Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:10 pm Post subject: Culinaria Series
I am surprised to see, at least from my cursory attempt at a search, that no one has discussed the Culinaria series yet. In my opinion this is a food lover's dream book. Since we all know that a culture/country's food is really a window to their way of thinking and history, these books are perfect in presenting the reasons behind many national cuisines. So far, I only have the one on Spain and "European Specialties"; but have also ordered Greece. (And France will be next.) Anyone else have any experience with these books? Or know of a similar series?
No, tell us more! Who writes them, and have you tried anything in them? I am assuming they have info and recipes... _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:04 pm Post subject: Culinaria
Well, they are basically encyclopedias - with about 60% background information and 40% recipes. Each country's book is divided into regions, and will highlight food and wine that are specialties of that region. The books are, on average, about 500 pages with tons of full color photographs. The recipes themselves tend to not be very detailed, but are adequate for someone with cooking experience. I recently made some Gazpacho out of the Spain volume and it is quite good. But I must admit that I primarily use the books for dreaming and learning. They are written by different people, but all published by Konemann Publishing out of Germany. For some unknown reason they are all out of print now, but you can find most of them used for between $25 and $80 USD. The Germany volume is the only one (oddly enough) that I can't find anywhere.
According to the catalog, our library has only the Culinaria: France.
But the review makes me want to go GET IT RIGHT NOW! Check it out:
A superbly photographed compendium, this newest in the Culinaria series explores the pleasures of the French table. Having consulted with a myriad of food and drink experts--alongside top chefs, gardeners, farmers, cheese makers and vintners--editor Domin and photographer Beer capture the essence of regional culinary traditions. Organized into 12 gastronomic provinces, the book features foods, condiments, confections, wines, spirits and liqueurs indigenous to each region. Lavishly illustrated historical sketches and sidebars expound upon French staples--baguettes (Paris), oysters (Poitou, Charentes, Limousin) and champagne (Champagne, Lorraine, Alsace)--as well as such coveted delicacies as andouillettes (chitterling pork sausage). Discussions on livestock breeding, hunting, fishing, butchery and vineyards illustrate how each region best capitalizes on its natural resources. Readers also learn about lesser known regional specialties, including Orl ans vinegar from the Loire Valley, premium Echir butter from the Poitou and Charentes region and C vennes honey made from chestnut blossoms. Incorporating local and seasonal ingredients, the recipes highlight such regional cookery as Coq Au Vin de Bourgogne, Macaronis et Truffles d'Ici (chicken cooked in Burgundy wine with macaroni and local truffles) and Bas Rond de Lapin la Gaillarde (braised rabbit, Brive-style). Tapping into a splendidly varied gastronomic landscape, this cookbook is an erudite reference that goes beyond coffee-table prettiness. _________________ The goal is to fit it all in.
Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:18 pm Post subject: Culinaria Series
Just realized that the link I provided in my original post does not work (at least not in my browser). So here is a, hopefully functional, link to the Culinaria: France volume. Also, my Greece volume should be arriving shortly, so I will be sure to give a quick review of that. Maybe I'm just a big geek, but I really think these are the greatest books out there!
perramount, I was so inspired by your description of the books that I ordered one for Greece! We're going in July, and it will be a lot of fun to read through this book before we leave to find out what's in store for us. Granted, there are only three people in the U.S. who don't know what Greek food is (having just arrived in Miami this morning from Ecuador), but I'm sure that we'll have a lot to learn and enjoy from the book. thanks! _________________ The goal is to fit it all in.
Joined: 19 Aug 2005 Posts: 143 Location: Vancouver
Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:19 pm Post subject:
I tend not to use cookbooks very much (although I fully intend to run out and buy Clothilde's as soon as it is available). Even when I start with a recipe, I seldom follow it exactly, it's just a jumping off point. I think this series sounds perfect for me, find out what sort of ingredients and flavors are used, then go off on my own tangent with it.
Thanks for bringing this topic up perramount. _________________ Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon. - The Dalai Lama
Joined: 02 Mar 2006 Posts: 7 Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:49 pm Post subject:
CB, what areas of Greece will you be visiting? I was there (mainly in the south) this past September & just loved it. What an amazing place. Great experiences & some memorable meals... I'm salivating just thinking about it!
3B, we will be in Athens for 3 nights (with one day to look around the capital and one day for the Peliponessus), then Santorini for 4 nights, then Lesvos for 4 nights, then back to Athens for the last night before flying home. Any restaurant tips or any other information will be highly welcome! _________________ The goal is to fit it all in.
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:19 am Post subject: Culinaria Series
FoodSciGeek, If that is the case then this series would indeed be perfect for you. I'm really excited that I was able to introduce this series to some new people. Anyone who loves travel and food almost equally (and really, who doesn't?) will think these are the best books ever.
Chicago Bear, I was really hoping my Greece volume would have arrived today so that I could give you a quick review to whet your appetite, but I'm afraid its still not here. I'd almost guarantee that it will give you some additional ideas of places to visit when you go. I look forward to hearing what you think when your volume arrives.
This does sound good. I also prefer to use recipe books as a starting point and then "wing it" when making the actual dish.
Having said that, I am a recipe book junkie and will read them like a novel. No wonder I am having trouble losing weight... I am always making myself hungry _________________ If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Joined: 02 Mar 2006 Posts: 7 Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:19 am Post subject:
Cookbooks, magazines, websites... I could spend hours reading about food. I swear I actually kept myself awake the other night thinking about Greek dishes - how obsessively geeky is that?
Perramount, thanks for the heads-up on the Culinaria series. Anything combining travel & food, two of my passions, is worth checking out!
Chicago Bear, your itinerary hits a couple of the places we visited briefly (Athens, Santorini) & I'd be happy to share whatever tips I can. I'll need some time to go back through my trip notes & will send you an email when I get a chance. Would be helpful to know what sort of things you & the family are interested in experiencing while you're there...
3B, my whole family is interested in food! Culture is also at the top of the list, but more live things (music, theater) than dead things. I love museums, but the rest of the family has a much more limited attention span for treasures from the past. Beautiful scenery also key. To avoid: shopping for anything that does not have an alcoholic content. Having said that, if something lit you up, let me know, and we'll give it a try. _________________ The goal is to fit it all in.
Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:20 am Post subject: Culinaria Series
Oh, that glorious day has finally arrived!! I am now the proud owner of Culinaria: Greece; and the only thing that keeps this from being a truly great day - is the realization that I will not be content until I own every single volume! I have three now, so only about 5 to go. And then I'll start writing Konemann Publishing at least once a week, begging them to continue the series and publish one for every country!
Anyway, sorry about that. Chicago Bear, you are going to love yours. The first recipe in the book is for Khirino Me Damaskina , or Pork Tenderloin with Prunes. This is in the Athens section; and it just gets better from there. I never realized Greece had so many cheeses. Everyone knows about Feta, but there is a two-page spread with 20 cheeses that all look great. And another interesting two-page spread is on peaches. They list 27 varieties; apparently Macedonia is known for its fruit.
Anyway, I won't ramble on anymore. I have some reading to do!
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