"Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are." --Anthelme Brillat-Savarin [via]
Every living thing needs food to survive, but for humans, food has a much deeper and more complex significance. This beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking book explores the role of food in our lives, going on location to thirteen ethnic communities across the United States and examining, through stories, pictures, and interviews with food experts, the many ways that food is an expression of our humanity. It parallels a three-part PBS series hosted by acclaimed New York chef Marcus Samuelsson.
From an Italian-American wedding in San Diego to a Mexican-American family's Christmastime tradition of making holiday tamales, The Meaning of Food delves into the ways that food binds us to family and culture. It looks in on a Jamai Shasthi ceremony, in which foods promoting fertility are fed to the sons-in-law of a Bengali family in California. It accompanies a woman to South Carolina's coastal lowlands as she explores her Geechee heritage, making red rice with a culinary historian. It enters the kitchen of an East Texas Czech family as they prepare for this year's kolache bake-off. It explains the anthropological signficance behind these and other vignettes, revealing the importance of culinary tradition and celebrating our cultural diversity as expressed through food.
The Meaning of Food speaks for the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community. With 15 recipes, including several developed by Marcus Samuelsson specifically for the series, and more than one hundred color photos, many of them captured from the series footage, it will be a wonderful addition to the library of anyone interested in food and culture.
"There is communion of much more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk." --M.F.K. Fisher