In the past number of years quite a few books have been published offering lists on the history of the world in 100 objects or 100 places and Collins, in this edition, has turned the genre towards the history of food. For the most part, it is a clever addition to the cookery-book shelf with lots of fascinating insights into what has defined the culture of our eating habits over the centuries. Such insights, culinary advancements and recipes innovations include how the Egyptians made bread in 1958 BC; how to salt ham; how best to roast a goat; pasta equipment from the fourth-century; medieval ideas on party-planning; ravioli for non-Lenten times; how to bake quinces; hot chocolate; trifle; the discovery of the fork; cauliflower and cheese; Hollandaise sauce; croque monsieur; spaghetti à la Campbell; toad-in-the-hole; omelette; Rice Krispies treats; Victoria sandwich cake; cassoulet Toulousain; boeuf Bourguignon; lamb korma; ginger cake; and fairy cakes.
There are contributions from a number of celebrity chefs including Marco Pierre White, Delia Smith, Heston Blumenthal, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, as well as some photographs of them from yesteryear. It is also worth noting that, while this is a history of food in 100 recipes, there are not that many detailed recipes for many of the 100 named, with, for instance, the Egyptian recipe for bread reconstructed from the images on the interior wall of a tomb in Luxor. Obviously, the Egyptians showed you how to make it without necessarily relying on measurements for flour and water. That said, this is still a fascinating history book that gives you much of the theory that went into how and why we cook the way we do and the famous recipes that have come to us over the centuries and have remained with us to this day.