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231 × 176 × 27 mm
272 pages
110 illustrations, 100 in colour
13 Aug 2018

Dessert A Tale of Happy Endings Jeri Quinzio

Whether it’s a homemade strawberry shortcake in summer or a chef’s complex medley of sweets, dessert is the perfect ending to a meal. Most of us, even those who seldom indulge, have a favourite dessert. After all, sweet is one of the basic tastes and we seem to be hard-wired to like it. Yet while everyone has a taste for sweetness, not every culture enjoys a dessert course at the end of the meal. And desserts as we know them – the light sponge cakes, the ice creams, the steamed plum puddings – are neither as old nor as ubiquitous as many of us believe.
Jeri Quinzio traces the history of desserts and the way they, and the course itself, have evolved over time. The story begins before dessert was a separate course – when sweets and savouries were mixed on the table – and concludes in the present, when homely desserts are enjoying a revival, and as molecular gastronomists are creating desserts an alchemist would envy. An indulgent read, for all those with a curious mind and a sweet tooth.

Dessert is a perfectly delightful romp through the history of puddings and cakes and caudles, everything from syllabubs to strawberry ice cream. Bring a big spoon.’ — Ken Albala

‘Sweet – and beautifully illustrated.’ — Bee Wilson, @KitchenBee

‘Pierrette Brillat-Savarin’s last words were, apparently, “Bring on the dessert. I think I am about to die”. Although the sister of the great gastronome Jean-Anthelme does not figure in the delectable, handsomely illustrated Dessert: A Tale of Happy Endings, readers who habitually choose their last course first will identify with her sense of priorities . . . the book is packed like tutti-frutti ice-cream with nuggets of deliciousness.’ — TLS

Dessert: A Tale of Happy Endings is not merely a compendium of cakes but a chronicle of a different world, one in which desserts were savoured not only with the tongue but with the eyes’ — The Australian

‘This lavishly illustrated history of the delights of dessert will have the sweettoothed hungering for “buttery lemon tart”, ice cream, tiramisù, “ethereal sponge cakes, light and airy profiteroles”, Pavlov . . . And why not? If you can’t enjoy a proper pudding in the festive season, when can you? Don’t worry. In January bookstore shelves will be groaning with slimming manuals. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet. ’ — Saga Magazine

‘Reading this book is a bit like eating dessert. You know you should stop, but you can’t help one more bite, turning one more page. Because, as Quinzio makes clear, dessert is not a mere trifle. It is a measure of skill, status, and style.’ — CHoWLine

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Jeri Quinzio is the author of Pudding (Reaktion, 2012) and Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making (2009), which won the 2010 ICAP Culinary History award. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.