Herbs: A Global History

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, May 15, 2012 - Cooking - 168 pages

Salsa and guacamole wouldn’t be the same without cilantro, and you can’t make pizza without oregano or a mojito without mint. You can use peppermint to settle an upset stomach, ease arthritis pain with stinging nettle, and heal burns and wounds with aloe vera. And then there is cannabis—perhaps the most notorious and divisive herb of all. Despite the fact that herbs are often little more than weeds, cultures around the globe have found hundreds of uses for them, employing them in everything from ancient medicines to savory dishes. While much has been written on cooking and healing with herbs, little has been told about the history of the plants themselves and the incredible journeys they have made.

This book elucidates how these often overlooked plants have become a staple in our lives. Unlike spices that quickly traversed the globe through trade, Gary Allen shows that herbs were often hoarded by their cultivators and were central to distinctive regional dishes. He draws on his extensive knowledge of food history to examine herbs in new ways, making Herbs essential reading for any serious foodie. Filled with beautiful illustrations and delicious recipes, this book will complete the kitchen library.
 

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Contents

Introduction
7
1 What Exactly Are Herbs?
9
2 The Usual Suspects
19
3 A Less Eurocentric Herbarium
69
4 The Sisterhood of the Travelling Plants
98
5 The Herbal Melting Pot
126
Recipes
135
References
147
Bibliography
151
Websites and Associations
155
Acknowledgements
159
Photo Acknowledgements
161
Index
162
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Gary Allen is on the board of directors at the Unison Arts and Learning Center in New Paltz, New York. He has written many food-related articles in the past and is the author of The Herbalist in the Kitchen.

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