Foodie Faves

The Book of Chocolate

By Jeanne Bourin

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"This lavishly illustrated book, The Book of Chocolate takes readers on a journey through the history and production of the world's most seductive confection: chocolate. Learn how the cocoa bean, first enjoyed by the Aztecs, has traveled around the globe to produce endless variations of chocolate. Through the eyes of food critics, chefs, journalists, and historians, this book explores the rich history of chocolate, along with a modern-day investigation of its many flavors and forms. A list of tantalizing recipes and a guide to the finest purveyors of chocolate worldwide make this volume indispensable to chocolate lovers everywhere."

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The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World

By Michael Pollan

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"Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—-sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—-with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?"
Also available on DVD.

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The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee

By Stewart Lee Allen

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"Coffee as history's primary instrument and instigator. What is this elixir that fuels our destiny? Stewart Lee Allen's insatiable, unquenchable thirst for the answer carries him across forbidden borders and several continents as he pursues the precious and little-known catalytic effect of the ambrosial brew upon world empires and mankind. He also documents the unconscionable attempts to suppress coffee. With Paris one 'vast caf,' for instance, Napoleon banned coffee, but then was summarily overthrown and exiled. His last request: a cup of St. Helena's best. Likewise, Germany's long anti-coffee campaigns kept java from offering its solace to the lower classes. In 1930 German workers voted Adolf Hitler into power. In America the military tried for fifty years to produce an easily brewed cup for battlefield use, and did. The perfection of instant coffee triggered a 3,000 percent jump in consumption during World War I and stimulated the rise of the United States to world-class power."

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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

By Michael Pollan

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"As the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous landscape, what's at stake becomes not only our own and our children's health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth. Pollan follows each of the food chains--industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves--from the source to the final meal, always emphasizing our co-evolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. The surprising answers Pollan offers have profound political, economic, psychological, and even moral implications for all of us."

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Time For Tea: Travels Through China and India in Search of Tea

By Jason Goodwin

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On a personal journey through the serpentine paths of the tea trade - from China to India to London- Jason Goodwin sets off to discover the history of tea from its ancient beginnings in the Far East to its influence today. He evokes both past and present in this lively and intriguing traveler's journal, as he traces the development of the tea trade from its origins in Canton factories through the Opium Wars and the settlement of British India to the state of the art today.
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Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World

By Mark Pendergrast

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From its discovery in ancient Ethiopia to its role as a millennial elixir in the Age of Starbucks, coffee has dominated and molded the economies, politics, and social structures of entire countries. The second most valuable exported legal commodity on earth, it has sparked revolutions, romances, business deals, and friendships. Uncommon Grounds traces the journey of coffee from its origins on tropical mountainsides cultivated by poor laborers to the coffee bars of the United States, Europe, and Japan, where cosmopolitan consumers pay half a day's Third World wages for one good cup.

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Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade

By Tim Unwin

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Wine and the Vine provides an introduction to the historical geography of viticulture and the wine trade from prehistory to the present. The rich symbolic and cultural significance of wine is related to its evolution as a commercial product.

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