Thursday, April 11, 2013

Prehistoric Cooking by Jacqui Wood

book cover
Prehistoric Cooking
by Jacqui Wood

ISBN-13: 978-0752419435
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Tempus
Released: October 1, 2001

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Goodreads:
Based on experimental archaeology at the author's world-famous research settlement in Cornwall, this book describes the ingredients of prehistoric cooking and the methods of food preparation.

My Review:
Prehistoric Cooking looks at what archaeology can tell us about food in prehistoric Britian. The author initially explained what archaeology has uncovered about food practices in prehistory, hunter-gatherer, bronze, and iron ages. This included types of food and how they got it (gathered wild vs. raised). I like that she doesn't think prehistoric people were stupid just because they didn't have a written history yet.

Next, she talked about the experimental archaeology she's been doing using this knowledge and the knowledge of primitive societies today to uncover likely cooking methods and recipes. She talked some about how the food was actually cooked, but she didn't give the high level of detail I was hoping for. The photographs from some of the demonstrations they've done and of some of the cooking steps for several recipes did help, though. There was enough detail that I think I could make the recipes work successfully with a little experimenting of my own.

About two-thirds of the book was recipes and related cooking methods, and they were divided into the categories: bread; dairy; meat, fish, and vegetable stews; cooking with hot stones; clay-baked foods; salt and the seashore menu; peas, beans, and lentils; herbs and spices; vegetables; yeast, wines, beer, and teas; sweets and puddings. Some of these recipes use plants that don't grow in my section of the world (southern USA), but others did. Though I didn't buy the book for the recipes, I think I'll try a couple of them since she makes it sound fun and do-able.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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