Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods

Front Cover
Gary Paul Nabhan
Chelsea Green Publishing, May 15, 2008 - Cooking - 350 pages
4 Reviews

Renewing America's Food Traditions is a beautifully illustrated dramatic call to recognize, celebrate, and conserve the great diversity of foods that gives North America its distinctive culinary identity that reflects our multicultural heritage. It offers us rich natural and cultural histories as well as recipes and folk traditions associated with the rarest food plants and animals in North America. In doing so, it reminds us that what we choose to eat can either conserve or deplete the cornucopia of our continent.

While offering a eulogy to a once-common game food that has gone extinct--the passenger pigeon--the book doesn't dwell on tragic losses. Instead, it highlights the success stories of food recovery, habitat restoration, and market revitalization that chefs, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and foresters have recently achieved. Through such "food parables," editor Gary Paul Nabhan and his colleagues build a persuasive argument for eater-based conservation.

In addition, this book offers the first-ever list of foods at risk in America (more than a thousand), shows how all of us can personally support and participate in such recoveries, and lists food festivals held across the continent to honor and enjoy some of the country's most iconic foods, from crab cakes to maple syrup and filé gumbo. Organized by "food nations" named for the ecological and cultural keystone foods of each region--Salmon Nation, Bison Nation, Chile Pepper Nation, among others--this book offers an altogether fresh perspective on the culinary traditions of North America.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods

User Review  - Jolee - Goodreads

beautiful book with eclectic recipes from many heritage and endangered food sources. Very informative and of interest to those interested in the locavore movement and sustainable agriculture. Read full review

Review: Renewing America's Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods

User Review  - Tara - Goodreads

Very interesting look at historic regional recipes that are fading from the common knowledge. Recipes, pictures, maps, and anecdotes contain the information of a textbook with the look and feel of a coffee table or kitchen counter book. Pretty groovy. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2008)

Gary Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona, as well as the permaculture designer and orchard-keeper of Almuniya de los Zopilotes Experimental Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the local-food movement and grassroots seed conservation, Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of twelve people making the world a better place to live. A recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award, his twenty-four books have been translated into six languages.

Deborah Madison is a freelance writer and board member of the Foundation for Bio-Diversity and the Seed Savers Exchange, among others. As a freelance writer she has contributed to Cooking Light, Williams Sonoma's Taste, Vegetarian Times, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Garden Design, Fine Cooking, Organic Style, the LA Times, Orion, and others.

Ashley Rood was coauthor of the precursor of this volume, a RAFT book that was featured as one of the hundred top food stories by Saveur magazine in 2005. An environmental advocate and sustainable agriculture activist who works for Environmental Defense in San Francisco, California, Rood is a graduate of the Northern Arizona University, where she coordinated a community-supported agriculture (CSA) project that still feeds some 170 families.

Anne Minard is an environmental journalist who has worked or freelanced for several newspapers, magazines, and radio programs in the West. Also a graduate of Northern Arizona University, Minard is the author of books and countless feature articles on science and nature. For the Center for Sustainable Environments, she has spearheaded an agritourism initiative in Arizona that links heritage food promotion to the visitation of great natural and cultural landscapes in that state.

Makale Faber Cullen is a cultural anthropologist who directs the RAFT, Ark, and Presidia initiatives of Slow Food USA at its national headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to working with Slow Food, she developed in-school and public programs for City Lore and the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife.

Don Bixby, DVM, is the former executive director of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which was honored with the Slow Food International Biodiversity Award during his tenure of leadership. He currently serves as ALBC's Technical Programs Director and as representative to the RAFT collaborative. Coauthor of several books on the conservation of rare livestock breeds, Bixby has been an advisor to the USDA and to many nonprofit breed associations that are working to conserve America's genetic diversity of livestock. Don is one of the people most responsible for the revival of standard breeds of American heritage turkeys in the U.S. marketplace.

Bibliographic information