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The Core of an Onion

Peeling the Rarest Common Food—Featuring More Than 100 Historical Recipes

Mark Kurlansky



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28 November 2023
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Cod and Salt, a delectable look at the cultural, historical, and gastronomical layers of one of the world’s most beloved culinary staples—featuring original illustrations and recipes from around the world.

As Julia Child once said, “It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”

Historically, she’s been right—and not just in the kitchen. Flourishing in just about every climate and culture around the world, onions have provided the essential basis not only for sautés, stews, and sauces, but for medicines, metaphors, and folklore. Now they're Kurlansky's most flavorful infatuation yet as he sets out to explore how and why the crop reigns from Italy to India and everywhere in between.

Featuring historical images and his own pen-and-ink drawings, Kurlansky begins with the science and history of the only sulfuric acid–spewing plant, then digs through its twenty varieties and the cultures built around them. Entering the kitchen, Kurlansky celebrates the raw, roasted, creamed, marinated, and pickled. Including a recipe section featuring more than one hundred dishes from around the world, The Core of an Onion shares the secrets to celebrated Parisian chef Alain Senderens’s onion soup eaten to cure late-night drunkenness; Hemingway’s raw onion and peanut butter sandwich; and the Gibson, a debonair gin martini garnished with a pickled onion.

Just as the scent of sautéed onions will lure anyone to the kitchen, The Core of an Onion is sure to draw readers into their savory stories at first taste.

Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 8mm,  Width: 6mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   454g
ISBN:   9781635575934
ISBN 10:   1635575931
Pages:   240
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times-bestselling and James Beard Award-winning author of The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing, Cod, Salt, Milk!, Havana, The Big Oyster, The Basque History of the World, and Salmon, among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appétit's Food Writer of the Year Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. He lives in New York City.

Reviews for The Core of an Onion: Peeling the Rarest Common Food—Featuring More Than 100 Historical Recipes

A sweet, earthy aroma permeates this book, as Kurlansky delves into our enduring love affair with onions … [an] engaging, colorful book. Kurlansky, acclaimed author of Cod, Salt, Salmon, Milk!, and other food-related books, has a wonderful time with his subject, noting that onions have long been eaten in nearly every corner of the globe … A delightful journey that unravels the story of a key piece of nearly every national cuisine. * Kirkus Reviews * Mr. Kurlansky is a veteran writer. Over the course of 34 books—including bestsellers on such seemingly mundane subjects as salt, cod and paper—he has come to be known for his ability to weave history, philosophy and personal experience into compelling narratives. * Wall Street Journal * Calcium-heavy gold . . . the fine cream of the book rises to the top. * USA Today * This eminently readable book is a new tool for scanning world history. * The New York Times Book Review on COD * Kurlansky continues to prove himself remarkably adept at taking a most unlikely candidate and telling its take with epic grandeur. * Los Angeles Times Book Review on Salt * Kurlansky finds the world in a grain of salt... fascination and surprise regularly erupt from the detail. * New York Times Book Review on SALT * The sort of book that Proust might have written had Proust become distracted by the madeleine. * Editors’ Choice, New York Times Book Review on MILK! * This is terrific food writing; like fleur de sel, something scarce and to be savored. * San Francisco Chronicle on SALT * To love onions is to love the world as it is. If you've forgotten this grounding bit of kitchen wisdom, The Core of an Onion is the perfect cure. With his usual wit and insight, Mark Kurlansky finds the extraordinary in the ordinary. Your daily enrichment, not to mention your meals, will be forever enriched. * Rowan Jacobsen, author of TRUFFLE HOUND *

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