Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: The Kitchen Magpie A Delicious Melange of Culinary Curiosities, Fascinating Facts, Amazing Anecdotes and Expert Tips for the Food-lover by James Steen

A feast of hundreds of food facts, mouth-watering myths and culinary curiosities to satisfy all appetites.
The Kitchen Magpie contains fascinating tips and expert know-how. How do you make the perfect pork crackling, the finest fried egg, or roast beef in an oven that’s not even switched on? How do you tell a ripe melon? Why is the belly of salmon better than the tail? The answers are here, the science explained.
The book also delves into the history of food through the ages and reveals who ate what, why, when and where. There’s the tale of swan (and horse) in the British diet, as well as that of crane in the Japanese diet – the bird’s blood was mixed with sake and then swigged by samurai warriors. Along the way we find out why on earth John Wayne kept his cow at a hotel, and who invented the fork.
Also featuring exclusive cooking tips from the celebrity chefs of today, The Kitchen Magpie is a book unlike any other; a must-read for curious cooks and food lovers everywhere.
Featuring exclusive contributions from chefs including:
Mary Berry
Michel Roux Junior
James Martin
Antonio Carluccio
Marco Pierre White
Pierre Koffmann
James Steen is a journalist and ghostwriter, having collaborated with great chefs such as Marco Pierre White (The Devil in the Kitchen), Raymond Blanc (A Taste of My Life), and Keith Floyd (Stirred But Not Shaken).

This book has a little bit of everything.

In The Kitchen Magpie A Delicious Melange of Culinary Curiosities, Fascinating Facts, Amazing Anecdotes and Expert Tips for the Food-lover, readers get to read about food history, recipes used in the old days, and cooking tips. There are also some interesting essays written by noteworthy chefs.

I like books that teach me a lot of new things. This book taught me a lot of useful things that will be very helpful in the future. Some of the things I learned were how to perfectly cook poached and fried egg, and how to estimate water temperature based on the appearance of bubbles.

There were plenty of quotes from old books and documents, as well as some really old recipes. There were also useful tips like picking wine, best hangover cures, and how to store food without refrigeration.

The book is written in a conversational tone, like you're speaking with a sarcastic, witty foodie friend. I like this approach because it keeps the material from becoming dull.

Thanks to NetGalley and Icon Books for the e-ARC.


  1. You'll learn something new.
  2. You'll learn something useful.
  3. The tone used isn't boring.


  1. Not all of the topics and anecdotes will be interesting for everyone. 

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, said people living there thousands of years ago were eating a 'Heston Blumenthal-style menu'. 

  1. You think you're a foodie.
  2. You like learning new things.
  3. You enjoy trivia books.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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