walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

I really ought to know better

When I was wondering about the claims that pie could preserve meat for up to a year, I ran across Janet Clarkson, author of _Pie: A Global History_, part of a series with similar names. I was highly suspicious, since Clarkson was the author of at least one implausible quotation on the subject of meat preservation, but the preview on Amazon looked like she'd done a decent job on her research.

Alas, here is evidence to the contrary:

"Oil is fat that is liquid at room temperature -- there is no other essential difference -- but good pastry cannot be made with oil. Flour simply absorbs the oil and the resulting dough is mealy, not tender and flaky." p 23

Phyllo does not appear in the index, and I suspect it doesn't appear in the book, either.

Yeah. "Global" history. Sure. *sigh*

ETA: Phyllo not in index, nor is filo, but filo is in the text, p 97-8:

"There is one other type of pastry that we have no touched on so far, but which surely should not be neglected. It is filo pastry (the name refers to the fine 'leaves'), so well known in Middle Eastern cuisine. Wrapped around a nutty filling and drenched in honey syrup, it is used to make some highly addictive pastry sweets such as baklava. [What, we're not going to mention spanakopita? At all?] Filo is not just used for tooth-achingly sweet pastries. There is one filo pastry pie that deserves special mention. It is the Moroccan pie called b'stilla, a ssweet pigeon pie which is a legacy of the early Arab influence on pastry-making, and of the medieval tradition of sweet with meat."

Really. That's all she has to say about it in the entire book. It blows up her _entire_ theory of how pastry can be made flaky, which thus blows up her theory of where pies originated. And she tosses it off in one unindexed paragraph focusing exclusively on a meat pie. Well, I guess that just proves she's from Oz. Which we knew.

I am exasperated.
Tags: food, geekitude, not-a-book-review


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