June 3, 2015

A Photo Tour of 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton

This has been a hard review for me to decide how to write because there is just so much information and I just want to share so much of it with you.  Alas, I am going to have to be choosier.

1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die describes the foods or markets of cuisines around the world, sometimes with photos, and it provides info such as where it's best to eat the food, mail order info, websites (when available), occasionally a recipe, plus location and hours of markets.  So, pretty thorough.

Each food's description contains more historical and cultural info than you probably care to know - but that's a good thing because all of us want more info on whichever ones whet our appetites and interests.  Sheraton gives page number cross-references when a description mentions a food to pair with it or a food that is similar but actually not (like English biscuits and Southern U.S. biscuits).  In sections such as England's Cheddar Cheese, Sheraton gives info on what to look for when shopping for it and what to avoid for the best experience.  Once in a while there are tips, for example Jewish Cheese Blintzes can be frozen before the final frying, but not to thaw it before cooking, instead frying over a low flame. 

Furthermore, sprinkled throughout the book are "Foods of the World" that can be found in more than one country or continent, such as Basil, Hazelnuts, Saffron, Olive Oil, and even Beef Tongue.

Each chapter is for a different culture/country's cuisine.  The chapters vary in length.  The longest chapters were for French cuisine and Italian cuisine, weighing in at roughly 100 pages a piece.  Then there were chapters that barely had an information at all.  One thing I was very disappointed in was how biased Sheradon was toward European and Western cuisines.  And don't even get me started on her inclusion of Frozen Milky Way Bars in the American food section.  WTF.  This is not a proud American staple dish.

Sheraton also includes cookbooks and foodie-based books for further interest.  I've included some of the ones I want to read at the bottom of the post.

Now, for the photo tour, if you will.  I've included (in order straight from the book) the name of the culture/country, a few of the types of foods included in the section, the dish I most want to try and, usually, the dish I most want to skip from each section, and finally a photo of one of the photographed dishes in the book. This may seem like I'm sharing a lot but this book is literally about 1,000 different foods and food markets and restaurants.  I'm barely scraping the surface here. And if you're wondering why the photo quality sucks?  Well this was one of those handy-dandy PDFs and I can't get any of the screenshot tricks to work on my laptop so I took photos of the PDF with my phone.  I know.  I realize they are mostly hard to see.  Be sure to check out my lamp and me in reflections, too.  Ha!  Anyway, without further ado:

Sheraton starts off with British and Irish (English, Welsh, Scottish) - including Afternoon Tea, Finnan Haddie with Poached Egg, Billingsgate Fish Market, Butterscotch, Nasturtiums, & Clotted Cream
Dish I Most Want to Try: Colcannon and Champ
Dish I Want to Skip: Haggis.
PHOTO: Roasted Goose with Sage-Onion Stuffing, Giblet Gravy (English)

Roasted Goose with Sage-Onion Stuffing, Giblet Gravy (English)

French - Artichauts a la Barigoule, Bouillabaisse, Brioche, Coq au Vin, Poularde en Demi-Deuil, & Foie Gras.
Dish I Most Want to Try: Cavaillon Melon with Wild Berries
Dish I Want to Skip: Cervelles au Beurre Noir (calf or lamb brains)
PHOTO: Colorful Macaroons

Belgian & Dutch - Belgian Waffles, Moules Frites, Banketletters, & Nieuwe Haring
Dish I Most Want to Try: Hutspot met Klapstuk, or Hochepot (a Dutch winter stew)
Dish I Want to Skip: Lamstongetjes in Madeira Saus (lamb tongues)
PHOTO: Rognons a la Liegeoise

Example of a recipe.  Again, sorry for the poor quality of the photos.

Italian - Abbacchio Brodettato (Braised Lamb in Egg and Lemon Sauce),  Brodetto Vastese, Fritto Misto di Pesce, Mascarpone, Osso Buco
Dish I Most Want to Try: Castagnaccio or Frico
Dish I Want to Skip: Cervello Arreganata (Baked Calves' Brains with Seasoned Bread Crumbs- but there's a recipe that includes how to tear off bits of the membranes after you boil the brains if you want to try this dish yourself!)
PHOTO: Cima Ripiena alla Genovese (Veal breast with a savory stuffing)

Slices reveal the colorfully elaborate stuffing.

Spanish & Portuguese - Capers, Gazpacho, Bombos de Figo, Malasadas
Dish I Most Want to Try: Sopa de Ajo Castellana
Dish I Want to Skip: Angulas 
PHOTO: Paella 

A chef participates in a paella cooking competition in Spain.

German, Austrian, & Swiss - Fondue, Hummer- und Huhnersalat (Lobster & Chicken Salad), Kartoffelsalat, Lindt Chocolate, and Marzipan
Dish I Most Want to Try: Apfel Pfannkuchen (apple pancakes with hot butter, rum,  cherry brandy, & cinnamon)
Dish I Want to Skip: Hasenpfeffer
PHOTO: German beers

Scandinavian - Cloudberries, Sild (Herring), Sauna Sausage, Bruna Boneor (Brown Bear), Kottbullar (Swedish Meatballs), Shrove Tuesday Buns, Smorgasbord
Dish I Most Want to Try: Kransekager (Danish/Norwegian) 
Dish I Want to Skip: Lakerol (black licorice) or Blue Cheese with Cherry Herring
PHOTO: Frikadeller (Danish)

Veal frikadeller with red onions and horseradish on toast.

Eastern European - Cevapcici, Poppy Seeds, Bulgarian Feta Cheese, Tkemali (Georgian), Hungarian Goulashes, Polish Bigos, Blini with Caviar (Russian), Wedding Bread-Cake (Ukranian)
Dish I Most Want to Try: Chicken Tabaka
Dish I Want to Skip: Kulebyaka
PHOTO: Hideg Meggyleves (Cold Sour Cherry Soup) (Hungarian)

Jewish - Challah, Charoset, Gehakte Leber (Chopped Chicken Livers), Latkes, Lekach (Honey Cake), Passover Seder: Persian Version & Sephardic Version, Salami and Eggs
Dish I Most Want to Try: Berengena Frita (Candied Eggplant) or Lekach
Dish I Want to Skip: P'tcha (jellied calf's foot)
PHOTO: Appetizing Stores

This is an appetizing store on New York's Lower East Side.

Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern - Mastiha, or Wild Pistachio Tree Sap (Greek), Simit, Baba Ghanoush,  An Afghanistan Dinner (Afghani), Anoush Aboor, or Golden Wheat and Apricot Pudding (Armenian), Ash-e-Anar, or Pomegranate Soup (Iranian), Meorev Yerushalmi, or Mixed Grill (Israeli), Kibbeh (Lebanese), Zhoug (Yemeni)
Dish I Most Want to Try: Cerkez Tavugu (Chicken in Walnut Sauce) (Turkish)
Dish I Want to Skip: Halvah (Sweetmeats)
PHOTO: Misir Carsisi (Istanbul's Spice Bazaar)

American & Canadian - Apple Brown Betty and Apple Pandowdy (Have you ever heard a more Americanized name in your life?), Barbecue (Southern & Southwestern), Southern Biscuits, Brownies, Creole Calas, Cobb Salad, Crab Cakes, Deviled Eggs, Funnel Cakes, Persimmons, Poke (Hawai'ians answer to cerviche),  Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon, Tourtiere
Dish I Most Want to Try: Maque Choux 
Most Want to Go to: Green Dragon Farmer's Market & Auction in Ephrata, PA, in Amish and Mennonite country.
Dish I Want to Skip: Poutine (hate gravy)
PHOTO: Eskimo Cook Book
Most foods I had heard of but some new ones were Liederkranz Cheese, Indian Fry Bread (also known as the Navajo Taco), and Pompano Fish.

See reading list at the bottom of this post for more info on the Eskimo Cook Book.  It's very cool! (No pun intended.)

Mexican & Latin American - Huevos Rancheros, Mercado de La Merced, Empanadas, Plantains, Chimichurri, Cascos de Guayaba con Queso, Purple Heirloom Potatoes, Quinoa
Dish I Most Want to Try: Mole (Mexican) and Arepas
Dish I Want to Skip: Anticuchos (Skewered Beef Heart) (Peruvian)
PHOTO: Napoles

Beneath their spines, napoles reveal a luscious, juicy flesh.

Here is where Sheraton shows she is biased towards European and Western cuisines  For example, the entirety of African cuisine in one not-so-long chapter.  In fact all of these following chapters are shorter than those above this point.

Caribbean - Calabaza, Pina Colada, Diri ak Djon-Djon, Curried Goat
Dish I Most Want to Try: Star Apples
PHOTO: Callaloo

Callaloo is a bright-green stew with a complex mix of flavors.

Africa - Cardamom Coffee (North African/Egyptian), Hamam Meshwi (Grilled Pigeon), 
Dish I Most Want to Try: Harira (North African soup used to break the fast during Ramadan), Yo-Yo (Tunisian), Ginger Beer (West African), Egusi Seeds (Nigerian), Zanzibar Duck (East African), Piri-Piri Shrimp (Mozambican), Ostrich Egg Omelet (South African), Springbok
Dish I Most Want to Try: Zanzibar Duck
Dish I Want to Skip: Ginger Beer (actually I've had ginger beer before and I don't care for it. I don't care for ginger.)
PHOTO: B'stilla (Moroccan)

B'stilla is both sweet and savory.

Chinese - Chen-Chu-Jou-Wan (Pearl Balls), Dim Sum, Hoisin Sauce, Liang Ban Hai Zhe (Sichuan Cold Jellyfish Salad), Niu Rou Mian (Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup), Pidan (Preserved Duck Egg), Mongolian Hot Pot
Dish I Most Want to Try: Niu Rou Mian
Dish I Want to Skip: Dong Bo Rou (Glazed Pork Belly) or Fish Cheeks
PHOTO: Chung Yau Bang (Scallion Pancakes), Oolong Tea

Oolong tea service
Scallion Pancakes

Japanese and Korean - Bento, Chawanmushi, Miso Soup, Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Soba, Sushi, Uni, Gochujang (Korean Hot Pepper Paste), Japchae
Dish I Most Want to Try: Bulgogi (Korean Barbecue)
PHOTO: Bulgogi (Korean Barbecue)

Korean Barbecue

Thai and Southeast Asian - Gai Yang, Sriracha Sauce, Babi Guling (Balinese Suckling Pig), Rijsttaffel (Indonesian), Nasi Ayam (Hainanese Chicken Rice), Banana Blossoms, Cha Ca La Vong (Turmeric Fish & Fried Catfish) (Vietnamese)
Dish I Most Want to Try: Sangkhaya (Coconut Custard) (Thai)
PHOTO: Kaeng (Thai Curries)

Spices for yellow, red, and green curries from mild to hot.

I love Indian cuisine, and, as some of you know, part of my family is Indian.  Imagine my disappointment in seeing so, so much left out of the Indian section.  There is so much more to the cuisine and this felt very slipshod, to be honest.

Indian - Dal, Darjeeling Tea, Dosa, The Parsi Kitchen, Phirni, Lamb Vindaloo
Dish I Most Want to Try: Mango Lassi
PHOTO: Kulfi, a dessert

No eggs or cream are used in the cool treat known as Kulfi.

Australian & New Zealand - Emu, Kangaroo, Lamingtons, Melba Toast, Sydney Rock Oysters, Tiger Prawn, Vegemite, Green-Lipped Mussels, Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, Tahitian Vanilla
Dish I Most Want to Try: Tiger Prawn
Dish I Want to Skip: Sydney Rock Oysters (not an oysters/mussels person)
PHOTO:Green- Lipped Mussel

Lipped Mussel (New Zealand)

Reading List, as promised:
The Futurist Cookbook by F.P. Marinetti
Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas
The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson (1999)
The New York Times Passover Cookbook edited by Linda Amster (2010)
The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden (1996)
Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid (2008)
Eskimo Cook Book is available via amazon.com or antiquarian sources
Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado (1958, novel)

I hope you enjoyed the photo tour and information on this book.  Lots of good information, but also some disappointments.  In the end, it is worth reading for what it is, as long as you don't have expectations for a balanced global diversity in the selections.

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