Exploring the world of culinary antiques in The Epicurean Collector by Patrick Dunne is akin to working your way through a delicious feast with charming and witty companions.
This gem crossed my path while wandering the virtual aisles of Amazon a few weeks ago. The cover was instantly intriguing. Georgian sugar castors, beignets, and sugar sifters are attention grabbers!
Once I took a closer look, Patrick Dunne’s name was familiar from his Epicurean Collector column in Southern Accents magazine. As I was a great fan of the column I took the plunge and purchased the book.
Patrick Dunne’s World of Culinary Antiques
Patrick Dunne skillfully melds his academic background (Georgetown and a PhD at Tulane) with his decades of practical experience as the proprietor of Lucullus Antiques situated on Chartres Street in New Orleans. What emerges is an entertaining and informative book filled with luscious photography.
Dunne divides the subject into ten sections:
- looking for formulas, cooking by the book
- tending the fires
- ironing things out
- the collision with condiments
- in their cups
- the enchantment of the commonplace
- liberation of libation
- landscaping the dining room
- menu as manifesto
Each section is an easily digestible history lesson encompassing a central aspect of culinary antiques. My personal favorite was ‘the collision with condiments’. How seasonings and spices brought to Europe by explorers and trade routes opened new vistas in the kitchen and in the silversmith’s workshop. Yes, this chapter has a lot of silver in it. Salt cellars, casters and shakers, and mustard pots, it was inevitable that I would be entranced.
The result is a book that is well worth reading. Anyone interested in the history of food or any of the accouterments and rituals that surround it will benefit. I’m biased on three counts. First, as a professional purveyor of ‘culinary antiques’. Second in my personal lament about how sitting down to enjoy a meal is an endangered activity. Third, as a student of history I find understanding the context of culinary antiques simply fascinating. Mr. Dunne’s expertise is far broader than my focus on silver and it adds a new dimension for me. Regular readers are familiar with my desire to anchor items within a broader context 😉
The notion of culinary antiques has captured my attention. Even as I type it is swirling around in the back of my head. I’m not quite sure where this idea is trying to go. Eventually it will pop out and add some flavor to another post.
As always, I have no affiliate marketing or financial relationship with Amazon or the author and publishers of this book. I’ve recommended it after purchasing my own copy and thinking you might enjoy it too.