by William Woys Weaver
William Woys Weaver-veggie expert, gardener, and food historian-presents a range of peppers, potatoes, peas, gourds, onions, tomatoes, greens, and a whole lot more in 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From. Along the way, he explains What's the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? Are Jerusalem artichokes from Jerusalem? Where was the first tomato grown?
Mixing history, culinary suggestions, and practical information with personal anecdotes, Weaver tells the stories behind a variety of 100 vegetables, including those about an aji limon pepper from the western slopes of the Andes (perfect for salsas and easy to grow in containers throughout North America), the crimson flowering fava from England (both the leaves and flowers are edible), the Chioggia squash from an ancient fishing town in Italy (good for stuffing and delicious with white wine), and a striped tomato from California (a must for salads and outdoor buffets).
Algonquin, 2000, 320 p., b&w; illus., 5 1/8" x 7 1/4" hardcover.
On his farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Weaver has cultivated nearly 3,000 types of vegetables-most all of them heirloom varieties that he's discovered from his jaunts around the world. A few of his favorites are vividly profiled here. The author reveals just how different the Roseval potato of France and spotted Aleppo lettuce of Syria are from the new potatoes and romaine lettuce, respectively, found in most grocery stores. He also elucidates the reasons why the Re Umberto tomato reigns as Italy's premier paste tomato and why Persian chickpeas grow well in the non-Mediterranean climate of the northeastern United States. Each essay reflects on the origins of a plant, its cultivators, physical attributes, and uses in the kitchen.
--from Science News
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