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Why We Eat What We Eat: How Columbus Changed the Way the World Eats

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sokolov ( The Jewish American Kitchen ) has scoured published sources and ventured as a dedicated ``gastroethnographic reporter'' throughout the ``Hispanic diaspora'' of the New World to chronicle the collision of ingredients and culinary traditions resulting from Columbus's voyages. Readers who have never considered whether or how the various cuisines of the New World relate to one another--or who have never thought much about the progress of the chili pepper through Africa, Europe and Asia--will be moved to view regional food traditions quite differently. The author doesn't miss an opportunity to submit revisionist insights: that Puerto Rico offers ``the most complex tangle of culinary influence and geography in the world'' (he chides New Yorkers for neglecting it); or that Philippine dishes somewhat resembling Spanish paella are actually native, rather than evidence of Spain's mercantile empire. Sokolov, a hands-on researcher, is also an anecdotalist of warmth, skill and appetite who knows how to wind through the complexities of culinary history. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This delightful discourse by a well-known food writer shows how the world's culinary traditions were radically transformed after 1492. Columbus's introduction of New World foodstuffs to the Old World and vice versa led to the establishment of national or ethnic cuisines. Sokolov discusses in some detail the evolution of these New and Old World cuisines--Mexican, Philippine, French, and Chinese, to name a few--and describes the ingredients responsible for reshaping the cooking of these countries. He explains how America's traditional cuisine is the result of many separate collusions between immigrant groups applying what they knew from the old country to what they found in the new. And, finally, Sokolov explores the world of nouvelle cuisine, illustrating how it subtly combines exotic ingredients from the East and the West. This thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented history should be purchased by all libraries with active food/cooking collections. Previewed in ``Rediscovering Columbus,'' p. 120-122, LJ 8/91.-- Linda Chopra, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Following the charts of Columbus and his successors, Sokolov journeys to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and the Philippines, sampling the local cuisines and revealing how Europeans, Americans, and Asians came to eat what they eat today. Lively and informative. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671797911
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 4/5/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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