Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Take a look at the book cover below. Go ahead, enjoy ...

freakin' cool book

It's still not available from Amazon.com (you can pre-order it), but my wife managed to get a copy for me while she was at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (in Kalamazoo, MI).

I've only read a chapter so far. Actually, I opened it up at random to somewhere in the middle, intending only to skim a page or two to whet my appetite, and somehow got sucked in and couldn't stop reading before the chapter's end. Then I took a moment (read: half an hour) to flip through the rest of the book.

This has got to be Brears' best work to date, and it's absolutely incredible. Aside from his very readable prose, he has filled this monster of a book with hundreds of clear illustrations on things like setting out tablecloths and carving pies. The little bit he had in Boke of Keruynge was just a speck of dust on a drop in a bucket compared to what's in here. There are also recipes, and serving instructions, and descriptions of medieval English daily life - all of it backed up with documentation from primary sources. Absitively beautimus!

While this book is a bit pricey, it is way more than worth it in quantity. If the rest of the chapters are even close to being as good as the one I read (and I have every reason to think they are) then this book is perfect for someone who wants a single, detailed text that delivers the distilled general knowledge of medieval cooking in England. It's also good for medieval food geeks like me who want to jump into a vat of knowledge and splash around for hours on end.

Cooking & Dining in Medieval England
Peter Brears
Prospect Books
ISBN: 1913018555

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