Wednesday night, my culinary reading group met and talked about Elaine Khosrova's book Butter: A Rich History. Mostly, we all liked the book, especially the science of how cream turns into butter. We enjoyed the breadth of the book, including the historic chapters and the parts about the spiritual meaning of butter in early days. When people did not understand the sudden transition from cream to butter, they thought it was magic -- as they did with other food transformations by chemistry or by fermentation.
We observed that many books about the history and science of common foods are being published. While not all of them are uniformly good, we agreed that this is one of the good ones. Though there has been a trend towards these one-food-books recently, quite a few existed earlier. We mentioned, for example, Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History
by H. E. Jacob, originally published in 1944 and republished several times.
I had a few things to say about Khosrova's book last week at these two posts: