Let the Meatballs Rest

And Other Stories About Food and Culture

Massimo Montanari. Translated by Beth Archer Brombert

Columbia University Press

Let the Meatballs Rest

Google Preview

Pub Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9780231157339

192 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $25.00£19.95

Pub Date: December 2012

ISBN: 9780231157322

192 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $75.00£62.95

Pub Date: December 2012

ISBN: 9780231527880

192 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $24.99£19.95

Let the Meatballs Rest

And Other Stories About Food and Culture

Massimo Montanari. Translated by Beth Archer Brombert

Columbia University Press

Known for his entertaining investigations into culinary practice, Massimo Montanari turns his hungry eye to the phenomenon of food culture, food lore, cooking methods, and eating habits throughout history. An irresistible buffet of one hundred concise and engaging essays, this collection provides stimulating food for thought for those curious about one of life's most fundamental pleasures.

Focusing on the selection, preparation, and mythology of food, Montanari traverses such subjects as the status of the pantry over the centuries, the various strategies of cooking over time, the gastronomy of famine, the science of flavors, the changing characteristics of convivial rituals, the customs of the table, and the ever-evolving identity of food. He shows that cooking not only is a decisive part of our cultural heritage but also communicates essential information about our material and intellectual well-being.

From the invention of basic bread making to chocolate's reputation for decadence, Montanari positions food culture as a lens through which we can plot changes in historical values and social and economic trends. Even the biblical tale of Jacob buying Esau's birthright for a bowl of lentils is a text full of essential meaning, representing civilization's important shift from a hunting to an agrarian society. Readers of all backgrounds will enjoy these delectable insights and their easy consumption in one companionable volume.
The more I cook, the more I realize and discover how the food that we eat is much more than nourishment. It is culture; it is our story as human beings, and Massimo Montanari has made it his life's mission to make that connection. Here, in this informative, intelligible, and delightful book, Let the Meatballs Rest and Other Stories About Food and Culture, Massimo shares those very stories and the resounding message that food is culture, and culture is nourished by food. Lidia Bastianich, chef, cookbook author, television personality, and restaurateur
Montanari's erudition is manifest throughout the book. He assiduously avoids both commonplaces and pedantry and provokes thought, thrilling anyone looking to understand on a profound level why we eat what we eat. Booklist
...delectable... Andrew F. Smith, Times Literary Supplement
A textured, surprising, and brightly astringent read. Ted Weesner, Jr., Boston Globe
Thoughtful and charming. Reading this collection of his brief essays is like eating salted peanuts — you can't stop and each one seems better than the one before. CHOW Line
Introduction
1. Things and Ideas
2. The Status of Foods
3. Adventures in Cooking
4. The Gastronomy of Hunger
5. Flavors
6. Pleasure and Health
7. The Beautiful and the Good
8. Convivial Rituals
9. Table Practices and Manners
10. "Identity" Declined in the Plural
Index
Web Features:

Listen to an interview with Massimo Montanari on Leonard Lopate:


About the Author

Massimo Montanari is professor of medieval history and the history of food at the Institute of Paleography and Medieval Studies, University of Bologna. His books include Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table; Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb; Food Is Culture; and Famine and Plenty: The History of Food in Europe. He also coedited, with Jean-Louis Flandrin, Food: A Culinary History.

Beth Archer Brombert is the author of Cristina: Portraits of a Princess and Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent work is Journey to the World of the Black Rooster.