Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Mea by Margaret Visser
A staple of the food-writing genre that prefigured the current locavore and foodist movements by almost two decades, Margaret Visser’s Much Depends on Dinner is a delightful and intelligent history of the food we eat, and a cornucopia of incredible details about the ways we do it.
Presented as a meal, each chapter of Much Depends on Dinner represents a different course or garnish, which Margaret Visser handpicks from the most ordinary American dinner: corn on the cob with butter and salt, roast chicken with rice, salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, and ice cream. Visser tells the story behind each of these foods and in the course of her inquiries reveals some unexpected treats: the history of Corn Flakes; the secret behind the more dissatisfactory California olives (they’re picked green, chemically blackened, and sterilized); and the fact that, in Africa, citrus fruits are eaten whole, rind and all.
For food lovers of all kinds, this intelligent and unexpectedly funny book is a treasure of information that sheds light on one of our favorite pastimes: eating.