Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal
Grove Press, Jun 29, 2010 - 352 pages
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.
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Review: Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary MealUser Review - Patrick - Goodreads
Interesting, but mostly for being dated. The section on corn was probably progressive 30 years ago, but seems almost quaint now as we deal with GM industrial production. A few sections had some novel historical notes, but a lot of this is (at least now) much more widely discussed. Read full review
Review: Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary MealUser Review - Jenna Smith - Goodreads
So, Margaret Visser is like, "Every morning, (Italian immigrant workers) cranked and froze the ice cream mix they had made the previous night, and went their rounds in London, Glasgow, Manchester and ... Read full review
Corn Our Mother Our Life
Salt The Edible Rock
Butter and Something Just as Good
Chicken From Jungle Fowl to Patties
Rice The Tyrant with a Soul
Lettuce The Vicissitudes of Salad