This tribute to the history of the kitchen is a wonderful addition to reference material on domestic life. The breadth of topics, including the evolution of the chimney, the uses of fruit from the Pleistocene to the present, cutlery as a status symbol, salt, weights and measures, canisters, and cannibalism, offers more than a glimpse into the social and scientific aspects of the center of family and community life. The term kitchen
is used in the broadest sense, encompassing campfires, galleys, and mess tents, among other variations.
There are 300 entries, most with further reading lists. Length varies from around half a page for Manioc and Hines, Duncan to more than eight pages for Pottery. Coverage is global; however, Amanite kitchens; Colonial kitchens, American; Pennsylvania Dutch kitchens; and similar entries help tip the balance toward the U.S.
A bibliography of sources, including books, articles, databases, and Web sites, is a useful resource for those seeking more information on particular topics. Many of the older resources used in developing this encyclopedia are out of print, making this work more valuable as it carries the information forward. Fuller indexing would have enhanced the volume as a reference tool.
Domestic history is every bit as important as political history, and this work is a synthesis of histories of people, mechanisms, implements, foodstuffs, and processes that developed in and about the kitchen and its activities. It occupies a unique niche among books on food, cooking, homemaking, and history of everyday life and is a recommended addition to most public and academic libraries. Linda Loos Scarth
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