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Petits Propos Culinaires 124

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by Petits Propos Culinaires
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Some of the world’s most adventurous food historians contribute to this thrice-yearly journal of articles and excerpts from works in progress. And thankfully, the pieces seem often to be chosen with an interest in good writing as well as good scholarship.

Although PPC may occasionally be noteworthy for its focus on such Britannic arcana as references to teapots in the novels of Laurence Sterne (we made that example up), this issue ranges widely enough to include Blake Perkins' examination of the way citizens of Mobile, Alabama invented a cultural and culinary identity in the late 19th century. The 17-page article is accompanied by its own bibliography and 67 endnotes but is never dry.

Andras Koerner profiles the Hungarian-born M. G. Saphir (1795-1858), whom he calls the first Jewish food writer (as distinct from a cookbook author).  George Lewis explores the use of cookbooks as fund-raising vehicles by American political figures, from Strom Thurmond to Black Panthers.

There are contributions as well from Margie Gibson, Andrew Dalby, and William Sayers, and book reviews which, if not always absolutely of the moment—one book was released in 2013—are usually insightful and occasionally trenchant.

Paperback. Black-and-white photos and line drawings.

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