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A highly informative and entertaining compendium of food and word facts sure to appeal to foodies and etymologists alike.

The evolution of the names and ingredients in popular foods.

Have you ever wondered why ketchup bottles have the word "tomato" on them, why you "toast" to someone's health or why salt is used in the process of making ice cream? In this thoroughly researched book, Jurafsky (Linguistics and Computer Science/Stanford Univ.) answers these questions and many more as he explores the interconnected worlds of food and words. Combining history, geography and etymology, the author travels the world searching for the origins of ethnic dishes and provides readers with a fascinating study of how foods, and the words used to describe them, have been modified over the centuries as cuisines have been absorbed into local cultures. English, Dutch and Portuguese sailors traveled to Asia and brought back fermented fish stews and sauces that added new flavor combinations to the European diet. Spices from India and the Middle East were traded around the globe, and the New World introduced turkey, corn and avocados to the large food-trading houses in Europe. Combining history with modern computer programs to analyze data, the author examines the subtle nuances in the language used on a menu, which can help indicate whether a restaurant is expensive or not. He also studies the way negative words used in product descriptions help push consumers into thinking one brand of potato chips is far superior to another, when in fact, both brands are made from potatoes cooked in oil and covered in salt. Jurafsky also includes intriguing recipes for dishes such as a version of fish stew from 13th-century Egypt or a 1545 recipe from a Tudor cookbook called Chekyns upon soppes (“basically chicken on cinnamon toast”).

A highly informative and entertaining compendium of food and word facts sure to appeal to foodies and etymologists alike.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0393240832

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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