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Festive Feasts Cookbook

Festive Feasts Cookbook
Festive Feasts Cookbook 
by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004

This delightful piece of culinary history
recreates 10 historic feasts from all corners of the globe and a wide ranging span of time and cultures, from the ancient Greeks and Aztecs to the Native American Iroquis and Georgian England.

One of the feasts is fashioned as a dinner with Queen Elizabeth I where a "Carpe or Tench with a Pudding in his Belly" is presented as a serving for eight. Author Michelle Berriedale-Johnson faithfully resurrects the recipe from Thomas Dawson's 1596 primer The Good Huswife's Jewel, but admits that it is "almost impossible to buy tench nowadays." Carp are more readily available from fishmongers, but salmon or a small halibut are acceptable substitutes.

A Georgian Christmas meal is derived from a vicar, James Woodforde, who faithfully kept a detailed diary that included descriptions of his dinners, day after day throughout his adult life. The food was basic English fare: roast beef, roast turkey, boiled mutton, fryed rabbit, plum puddings, mince pies. Recipes included here are drawn from Mrs. Eliabeth Raffald's Experienced English Housekeeper, published in 1768: Rolled Salmon, Dressed Spinach, Ducks a la Mode, A Mince Pye, Pistachio Cream.

Not so much a cookbook as an interpretive history, 
Berriedale-Johnson's book will nevertheless provide inspiration and resources for adventurous cooks preparing large meals in a historical context.
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Featured Feasts
  • The Return of Odysseus: A Homeric Banquet
  • The 1001 Arabian Nights: Feasting with the Caliph
  • Dining at the Court of Lucrezia Borgia
  • Hiawatha's Wedding Feast
  • Banqueting with Mughal Emperors
  • The Cuisine of the Aztecs
  • Dinner with Queen Elizabeth I
  • Jewish Passover Supper: Centuries of Tradition
  • An Imperial Birthday Banquet in the Forbidden City
  • Georgian Christmas with Parson Woodforde




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