The heart of a family beats in the heart of the home, the most important room ever built, the kitchen. Bedrooms are useful for procreation, occasional rest, and recreational sex when it can be finessed. The bathroom is for necessary functions and cleaning up, but who cares what anyone does or does not do there? The living room is a dying concept most people use as a hallway between the front door and the kitchen. For these reasons, plus her delightful wit and insight, Bee Wilson has written the perfect book for food lovers, chefs, cooks, and the families they feed, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat.
No matter how many cook books you own or how many cooking shows you watch, this little historical romp will delight and inform. You may have authored books on cooking; but you don’t know all the things she knows and shares. I recommend you begin reading with a nice note card as your book mark, so you can jot down the things you want to look for the next visit to a kitchen store. And the book may send you on a mission to find and use again something you inherited from your grandmother.
I know it sounds a bit spooky to say the author makes measuring cups interesting, and ice cream makers fascinating; but there you have it. Her explanation of the utility of the wire balloon whisk and the rotary eggbeater may make you want to get yours out and give them a name, or at least to write a note on to whom they go when you die.
John Hink, my friend and co-conspirator on this blog, was so delighted with illustrating the book review he chose two of the most precious items in his kitchen to photograph. I am here to tell you the soul power of Bapka and Hink’s Mom are still in the pastry board and general store rolling-pin because there is no one the length of Rhodes Street in Akron who can match him when he works from the pastry board. You doubt my word, call him and ask for proof and a cup of coffee. Charles Marlin
From 1953 to 1963 we lived with my maternal grandmother, Bapka. I remember her telling me that years previous she had a carpenter make her pastry board for 50 cents.
On that board she rolled pie crust for her wonderful rhubarb pies, and for her delicious chicken soup, she would make a nest of flour in the middle of the board, break eggs into the middle of the nest, and then her fingers would get to work. Of course the eggs and chicken for the soup came from her back yard coop.
The board went to my Mom and now I have it along with Mom’s rolling-pin which Bapka also used. The rolling-pin is not the kind Julia recommended, but mine is very special since Mom and Bapka used it and I think of them both when I roll out pie dough. John Hink