Tag: Laura B. Weiss

Review – Ice Cream: A Global History

Posted February 8, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review – Ice Cream: A Global History

Ice Cream: A Global History

by Laura B. Weiss

Genres: History, Non-fiction
Pages: 176
Series: Edible
Rating: four-stars

Be it soft-serve, gelato, frozen custard, Indian kulfi or Israeli glida, some form of cold, sweet ice cream treat can found throughout the world in restaurants and home freezers. Though ice cream was once considered a food for the elite, it has evolved into one of the most successful mass-market products ever developed.

In Ice Cream, food writer Laura B. Weiss takes the reader on a vibrant trip through the history of ice cream from ancient China to modern-day Tokyo in order to tell the lively story of how this delicious indulgence became a global sensation. Weiss tells of donkeys wooed with ice cream cones, Good Humor-loving World War II-era German diplomats, and sundaes with names such as "Over the Top" and "George Washington." Her account is populated with Chinese emperors, English kings, former slaves, women inventors, shrewd entrepreneurs, Italian immigrant hokey-pokey ice cream vendors, and gourmand American First Ladies. Today American brands dominate the world ice cream market, but vibrant dessert cultures like Italy's continue to thrive, and new ones, like Japan's, flourish through unique variations.

Weiss connects this much-loved food with its place in history, making this a book sure to be enjoyed by all who are beckoned by the siren song of the ice cream truck.

As always with the Edible Series, Laura B. Weiss’ Ice Cream: A Global History has colour illustrations and a few recipes at the back, along with references and a bibliography. It’s a bitesize look at food history through a very specific food. (Yep, you’ve guessed it — ice cream.)

Unlike some of these volumes, it doesn’t get too pedantic about what counts here. It discusses gelato and, though it mostly sticks to milk-based iced treats, it does mention the water-based treats which have gone alongside it (sorbet, popsicles, etc). Though it does touch on most of the world here, it feels like it’s most emphatic about the USA’s part in popularising ice cream, and I don’t actually know if that’s as true as the book makes it sound. It does refer to the development of various well-known ice cream brands from the US, but the discussion of soda fountains and such seems very specifically USian.

Overall, it had the predictable effect: I learned some fascinating new things, and I really want some ice cream right now.

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted January 3, 2024 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Somehow it’s Wednesday again already, so here are my threes Ws for this week:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What are you reading next?

Linking up with Taking on a World of Words. I hope there’ll be a bit more commenting this week; last week was pretty quiet, perhaps because of the Christmas/New Year period.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been a bit fidgety and not settling down very well, so I’ve ended up starting two new books, which are both quite short. Yesterday during my breaks at work I started reading The Fireborne Blade (Charlotte Bond), which has a neat cover and is so far intriguing enough. I’m wondering if my sister might like it, since it stars a female knight… but we’ll have to see how things go.

I’m also reading Ice Cream: A Global History (Laura B. Weiss), from the Edible series. Predictably, it made me really want ice cream; maybe something from Ruby Violet… their malted milk ice cream was amazing.

What have you recently finished reading?

My first finished read of 2024 was Kai Kupferschmidt’s Blue, which was a pretty quick read and beautifully illustrated. It had a few facts I didn’t know, and explained things very clearly, where it dug into stuff like chemical structures or how vision works.

I actually read most of it in 2023, but saved the epilogue for 2024, so it’d count for this year and not spoil the lovely round number I had for books finished in 2023, heh.

What will you be reading next?

Cover of The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina RustiLast week I talked about finishing Rose Lerner’s Sailor’s Delight, and I’d still like to do that. I also want to read Tobi Ogundiran’s In the Shadow of the Fall, which is a book I received to review, because I’d like to try and be on top of those in 2024. (Pigs might fly, too, but let’s try to keep our optimism!)

Other than those, I’m eyeing up The Book of Perilous Dishes (Doina Ruști), because I’m very curious about it.

How about you? What’re you reading?

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