The Marginalian
The Marginalian

A Brief Visual History of Cookery

Several weeks ago, we featured 5 delicious cross-disciplinary cookbooks and today, in a nice segue from this morning’s edible landscapes, we look at the meta umbrella over them all: Visual History of Cookery, a comprehensive and graphically gripping global journey into the history of our relationship with food and its preparation. In 350 glorious pages, editor Duncan McCorquodale traces the evolution of culinary images over time through gorgeous photographs, paintings, illustrations and vintage ads.

‘Summer’ by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1573, made from the seasonal fruits, grains, and vegetables
British Ministry of Food poster promoting the importance of culinary thrift

Divese and wide-spanning, the book covers everything from the development of food branding to cross-cultural culinary influences to the 21st-century cult of celebrity chefs. It explores the culinary heritage of France, England, Italy, Spain and America through rich imagery and a selection of original recipes from each region, contextualized by contributions from leading food writers and restaurateurs like Anthony Bourdain, Elizabeth David and Alice Waters, as well as profiles of celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Julia Child, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith, James Beard and (the fictional) Betty Crocker.

A dessert table at a barbecue in the 1950s. The tradition of barbecues as a community staple in the American South dates back to the settlers of the 19th century, whose ‘pic-pickins’ celebrating the capturing and cooking of wild hogs became the precursors of contemporary barbecues.
Vibrant peppers and spices in a Valencian store, a culinary legacy of the Moors’ 500-year rule in the region.

Beautiful and fascinating, Visual History of Cookery is as much a crash-course in culinary history as it is a stunning survey of our collective visual appetite for the craft of food.

Images courtesy of The Guardian

Published November 12, 2010




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