîHouston Chronicle"A joy to read or dip into, you will never open the covers without being astounded. . . A splendid cookbook for those with unusual tastes." ÄîFortean Times"The stuff of travel writers' dreams and readers' nightmares."ÄîThe London Sunday Times"My favourite book of the year, Peter Lund Simmonds' THE CURIOSITIES OF FOOD, a wonderfully learned and witty disquisition on the subject of the various creatures eaten by man, first published in 1859 and still remarkably fresh." ÄîThe Financial Times"Entertaining, highly readable facsimile edition." ÄîTimes Literary's"A-" rating. It's a "mesmerizingly meticulous survey of all things edible in the animal kingdom" that "offers readers insight into its era" and has an "endearingly earnest narrator." ÄîEntertainment Weekly"Nearly 400 pages of most unusual food and travel writing . . . THE CURIOSITIES OF FOOD charts the dizzying breadth of world foodstuffs. This facsimile edition probably won't tantalize your taste buds, but nearly a century and a half after it was first published, it's enthralling for anyone interested in food." ÄîThe Food Network"In recent years, we've seen a string of books on insects and other presumably disgusting foods. THE CURIOSITIES OF FOOD . . . may have been the first of them. . . . When Simmonds describes the land crab hunts of the Caribbean and South American trade in monkey flesh, they were not something distant and theoreticalÄîthey were the vigorous, lurid reality of the time." ÄîCharles Perry, Los Angeles Times"Simmonds' mesmerizingly meticulous survey of all things edible in the animal kingdom was first published in England in 1859. What's basically an encyclopedia of consumable creatures . . . has an endearingly earnest narrator; he seems quite tickled. . . about sharing palatable pleasures like salted hippo (tastes like bacon!) or cooked badger (tastes like boar!). But beyond its listing of beasts to be baked, the book offers readers intense insight into its era." ÄîEntertainment Weekly