Archive for the ‘Columbian exchange’ Tag

Crosby — The Columbian Exchange   Leave a comment

It’s not often that an author coins a term that is then used thereafter. Alfred Crosby Jr. did just that in 1972 when his book, entitled The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 was published. Crosby knits together the then-overlooked consequences of the biological reuniting of the East and West hemispheres. Though there are chapters on disease (including a fascinating one on the possible American origins of syphilis), the interest for scholars of Italian food lies in the part of the book that discusses the New World products taken back to Europe, the most important being potatoes, mais, and tomatoes. Incidentally it’s worth getting the new, 30th anniversary edition of the book, in which Crosby reviews his mistakes as well as the parts of the book that have stood up to thirty years of research since its publication.  (Prager, 2003) ZN

Posted December 6, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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Franconie — ‘Things from the New World’   Leave a comment

Franconie, Hélène, ‘Things from the New World in the European Dialects’, Food and Foodways 9 (2000), 21-58. Desperately impressive linguistic study looking principally at the various European names for maize with an attempt to establish priority and origins for these words. Franconie then attempts to apply this model to other American foods including potatoes and the turkey. Italy naturally figures. SY

Culture of the Fork — Rebora   Leave a comment

Culture of The Fork (Giovanni Rebora) – Rebora explores the explosion ignited by the modern era (especially the “discovery” of the Americas) by exploring the changes in various food products in Italy from late medieval times to the eighteenth century. Despite treating these products individually (e.g. grain & bread, pasta, cheese, meat, spices), Rebora makes an effort to link them and ultimately the reader finishes the book with a more or less organic picture of food culture in Italy in specific and Europe in general.  Translated by Albert Sonnenfeld. (Columbia University Press, 2001) ZN

Posted November 1, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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Sweetness and Power — Mintz   Leave a comment

Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (Sidney W. Mintz) – Sugar, like many spices that we now use as condiments, began its cultural life in the West on the apothecary’s shelf. Mintz traces its origins in the Far East but places most of the book’s emphasis on the European colonial period. Sugar, one of the main colonial products, was essential to the proper enjoyment of the “hot beverage revolution”: coffee, tea, and chocolate, and its industrial history (sordid as it is, as Mintz points out) is one of auto-catalytic loops between sugar and capitalism. The author’s long experience with Caribbean colonization allows him to shift to the other side of the master-slave relationship.

Posted October 24, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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