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The Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food—Featuring More Than 100 Recipes

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by Mark Kurlansky
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The author of Cod, Salt, and other cultural-historical explorations of common ingredients turns his hand to one that is fundamental to nearly every cuisine, though often taken for granted.

Mark Kurlansky identifies cepaphilia–”a word I just made upas a theme of globe spanning importance, from the poetry of Chilean Pablo Neruda to the work of French painter Paul Cezanne to the local dialects of Beijing where the spoken words for onion and for clever are so similar that an onion is placed in a baby’s first bath.

A running theme in the book is the degree to which onion names are untrustworthy. The Spanish onion of American grocery stores could be any of a number of varieties, from the Stockton Red Globe to the Australian Brown. And the variety prized in East Asia, often translated as a Welsh onion, has nothing to do with Wales.

Of course with something so widely used, there is no end to passionate advice on how to prepare and eat them, and Kurlansky cites sources as varied as Dostoyevsky, Alain Senderens, Shizuo Tsuji, and Julie Sahni. 

Wide-ranging and diverting.

Hardcover. Black-and-white photos.

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