For every lover of food culture, this scrupulously researched and accessible cookbook presents one-of-a-kind dinner parties inspired by seminal moments in culinary history.
In ten chapters—each an important moment in food history, from Ancient Rome to Al-Andalus in Spain, from the Ethiopian Empire to nineteenth-century New York City—the authors pair menus with immersive retellings of historic culinary breakthroughs, and present the ingredients and modern techniques adapted for today’s kitchens to allow cooks of all abilities to entertain with dishes that were created and enjoyed hundreds of years ago but remain relevant to today’s food tastes and values.
Readers learn to orchestrate feasts from Apicus, blend spices from the Silk Road, feature indigenous ingredients of the Americas, revisit the “classics” from the Court of the Sun King, and savor the complex delicacies from the birth of the American restaurant scene. The home cook can prepare an entire seven-course Tudor feast, for example, or pick and choose dishes from around the world throughout time. Rich illustrations, hand-drawn maps, and contemporary photography create an immersive experience, while Harris’s foreword puts these historic foodways and their legacies into contemporary context.
About the Author
Victoria Flexner is a food historian and founder of Edible History, a NYC-based historical supper club. Jay Reifel, Edible History’s Executive Chef, studied at the French Culinary Institute and trained at the Michelin two-star Corton and New York’s legendary WD-50. He has competed on Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. Jessica B. Harris is a culinary historian and the author of twelve critically acclaimed books documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She received the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
“In 2014, food historians Victoria Flexner and Jay Reifel cooked up an NYC supper club called Edible History, a perfect pairing of fine dining and intellectual stimulation. Now they’ve spun the concept into A History of the World in 10 Dinners: 2,000 Years, 100 Recipes, which includes recipes for such dishes as Trimalchio’s pig (a roasted suckling pig with sausages) from ancient Rome, and glazed whore’s farts (meringues) from Versailles. ‘This book will present even the experienced cook with a shocking variety of unfamiliar ingredients,’ Reifel writes. ‘We have missed out on so many perspectives,’ writes Flexner. ‘’How do we learn about people who left nothing behind?’ Their book is one intriguing answer, and I savor the thought of reading it to my teenage daughter as she makes her way through AP World History.” — BookPage
“Victoria Flexner and Jay Reifel set themselves an ambitious task in their History of the World in Ten Dinners, which attempts to give the reader a world history through various dishes that make up ten historical dinners. From ancient Rome with its Lucanian sausage (the forerunner of the modern Greek loukaniko—aromatic with orange peel—and the more-familiar Portuguese linguica) to an eighteenth-century French dish of braised partridge. These are among the easier recipes in the book; I think I’ll be avoiding Tudor England’s cockentrice—a chicken sewn into a pig, then roasted—delicious as it sounds. This book is delectable history that can be reenacted at home.” — The New Criterion
"...features a fascinating collection of historical recipes paired with incredibly researched essays of the cultures and traditions surrounding the food. A few highlights include Honey Nut Sweets (Aliter Dulcia), Walnut-Lamb Patties (Maqluba), Decorated Marzipan (Marchpane), Salt Cod Stew (Baccalà in Umido), and Canapés." ~Tara's Multicultural Table