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An A–Z of Food and Drink, reviewed by Dean Tudor (October 7, 2002)

An A–Z of Food and Drink (Oxford University Press, 2002, 375p., ISBN 0-19-280351-4, $23.95 paper covers) is by John Ayto. It was first unleashed in 1990 as the unfortunately titled Glutton's Glossary. It then became the Diner's Dictionary. Food historian Alan Davidson thinks that it should be called A Companion Guide to English Food and Drink Word Phrases, A to Z, compiled on lexicographical, historical, cultural and anecdotal principles. That says it all. Over 1200 terms are described, covering foods, dishes, and beverages. Drink terms include cabernet, chardonnay, buck's fizz, digestif, hock, kabinett, scrumpy, aperitif – and many more! Each word is described as to when and how food words arrived in English, where they came from, how the dishes have changed over the years, and what is going in and out of fashion (and when). You cannot put it down; I took it to baseball games to read between innings.

What I do not like about this book: it could have had a bibliography for further reading.
What I do like about this book: an affordable history of foods and beverages.
QPR Rating: 94.

 

 

 

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