Schott's Food And Drink Miscellany Hardcover – Nov 4 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
By now, readers may have finally gotten around to reading every last drop of trivia in last year's oddball bestseller (here and in the U.K.), Schott's Original Miscellany. Just in time, the London "miscellanist" returns, bestowing upon hungry readers every random thing they've ever wondered about the culinary arts and then some. It's just as addictive and enlightening as the first book, as Schott uses his signature objectivity to relay such obscure facts as "The Romans developed a taste for the edible dormouse (Myoxus glis), which they fattened in special cages (gliraria) before stuffing and roasting." Servants' wages, rates of digestion, blessings for wine and bread, dining times for monks, cognac nomenclature, Laotian cooking measures, ways to ask for the bill in 22 languages, microbial count in raw meat, Latin names for herbs—Schott addresses all these subjects and more, hopping between completely useless (though always fascinating) information and eminently practical tidbits. The "Some slang for drunkenness" entry (which lists, among other terms, "got a crumb in his beard," "wankered" and "sniffed the barmaid's apron") makes the book a wise choice for placement on the coffee table, while the "Measuring spaghetti" diagram suggests it is an indispensable kitchen reference.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
A photographer, designer and miscellanist, Ben Schott lives in London, where he divides his time between Highgate and the British Library.
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Top Customer Reviews
Following on from Schott's Miscellany, now updated in Schott's Almanac 2007, this particular volume is a fascinating read, be it by yourself or amongst friends needing a good laugh.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are a world traveler, you will appreciate the list of world beers, foreign toasts and ways to say grace, international variants for Coca Cola logos and Domino's pizza toppings (in India you might choose lamb and pickled ginger), how to ask for the bill in over twenty different languages, and a list of the 121 countries and territories where McDonald's has a presence. If you enjoy food preparation, you might benefit from recipes for cocktails or roast swan, a handy chart of food storage times for fridge and freezer, and the boiling point of water at various altitudes. If you have an interest in things medical, you will find descriptions of diseases of the digestive system, facts on odd food cravings, and hangover cures. For the lover of eclectic food facts, there is information on how to blow smoke rings, read tea leaves, and recognize poisonous mushrooms. There are charts on the body mass index, vitamins, and pasta shapes. There are lists of notable vegetarians, diner slang, edible flowers, Jelly Belly flavors, and the Scoville scale for chili pepper hotness.
Also included are Jewish blessings for wine and bread, and the rules of Halal, which is the Islamic dietary law. There are lyrics for the Chiquita banana song and facts on the joys and disadvantages of garlic, durian, fugu, and asparagus. You will learn why kopi luwak is the world's most expensive coffee. You will be alarmed by the list of dangerous food and drink, including the pretzel with which George W. Bush had a near-fatal encounter. I could go on and on. This book is a treasure that you can pick up at random to learn interesting new things. It is funny, imaginative, witty, and amazingly educational, and it is sure to make you hunger for more. There is even a built-in ribbon bookmark with which to mark your favorite fact of the day. I will leave you with a quote from P. G. Wodehouse that is located on the back of the book jacket: "I hadn't the heart to touch my breakfast. I told Jeeves to drink it by himself." Strongly recommended for the trivia lover.
I know that it's really tough to pick out a cookbook for a friend who's really into cooking. This is a wonderful (and inexpensive) alternative that's sure to make someone smile.
Great fun to read, it would be a hit with anyone who loves to cook, is a fan of meals or drinks with gusto.