Where has all the good food gone?This is the question at the heart of Gina Mallet's provocative and evocative account of the fate of food. In the last fifty years we have gone from loving food to fearing it. We have become frightened by food science and spooked by medical doctors, and as a result old familiar foods and recipes, the threads of community, are being lost.Lingering over sensual memories of forgotten taste, Mallet traces the vicissitudes of five popular foods, their history and their predicament.
Mallet grew up in a hamlet with a family in the English countryside after the Second World War. Food is a memory, and although food was scarce in England in the era of wartime rationings and shortages, Mallet never forgot the tastes of her childhood - Jersey cream, garden tomatoes and raw-milk, Brie imported from France - tastes that gradually vanished as life brought Mallet from England to Connecticut and then Toronto. Witty and vividly remembered recollections of her family's feasts, both at home and on trips to France and New York, include an encounter with a memorably grumpy French chef nonplussed by his pressure cooker, and her father's shock on discovering that her mother had been purchasing steaks from a chevaline butcher.
Mallet's gastronomic adventures will appeal to any palate: from finding the perfect grilled cheese ('as delicate as any Escoffier recipe') to combining the bustling Food Hall at post-war Harrods fro the makings of 'an Elizabeth David meal'. Her poignant book is as idiosyncratic as the history of food itself, and it includes twenty recipes for such old-time favourites as Sole Veronique and English macaroons.