Vintage Kitchenalia by Emma Kay
|Vintage Kitchenalia by Emma Kay|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A quick trip through the history of all that we find in the kitchen. Informative - and you might end up becoming a collector.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: July 2017|
Over the half century and more that I've been preparing meals on a regular basis I've seen food preparation move from being just something you did, to an obsession akin to a religion. My first kitchen had nothing in the way of luxury - it was there to make meals as nutritiously and economically as possible: my current kitchen is not quite state of the art, but it's equipped to a high standard and is a pleasure to work in. But what of all the equipment which went before, which paved the way to what we have now? Emma Kay is going to give you a quick trip through the history.
After giving us a brief introduction to the subject, Kay begins with storage. It's not the refrigerator or the larder where you might be expecting to start, but rather more mundane items such as salt and spice boxes, with salt being important for preserving food in the pre-refrigeration era. When we move on to refrigeration I was delighted to see a picture of a 1948 refrigerator which was very similar to the second hand Electrolux which I used in the sixties. But refrigeration didn't start there, but rather in the ice pits hundreds of years before where ice would be stored until well into the summer.
Food preparation is the whole reason for the kitchen and Kay takes us through the history of chopping, mincing, grinding and grating (the Greeks were probably using bronze graters in 1194 BC) and then on to mixing bowls, some of which I remember from my own childhood. Most subjects are supplemented with illustrations and I was particularly impressed by those for weighing and measuring - but less impressed where items were photographed in a natural setting. I don't like the idea of food preparation or serving equipment being on the ground in the garden. Apart from hygiene considerations it wasn't always possible to see the item as clearly as I would have liked.
I'm not certain why I have a pair of butter pats but they would have been one of the necessary cream, cheese and butter making tools. Information on the methods used - and the attendant dangers made for fascinating reading. I was surprised by how far back ice cream making went: apparently Charles II was the first person to eat an ice cream made on British soil. The methods - and the machinery - have come on a long way since then!
In Drinks we cover tea caddies and tea accessories before moving onto coffee mills and percolators and then chocolate with the utensil used for creating a froth being very similar to something I saw advertised recently for producing the froth on a cappuccino. I was surprised that Cookware should cover ovens until I appreciated that this included the pots and kettles suspended around a basic hearth and then moved on to such items as the Dutch oven which was often used in the coals. There's useful information on cooking apparatus such as gridirons, salamanders and spits and Kay is particularly informative when we get to bakeware and moulds.
The book is a quick and informative read, but is probably best treated as an introduction to the subject - even Kay is in the habit of commenting that more information can be found in her other books (which she names on several occasions). I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
If you're interested in the subject we think that you'll also enjoy The Science of Food: An exploration of what we eat and how we cook by Marty Jopson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Vintage Kitchenalia by Emma Kay at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Vintage Kitchenalia by Emma Kay at Amazon.com.
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