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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat [Anglais] [Relié]

Bee Wilson

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Description de l'ouvrage

9 octobre 2012
Bee Wilson is the beloved food writer and historian who writes as the 'Kitchen Thinker' in the Sunday Telegraph, and is the author of Swindled!. Her charming and original new book, Consider the Fork, explores how the implements we use in the kitchen have shaped the way we cook and live. A wooden spoon - most trusty and loveable of kitchen implements - looks like the opposite of 'technology', as the word is normally understood. But look closer. Is it oval or round? Does it have an extra-long handle to give your hand a place of greater safety from a hot skillet? Or a pointy bit at one side to get the lumpy bits in the corner of the pan? It took countless inventions to get to the well-equipped kitchens we have now, where our old low-tech spoon is joined by mixers, freezers and microwaves, but the story of human invention in the kitchen is largely unseen. Discovering the histories of our knives, ovens and kitchens themselves, Bee Wilson explores, among many other things, why the French and Chinese have such different cultures of the knife; and why Roman kitchens contain so many implements we recognize. Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

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Revue de presse

I love Bee Wilson's writing (Nigella Lawson)

Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork, though a work of considerable scholarship, is also a cracking good read, as enjoyable as it is enlightening (Raymond Blanc, Chef-Patron 'Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons')

This scholarly and witty book, packed full of fascinating information and thrilling insights, is as enlightening as it is a joy to read (Claudia Roden, author of 'The Food of Spain')

Mind meets kitchen: Bee Wilson sizes up every kitchen implement from the wooden spoon to the ergonomic Microplane, and gives us its history, including versions that led up to each object but did not survive for lack of fitness. Her climax is the kitchen, the room itself, the affluent modern version of which has never been so highly designed; so well equipped; so stylish; or so empty. She conducts us on a sobering, entertaining, and instructive tour (Margaret Visser, leading food historian)

I was so enthralled by Bee Wilson's new book that I found it hard to put down. As always she is a completely reliable guide to her subject, and this history of how we cook and eat is full of surprises - how human table manners have changed our bodies, and how technological changes can affect our personal tastes in food. Her authority is complete, her scholarship lightly worn and her writing terrific (Paul Levy, co-author of 'The Official Foodie Handbook', and editor of 'The Penguin Book of Food and Drink')

A fast-paced and mind-opening investigation into the quirky stories behind our daily interactions with food (Richard Wrangham, author of 'Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human')

[A] delightfully informative history of cooking and eating from the prehistoric discovery of fire to twenty-first-century high-tech, low-temp soud-vide-style cookery (ELLE magazine)

In her wonderful new book, food writer Bee Wilson unpacks the paraphernalia of the average kitchen ... Witty, scholarly, utterly absorbing and fired by infectious curiosity, Consider the Fork wears its impressive research lightly; Wilson has given us a long view on everyday life - the early experiments of our primitive ancestors cast a long and complex shadow over the meals we eat. (Lucy Lethbridge Observer)

Substantial and entertaining ... Bee Wilson belongs to a rare breed: the academic who can write. This book is dense with research, all of it rendered highly palatable ... A keen cook, Wilson has no trouble sorting the culinary fads from the game-changers. (Jemima Lewis Mail on Sunday)

Bee Wilson has a knack for curating fact. Before you can get tired of reading about spitjacks in the Fire chapter, the subject matter hops into a page or two on tandoor ovens, then you find out about thermodynamics, cast-iron ranges and the blaze that set off the Great Fire of London. Throughout the book there are well-judged measures of historical information, alongside anecdotes and a touch of science. Oh, and anthropology ... a fascinating insight. (Gaby Soutar The Scotsman)

A delightful compendium of the tools, techniques and cultures of cooking and eating. Be it a tong or a chopstick, a runcible spoon or a cleaver, Bee Wilson approaches it with loving curiosity and thoroughness.... But as well as providing wry insights into the psychology of cooks down the ages, Consider the Fork is infused with a sense that every omelette, cup of coffee, meringue or tea cake is steeped in tradition and ancient knowledge, and that that is partly what makes cooking one of life's joys. (Molly Guinness Spectator)

Wilson's tour of the kitchen explores all the essential elements of domestic cookery through the ages ... the book is diligently researched and she has a sharp eye for a vivid historical detail ... perceptive. (Jane Shilling Daily Mail)

What new intellectual vistas remain to be conquered by the food obsessive? . . . The erudite and witty food writer Bee Wilson has spotted a gap in the market. . . . [Her] argument is clear and persuasive ... a graceful study. (Steven Poole Guardian)

Wilson is at her sparkling best when unearthing curious histories about the role these inventions played in the evolution of man. She serves up her impressive research in easy-to-digest nuggets, making the chronicle of even the dullest kitchen aid a palatable treat. (Metro)

A sparkling history ... Fascinating and entertaining ... In considering the fork, in short, she forces us to reconsider ourselves. (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

This broad survey makes palatable thousands of years of theory and experience. (Melissa Katsoulis Sunday Telegraph) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Biographie de l'auteur

Bee Wilson writes a weekly food column, 'The Kitchen Thinker' in The Sunday Telegraph, for which she has three times been named the Guild of Food Writers Food Journalist of the Year. Her previous books include The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us and Swindled!. Before she became a food writer, she was a Research Fellow in History at St John's College, Cambridge. She has also been a semi-finalist on Masterchef. Her favourite kitchen implement is currently the potato ricer. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  151 commentaires
68 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why Even Atheists Pray in the Kitchen 2 octobre 2012
Par takingadayoff - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Consider the Fork. And the knife. Pots and pans. Measuring cups. Items so basic that we rarely wonder how they came to be and what people used before. Bee Wilson considers forks and more in a book about the tools of cooking and eating. That may sound prosaic, but the result is simply fascinating.

Wilson gets down to basics in an informative, wide-ranging, and witty book. What about pots? It was a big step to apply fire to food and another big step to apply indirect fire to food. Humans were grilling and charring food for thousands of years before they tried putting something between the food and the fire. It was some time before they could devise a material that would stand up to fire but allow the food to heat through it. Once that was accomplished, humans could boil food and fry it. It isn't hard to imagine how humans discovered that fire could make unpalatable food edible or good food even better, but I'd never appreciated the gigantic steps it took to reach boiling and frying.

What about something as simple as timing a soft-boiled egg? Before clocks, before egg timers, how did people time their eggs, or anything else? Often by reciting a well-known prayer. The prayers would be familiar since everyone went to church often enough to know the prayers and the standard tempo to recite them. Six Lord's Prayers and the egg is done.

It was only in the past century that measuring amounts became at all standard. Recipes were rather tricky before standard measures. But in America they are still trickier than they need to be, because we are the only country that uses a cup to measure dry volume. The rest of the Western world uses weight measures (and metric weight at that, which we Americans still refuse to adopt.) A cup of flour is a terribly imprecise amount, as it depends on how tightly packed it is and whether it is a rounded cup or level. But 100 grams is 100 grams no matter how you pack it.

It hasn't always been a straight line of improvement, either. It's a mystery why egg beaters became so popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when wire whisks already existed and do the job better. Ice cream makers of a hundred years ago are quicker and easier to use than even the best ice cream makers of today.

You can read Consider the Fork from beginning to end or dip into it anywhere and find something that will make you think either "I always wondered about that" or "I never even considered that. Amazing!"

(Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy.)
37 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Suffice to say - this is a real treat! 2 octobre 2012
Par BLehner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
What did you have for breakfast today? Or more importantly how did you prepare it? I bet several kitchen appliances have been put to good use. Pans and knives, measuring and grinding, fire and ice (or rather, stove and fridge) - Consider The Fork by Bee Wilson isn't your ordinary guide into the history of food, but into the world of implements and technology inside the kitchen. It's not about what but how we eat, and if you find this to be a trivial topic, think again, because it's most certainly not. I promise, after reading this book you will never look at your spoon the same way again!
Skillfully the author weaves a tapestry of her own observations while cooking, mixing it with fascinating excursions into history, effortlessly seguing from everyday snapshots to the distant past. Thoroughly researched and wonderfully detailed, but even more so, engrossingly and smoothly written, this book is literally a real treat for everyone even remotely interested into a look at the technology behind everything we eat. As unimportant as the equipment of a kitchen may seem compared to the history of food itself, I was both surprised and delighted by this book. I have always had a great appreciation for books presenting a slightly different angle on historical aspects of things, and this one catered to my taste (pun intended) just perfectly.
In short: A mesmerizing and beautifully written journey into the world of kitchen utensils!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A history of cooking, at times fascinating 6 novembre 2012
Par Geoff Puterbaugh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Very few historians have ventured into this territory, and Bee Wilson deserves great credit for going into that undiscovered country.

As one example, her discussion of the history of FIRE in cooking is fascinating. Early humans simply put meat into a fire (if they had one), and then centuries passed with an "open-hearth" kitchen. You may imagine that such a kitchen would be romantic and organic -- a huge open fire with meat turning on a spit -- and there is indeed very good evidence that this is the best way to roast meat. But you are probably overlooking the dangers & drudgery involved here: the fire is HOT, very HOT, and who is going to turn the spit? Answer: young boys who normally worked without clothes because of the heat.

The next step was the coal-fired oven, which no person in their right mind would use today. It required massive amounts of time for both cooking and cleaning.

Have I mentioned the obvious fact that both open-hearth cooking, and coal-fired cooking, require the presence of a lot of servants? The delicious "Rosbif" went to the lord of the manor.

Somewhere around this point, I realized that my inexpensive counter-top range (powered by propane, with two burners, cost less than $100) was a huge step forward for both men and women.

And once again I thank my lucky stars to have been born in California in 1946. Four centuries ago, I might have been a "servant boy" destined to turn the spit for the lord of the manor.

As I said, the discussion of fire was very interesting. I found that the history of spoons and forks was not so very interesting.

On the whole, I recommend this book. You'll learn a whole bunch of stuff which you probably never thought worth thinking about.
71 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Underdone and Underwhelming. 2.5 stars. 8 novembre 2012
Par B. Shutes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I wanted to like this book. I ordered it in hopes that I had found some sort of Ur-text on the history of cooking and dining wares. What I received fell far short of expectations.

I heard about Ms. Wilson's book, read some favorable (and far more so-so, objective) reviews after beginning to read it and so many of them echoed what I've come to find: The book just isn't that good. In the words of another reviewer, it's uncooked. The mise en place is all right there, but no one bothered to tell the author how to assemble it into something the reader would adore and tell his or her friends about. Far less than that, it's tough to care about what you're reading when you feel you're being talked at.

Don't get me wrong... the information is there. It's just not presented in any sort of a cohesive manner that is enticing to a reader. I'm an avid reader and am the type to read "before" bed and find it, sooner than later, 3 a.m. There's something patently false about Ms. Wilson's narrative that makes this text seem like the ultimate in bored dilettantism. A smattering of history, a few attempts at charming personal anecdotes, and lots of name dropping don't yield much in the end.

Additionally, some of her statements just make my skin crawl. I'm a 30-year-old male. When I read a sentence like, "To the woman who has just acquired an electric blender, the whole world looks like soup," I feel flabbergasted. Ignoring that it's simply inelegant and an utterly awkward statement, it so reeks of mid-century sexism that I couldn't believe it somehow made it past an editor in 2012.

I really wish that I could recommend this book. Unfortunately, I was left cold. Parts read like a dissertation, other areas work the folksy angle, and far too much of it just sounds like an infomercial you'd flip past on TV without the slightest thought or care.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Savory, informative read 28 décembre 2012
Par Jon Hunt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This wonderful new book by British authour Bee Wilson could have been subtitled, "A History of the Kitchen", for this room is the centerpiece of her story. It's well-crafted and laid out in sections which range from pots and pans to heat measurements, grinding and even ice. The savor in "Consider the Fork", comes not only from its content, but also from the author's beautiful narrative style.

What makes her book so warming is its familiarity to the reader. We've all spent time in the kitchen either participating in or observing how a meal is put together, so "Consider the Fork" is like comfort food for the eyes. Who would have given so much time and love to the wooden spoon or to gently poke Americans for being the only country in the world that measures by the cup and not by weight? When Ms. Wilson refers to Ivan Day's superb roasting techniques, (albeit ancient ones) one can almost taste its succulence.

The information she presents is astonishing and delivered with great care. Clearly, the author loves telling us about what she knows. I suppose one can find chapters of particular pleasure, but I reveled in her chapter on ice. While heat plays so much a part in the kitchen, ice eventually found its way in as well, and in less than a hundred years we've gone from drippy, smelly ice boxes to state-of-the-art preservation.

I highly recommend "Consider the Fork", especially because the reward of reading it for me was so much more than my original anticipation. Bee Wilson has done an outstanding job with so many aspects surrounding our meals and her book is a joy to read.
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