Joel Denker's breadth of knowledge is dazzling, his stories are packed with jewels of information, captivating, and amusing. Reading them is pure delight. -- Claudia Roden, food writer, author of The Food of Spain, The Food of Italy - Region by Region, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, and The Book of Jewish Food Joel Denker's smorgasbord of historical essays about common and curious plant foods (and spices) that Americans eat every day makes for an uncommonly good meal for the mind. Well researched and wonderfully written, this popular history is as good, highly informative, and fun as it gets. Now, to find some purple carrots! -- Bruce Kraig, co-author Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America The Carrot Purple is a classic Denker produce. Smart, intriguing, and elegantly delivered. Every chapter is a surprise and a surprisingly subtle argument about change and global flows that has shaped peoples' food habits as much as roots and tradition. Denker takes academic research in various fields - botany, cultural studies, and history - extracts its essence and sharpens its delivery to the great pleasure of the reader, the eater, and the cook. -- Krishnendu Ray, Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health, New York University; President, Association for the Study of Food & Society Mr. Denker has a searching mind, and a busy pen. Now he has given us a culinary syllabary. The Carrot Purple and Other Curious Stories of the Food We Eat offers readers a savory taste of just about everything, from anise and arugula to walnuts and watermelon. There is lots in between, set before us with the flavors of history and geography. If you have ever wondered idly why you have never seen a purple carrot, this is where you will find the answer. -- Sidney W. Mintz, food anthropologist, Johns Hopkins UniversityVom Verlag:
How many otherwise well-educated readers know that the familiar orange carrot was once a novelty? It is a little more than 400 years old. Domesticated in Afghanistan in 900 A.D., the purple carrot, in fact, was the dominant variety until Dutch gardeners bred the young upstart in the seventeenth century. After surveying paintings from this era in the Louvre and other museums, Dutch agronomist Otto Banga discovered this stunning transformation. The story of the carrot is just one of the hidden tales this book recounts. Through portraits of a wide range of foods we eat and love, from artichokes to strawberries, The Carrot Purple traces the path of foods from obscurity to familiarity. Joel Denker explores how these edible plants were, in diverse settings, invested with new meaning. They acquired not only culinary significance but also ceremonial, medicinal, and economic importance. Foods were variously savored, revered, and reviled. This entertaining history will enhance the reader's appreciation of a wide array of foods we take for granted. From the carrot to the cabbage, from cinnamon to coffee, from the peanut to the pistachio, the plants, beans, nuts and spices we eat have little-known stories that are unearthed and served here with relish.
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