From the gold potatoes at the Sun Temple in Cuzco, Peru, the muddy ones in Ireland and those grown in China for MacDonalds chips, via Mrs Beeton, Charles Darwin, Lenin and Chairman Mao, to the mapping of the potato genome, the story of the spud is both satisfying and fascinating.
What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of waffles, of course, but these staples of breakfast bounty also share an evolutionary function: eggs, seeds (from which we derive flour by grinding), and milk have each evolved to nourish offspring. Indeed, ponder the genesis of your breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you’ll soon realize that everything we eat and drink has an evolutionary history. In Dinner with Darwin, join Jonathan Silvertown for a multicourse meal of evolutionary gastronomy, a tantalizing tour of human taste that helps us to understand the origins of our diets and the foods that have been central to them for millennia—from spices to spirits. A delectable concoction of coevolution and cookery, gut microbiomes and microherbs, and both the chicken and its egg, Dinner with Darwin reveals that our shopping lists, recipe cards, and restaurant menus don’t just contain the ingredients for culinary delight. They also tell a fascinating story about natural selection and its influence on our plates—and palates. Digging deeper, Silvertown’s repast includes entrées into GMOs and hybrids, and looks at the science of our sensory interactions with foods and cooking—the sights, aromas, and tastes we experience in our kitchens and dining rooms. As is the wont of any true chef, Silvertown packs his menu with eclectic components, dishing on everything from Charles Darwin’s intestinal maladies to taste bud anatomy and turducken. Our evolutionary relationship with food and drink stretches from the days of cooking cave dwellers to contemporary crêperies and beyond, and Dinner with Darwin serves up scintillating insight into the entire, awesome span. This feast of soup, science, and human society is one to savor. With a wit as dry as a fine pinot noir and a cache of evolutionary knowledge as vast as the most discerning connoisseur’s wine cellar, Silvertown whets our appetites—and leaves us hungry for more.
How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze
Author: George Solt
Publisher: Univ of California Press
A rich, salty, and steaming bowl of noodle soup, ramen has become an international symbol of the cultural prowess of Japanese cuisine. In this highly original account of geopolitics and industrialization in Japan, George Solt traces the meteoric rise of ramen from humble fuel for the working poor to international icon of Japanese culture. Ramen’s popularity can be attributed to political and economic change on a global scale. Using declassified U.S. government documents and an array of Japanese sources, Solt reveals how the creation of a black market for American wheat imports during the U.S. occupation of Japan (1945–1952), the reindustrialization of Japan’s labor force during the Cold War, and the elevation of working-class foods in redefining national identity during the past two decades of economic stagnation (1990s–2000s), all contributed to the establishment of ramen as a national dish. This book is essential reading for scholars, students of Japanese history and food studies, and anyone interested in gaining greater perspective on how international policy can influence everyday foods around the world.
Food and drink has been a focal point of modern social theory since the inception of agrarian capitalism and the industrial revolution. From Adam Smith to Mary Douglas, major thinkers have used key concepts such as identity, exchange, culture, and class to explain the modern food system. Food, Politics, and Society offers a historical and sociological survey of how these various ideas and the practices that accompany them have shaped our understanding and organization of the production, processing, preparation, serving, and consumption of food and drink in modern societies. Divided into twelve chapters and drawing on a wide range of historical and empirical illustrations, this book provides a concise, informed, and accessible survey of the interaction between social theory and food and drink. It is perfect for courses in a wide range of disciplines.
Photojournalist Reader (Africa: A Biography of the Continent) traces the humble potato from its roots in the Peruvian Andes to J.R. Simplot's multibillion-dollar-a-year French fry business. Despite its predilection to disease, the potato is a highly adaptable, high-yield, and nutrient-packed foodstuff. While this title focuses primarily on the potato's presence in South America and Europe, it also touches on Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and China-currently the world's largest producer and consumer of potatoes. Verdict: Curiously little attention is paid to the tuber's contributions to the culinary and beverage landscape; the UK subtitle of this work, "The Potato in World History," provides a more accurate description of the focus of the text.
Winner of the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical Book and Shortlisted for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography: "An ingenious and absorbing book…It will permanently change the way we tell this troubled yet gripping story." —Jonathan Spence Hailed as “irrepressibly spirited and entertaining” (Pico Iyer, Time) and “a fascinating cultural survey” (Paul Devlin, Daily Beast), this provocative first biography of Charlie Chan presents American history in a way that it has never been told before. Yunte Huang ingeniously traces Charlie Chan from his real beginnings as a bullwhip-wielding detective in territorial Hawaii to his reinvention as a literary sleuth and Hollywood film icon. Huang finally resurrects the “honorable detective” from the graveyard of detested postmodern symbols and reclaims him as the embodiment of America’s rich cultural diversity. The result is one of the most critically acclaimed books of the year and a “deeply personal . . . voyage into racial stereotyping and the humanizing force of story telling” (Donna Seaman, Los Angeles Times).
This book presents the most comprehensive coverage of the field of Indo-European Linguistics in a century, focusing on the entire Indo-European family and treating each major branch and most minor languages. The collaborative work of 120 scholars from 22 countries, Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics combines the exhaustive coverage of an encyclopedia with the in-depth treatment of individual monographic studies.
Shakespeare lived when knowledge of plants and their uses was a given, but also at a time of unique interest in plants and gardens.His lifetime saw the beginning of scientific interest in plants, the first large-scale plant introductions from outside the country since Roman times, and the beginning of gardening as a leisure activity. Shakespeare's works show that he engaged with this new world to illuminate so many facets of his plays and poems. This dictionary offers a complete companion to Shakespeare's references to landscape, plants and gardens, including both formal and rural settings.It covers plants and flowers, gardening terms, and the activities that Shakespeare included within both cultivated and uncultivated landscapes as well as encompassing garden imagery in relation to politics, the state and personal lives. Each alphabetical entry offers an definition and overview of the term discussed in its historical context, followed by a guided tour of its use in Shakespeare's works and finally an extensive bibliography, including primary and secondary sources, books and articles.
Fruit and vegetables have formed a fundamental part of the Scottish diet for thousands of years. This fascinating and practical book explores the history of fruit, vegetable and herb growing in Scotland, and provides a contemporary guide to the best techniques for growing produce, whether in a garden, allotment, patio or window box. Packed with hundreds of colour photographs, drawings and descriptive diagrams, this is a detailed and comprehensive bible for the gardener. In addition to advice on climate and soil conditions, it has contacts for organisations, specialist societies, nurseries and suppliers, as well as a detailed bibliography and list of useful websites.This is an essential reference book for anyone aiming to get the best possible results from their garden produce north of the border.
Discover America’s secrets in this second of two volumes of the young readers’ edition of The Untold History of the United States, from Academy Award–winning director Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, adapted by Eric Singer. There is history as we know it. And there is history we should have known. Complete with poignant photos and little-known but vitally important stories, this second of two volumes traces how people around the world responded to the United States’s rise as a superpower from the end of World War II through an increasingly tense Cold War and, eventually, to the brink of nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This is not the kind of history taught in schools or normally presented on television or in popular movies. This riveting young readers volume challenges prevailing orthodoxies to reveal uncomfortable realities about the US role in heightening Cold War tensions. It also humanizes the experiences of diverse people, at home and abroad, who yearned for a more just, equal, and compassionate world. This volume will come as a breath of fresh air for students, teachers, and budding young historians hungry for different perspectives—which makes it a crucial counterpoint to today’s history textbooks. Adapted by high school and university educator Eric S. Singer from the bestselling book and companion to the documentary The Untold History of the United States by Academy Award–winning director Oliver Stone and renowned historian Peter Kuznick, this volume gives young readers a powerful and provocative look at the US role in the Cold War. It also provides a blueprint for those concerned with shaping a better and more equitable future for people across the world.