Beans: A History

Beans: A History

by Ken Albala
     
 

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Whether refried, baked, falafelled, or complementing a nice Chianti, the humble bean has long been a part of gourmet and everyday food culture around the globe. As Ken Albala shows, though, over its history the bean has enjoyed more controversy than its current ubiquity lets on. From the bean's status as seat of the soul (at least, that's what Pythagoras thought)

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Overview

Whether refried, baked, falafelled, or complementing a nice Chianti, the humble bean has long been a part of gourmet and everyday food culture around the globe. As Ken Albala shows, though, over its history the bean has enjoyed more controversy than its current ubiquity lets on. From the bean's status as seat of the soul (at least, that's what Pythagoras thought) to seed of sin (or so said St. Jerome, who forbade nuns to eat beans because they "tickle the genitals"), Beans is a ripping tale of a truly magical fruit.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
2008 Winner of the Jane Grigson Food Book Award

"Who ever knew that beans were so complicated and interesting. Told in fascinating detail by Ken Albala, Beans, A History, is an instructional book that reads like a novel." Chef Charlie Palmer"[A] vividly entertaining history of the humble bean."— Raymond Blanc, Saveur"Lucky Beans, who have at last found their Homer. Who knew that the history of the Western world and parts of Asia, could be illumined through the evolution of the lowly bean in its multiple forms from fava to soy? No one is better equipped than this skilled historian to wrap history, science, legend, folklore and fakelore in an entertaining narrative that delights while it informs. This is the most digestible bean dish I've ever encountered and all I want is more."—Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn and I Hear America Cooking: The Cooks and Recipes of American Regional Cuisine
"Beans is a lyrical book. It is a tale well told filled with unusual twists and turbans with surprises popping up in almost every paragraph."—Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

"Here is the first biography of beans, presented by Ken Albala in vivid prose. Gut-buster or aphrodisiac, lowly legume or savior of civilization, the bean is more significant than we ever realized."—Darra Goldstein, the Editor in Chief, Gastronomica

Chef Charlie Palmer

Who ever knew that beans were so complicated and interesting. Told in fascinating detail by Ken Albala, Beans, A History, is an instructional book that reads like a novel.
Saveur Raymond Blanc

[A] vividly entertaining history of the humble bean.
author of The Story of Corn and I Hear America Coo Betty Fussell

Lucky Beans, who have at last found their Homer. Who knew that the history of the Western world and parts of Asia, could be illumined through the evolution of the lowly bean in its multiple forms from fava to soy? No one is better equipped than this skilled historian to wrap history, science, legend, folklore and fakelore in an entertaining narrative that delights while it informs. This is the most digestible bean dish I've ever encountered and all I want is more.
editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drin Andrew F. Smith

Beans is a lyrical book. It is a tale well told filled with unusual twists and turns with surprises popping up in almost every paragraph.
Darra Goldstein

Here is the first biography of beans, presented by Ken Albala in vivid prose. Gut-buster or aphrodisiac, lowly legume or savior of civilization, the bean is more significant than we ever realized.
John T. Edge
…in essays that span the globe, from the Fertile Crescent, where garbanzo beans are beloved, to China, where soybeans were first cultivated, Albala sketches their histories and wallows in their sometimes retrograde status, lingering on the oddball members of the family Fabaceae, like the hairy vetch and the bitter vetch, not to mention the Kentucky coffee tree.
—The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845204303
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
09/04/2008
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
607,539
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is the author of many books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance and The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe.

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