Beans: A History

Front Cover
Berg, Sep 1, 2007 - Social Science - 256 pages
12 Reviews
Winner of The 2008 Jane Grigson Award, issued by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Winner of the 2008 Cordon d' Or Culinary Literature - History Culinary Academy Award. This is the story of the bean, the staple food cultivated by humans for over 10,000 years. From the lentil to the soybean, every civilization on the planet has cultivated its own species of bean. The humble bean has always attracted attention - from Pythagoras' notion that the bean hosted a human soul to St. Jerome's indictment against bean-eating in convents (because they "tickle the genitals"), to current research into the deadly toxins contained in the most commonly eaten beans. Over time, the bean has been both scorned as "poor man's meat" and praised as health-giving, even patriotic. Attitudes to this most basic of foodstuffs have always revealed a great deal about a society. Beans: A History takes the reader on a fascinating journey across cuisines and cultures.

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Review: Beans: A History

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

This book tell how Jamaica influenced Ian Fleming and the writing of the James Bond novels. I really like the first half of the book which was a biography of Fleming mixed with the history of Jamaica ... Read full review

Review: Beans: A History

User Review  - Tara Brabazon - Goodreads

What a fine book. I am always impressed by books that take something small - like beans - and read larger social histories through it. Albala's Beans accomplishes this task, taking 'the poor man's ... Read full review


List of Recipes
Preface Acknowledgements and a Note on Recipes
Fertile Crescent
Europe and Andes
Peas Chickpeas and Pigeon Peas
Oddballs and Villains
Africa Soul Food
Mexico and the World
Native Americans
China Japan and the World


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About the author (2007)

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is the author of many books including Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe and Pancake. He was editor of three food series for Greenwood Press and has recently completed a 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Albala is also co-editor of the journal Food Culture and Society, published by Berg.

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