‘1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die’
For those of you who often read this column, let me assure you that I do not only read books about food. It just seems that way.
That said, today I’m writing about “1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die.” It’s one of six books we have on things you must see/do/hear/whatnot before you die. This one was kind of fun, so maybe I’ll check into “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” or “1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die” soon.
The book is primarily concerned with ingredients, but there are some prepared dishes (primarily baked goods and candies) included. The book is divided into fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish, meats (including game), aromatics (which includes herbs, spices and condiments), grain, bakery and confections.
The vast majority of the descriptions have a picture of the food described as well as a half page of information, including where the food comes from and the common uses of it. The bottom of each entry gives a description of the taste of the food. The authors did a great job there, flavor descriptions not being easy (try it yourself if you don’t believe me — describe the taste of a watermelon).
Here’s the description of the taste of cherimoya fruit: “The cherimoya’s delicious, creamy white flesh tastes like a gentle blend of banana, papaya and pineapple with subtle hints of coconut, mango and vanilla.” I’d like to get hold of one of those after reading that!
There were a surprising number of fruits and vegetables that I had never even heard of, mostly tropical but a few from Europe and other regions. Sea buckthorn, anyone? How about a nice marula, mazhanje or mamoncillo?
As far as vegetables go, I wasn’t aware that anyone ate yucca flowers, specifically those of the flor de izote. I think I’ll pass on ackee, which must be fully ripe and even then only the pulp is edible. Unripe ackee pulp and all the rest of the plant is toxic and can be fatal. Goody. I had no idea there were so many types and varieties of soy products and I think I’ll content myself with just the knowledge of stinky tofu (hey, that’s what it’s called, don’t blame me). Apparently, it is generally eaten as street food, the authors suggesting that perhaps the aroma has something to do with that.
I like dairy, so I was enjoying myself reading the large section about the various cheeses available until I came to casu marzu. Due to its peculiar and unique composition, it is banned even in Sardinia, its country of origin. Given that some of you are no doubt reading this over breakfast or brunch (maybe a nice bagel with a schmear of cream cheese), I’ll leave it at that. If you want to know more, you’ll either have to read the book or google it.
There are, though, a number of much-lovelier sounding dairy products detailed, although I’ve had gjetost and once was enough. I would like to try some of the others, though. Maybe a nice idiazabal, a semihard to hard (depending on age) sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees, available either smoked or not. Much yummier sounding than the aforementioned casu marzu.
There are quite a number of fish that I’d never heard of, including the large and omega-3 rich spotted sorubum from Brazil. It can grow over 5 feet long and weigh more than 176 pounds, so that would be quite the grilling festival!
Of course, they also cover fugu, the Japanese delicacy that, if not properly prepared, will kill you rather quickly and very unpleasantly. The authors report that “Many say, however, its taste is surpassed by the thrill of the experience of eating it.”
Personally, I’m not eating anything that has a chance of killing me if it isn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted, so I believe I’ll pass.
There isn’t enough space here to cover more, but I’m sure any foodie would heartily enjoy reading this book, if not eating the dread casu marzu.
Linda Cannon is the circulation supervisor/collection development librarian at Joplin Public Library.
‘1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die’
- Globe Life
Serious horseplay: Joplin attorney's horse places in worldwide showing competition
When the conversation turns to showing horses, Sarah Reeder's eyes begin to sparkle.
Ryan Richardson: Activities help beat the indoor blues of winter
After a double dose of kennel cough and chest congestion that put my dog down for the count for a week, I am wary of taking my dog outside during this latest cold snap.
Phyllis Seesengood: Voice on phone leads to Reacher's arrest in book
Jack Reacher, Lee Child's superhero-action character, returns to beat up the bad guys in the 18th installment of the Reacher series, "Never Go Back." Jack Reacher is an ex-military cop and a one-man wrecking crew, and people who try messing with him usually end up maimed or dead.
Fantastic plastic: Joplin woman's Barbie collection spans 35 years
When Toni LoPresti was 4 years old, a new doll hit the New York Toy Fair. Her name was Barbie, and she was a 12-inch-tall teenage fashion model wearing a black and white bathing suit, open-toed shoes, gold hoop earrings and shades.
Ryan Richardson: Advocates make Joplin great place for pets
I know I do most of the big things right with my dog, and I'm sure she is thankful for it.
Jacque Gage: Inspirational fiction changes for better
In recent years, there has been a fiction genre that's continually gotten more attention from the mainstream library press.
Rolling right along: Joplin skating rink reopens under new owners, new name
The blue concrete floor is no longer there. The wall-mounted movie scene murals of the gondola, the chariot, the carriage and log cabin are also gone. But spinning from the ceiling is a famed disco ball.
- SLIDESHOW: Take a Shot: extras of youth hunting Hunting is an important rite of passage for many families across the region. We asked for pictures of kids during hunting season for Take a Shot in the Nov. 24 edition of the Globe. We received so many pictures that we posted many of the extras online.
Frankie Meyer: Google books site preserves rare titles
Have you checked the website at books.google.com? The extraordinary site has the mission of providing online access to millions of books, some of which are rare and thus not accessible to most people by any other method. The site is often called the "card catalog of the digital age."
Danya Walker: Classic Doyle character fleshed out in novel
I always have a stack of library books checked out to read, along with a bookcase full of books I own that I haven't read yet. But occasionally I'll feel a longing to pick up a book that I've already read and enjoy it again, especially when I have a big stack of other books to read.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Serious horseplay: Joplin attorney's horse places in worldwide showing competition