Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dave reads books III: Crops

Two more books I've read recently, both viewable online. You can read them too!

Lost Crops of Africa
Lost Crops of the Incas

The topics should be obvious from the titles. Neither is exactly light reading, but I found both enjoyable, even if my eyes did glaze over when they got to talking about nutritional compositions.

Each is an overview of domesticated plants used as food crops, but only used regionally if at all today. This is not entirely true, as some more commonly available crops are included, especially in the Africa book (I would hardly consider okara or longbeans lost. I could purchase both in the mainstream supermarket I frequent!)

Both books suggest possibilities for increased use of the foods covered. I was more interested in the descriptions of the products and how they are used. I'm a cook, not an agronomist.

Books like this are great for trivia hounds. Did you know the leaves of the Boab tree (oldest known living organism) are edible and are in fact used as food?

Overall, these books left me with a strong urge to rent a garden plot and grow little known South American root crops.

But it seems silly to review books one could read simply by following a link. If hints at new culinary adventures sound appealing these books are well worth taking a look.

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