Signature Dishes That Matter

Phaidon. 2019. 448p. ed. by Susan Jung & others. ISBN 9780714879321. $49.95. COOKING
This collection of more than 200 iconic, international restaurant dishes is curated by an impressive team of prominent food writers, including Jung, senior food and wine editor, South China Morning Post; Christine Muhlke, writer and editor-at-large, Bon Appétit; and culinary writer and critic Pat Nourse. Personal statements from the curators, as well as a foreword by the James Beard Foundation’s Chief Strategy Officer Mitchell Davis, offer insights into what makes a signature dish. Presented in chronological order with illustrations are brief narratives for items ranging from a Cobb salad, Big Mac, and short rib taco, to sushi, Din Tai Fung (Chinese soup dumplings), and duck jelly. The second half features recipes—some of which may be tackled by home chefs, with the majority requiring the skills of professionals. Regardless, dining enthusiasts and foodies will enjoy learning more about the preparation of some of history’s most influential dishes.
VERDICT This nice blend of food and travelog is a natural fit for large collections of culinary history and food tourism.

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