Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The World in Your Lunch Box by Claire Eamer

While I was reading this book, I called my brother over and starting reading from that newly-started food (it was about yeast and I thought he'd be interested). After I finished, he told me to start from the beginning of the book.

While this book is targeted at younger readers like my brother, I still enjoyed reading it very much. Ordinarily, I like learning, but I don't like reading about it if it's boring. This book uses the idea of a mission to tie together the history, science and other tidbits (pardon the pun) of some common food items like ham, bread, pizza etc.

The book is written in the form of a student's report (something loosely resembling that anyway), as he/she has to research the various food that he/she eats for lunch. Each chapter/day is introduced with a comment by the teacher who breaks down the foods (like mac and cheese to pasta and cheese). There are plenty of illustrations in the book and they do help the reader understand what's going on, or they provide laughs. For my little brother, his favourite part of the book were the jokes that were scattered here and there.

After reading, I want to eat this item called "poached threads". The book describes it as "a popular dish. People would heat syrup and then drizzle a thin stream of egg yolk into it. The yolk would cook into sweet threads." For some reason, the closest I can find to it is "fios de ovos", a Portuguese dish that was later taken to Japan and Thailand. To quote Wikipedia (link to page):

"fios de ovos generally require egg yolks and egg whites in the approximate ratio 12:1. These are beaten together, and forced through a fine strainer several times to remove all solid egg material. The mixture is dropped into simmering sugar syrup (about 2500g/L) through a special funnel with a narrow opening, which must be moved around so as to keep the strands from touching before they have hardened. The cooking should be done in small batches. The strands must be pushed down into the syrup with a slotted spoon, kept there for about 30 seconds; then they must be removed, immersed into ice water, squeezed lightly, dipped into cold lighter syrup (about 400 g/L), squeezed again, and left to dry"

Disclaimer: I got this book free from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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