Citrus: A History

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $15.00   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   

Overview

Walk into your local grocery store and down the produce aisle, and you’ll find a dazzling array of citrus, from navel oranges and clementines to grapefruit and key limes—and sometimes even more exotic fare like the Japanese yuzu or the baboon lemon. Nearly 100 million tons of citrus are produced globally every year, but where did these fruits first come from? How did they find their way into the Western world? And how did they become both a culinary and cultural phenomenon?
           
Pierre Laszlo here traces the spectacular rise and spread of citrus across the globe: from Southeast Asia in 4000 BC through North Africa and the Roman Empire to early modern Spain and Portugal, whose explorers introduced the fruits to the Americas during the 1500s. Blending scientific rigor with personal curiosity, Citrus ransacks over two millennia of world history, exploring the numerous roles that citrus has played in agriculture, horticulture, cooking, nutrition, religion, and art—from the Jewish feast of the Tabernacles through the gardens and courts of Versailles to the canvasses of Vincent van Gogh to the orange groves of southern California and the juicing industry of today.

“Laszlo . . . has approached the lore of citrus fruit with the élan of a master chef (the man is French, after all), mixing history, economics, biology and chemistry to produce a book that will bring a smile to readers of every taste.”—Natural History
 
“Altogether charming, eccentric, erudite, and definitely worth the price.”—Times Higher Education Supplement
 
“Stimulating. . . . Laszlo shows that the citrus fruit ‘is a treasure trove of chemicals that are highly useful to humankind’—which also happens to taste wonderful.”—Sunday Times (UK)
 

“A short but brilliant account of 6,000 years of citrus fruits that should be devoured with fervor.”—Financial Times
 
“Did you know there are a billion citrus trees under cultivation, or that grapefruit juice may potentiate the effects of Viagra? Citrus mines over two millennia of history to explore the spread of these fruits out of Asia, their commercialization in the United States, and enduring symbolism the world over.”—New Scientist

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New Scientist
"Did you know there are a billion citrus trees under cultivation, or that grapefruit juice may potentiate the effects of Viagra? Citrus mines over two millennia of history to explore the spread of these fruits out of Asia, their commercialisation in the United States, and [their] enduring symbolism the world over."
Financial Times
"A short but brilliant account of 6,000 years of citrus fruits that should be devoured with fervour."
Times Higher Education
Laszlo is what Dr. Doolittle called a good noticer, a connoisseur of life's quirks and particularities, of all that is glorious in the everyday. . . . Altogether charming, eccentric, erudite, and definitely worth the price.

— Sheila Dillon

Sunday Times (UK)
Stimulating. . . . Laszlo, a retired French chemist, takes us on a journey from the orangeries of Versailles, via the limes of the Royal Navy to the citriculture of modern Florida. It was only in the 1920s, he tells us, that orange juice became ‘an integral part of the American breakfast,’ after the great flu epidemic of 1918-19. Laszlo shows that the citrus fruit ‘is a treasure trove of chemicals that are highly useful to humankind—which also happens to taste wonderful.

— Bee Wilson

The Age
"A nicely produced hardback with colour plates, which will entertain foodies and culturally replete retirees with time on their hands. Laszlo . . . provides a colorful global history of citrus and citriculture as well as presenting a variety of delicious recipes."
Nature
Looks at the widespread availability of citrus fruits as an example of how foodstuffs have been propagated around the world. . . . Should help any experimental scientist to become a better cook.

— Peter Barhamn

Utne Review
Laszlo colorfully unpacks the cultural, economic, and gastronomic significance of the long-sought-after citrus fruits. It is a labor of love for Laszlo, a chemist whose gift for storytelling extends to the molecular level.

— Danielle Maestretti

Times Higher Education - Sheila Dillon
"Laszlo is what Dr. Doolittle called a good noticer, a connoisseur of life's quirks and particularities, of all that is glorious in the everyday. . . . Altogether charming, eccentric, erudite, and definitely worth the price."
Sunday Times (UK) - Bee Wilson
"Stimulating. . . . Laszlo, a retired French chemist, takes us on a journey from the orangeries of Versailles, via the limes of the Royal Navy to the citriculture of modern Florida. It was only in the 1920s, he tells us, that orange juice became ‘an integral part of the American breakfast,’ after the great flu epidemic of 1918-19. Laszlo shows that the citrus fruit ‘is a treasure trove of chemicals that are highly useful to humankind’—which also happens to taste wonderful."
Nature - Peter Barhamn
"Looks at the widespread availability of citrus fruits as an example of how foodstuffs have been propagated around the world. . . . Should help any experimental scientist to become a better cook."
Utne Review - Danielle Maestretti
"Laszlo colorfully unpacks the cultural, economic, and gastronomic significance of the long-sought-after citrus fruits. It is a labor of love for Laszlo, a chemist whose gift for storytelling extends to the molecular level."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226470269
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Laszlo is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Liège and the École Polytechnique. He is the author of numerous works, among them Salt: Grain of Life.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Prologue: Letter to a Fellow Writer     1
Domestication of Exotic Species     5
Introduction, Including a Definition of Citrus Plants and Fruit     7
Transplantation to Europe     12
Acclimatization to the New World     26
Nurturing Citriculture     44
Mining Value from Citrus     59
California Dreamin'     61
Making Lemonade out of Lemons     82
Drinking the Orange     94
Extracting the Essence from the Peel     117
Symbolic Extractions     127
Symbolic Meanings of Citrus     129
Images of Citrus in Prose     144
Images of Citrus in Poetry     150
Fruit as Image     156
Preserving Nature-or Changing It?     175
Make It Scarce?     189
Epilogue: Answer from a Fellow Writer     201
Selected Notes     203
Index     241
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)