Rommelmann research tip: If writing about key lime pie in the Florida Keys, chances are slim to none your slice is the real stuff, Page 79 explains. For details of a culinary scam, buy the book. This is another of those food books on the fun-read list.
You, all of us, may never be called upon to write about syllabub.(*) But, with the detailed clarity of this British writer, my suggestion is that you put it on your avoid list. There are so many food brights in this thick paperback that you may want to carry it along on any talk radio appearances. It is a discussion starter. When it first hit the stalls I used it for on-air teasers.
The cover became one of my quick openers: How can olive oil be virgin? What makes popcorn pop? Is there mud in Mississippi mud pie? Play Rachael Ray. Buy the book. There's a career-long collection of trivia to serve you should you be invited to appear on a talk show. Author Rommelmann enlightened me on the handling of whole lobsters. Do they feel pain when dumped in boiling water? Why do fish mongers clamp their legs together with rubber bands? For answers buy the book. Amazon.com is a starting point.
What single valuable item tweaked my memory bank? Page 210 told me that cookbooks have been around for "thousands of years (the oldest being that of Archestratus, printed in the fourth century B.C.), they were not popular until the nineteenth century when literacy boomed. The question posed: Why do so many old cookbooks use the measurement "butter the size of a walnut?" Because they were easily understood... everyone knew what the size of a walnut was, the author explains, adding that today's cooks rely on weight or measure.
A walnut sized dollop of butter... about one and a half tablespoons. How about that gent Archestratus... I missed Greek mythology class that day. So did Noah. But Brother Google had 15,300 results telling me that old Arch was something of a swinger, a poet, wrote about food, favored fish and liked young slave girls. -- D.P.C.