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A writer and anthropologist searches for wild foods—and reveals what we lose in a world where wildness itself is misunderstood, commodified, and hotly pursued. Two centuries ago, nearly half the North American diet was found in the wild. Today, so-called “wild foods” are becoming expensive commodities, served to the wealthy in top restaurants. In Feasting Wild, geographer and anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva traces our relationship to wild foods and shows what we sacrifice when we domesticate them—including biodiversity, Indigenous knowledge, and an important connection to nature. Along the way, she samples wild foods herself, sipping elusive bird’s nest soup in Borneo and smuggling Swedish moose meat home in her suitcase. Thoughtful, ambitious, and wide-ranging, Feasting Wild challenges us to take a closer look at the way we eat today.
A writer and anthropologist searches for wild foods--and reveals what we lose in a world where wildness itself is misunderstood, commodified, and hotly pursued. Two centuries ago, nearly half the North American diet was found in the wild. Today, so-called "wild foods" are becoming expensive commodities, served to the wealthy in top restaurants. In Feasting Wild, geographer and anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva traces our relationship to wild foods and shows what we sacrifice when we domesticate them--including biodiversity, Indigenous knowledge, and an important connection to nature. Along the way, she samples wild foods herself, sipping elusive bird's nest soup in Borneo and smuggling Swedish moose meat home in her suitcase. Thoughtful, ambitious, and wide-ranging, Feasting Wild challenges us to take a closer look at the way we eat today.
Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored. The canopy voyagers are young—just college students when they start their quest—and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air. The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death. Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees—the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.
Book Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction Description/Summary:
Agriculture, one of the oldest human occupations, is practised all over the world, using techniques ranging from the profoundly traditional to the most scientifically advanced. Without it we would starve. Yet how many of us understand what is happening in the fields that we see as we drive through the countryside? How often do we think about the origins of the food in our trolley? In this Very Short Introduction Paul Brassley and Richard Soffe explain what farmers do and why they do it. Beginning with the most basic resource, the soil, they show why it is important, and how farmers can increase its productivity, before turning to the plants and animals that grow on it, and tracing the connections between their biology and the various ways in which farmers work with them. The authors conclude by looking at some of the controversial issues facing contemporary agriculture: its sustainability; its impact on wildlife and landscape; issues of animal welfare; and the affect of climate change and the development of genetically modified organisms on farmers. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death Description/Summary:
A New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller “Doughty chronicles [death] practices with tenderheartedness, a technician’s fascination, and an unsentimental respect for grief.” —Jill Lepore, The New Yorker Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty embarks on a global expedition to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Zoroastrian sky burials to wish-granting Bolivian skulls, she investigates the world’s funerary customs and expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with dignity. Her account questions the rituals of the American funeral industry—especially chemical embalming—and suggests that the most effective traditions are those that allow mourners to personally attend to the body of the deceased. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a fascinating tour through the unique ways people everywhere confront mortality.
One of NPR’s Great Reads of 2016 “A lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories…absorbing…[and] intellectually intriguing.” —The New York Times Book Review From the author of The Unidentified, an intellectual feast for fans of offbeat history that takes readers on a road trip through some of the country’s most infamously haunted places—and deep into the dark side of our history. Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as “the most haunted mansion in America,” or “the most haunted prison”; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living—how do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are made—and why those changes are made—Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved. Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, Ghostland discovers the past we’re most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark.
Decolonizing the Diet challenges the common claim that Native American communities were decimated after 1492 because they lived in “Virgin Soils” that were biologically distinct from those in the Old World. Comparing the European transition from Paleolithic hunting and gathering with Native American subsistence strategies before and after 1492, the book offers a new way of understanding the link between biology, ecology and history. Synthesizing the latest work in the science of nutrition, immunity and evolutionary genetics with cutting-edge scholarship on the history of indigenous North America, Decolonizing the Diet highlights a fundamental model of human demographic destruction: human populations have been able to recover from mass epidemics within a century, whatever their genetic heritage. They fail to recover from epidemics when their ability to hunt, gather and farm nutritionally dense plants and animals is diminished by war, colonization and cultural destruction. The history of Native America before and after 1492 clearly shows that biological immunity is contingent on historical context, not least in relation to the protection or destruction of long-evolved nutritional building blocks that underlie human immunity.
In her acclaimed novels, Susan Vreeland has given us portraits of painting and life that are as dazzling as their artistic subjects. Now, in The Forest Lover, she traces the courageous life and career of Emily Carr, who—more than Georgia O'Keeffe or Frida Kahlo—blazed a path for modern women artists. Overcoming the confines of Victorian culture, Carr became a major force in modern art by capturing an untamed British Columbia and its indigenous peoples just before industrialization changed them forever. From illegal potlatches in tribal communities to artists' studios in pre-World War I Paris, Vreeland tells her story with gusto and suspense, giving us a glorious novel that will appeal to lovers of art, native cultures, and lush historical fiction.
Book The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard Description/Summary:
The definitive biography of America’s best-known and least-understood food personality, and the modern culinary landscape he shaped. In the first portrait of James Beard in twenty-five years, John Birdsall accomplishes what no prior telling of Beard’s life and work has done: He looks beyond the public image of the "Dean of American Cookery" to give voice to the gourmet’s complex, queer life and, in the process, illuminates the history of American food in the twentieth century. At a time when stuffy French restaurants and soulless Continental cuisine prevailed, Beard invented something strange and new: the notion of an American cuisine. Informed by previously overlooked correspondence, years of archival research, and a close reading of everything Beard wrote, this majestic biography traces the emergence of personality in American food while reckoning with the outwardly gregarious Beard’s own need for love and connection, arguing that Beard turned an unapologetic pursuit of pleasure into a new model for food authors and experts. Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1903, Beard would journey from the pristine Pacific Coast to New York’s Greenwich Village by way of gay undergrounds in London and Paris of the 1920s. The failed actor–turned–Manhattan canapé hawker–turned–author and cooking teacher was the jovial bachelor uncle presiding over America’s kitchens for nearly four decades. In the 1940s he hosted one of the first television cooking shows, and by flouting the rules of publishing would end up crafting some of the most expressive cookbooks of the twentieth century, with recipes and stories that laid the groundwork for how we cook and eat today. In stirring, novelistic detail, The Man Who Ate Too Much brings to life a towering figure, a man who still represents the best in eating and yet has never been fully understood—until now. This is biography of the highest order, a book about the rise of America’s food written by the celebrated writer who fills in Beard’s life with the color and meaning earlier generations were afraid to examine.
In this passionate, playful, and indispensable guide, oyster aficionado Rowan Jacobsen takes readers on a delectable tour of the oysters of North America. Region by region, he describes each oyster's appearance, flavor, origin, and availability, as well as explaining how oysters grow, how to shuck them without losing a finger, how to pair them with wine (not to mention beer), and why they're one of the few farmed seafoods that are good for the earth as well as good for you. Packed with fabulous recipes, maps, and photos, plus lists of top oyster restaurants, producers, and festivals, A Geography of Oysters is both delightful reading and the guide that oyster lovers of all kinds have been waiting for.
From the publisher of Pipette Magazine, discover a natural wine-soaked memoir about finding your passion—and falling in love. It was Rachel Signer's dream to be that girl: the one smoking hand-rolled cigarettes out the windows of her 19th-century Parisian studio apartment, wearing second-hand Isabel Marant jeans and sipping a glass of Beaujolais redolent of crushed roses with a touch of horse mane. Instead she was an under-appreciated freelance journalist and waitress in New York City, frustrated at always being broke and completely miserable in love. When she tastes her first pétillant-naturel (pét-nat for short), a type of natural wine made with no additives or chemicals, it sets her on a journey of self-discovery, both deeply personal and professional, that leads her to Paris, Italy, Spain, Georgia, and finally deep into the wilds of South Australia and which forces her, in the face of her "Wildman," to ask herself the hard question: can she really handle the unconventional life she claims she wants? Have you ever been sidetracked by something that turned into a career path? Did you ever think you were looking for a certain kind of romantic partner, but fell in love with someone wild, passionate and with a completely different life? For Signer, the discovery of natural wine became an introduction to a larger ethos and philosophy that she had long craved: one rooted in egalitarianism, diversity, organics, environmental concerns, and ancient traditions. In You Had Me at Pét-Nat, as Signer begins to truly understand these revolutionary wine producers upending the industry, their deep commitment to making their wine with integrity and with as little intervention as possible, she is smacked with the realization that unless she faces, head-on, her own issues with commitment, she will not be able to live a life that is as freewheeling, unpredictable, and singular as the wine she loves.
A New York Times Notable Book for 2011 One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year One of NPR's 10 Best Novels of 2011 Denis Johnson's Train Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions. Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West—its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders—the new novella by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious—an intimate account of the making of a chef, the story of the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how he discovered that success can be much harder to understand than failure. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Fortune • Parade • The New York Public Library • Garden & Gun In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in a tiny, stark space in Manhattan’s East Village. Its young chef-owner, David Chang, worked the line, serving ramen and pork buns to a mix of fellow restaurant cooks and confused diners whose idea of ramen was instant noodles in Styrofoam cups. It would have been impossible to know it at the time—and certainly Chang would have bet against himself—but he, who had failed at almost every endeavor in his life, was about to become one of the most influential chefs of his generation, driven by the question, “What if the underground could become the mainstream?” Chang grew up the youngest son of a deeply religious Korean American family in Virginia. Graduating college aimless and depressed, he fled the States for Japan, hoping to find some sense of belonging. While teaching English in a backwater town, he experienced the highs of his first full-blown manic episode, and began to think that the cooking and sharing of food could give him both purpose and agency in his life. Full of grace, candor, grit, and humor, Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s switchback path. He lays bare his mistakes and wonders about his extraordinary luck as he recounts the improbable series of events that led him to the top of his profession. He wrestles with his lifelong feelings of otherness and inadequacy, explores the mental illness that almost killed him, and finds hope in the shared value of deliciousness. Along the way, Chang gives us a penetrating look at restaurant life, in which he balances his deep love for the kitchen with unflinching honesty about the industry’s history of brutishness and its uncertain future.
"I'm as peaceful a man as you're likely to meet in America now, but this is about a death I may have caused. Not slowly over time by abuse or meanness but on a certain day and by ignorance, by plain lack of notice. Though it happened thirty-four years ago, and though I can't say it's haunted my mind that many nights lately, I suspect I can draw it out for you now, clear as this noon. I may need to try." Set in a summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the deceptively tranquil 1950s, The Tongues of Angels is a story of the twenty-one-year-old painting teacher, a superbly gifted boy, and their advance toward a startling fate. As the now-older man looks back at on that summer, he reflects on the meanings he thought he had learned on the threshold of manhood from the perspective of full maturity.
Book Fermentation as Metaphor Description/Summary:
Bestselling author Sandor Katz—an “unlikely rock star of the American food scene” (New York Times)—delivers a mesmerizing treatise on the meaning of fermentation alongside his awe-inspiring photography of this transformative process, teaching us with words and images about ourselves, our culture, and being human. In 2012, Sandor Ellix Katz published The Art of Fermentation, which quickly became the bible for foodies around the world, a runaway bestseller, and a James Beard Book Award winner. Since then his work has gone on to inspire countless professionals and home cooks worldwide, bringing fermentation into the mainstream. In Fermentation as Metaphor, stemming from his personal obsession with all things fermented, Katz meditates on his art and work, drawing connections between microbial communities and aspects of human culture: politics, religion, social and cultural movements, art, music, sexuality, identity, and even our individual thoughts and feelings. He informs his arguments with his vast knowledge of the fermentation process, which he describes as a slow, gentle, steady, yet unstoppable force for change. Throughout this truly one-of-a-kind book, Katz showcases fifty mesmerizing, original images of otherworldly beings from an unseen universe—images of fermented foods and beverages that he has photographed using both a stereoscope and electron microscope—exalting microbial life from the level of “germs” to that of high art. When you see the raw beauty and complexity of microbial structures, Katz says, they will take you “far from absolute boundaries and rigid categories. They force us to reconceptualize. They make us ferment.” Fermentation as Metaphor broadens and redefines our relationship with food and fermentation. It’s the perfect gift for serious foodies, fans of fermentation, and non-fiction readers alike.
From bracken to butterbur to "princess" bamboo, some of Japan's most iconic foods are foraged, not grown, in its forests, fields, and coastal waters--yet most Westerners have never heard of them. In this book, journalist Winifred Bird eats her way from one end of the country to the other in search of the hidden stories of Japan's wild foods, the people who pick them, and the places whose histories they've shaped. "A beautiful and thoughtful exploration of the deep relationship--past and present--between people and wild plants in one of the world's richest foraging regions."—Samuel Thayer, author of Incredible Wild Edibles and The Forager's Harvest