Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (1998)
Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.9 x 9.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #92,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #24 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > New Age & Spirituality > Celtic #25 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > English, Scottish & Welsh #229 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Folklore & Mythology
I'll say right off the bat that this will be a book you'll either love or hate. There isn't another cookbook quite like it, so it's really hard to make comparisons. I personally think its terrific, and my coven has used it on a number of occasions. We've had good luck with the citrus curd, crescent moon rolls, soda bread, tea brack, and baked trout among others. Yum! Asala has taken on the gargantuan task of suggesting traditional Celtic dishes for the festivals of the wheel of the year: Beltane, Samhain, Yule, etc. Some of these dishes do stem from the earliest days of recorded history, others are obviously more recent in origin, so a purist may find it inappropriate to call this a "pagan" cookbook. Still, all religions, even reconstructionist neo-paganism, are fluid in nature and are constantly changing. What's important is the "now." You may still observe the "old" holidays by using "modern" Irish recipes. The recommendations are Asala's own, and I feel they have a lot of merit. She has also managed to distill a lot of other information into one convenient format. The proverbs and songs, especially, can be found in a dozen different collections. But I think she has presented them in a new way by placing them with recipes that they enhance. For example, if one of the recipes has "milk" as the main ingredient, she has linked it with a proverb about cows or milking or added a bit of folklore about cows. So I consider this book as a good jumping off point into celtic mythology and culinary history. If you want to learn just about the foods, find a book that is strictly a cookbook. If you want to learn more about folk sayings, check out an old proverb collection or poetry book like Carmina Gadelica.
`Celtic Folklore Cooking' by culinary writer and folklorist, JoAnne Asala of Chicago is truly unique among the 500 some cookbooks I have reviewed over the last two and a half years. The only books that come close to it in combining spiritual and culinary worlds are the books on Jewish Holiday cooking. In some ways, Ms. Asala's book deals with things which are less alive today than the very active world of Judaism, since virtually no one except wannabe witches or druids make the lore in this book a part of their everyday life. But, that glib summary of our Celtic heritage today ignores two strong influences where Celtic lore still works on our psyches from behind centuries of misty influence.The first and more subtle influence is the effect of Celtic lore on the placing of our Christian holidays. Practically every single Christian and Secular holiday, including Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Carnavale / Marti Gras, Lent, and Advent can be traced to the mapping of Christian doctrine onto the pre-existing Celtic agricultural calendar. One can almost feel the palpable shadow of great Stonehenge, that early instrument for tracking that calendar, weighing on our imagination on Spring, Midsummer, Autumn, and Midwinter celebrations. While it is quite beyond the scope of this book and this review, one can wonder how the Celts in the damp north influenced the Greek and Roman based early Christianity, but it obviously did, in no small way.The second great influence is more obvious today than it may have been for over a century.
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