A Twist in the Tail

How the Humble Anchovy Flavoured Western Cuisine

July 2024 9781911723417 368pp, 38 b&w illus
Forthcoming Pre-order
Available as an eBook
EU Customers

Description

A Twist in the Tail takes readers on a tantalising voyage through European and American gastronomic history, following the trail of a small but mighty fish: the anchovy. 

Whether in ubiquitous Roman garum, mass-produced British condiments, elaborate French haute cuisine or modern Spanish tapas, anchovies have been enhancing the flavour of many dishes for thousands of years. Yet, depending upon the time and place—and who was eating them—they have also been disdained as worthless little fish, deemed too small, bony and inconsequential for popular or elite consumption. From Western Europe to the USA, Christopher Beckman shows how the evolving and ambiguous status of anchovies provides surprising insights into the relationship between food, class and status throughout history.

Drawing on cookbooks, literature and art, this is the hidden story of the diminutive anchovy, and its outsized role in shaping the West’s cuisine.



Reviews

‘A riveting, globe-trotting fish tale that follows the ebb and flow of the anchovy’s influence, and recounts how it has divided and united people around the table for millennia.’ — Katie Parla, food and beverage writer, culinary guide and author of Food of the Italian Islands

‘An entertainingly rich exploration of the inter-related culinary histories of Western Europe and the United States through the prism of the anchovy—this is my kind of book! With a distinct and amusing voice, Beckman offers beautiful information and a wider perception of the broader cultures he explores.’ — Graeme Rigby, creator of ‘Rigby’s Encyclopedia of the Herring’

Author(s)

Christopher Beckman was born in San Francisco and has a doctorate in Archaeology. Based in Geneva, his research focuses on the links between material culture and subsistence patterns. He has lived in the Middle East and Africa, with a stint in Hollywood producing horror films. This is his first book.

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