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Vegetables: A Biography by Evelyne…

Vegetables: A Biography (2008)

by Evelyne Bloch-Dano

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551326,118 (3.36)10
From Michael Pollan to locavores, Whole Foods to farmer's markets, today cooks and foodies alike are paying more attention than ever before to the history of the food they bring into their kitchens--and especially to vegetables. Whether it's an heirloom tomato, curled cabbage, or succulent squash, from a farmer's market or a backyard plot, the humble vegetable offers more than just nutrition--it also represents a link with long tradition of farming and gardening, nurturing and breeding. In this charming new book, those veggies finally get their due. In capsule biographies of eleven different vegetables--artichokes, beans, chard, cabbage, cardoons, carrots, chili peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes--Evelyne Bloch-Dano explores the world of vegetables in all its facets, from science and agriculture to history, culture, and, of course, cooking. From the importance of peppers in early international trade to the most recent findings in genetics, from the cultural cachet of cabbage to Proust's devotion to beef-and-carrot stew, to the surprising array of vegetables that preceded the pumpkin as the avatar of All Hallow's Eve, Bloch-Dano takes readers on a dazzling tour of the fascinating stories behind our daily repasts.… (more)



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In an era when most people buy their vegetables at a supermarket, too few of us stop to think about where they’ve come from. Bloch-Dano addresses this topic, not logistically, but historically. In just a few short paragraphs, she enlightens readers on the history of the cardoon and the artichoke, the Jerusalem artichoke, the cabbage, the parsnip, the carrot, the pea, the tomato, the bean, the pumpkin, and the chili pepper. She draws from the disciplines of history, archaeology, language, and literature to tell the story of these dietary staples. Recipes are sprinkled throughout the book, although not for every vegetable.

There are no photographs in the book, and I wished there had been a few to illustrate the rarer varieties discussed. I had to Google cardoons since I had never heard of them. (Neither has my spellchecker!) The chapters originated as lectures, and I wondered if the lectures had accompanying images that aren’t included in the book. The lectures/essays have been translated from the French, and some of the passages dealing with language (either the etymology of the vegetable name or idioms and figures of speech) don’t translate well into English. ( )
  cbl_tn | Sep 20, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bloch-Dano, EvelyneAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fagan, Teresa LavenderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"In the end, it's all about love." Joseph Delteil
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We used to spend the end of the summer at my grandparents' home.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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