Cover: Seed to Civilization: The Story of Food, from Harvard University PressCover: Seed to Civilization in E-DITION

Seed to Civilization

The Story of Food

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details

E-DITION

$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674865907

Publication Date: 08/06/1990

228 pages

illustrations

World

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Eating is the second favorite activity of many people, and for some it is the first. This lively book recounts the intriguing story of the plants and animals that stand between humans and starvation. Charles Heiser, preeminent botanist, writes with great verve about questions of where, when, and how humankind’s food plants and animals were domesticated. In narrating his tale, the author traces the intricate patterns of food use and distribution that have developed from prehistoric times to the present.

The bulk of the book examines basic food plants and animals: meats, cereals, legumes, sugar, starchy staples (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams), oils, and other plants used for beverages and spices. Heiser provides many captivating details, enhanced by some 100 photographs, about a range of topics from archaeology to ethnobotany.

This new edition contains completely updated dietary information, additional background on the origins of maize in the light of new findings, a critique of the increasingly popular ”pseudocereals” such as Amaranthus, and a balanced appraisal of seed and gene banks. The book ends on a somber note with an even-handed assessment of our present and potential food supply, and includes recommendations for improving our cultivation and production of food sources. This book is must reading for anyone interested in the problem of feeding the world’s teeming millions over the next half century.

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