Event: Elaine Khosrova author of Butter: A Rich History
When: Wednesday, November 30, 7:00 pm
Where: Odyssey Bookshop
Butter, the delectable kitchen staple so often taken for granted, is more than a stick tucked in your fridge door. It’s a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star. From its accidental invention in a shepherd’s pouch to its ubiquitous presence in the world’s most exquisite cuisines, butter reigns supreme. Now, it finally gets its due in Elaine Khosrova's tantalizing Butter: A Rich History. An award-winning writer who specializes in food history and gastronomic culture, as well as a former pastry chef and fellowship student at the Culinary Institute of America, Elaine Khosrova serves up a story as rich, textured, and culturally relevant as butter itself.
As part of her research, Khosrova, travelled throughout the United States and across three continents—from the ancient butter bogs of Ireland to the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet—seeking out butter's complete story and most essential recipes. In her own words, "One of the oldest of man-made edibles, butter's history is our history. In part, the purpose of this book is to show how the life and times of butter have been deeply entwined with much that has gone on far from the kitchen and creamery. Beginning with early butter practices devised for the religious, spiritual, and medicinal needs of communities, to its impact on empire building and technology of the Industrial Revolution, and later to butter's twentieth-century battle with margarine makers and fat-free zealots, this is a food…whose history reveals our ambitions as much as our appetite."
In the spirit of Mark Kurlanksy’s Cod or Brad Thomas Parson’s Bitters, Khosrova delivers a story that hasn’t been told before, tracing butter from its humble agrarian origins to its present-day artisanal glory. Providing a comprehensive look at butter's surprisingly vital role in history, politics, and even spirituality and art, Khosrova also explains how, with its nuances in color, consistency, salt content, sweetness, and freshness, no two butters are alike. Moreover, Khosrova dovetails butter’s long backstory with contemporary and classic recipes, including beurre manié and croissants to pâte brisée and the perfect buttercream frosting, and provides practical how-tos for making various types of butter at home — no churning necessary.
“I was raised on margarine, but once I tasted butter, there was no turning back. Elaine Khosrova is obviously a butter lover, too. Her book, Butter: A Rich History, is a fascinating, tasty read, edifying from every point of view—historical, cultural, and culinary. And what a bonus to have a collection of essential classic butter recipes included.”
—David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
Elaine Khosrova is an independent writer who specializes in stories about food history and gastronomic culture. A former pastry chef and fellowship student at the Culinary Institute of America, Elaine holds a BS in food and nutrition. She began her career in food publishing as a test kitchen editor at Country Living magazine, followed by staff positions at Healthy Living, Classic American Home, and Sante Magazine. In 2007, she received a Gold Folio journalism award, and in 2008 she became the founding editor of culture, a national consumer magazine about specialty cheese that continues to serve cheese enthusiasts. She s contributed to numerous national food and lifestyle publications, as well as the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese.