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The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook: Complete Meals from Around the World [Hardcover]

Sean Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 9 2006

Named one of New York Times Top-20 Cookbooks of 2006.

Have you ever wanted to host a full evening of Indian food, culture, and music? How about preparing a traditional Balinese banquet? Or take a trip to Cairo and enjoy an Egyptian feast? The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook takes you around the world on a culinary journey that is also a cultural and social odyssey.


Many cookbooks offer a snapshot of individual recipes from different parts of the world, but do nothing to tell the reader how different foods are presented together, or how to relate these foods to other cultural practices. For years, ethnomusicologists have visited the four corners of the earth to collect the music and culture of native peoples, from Africa to the Azores, from Zanzibar to New Zealand. Along the way, they've observed how music is an integral part of social interaction, particularly when it's time for a lavish banquet or celebration. Foodways and cultural expression are not separate; this book emphasizes this connection through offering over thirty-five complete meals, from appetizers to entrees to side dishes to desserts and drinks. A list of recommended CDs fills out the culinary experience, along with hints on how to present each dish and to organize the overall meal.


The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook combines scholarship with a unique and fun approach to the study of the world's foods, musics, and cultures. More than just a cookbook, it is an excellent companion for anyone embarking on a cultural-culinary journey.


Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

To savor better its fascinating essays on culinary rituals across the globe, this cookbook is one to pore over in the living room instead of the kitchen. Recipes are attached, but are not the primary pleasure; instead, it is learning about the ceremonial drinking songs of Namibia, or the meals that celebrate the return of the swallows in Korea. However, the recipes serve as worthy accompaniments to the accomplished essays: Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste, from Judeo-Spanish Morocco, are sweetly irresistible, and Bolivia's addictive Avocado with Uncooked Salsa begs to be downed with a bucketful of chips. A sophisticated Palestinian Baked Chicken is served alongside flat bread, the chewy bread a foil for the chicken's pleasant spiciness. And, from closer to home, Appalachian Leather Britches are green beans awash in delicious porky broth-a brilliant way to get kids to eat their veggies. While some recipes demand ingredients that might be difficult to find in American supermarkets, for the most part they're easy to source and require few unorthodox cooking methods. Williams, a professional ethnomusicologist, includes listening suggestions alongside the recipes; if it proves too difficult to scrounge up some konyaku for Soybeans With Vegetables, you can still get a taste of Japan by listening to the Satoko Fujii Orchestra. 35 b&w illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"The most important thing to remember about The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook is that you must under no circumstances read it while hungry ... In its practical and idealogical approach, the book stays true to an idea that is arguably more vital and obvious in cultures other than our own: both meals and music are a social affair that binds families, friends and nations together." --The Vancouver Voice

"I recommend this book warmly to delight body and mind and all the senses."--Ni Wayan Murni, Hello Magazine, Bali

"The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook might have started out as an academic endeavor, but it is a lively book, filled with suggestions for delicious recipes and good music. You can expand your global awareness while trying out dozens of different ways to have a good time. I heartily recommend it!"--Barbara Lloyd McMichael, The Olympian

"This one is for the more adventurous cooks and dinner hosts who are looking for something far beyond the usual fare. Make your next gathering a trip to another part of the world."--Mish Mash Music Reviews

"To savor better its fascinating essays on culinary rituals across the gtlobe, this cookbook is one to pore over in the living room instead of the kitchen. Recipes are attached, but are not the primary pleasure; instead, it is learning about the ceremonial drinking songs of Namibia, or the meals that celebrate the return of the swallows in Korea. However, the recipes serve as worthy accompaniments to the accomplished essays: Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste, from Judeo-Spanish Morocco, are sweetly,irresistible, and Bolivia's addictive Avocado with Uncooked Salsa begs to be downed with a bucketful of chips." --Publishers Weekly

"This is a book that should make your kitchen sing." --Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture


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5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for all the senses Sept. 25 2006
Format:Paperback
You will make friends and influence people with this book. You will be able to invite friends to amazing dinner parties at which you can serve food from all corners of the World and impress them with your knowledge. The World is divided into nine sections: Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, South and Central America, North America, Oceania and Europe. Each section has between three and nine contributions, forty-seven in all, mainly from eminent ethnomusicologists and those, like me, interested in food. Each contribution is a complete meal for six people. That should keep you going for about a year without repeating yourself.

Start off somewhere exotic like Tonga. After 3 hours you could be serving ‘Otai’ a coconut fruit drink to welcome your guests, followed by ‘Ota Ika’ a tasty dish of raw fish seasoned wih lime juice, onions, garlic, chili pepper and tomatoes, and ‘Lupulu’ which are baked packets of taro or spinach leaves containing corned beef, fish or chicken (the Tongans like corned beef the best), Puaka Ta’o, baked roast pork and sweet potatoes, finished off with tropical fruits, ice-cream and fruitcake.

For your next dinner party go to Estonia and try the recipes for cucumber salad, beet and herring salad, sauerkraut, blood sausage and creamed semolina on fruit soup. All good peasant fare. Helpfully drinks are also recommended: Saku brand beer and juniper berry soda. Have some bread too. Bread is sacred in Estonia and giving the heel to a young woman will ensure that she has large breasts.

Take your friends on a trip to Namibia and treat them to ‘Braaied’, grilled goat or lamb chops, ‘Mahangu’, sorghum or maize meal porridge with a spicy tomato sauce, ‘Ekaka’, fresh spinach and Oshikuki, doughnuts or pumpkin fritters.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original and rewarding book Jan. 30 2008
By murni@murnis.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You will make friends and influence people with this book. You will be able to invite friends to amazing dinner parties at which you can serve food from all corners of the World and impress them with your knowledge. The World is divided into nine sections: Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, South and Central America, North America, Oceania and Europe. Each section has between three and nine contributions, forty-seven in all, mainly from eminent ethnomusicologists and those, like me, interested in food. Each contribution is a complete meal for six people. That should keep you going for about a year without repeating yourself.

Start off somewhere exotic like Tonga. After 3 hours you could be serving `Otai' a coconut fruit drink to welcome your guests, followed by `Ota Ika' a tasty dish of raw fish seasoned wih lime juice, onions, garlic, chili pepper and tomatoes, and `Lupulu' which are baked packets of taro or spinach leaves containing corned beef, fish or chicken (the Tongans like corned beef the best), Puaka Ta'o, baked roast pork and sweet potatoes, finished off with tropical fruits, ice-cream and fruitcake.

For your next dinner party go to Estonia and try the recipes for cucumber salad, beet and herring salad, sauerkraut, blood sausage and creamed semolina on fruit soup. All good peasant fare. Helpfully drinks are also recommended: Saku brand beer and juniper berry soda. Have some bread too. Bread is sacred in Estonia and giving the heel to a young woman will ensure that she has large breasts.

Take your friends on a trip to Namibia and treat them to `Braaied', grilled goat or lamb chops, `Mahangu', sorghum or maize meal porridge with a spicy tomato sauce, `Ekaka', fresh spinach and Oshikuki, doughnuts or pumpkin fritters. These recipes are from Minette Mans' 88-year old Namibian mother.

I was flattered to be asked to contribute the Balinese section. I provided my family recipes for `Base Genep,' which is a spice paste used in many dishes, `Babi Kecap', pork in kecap sauce, which is eaten during the Balinese ceremonies of Galungan and Nyepi, `Lawar', spicy green beans, which accompanies all ceremonies, `Nasi Putih' steamed rice, `Krupuk Udang', shrimp crackers, `Tahu Goreng', fried tofu, and `Pisang Goreng', banana fritters. We serve most of these in my restaurant in Ubud, which Sean Williams frequented every day during her visits to Bali in the 1980s.

Every contributor was asked to write a bit about the role of music and food in their society. The links between music and food are strong and it is interesting to compare them. This is the first book of its kind and may be responsible for creating a new subject which Sean Williams calls gastromusicology. She is a Professor of Ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and has studied Indonesian and Irish music since the 1970s. She contributed the recipes from Sunda, West Java and Ireland.

Not only are there anthropological essays with each contribution but there is also recommended listening. So you can entertain your guests with CDs of music from the gastronomic region of the moment. Further, there are recommended reading lists and internet sites to allow you to go into greater depth on your own and really impress your friends. Not just that but we were all asked to contribute a proverb. Mine was `Nasi sudah menjadi bubur' (literally `The rice has already become porridge') or `There's no use crying over spilt milk'. From Bolivia: `The angrier the cook, the spicier the dish'. Northern Ghana: `Eat the same food every day so you know what killed you'. Egypt: `An onion from a dear one is worth more than a goat'. Judeo-Spanish Morocco: `She went to buy cilantro and came back nine months pregnant'.

Sean Williams has thought about it all. She's aware that there are vegetarians and vegans out there and people who keep kosher. For them there's a helpful chapter called `I'm not eating that!' It gives dietary modifications. She's also created a special page on her web site which has more information about the meals and printable shopping lists so that you don't have to copy down all the ingredients before you go out shopping ([...] academic.evergreen.edu/w/williams/cookbook.htm).

The one criticism I have about the book is the lack of colour photographs (apart from the glorious cover). I rather think they are essential for a cookbook, but I understand that they increase the printing costs enormously. Sean Williams' web site, however, contains colour photographs of the dishes, which at least is some compensation.

Finally, I must mention the great tag line on the back cover: `It's Chapati and I'll Fry if I Want to!'. Alternatives, also from Indian cooking, which almost made it, were: `My Pappadum Told Me, `Oh, You Beautiful Dal,' and `Paperback Raita.'

I recommend this book warmly to delight body and mind and all the senses.

Murni
Ubud, Bali
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Food + Good Music July 13 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's hard to decide whether to just sit and read the recipes and the reflections and experiences of the contributors or actually get into the kitchen to try the recipes myself. This is a great and very interesting insight into food and cultures from people who've experienced it first hand. I highly recommend it.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but colorless Oct. 28 2012
By Susan V. Jarvis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The written sections about each country were very interesting, but the book would have been so much more appealing with color photographs of the food and/or the country. The musical selections for each country were a nice touch. I guess I just expected the book to be more vibrant.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and engaging Jan. 3 2007
By Lola Jo Moss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The idea of the cookbook is appealing, and so are many of the recipes, although ingredients may be hard to locate. The text gets sometimes gets bogged in pedantry, but that is probably to be expected, given its academic slant.
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