THE GALLERY OF REGRETTABLE FOOD, THE EARLY DAYS: The book is called Perfection Salad: Women and Coo…

THE GALLERY OF REGRETTABLE FOOD, THE EARLY DAYS: The book is called Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century. Written by Laura Shapiro, it’s a history of the “Scientific Cooking” movement, in which a group of women of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s tried to revolutionize American cooking, introducing the idea of order and form as paramount considerations. Sounds rather dull, but I found the book surprisingly riveting. It turns out that these ladies were trying to tame food and civilize it. The goal was to make it an esthetic and refined experience, as far from its “animal” roots as possible, and devoid of any “low” and ethnic influences–such as, for example, that tiny detail known to us as taste (if you are of a certain age, like me, and you wonder why the food of your youth was so uniformly bland, these ladies share some of the blame). Color was elevated to a matter of extreme importance, and…

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