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Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History
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Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Mark Kurlansky, bestselling author of Salt and Cod, serves up a smorgasbord of food writing through the ages, from Plato to Louis Prima

Choice Cuts offers more than two hundred mouth-watering selections, including Brillat-Savarin on chocolate; Waverley Root on truffles; M. F. K. Fish on gingerbread; Pablo Neruda on French fries; Alexandre Dumas on coffee; and a vast variety
Paperback, 473 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wine-and-food
about 500 pages, so lots of exceprts that span gourmets, sex, meals, restaurants, markets, egss, veggies etc etc and leans heavily on mfk fisher, galen, lydia child, james beard , a j liebling, dumas 1 and 2, etc ec and lots lots more. here's a short one, the talmud on garlic
"five things were said of garlic:
1. it satisfies your hunger
2. it keeps the body warm
3 it makes our face bright
4 it increase a man's potency
5 it kils parasites in the bowels

some people say that it also encourages love and re
Stephen Robert Collins
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This great non fiction history of food from around the world in classic food from First century A.D ,1600s,1800s,& lots more.
Mystery of eggs, bread,vegetables,salad to bugs.We have famous people like Dickens,Orwell,Hemingway, to Wilde if enjoy good taste of interesting book on food this brilliant book.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
A wonderful, wonderful compilation of essays. I laughed, I cried (well, not exactly CRIED but some parts were rather bittersweet), and I got hungry.

Edit: I just realized that I made a pun by using the adjective "bittersweet". To describe a book about food. Get it??
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
--------THE LAYOUT---------

This book is more or less organized into four sections, which each have subsections. The first and fourth sections contain general thoughts on food or cooking. The second section contains passages on specific foods, grouped into chapters. Finally, the third section includes essays on various cuisines.

[By the way, I’m offended that there’s an essay on “chicken intestine omelettes” and an entire chapter on bugs (three essays!) but there’s not a single essay on cheese. C
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it

It takes some chutzpah to make the first piece of writing in a food anthology filled with Brillat-Savarin, Waverley Root, M.F.K. Fisher, Alexandre Dumas, Escoffier, Elizabeth David, A.J. Liebling, Hemingway, Woolf, Dickens, Chekhov, Balzac, Zola, Orwell, Alice B. Toklas, Plutarch, Rabelais, Plato...your own piece of writing. That's what Mark Kurlansky does here, with a fairly long excerpt from Food & Wine magazine. He also illustrated the book. The illustrations are nothing special. It's hard to
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Conceptually neat. It's a compilation of excerpts from famous writers throughout history on food; the authors range from Maimonides to James Beard to George Orwell to Alice B. Toklas, the topics from food of the Americas to the origin of chocolate to how to disguise other meats as venison. I didn't read it start to finish, but skipped through a fair bit of it. I'd have loved to see even more primary source pieces like the first European descriptions of pineapple. ...more
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-fun
Its tough to review this book as a single piece of work, as it is actually a compendium of food writing from throughout the centuries. The author organized each chapter under a theme (fat, fruit, dessert), provided short introductions, and in some instances, translated the works into English. The best thing about a compilation such as this is that because it features so many voices from across time and place, it stays fresh. From the Ancient Romans, through 15th century Italy, into present day A ...more
Carol Bakker
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audio, food
[Audio] It took me twelve years to listen (multiple times) to this 14-disc audiobook. I picked it up for a song at Tuesday Morning, a closeout retailer. It became a go-to when I had no current audiobook in progress. Choice Cuts sits esconced in what I call the bathroom book genre: easy to open, easy to close.

The book contains abstracts from food writing across the continents over the last millennium. I wouldn't recommend it unless you carry within you a spark of curiosity.

I think it is Kurlans
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction, 2016
Eclectic collection of delectable quotations.

Extracts from a wide variety of writings related (sometimes only tangentially) to food or eating. There are snippets by authors from a very wide variety of genres, from Plutarch to Margaret Mead and from Herodotus to George Orwell, on subjects as varied as the correct way to prepare laver (a seaweed, once common in Celtic cuisine) and how to cook crabs to the role of food in seduction, and starvation as a political tool.

There are some introductory tex
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
More than a more treatise about food, Mr. Kurlansky digs through history and articles about people whose business it was to write about food: how it tastes, the best places to eat, the proper ways in which it should be prepared. We read how famous food writers and food lovers waxed rhapsodic about their favorite dishes, making our mouths water and wishing we too could have sat beside these people and hear their comments about the delicious morsels they’ve consumed in their time.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Hrm. Some of the selections are great fun, and serve as a sort of anno'd bibliography of food writing, making me want to run out and get the entirety of the excerpted work.
Some of the selections are
Seems like it might have been a bit of a vanity project for Mark Kurlansky, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this - I'm a massive food fan and really like food writing. In reality this is a collection of snippits from the research Kurlansky has undertaken to write his brilliant food histories. If I had read it as a supporting material I probably would have enjoyed it more, not sure it really stands up on its own as a book. ...more
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Overall, I was disappointed with this book. Felt a lot like the sort of college freshman copy-shop tomes assigned for a 101 course. Relied a little too heavily on well-known, prolific writers whose texts most serious food writing readers would have already discovered. And in the end, I skipped over most of the last 1/4 of the book due to lack of interest.
Kirsti S.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
MCL. I only read the essays that interested me. It's a hard book to rate because there is such a variety of subjects and authors.

My favorite essay was the one by Brillat-Savarin which began "Every thin woman wants to grow plump: that is an avowal which has been made to us a thousand times." The basic plan involved eating plenty of bread, baked fresh every day.
You know, I think you really have to be in the mood to read this book. While there are some interesting facts and info within this book, I still found myself thinking that I would rather be listening to something else. So I will try reading this again another time.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Some of the choices were a little odd and there was nothing really modern to speak of but it was an entertaining book to flip through. Can't say I read it cover to cover but that's why essay compilations are nice. ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Skimmable at points, but filled with fascinating food writing from the 6th Century to present day. If you ever wanted to know the secret of how to pass off beef as bear meat, you need look no further!
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting idea. I didn't read all the essays, but I liked the way they are organized. Some a few sentences, others several paragraphs. Columbus describes pineapple. Thoreau discusses watermelon. James Beard reviews the restaurant at Meier & Frank. ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
I love to talk about food. This book is right up my alley.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it
As a foodie I wanted to love this, but I didn't. Some of it was ho-hum, some of it was okay, but most of it could have been better. ...more
Aja Marsh
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, non-fiction
There were a few things that I skiped in here, but there were lots of bright moments, and overall I enjoyed it!
Sep 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: anthologies
This book made me realize that though I like food, I don't like reading about it. Uninspired. ...more
Novi Bobby
Aug 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is interesting, if you are interested in food in general. Lots of interesting trivia about food.
Dominique King
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this one in one of those Little Free Library Book boxes, and picked if up because I recognized Kurlansky's name from his books on Salt and Cod, which were fun reads with a lot of history of things like Cod fishers through the ages and things that the cod fishers in Newfoundland and the Basque people had in common.
Read this one over time because it was an easy-pick-up and put-down book that I could read in parts while I was reading other books (a good break from a lot of the political boo
Dr Susan
Feb 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great and enjoyable read! I found this one on a bookstall in the University of Tuebingen Mensa and like the other Kurlansky books, I couldn't put it down - his own drawings add a delightful touch to the history and art of gourmet food ...more
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Mark Kurlansky 1 1 Dec 11, 2013 11:37PM  

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Mark Kurlansky has written, edited, or contributed to twenty books, which have been translated into twenty-five languages and won numerous prizes. His previous books Cod, Salt, 1968, and The Food of a Younger Land were all New York Times best-sellers.

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