The Carrot Purple and Other Curious Stories of the Food We Eat

Joel S. Denker. Rowman & Littlefield, $38 (264p) ISBN 978-1-4422-4885-4
Food historian Denker has compiled a fascinating collection of short essays on the history of many common fruits, vegetables, and spices in an effort to get readers to appreciate the fullness of these histories. He delves into each item’s historical importance, which cultures adopted it first, how it traveled, and what it was used for—including medicinal and ritualistic uses, in addition to food. For example, he discusses how the tomato was cultivated and sold in the U.S. by such entrepreneurs as Giuseppe Uddo, an Italian immigrant from New Orleans who founded Progresso Foods, and Hector Boiardi, who emigrated to Ohio from Italy and found a way in the 1920s to can and sell prepared pasta and sauce, which became popular under the Chef Boyardee brand. Denker urges readers to appreciate the history of food, and he brings enthusiasm and interest to the topic. The anecdotes are accessible and enjoyable, and he debunks popular misconceptions of how foods have achieved their present form. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/07/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 328 pages - 978-1-4422-4885-4
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