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50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste

von Edward Behr

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With 50 Foods, noted authority Edward Behr has created the definitive guide to the foods every food lover must know. A culinary Baedeker, 50 Foods will delight and inform the connoisseur as well as the novice. Like Behr's celebrated magazine, the Art of Eating, 50 Foods presents simple, practical information about buying, using, preparing, and enjoying. Behr focuses on aroma, appearance, flavor, and texture to determine what 'the best' means for each food. He tells you how to select top quality-signs of freshness and ripeness, best season, top varieties, proper aging. If the way to prepare, serve, or eat something is little known, then he explains it (how to open an oyster, why the best way to cook green beans is boiling, how to clean a whole salted anchovy, when to eat and when to discard the rind of a cheese). Behr also names the most complementary foods and flavors for each of these fifty marvelous foods and the wines that go with them. The fifty selections provide a broad sensory range for the modern gourmet. Most of the foods are raw materials, but some have been fermented or otherwise transformed-into bread, ham, cheese. Six of the fifty are cheeses. As Behr explains, cheese is probably the best food, as wine is the best drink. Behr argues that food tastes more delicious when it is closer to nature. Skilled low technology is almost always superior to high technology. But with scientific insight, the old methods can be refined to achieve more consistent high quality. We can't always have the best, but with the information in this book we can eat better every day. Knowing good food is part of a complete understanding of the world-part of a full enjoyment of nature, a full experience of the senses, a full life. For the connoisseur at any level, 50 Foods is a beautifully written guide to deliciousness.… (mehr)

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The author is knowlegeable and provides sufficient information to evaluate the fifty foods discussed. The is a special section after discussion of the food that discusses wines that go with the food. The history and food science is particularly interesting. Some of the discussion seems Euro-centric. The author seems fond of European food and wine. I mildly recommend the book for those interested in food. ( )
  GlennBell | Jul 20, 2016 |
This book discusses 50 foods, each in (ahem) a bite-sized chapter. The five-star rating is for what the book attempts to be, which is a discussion of foods as they are used primarily in European cuisine. Though not explicitly stated, the author appears to rank cuisines and origins of ingredients generally as follows (with exceptions for specific foods, e.g. Parmigiano-Reggiano, salmon):

(1) French
(2) French
(3) Italian
(4) American
(5) Swiss
(6) German
(7) Japanese
(8) everywhere else

If you expect a discussion of foods as they are used and valued in, say, India or China, you will need a different book.

Also, this is not a cookbook; there are no recipes as commonly thought of, and even few descriptions of ingredients in specific dishes. Presumably the reader has cookbooks and/or knows how to use a search engine.

The author is clearly opinionated, but has also clearly researched all of these foods extensively, not only via first-hand tasting but also investigating their history, talking to modern chefs, and traveling to where they are produced. His opinions are well-grounded in fact and experience. The book is clearly a labor of love. On a related note, I have trouble imagining the size of his pantry and refrigerators.

Highly recommended for what it is trying to do. ( )
3 abstimmen sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
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With 50 Foods, noted authority Edward Behr has created the definitive guide to the foods every food lover must know. A culinary Baedeker, 50 Foods will delight and inform the connoisseur as well as the novice. Like Behr's celebrated magazine, the Art of Eating, 50 Foods presents simple, practical information about buying, using, preparing, and enjoying. Behr focuses on aroma, appearance, flavor, and texture to determine what 'the best' means for each food. He tells you how to select top quality-signs of freshness and ripeness, best season, top varieties, proper aging. If the way to prepare, serve, or eat something is little known, then he explains it (how to open an oyster, why the best way to cook green beans is boiling, how to clean a whole salted anchovy, when to eat and when to discard the rind of a cheese). Behr also names the most complementary foods and flavors for each of these fifty marvelous foods and the wines that go with them. The fifty selections provide a broad sensory range for the modern gourmet. Most of the foods are raw materials, but some have been fermented or otherwise transformed-into bread, ham, cheese. Six of the fifty are cheeses. As Behr explains, cheese is probably the best food, as wine is the best drink. Behr argues that food tastes more delicious when it is closer to nature. Skilled low technology is almost always superior to high technology. But with scientific insight, the old methods can be refined to achieve more consistent high quality. We can't always have the best, but with the information in this book we can eat better every day. Knowing good food is part of a complete understanding of the world-part of a full enjoyment of nature, a full experience of the senses, a full life. For the connoisseur at any level, 50 Foods is a beautifully written guide to deliciousness.

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