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Blog posts by Tom Nealon

Tom Nealon runs the online rare bookshop Pazzo Books specializing in early printed books, cookery and literature. In his spare time he works on barbecue techniques in the test pit in his backyard. He can be found at pazzobooks.com and @pazzobooks on Twitter.

ABAA member Tom Nealon (Pazzo Books) specializes in early printed books and cookbooks, and has drawn on his knowledge of these areas to write a book on the history of food and its vital influence on the course of human history, Food Fights and Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste. In this brief introduction, Tom Nealon explains what drew him to early cookbooks and food is connected with arcane secrets and the spread of the Enlightenment. As fond as I am of eating, from the beginning it was the lies and artifice of food that grabbed me. About ten years ago, I had the idea to try to cook every food mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (c. 1390). I think it arose from my interest in the scurrilous cook Roger, who would drain gravy out of pies to sell in the lucrative second-hand gravy market, but also that I had ended a ru... [more]


History Between the Pages

By Tom Nealon

At Pazzo Books, the shop that I kept for years in the outer neighborhoods of Boston, MA and now run out of a two-story in-law addition in my home, I've learned that old books are funny things. Often you catch them looking at you sideways, across a room, and it occurs to you to wonder what they've seen; where they've been; and what odd parade of owners they've survived. Typically you can only imagine, but once in a very long while a book wanders through with enough information stored in it, in bookplates, inscriptions, and ephemera, that you can piece together a narrative. Évrard Titon du Tillet, great patron of the arts, son of Maximilien Titon de Villegenon, secretary to Louis XIV and alleged Scotsman, plotted to build a vast sculpture garden to celebrate the great writers, dramatists, artists, and musicians of France. Originally planne... [more]