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From the Publisher"Of all the cultivatable ingredients, why have we chosen certain of them and rejected others? McNamee evaluates 30 of the most important ingredients, organized alphabetically, from almonds to wheat. He looks at their scientific makeup and nutritional value, as well as their social and culinary history and cultural relevance….Each entry includes several recipes, culled from a variety of contemporary and historical sources. The author's research is exhaustive, his pages packed with fascinating detail, and he does an excellent job of marrying the historical and scientific aspects of each ingredient….Well-executed."
"McNamee asks a question that has occurred to many people while eating artichokes: how did humans come to consume certain foods and why were they chosen over other foods? His answers draw on history, anthropology, chemistry, biology and other fields and describe the adaptation of 30 foods, including apples, bananas, chocolate, peanuts, pineapples, tomatos and watermelons. The descriptions include recipes from many culinary traditions around the world."
Reference & Research Book News
"All food is the product of history, but who ate the first tomatoes and garlic, and how did they become so important in our diet and ubiquitous at the grocery store? Writer, journalist, editor, and critic McNamee presents a cultural geography of how food, such as broccoli, corn, rice, and honey, has moved about the planet. Each chapter contains a brief history of the food, basic nutritional information, and trivia, spun together in a chatty, conversational tone, followed by several recipes containing the featured ingredient and suggestions for further reading….[t]his amusing volume will likely appeal to casual readers; serious scholars of food history, as well as those writing reports, will want to explore further reading. For larger collections."
"In delightfully readable prose, McNamee considers some 30 assorted foods that make up a substantial part of the earth's comestible bounty….Recipes accompany each entry, running the gamut from ancient Roman and medieval through contemporary. Culinary traditions include Iranian, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese. McMamee imaginatively brings to life some archaic uses of Earth's bounty. Succinct bibliographies offer readers further satisfaction."
"Moveable Feasts is not an overall history of food; rather, it is an easily readable history of selected foods with some recipes. Starting with almonds and ending with wheat, McNamee discusses 30 foods such as eggplant, cranberry, honey, and olives. Each chapter details the history of their production, culinary preparation, evolution of use over time, some historical and contemporary recipes, and a brief list of articles and books for additional information. This book could be a useful addition to an extensive food history or food science collection….General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates."