Alembic Blog

Learning to Cook in the Mid-20th Century: A Teaching Collection of Basic Ingredients

I was thinking about Christmas baking today, and was reminded of these fun, mid-century cake decorations we have in stock. They're part of a remarkable collection of 160 samples of cooking ingredients, all housed neatly in glass vials and stored in a carrying case. 

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What Does Sloth Taste Like? A Victorian Guide to Meats of the World

As a rare book seller you spend a lot of time working with books you already know pretty well, the famous or infamous works that have had an out-sized impact on history. But the most fun part of the job lies in the chance encounters - in finding the strange, unusual and near-forgotten volumes that can teach us about the past. Recently I found remarkable Victorian book on how animals were used for food around the world: The Animal Food Resources of Different Nations with Mention of Some of the Special Dainties of Various People Derived from the Animal Kingdom (1885), by Peter Lund Simmonds. In addition to providing detailed information and statistics on the usual domestic and game animals, the book contains passages on the preparation and flavour of a staggering number of exotic creatures.

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