Dinner with Tom Jones: Eighteenth-Century Cookery Adapted for the Modern Kitchen

by Lorna J. Sass

Hardcover, 1977




[New York] : Metropolitan Museum of Art, c1977.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cissa
This cookbook has over 100 historical recipes from the approximate era of the novel "Tom Jones", all chosen for both period flavors and techniques, and ingredients that are mostly accessible and- importantly- not toxic. Even the Victorians used some pretty toxic stuff in their cooking, especially when it came to coloring the food. (Some of that was discussed in the book I read recently on the Victorian home.)

This was particularly interesting to me because while the timespan it covered was a minimum of 50 years earlier than the Victorian era, a lot had not changed. In particular the traditional way of serving meals was very similar, and the diagrams from one book on where to place the 8+ dishes per "remove"- and there were usually a couple of "removes"- are quite similar.

Plus- the recipes look tasty! This is not always the case for historical recipes. I have not yet tried to make any of them, but I admit I am eying one of the first ones, the almond soup- though to me it looks more like a dessert than an appetizer!

The ingredients in the various recipes are fascinating, both in whet is similar, and what is really different for us. For example, oysters were almost considered filler... and now they're luxurious! It makes me wonder what foods that we take for granted now might be exotic and "fancy" in 100 years or so...

There was a good amount of context throughout. Each recipe had the original first, then notes and comments, then the modernized version. Note that since this book was published in 1977 it predated food processors, which would make many of the recipes far easier!

It is not as hardcore as a couple of "modernized" historical cookbooks have been, but it's also more accessible, and more of the recipes had me saying "Ooo! I want to try that!" I am impressed by the curating.

Very recommended, especially for those of us who are not into hardcore historical cooking, but would like to try some of the flavors and techniques.
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