Savor this literary feast of food stuff stories

Each individual thirty day period, the Columbia Community Library features picks from its selection associated to a present-day greatest-vendor or scorching subject matter. Library Associate Alyssa Holland compiled this month’s choices. 

1 of my beloved factors about discovering historical past is that it adds new dimension to the points I now delight in — and this is primarily true for food items heritage.

For instance, I have normally cherished pumpkin pie, but it hits me differently knowing that I’m ingesting Sri Lankan tree bark blended with a spicy root that can mature just about anywhere, and was as frequent in medieval Europe as pepper. These flavors are complemented by an aromatic flower bud from an Indonesian evergreen and a seed whose origins had been so jealously guarded that it was dipped in lime juice in advance of it was bought or exported so no 1 could improve their individual. (Those people are cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, respectively.)

Just about every ingredient and recipe we delight in is born of a extensive journey, the two geographical and historical, and there is an absolute feast of publications that notify people tales. 

“The Tale of Food: An Illustrated Heritage of All the things We Eat” (DK Publishing, 2018) breaks food record down into chunk-sized pieces by taking things one component at a time, from adzuki beans to zucchini. Just about every fantastically-illustrated webpage presents the story of a food’s variations, cultural relevance and uses in various cuisines. Think of it as a colorful foods heritage sampler platter. 

“Salt” (Walker Textbooks, 2010) by Mark Kurlansky is what is recognized as a “microhistory,” a strategy of historical investigation that zooms in on a single tiny, outlined unit — usually in a way that reveals its more substantial implications in macrohistory. Salt is almost certainly the most taken-for-granted seasoning (the vanilla of the savory earth, if you will), and does a good deal more than make food stuff a lot more flavorful. Kurlansky investigates this tasty rock’s historical past and its importance to human civilization. 

"The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World"

“The Seven Culinary Miracles of the Planet: A Heritage of Honey, Salt, Chile, Pork, Rice, Cacao, and Tomato” (Smithsonian Publications, 2018) by Jenny Linford, and illustrated by Alice Pattullo, offers a deep dive into the heritage, folklore and utilizes of these seven elements, picked for their ubiquity and influence on human background. It also consists of 60 recipes from a assortment of the international locations it mentions.