Book review: The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World

Picture taken from my Instagram. Apologies for the graininess.

This review contains a recipe from the book, supplied from the publisher and published here with permission.

As you might have already noticed, I’m taking a long break from blogging and from quite a number of social media platforms (I’m still quite active on Instagram and Twitter though – that’s where you can find me at least once a day). The books keep on coming though and I’m here to tell you about one which popped out of the pile.

The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World is fundamentally a history book. Now, even though I love and appreciate recipe books filled with delicious things and artsy photographs, books about culinary history fascinate me. The book is so well made and so well written. Instead of photos, we have beautiful illustrations by Alice Pattullo, making it look like a manual from the past. With a contemporary twist, of course. A comprehensive cookbook library just has to have food history books. That, for me, is essential.

Jenny Linford lists the seven most important ones that still play a significant part in our lives. She takes pork, honey, salt, chilli, rice, cacao and tomato, and tells us their individual stories, from their origin to their journey around the globe, and their contribution to our societies and cultures. All seven of them have captured our imagination partly thanks to our the creative minds of many cooks who experimented with these foods, from the magical powers and monetary currency of cacao used by the Mayan and Aztec societies, to the supposedly aphrodisiac attributes of the tomato in European countries. (A little trivia: they called it the ‘love apple’.)

Each one is brought to life, with an added bonus of 60 plus classic recipes, ranging from salade aux lardons to roast pork belly, to baklava, to marinated chicken adobo, to chocolate cake. What a journey!


Shallots roasted in honey make a simple but stylish vegetable side dish. Serve with roast beef or lamb or a rich beef and wine casserole.

Serves 4
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 20 minutes

8 shallots, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper
2 sprigs of thyme

Preheat the oven to 175 ̊C/300F/gas mark 4.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Add the peeled shallots and parboil for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Place the shallots in a roasting tray. Toss with olive oil to coat thoroughly, then toss with the honey. Season with salt and black pepper and add the thyme sprigs.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

*About the author:

Jenny Linford is also the author of The Chef’s Library, The Creamery Kitchen and Great British Cheese, among other books, and was the general editor of 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience before You Die. Her writing has appeared in the Financial Times, the Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Modern Farmer, the National Trust magazine and on the British Library’s Food Stories website.

*About the Illustrator:

Alice Pattullo is an illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bon Appetit, Esquire, and the Village Voice.

The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World: A History of Pork, Honey, Salt, Chilli, Rice, Cacao and Tomato is published by White Lion Publishing, an imprint of the Quarto Publishing Group UK. It will be released in October 2018. RRP £18.99

Any images used in this review are in accordance with the publisher.

The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World: A History of Pork, Honey, Salt, Chilli, Rice, Cacao and Tomato was kindly sent by the publisher for review.

This is not a sponsored post.

*The information about the authors is extracted from the press release.


One thought on “Book review: The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World”

  1. This sounds like a really great book and I may have a bash at reviewing a new book we’ve got. Well in fact we’ve assembled quite a few over the years with our most recent one being called “Autumn and Winter Veg”…. watch the blog to find out more, I might write in a minute to post during the week!

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