Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review - Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb

Book Cover  

Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb
Massimo Montanari (Author), Beth Archer Brombert (Translator)
Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231152515

When I first heard about this book, all I could think was, "Just how much can someone say about the combination of cheese and pears?"  Perhaps they could come up with a paragraph on the origin of the proverb, and maybe a few more about cookbooks and recipes, but that's it, right?

It turns out that Montanari had a lot to say, and it was all worth reading.

The book not only goes into the history of the proverb and others like it, but it also examines them in the context of class divisions and diet in medieval Europe. It all turns out to be one of those complex, winding tales, full of odd turns and surprising twists.

As an added pleasure, Brombert's translation is clear and flowing, making for a very easy-to-read text.

For anyone interested in words and food and history, this book is guaranteed to be well worth reading.

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