Home » Pickled, Potted and Canned: The Story of Food Preserving by Sue Shephard
Pickled, Potted and Canned: The Story of Food Preserving Sue Shephard

Pickled, Potted and Canned: The Story of Food Preserving

Sue Shephard

Published
ISBN : 9780747223344
Hardcover
368 pages
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 About the Book 

An abiding image from Pickled, Potted and Canned is of endless receding generations of ancestors performing acts of extraordinary ingenuity in order to eat. For, as Sue Shephards fascinating history of food preservation (no, really) makes clear,MoreAn abiding image from Pickled, Potted and Canned is of endless receding generations of ancestors performing acts of extraordinary ingenuity in order to eat. For, as Sue Shephards fascinating history of food preservation (no, really) makes clear, there can have been very few places, at very few times, when there was enough fresh food to eat all the year round. In order to live, it was necessary to extend the edibility of the foodstuffs at hand. This was done from the very earliest times, with methods that grew increasingly sophisticated as the centuries passed. Drying, salting, brining, smoking, pickling, fermenting, concentrating, dehydrating, bottling, canning... The range of techniques, and of foods to which they applied, is immense. Very interesting lights are thrown on societies by the choices they make, or are obliged to make, in preserving. The ancient Egyptians used the same word for the salt curing of fish as for the embalming of the dead. (Did they expect to be soaked and reconstituted in the afterlife? And after that, what?) In pagan Lithuania a god of pickled food was worshipped. Somalians perforce use an extraordinary range of fermented meat products--at the most extreme, a kind of haggis is made from a gazelles stomach packed with leftovers that would normally only interest a vulture (intestines, spleen, offal, bone, hooves, even urine) and hung on a tree in the sun for three days, by which time a very strong smell has developed. This is an important subject, for the processes by which humanity learned to preserve food are part of the history of civilisation. Sue Shephards treatment of it is both serious and entertaining- she writes wittily and with very considerable learning, worn lightly. --Robin Davidson