Food books over the centuries

A new series, a podcast, and a blog

September 23, 2011

“What did Samuel Pepys have for dinner, which fish did Alice B. Toklas cook for Picasso and how did Victorian cooks get their cakes to rise?” A recent podcast on the Guardian’s website focused on historic food books, including an interview with Kathryn Hughes, the author of The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton.

The podcast was sparked by a new historical food series from Penguin Books, titled Great Food and packaged with charmingly drawn covers. Billed as “the finest food writing from the last 400 years,” the 20-book list includes such authors as Claudia Roden, M.F.K. Fisher, Eliza Acton, Alice Waters, Calvin Trillin, and, yes, Samuel Pepys and Alice B. Toklas. Check out, too, the blog kept by Pen Vogler, a Penguin employee, as she cooks her way through the series.

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