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The Secret Financial Life of Food reveals the economic pathways that connect food to consumer, unlocking the mysteries behind culinary trends, grocery pricing, and restaurant dining. Kara Newman travels back to the markets of ancient Rome and medieval Europe, where vendors first distinguished between "spot sales" and "sales for delivery." She retraces the storied spice routes of Asia and recounts the spice craze that prompted Christopher Columbus's journey to North America, linking these developments to modern-day India's bustling peppercorn market.
Newman centers her history on the transformation of corn into a ubiquitous commodity and uses oats, wheat, and rye to recast America's westward expansion and the Industrial Revolution. She also discusses the effects of such mega-corporations as Starbucks and McDonalds have on futures markets and considers burgeoning markets, particularly "super soybeans," which could scramble the landscape of food finance. The ingredients of American power and culture, and the making of the modern world, can be found in Newman's unconventional history of the how and why of what we eat.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Series:||Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Kara Newman is spirits editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and the author of two cocktail books, Cocktails for a Crowd and Spice & Ice. She is the former vice president of strategic research at Thomson Reuters and a former board member of the Culinary Historians of New York. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Saveur, and CFO Magazine.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Buy Breakfast
1. How Does Commodities Trading Work?
2. The Spice Route
3. The Commodity That Built a Nation: Corn Futures
4. Great Grains
5. Butter-and-Egg Men
6. The Mochaccino Market: Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa
7. Cattle Call
8. This Little Piggy Made a Market: The Rise and Fall of Pork Bellies
9. When Money Grows on Trees: Produce Futures
10. Super Soybeans
11. The Future of Food Futures? Contracts to Consider
What People are Saying About This
The Secret Financial Life of Food has a pleasant tone that makes it easy reading, even for non-specialists, and I know of no other book that looks at the topics as broadly--or links the personalities and processes that have acted upon different commodities.
Gary Allen, Author of Herbs: A Global History
This is a subject that commands attention because our lives depend on it. Thank you, Kara Newman, for relating food to finance in such an entertaining way and for illuminating the hidden underbelly of the food world in ways that are invaluable to all who eat.
Ever wonder why food bills go up and down? A major reason is commodity trading, a usually hidden process that sets basic prices on America's most important products, such as cattle, coffee, cocoa, sugar, eggs, wheat, butter, pork bellies, orange juice, and soy beans. What makes the process complicated is futures trading, derivatives, trading long and trading short. Sound boring? Not so. Culinary historian Kara Newman has conjured a delightful, behind the scenes look at commodity trading in The Secret Financial Life of Food. It is jam-packed with surprising facts and fun-to-read stories. It is also a good primer on commodity trading, brimming with insight. A must read for anyone interested in food, history, or economics.