I am very happy to be hosting our August/September pick, The Food Explorer:The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone. (published February 2018). I was stuck on picking out a book, but the description of this one immediately caught my eye:
The true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes—and thousands more—to the American plate.
In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater.
Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just limited to food: From Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America’s capital. Along the way, he was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.
David Fairchild in 1889, courtesy of Wikipedia
How could I resist the story of the person who introduced three of my favorite foods (the avocado, the mango, and seedless grapes) to America? We have such a diverse food culture here and I am looking forward to reading about David Fairchild's travels and adventures along with all of you. I think this will offer us so many ways to go for our bookish dishes.
The deadline for this round of Cook the Books is Monday, September 30th. I can't wait to see what you all make!
If you are new to Cook the Books and want to join in simply pick up a copy of the selection from your local bookstore or library, take inspiration from said reading, cook and post the inspired dish. We look forward to having you read and cook along with in this selection period and beyond. New participants are always welcomed with open arms! (Leave a comment here or check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.)