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100 Vegetables and Where They Came From

 

by William Woys Weaver, Signe Sundberg-Hall (Illustrator)            
 
A Tour Through Our Extraordinary Culinary Heritage. A fascinating history of vegetables from around the world & onto our platters for supper.

You will find sidebars extolling the virtues of efficiency & flavor of just about every plant William Woys Weaver hunts down, together with hints for gardeners about spicing up beverages & other mildly improper culinary secrets.

From the Aji Dulce Pepper (Capsicum chinense) from Venezuela - smoky flavored without the "hot pepper overkill and the sensation of fiery lava flowing through the body" ... to the Zwollsche Krul Celery (Apium graveolens) found in the salt marshes of the Netherlands - a curly leaf celery that falls under the general English category of smallage - parsley & such - used boiling or stewing.

Part of the history of the plants we've cultivated for hundreds of years(What was the Lumper Potato?) is also part of the history of our language of cooking. You will find terms such as landrace or smallage.

The plants which Weaver pursues are noncommercial or "backyard" varieties that have been under cultivation for a very long time. They are the real ingredients of peasant cookery & often provide regional cookeries with their distinctive flavors.

Which vegetable delicacy did our Third President set upon his table for his guests? Would you know what Cardoon is? Weaver knows & now so do I!

Enough already! Talk about digging for the roots of our roots! A garden book for cooks or a cook's guide to ancient gardens - either way - if you like veggies, you're going to want your own copy of William Woys Weaver's latest!
Reviewer: rebeccasreads, from Washington State USA

 

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