The Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food—Featuring More Than 100 Historical Recipes (Hardcover)
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Cod and Salt, a delectable look at the cultural, historical, and gastronomical layers of one of the world’s most beloved culinary staples—featuring original illustrations and recipes from around the world.
As Julia Child once said, “It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”
Historically, she’s been right—and not just in the kitchen. Uniquely flourishing in just about every climate and culture around the world, onions have provided the essential basis not only for sautés, stews, and sauces, but for medicines, metaphors, and folklore. Abundantly commonplace yet extraordinarily indispensable, the onion is Kurlansky's most flavorful infatuation yet as he sets out to explore how and why the crop reigns from Italy to India and everywhere in between.
Featuring historical images and his own pen-and-ink drawings, Kurlansky begins with the science behind the only sulfuric acid-spewing plant, then digs through the twenty varieties of onion and the cultures built around them. Among the first domesticated and cultivated crops, onions were seen by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of eternity, the Greeks as an agent of strength, and the Chinese as a supplement for intelligence. Entering the kitchen, Kurlansky celebrates the raw, roasted, creamed, marinated, and pickled. Including a recipe section featuring more than 100 dishes from around the world, The Core of an Onion shares the secrets to celebrated Parisian chef Alain Senderens’s onion soup eaten to cure late-night drunkenness; Hemingway’s raw onion and peanut butter sandwich; and the Gibson, a debonair gin martini garnished with a pickled onion.
Just as the scent of sautéed onions will lure anyone to the kitchen, The Core of an Onion is sure to draw readers into their savory stories at first taste.
“Mr. Kurlansky is a veteran writer. Over the course of 34 books-including bestsellers on such seemingly mundane subjects as salt, cod and paper-he has come to be known for his ability to weave history, philosophy and personal experience into compelling narratives.” —Wall Street Journal
“Calcium-heavy gold . . . the fine cream of the book rises to the top.” —USA Today
“This eminently readable book is a new tool for scanning world history.” —The New York Times Book Review on COD
“Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its take with epic grandeur.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review on Salt
“Kurlansky finds the world in a grain of salt... fascination and surprise regularly erupt from the detail.” —New York Times Book Review on SALT
“The sort of book that Proust might have written had Proust become distracted by the madeleine.” —Editors' Choice, New York Times Book Review on MILK!
“This is terrific food writing; like fleur de sel, something scarce and to be savored.” —San Francisco Chronicle on SALT