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The New Oxford Book of Food Plantsby John Vaughan
Synopses & Reviews
For centuries herbs and spices have been an integral part of many of the worldandrsquo;s great cuisines. But spices have a history of doing much more than adding life to bland foods. They have been the inspiration for, among other things, trade, exploration, and poetry. Priests employed them in worship, incantations, and rituals, and shamans used them as charms to ward off evil spirits. Nations fought over access to and monopoly of certain spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, when they were rare commodities. Not only were many menandrsquo;s fortunes made in the pursuit of spices, spices at many periods throughout history literally served as currency.
In Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World, Ben-Erik van Wyk offers the first fully illustrated, scientific guide to nearly all commercial herbs and spices in existence. Van Wyk covers more than 150 speciesandmdash;from black pepper and blackcurrant to white mustard and white gingerandmdash;detailing the propagation, cultivation, and culinary uses of each. Introductory chapters capture the essence of culinary traditions, traditional herb and spice mixtures, preservation, presentation, and the chemistry of flavors, and individual entries include the chemical compounds and structures responsible for each spice or herbandrsquo;s characteristic flavor. Many of the herbs and spices van Wyk covers are familiar fixtures in our own spice racks, but a fewandmdash;especially those from Africa and Chinaandmdash;will be introduced for the first time to American audiences. Van Wyk also offers a global view of the most famous use or signature dish for each herb or spice, satisfying the gourmandandrsquo;s curiosity for more information about new dishes from little-known culinary traditions. and#160;
People all over the world are becoming more sophisticated and demanding about what they eat and how it is prepared. Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World will appeal to those inquisitive foodies in addition to gardeners and botanists.
Book News Annotation:
This appealing volume offers superb color botanical illustrations in full-page color plates facing the descriptions of the fruit, spice, nut, root, or other edible depicted. The second edition features thorough revision to the botanical information of the 1997 edition as well as 30 additional plants and illustrations. Botanical and nutritional glossaries and descriptive drawings of the parts of plants precede the volume, along with an introduction describing basic plant classification and description and the various groups of food plants worldwide. The plant entries include an overview of the plant type, followed by descriptions of individual plants which include details on how their grown, where, and how they're consumed. Concludes with nutritional tables, a list of recommended reading, and other helpful appendixes. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A true cornucopia, The New Oxford Book of Food Plants overflows with information and is packed with beautiful, hand-painted illustrations of the worlds food plants. In an oversized format with alternating full-page color plates, readers will find a feast of facts about cereals, sugar crops, oil seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, sea-weeds, mushrooms, wild food plants, and much more. This new edition is fully updated with the latest nutritional research, as well as beautiful new illustrations and descriptions of many exotic edible plants that have only recently found their way into our markets and onto our kitchen tables.
This is the most comprehensiveand most appealing reference book available on the many edible plants we grow in our gardens, buy in our shops, and eat with great relish. For example, readers will find authoritative coverage of fruit worldwide, both the varieties we commonly find at our local food stand (apples, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bananas), and some we do not ordinarily see (mangosteen, manzanilla, marang, tamarind, or whortleberry). Entries typically discuss the source and history of a plant, how it is prepared for market, and how it is used as food. And in addition to covering everything from seaweeds to tropical root crops, the editor has included a glossary of botanical terms, a section on nutrition and health, nutrition tables, a list of recommended readings, and an index.
With marvelous illustrations and a wealth of nutritional, historical, and other information, The New Oxford Book of Food Plants belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves to garden, to cook, and to eat healthily.
About the Author
J.G. Vaughan is Emeritus Professor of Food Sciences at King's College London.
Catherine Geissler is Professor of Nutrition and Head of the Division of Health Sciences at King's College London.
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Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » General