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Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places Paperback – August 1, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Rice and Beans provides an excellent examination and deep insight into the important and varied roles these food play in the diets, lives, and cultures of people across the Americas. Jane Fajans, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University This book fills a gap in the food literature by focusing upon a dish which is widely found in the Americas. The authors use historical, economic and cultural explanations to analyse not only the reasons for ubiquity of this dish, but also its regional variations and links with ethnicity, class and nation-state. Pat Caplan, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London This is an academically-focussed collection of essays looking at various aspects of rice and beans, a meal that is very popular in a broad area encompassing Western Africa, the Caribbean and North, South and Central America. Various theories are espoused as to how two simple staple items could be unique in their own right yet combined into a "different" dish shared by many countries, such as a common history, links to slavery and other trades... You won't get a lot of recipes or be a better cook, but you will be more informed and knowledgeable after reading it. Yum.fi

Book Description

An exploration of the dish around the world, from the culinary variances of this inherently local dish from cultures across Brazil to West Africa, to a broader account of the universal significance and symbolism of Rice and Beans as a cultural cornerstone amidst forces of globalization and nation-building. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847889042
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847889041
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Wilk is Provost professor of anthropology at Indiana University where he directs the Food Studies Program. With a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, he has taught at the University of California Berkeley, University of California Santa Cruz, New Mexico State University, and University College London, and has held fellowships at Gothenburg University and the University of London. His research in Belize, the USA and West Africa has been supported by two Fulbright fellowships, grants from the National Science Foundation, and from many other organizations. He has also worked as an applied anthropologist with UNICEF, USAID, USDA, Cultural Survival and a variety of other development organizations. Most recently he has testified in several important Indian land tenure cases in the Belize Supreme Court. His initial research on the cultural ecology of indigenous Mayan farming and family organization was followed by work on consumer culture and sustainable consumption, energy consumption, globalization, television, beauty pageants and food. Much of his recent work has turned towards the history of food, the linkages between tourism and sustainable development, and the origin of modern masculinity. His publications include more than 125 papers and book chapters, a textbook in Economic Anthropology, and several edited volumes.
When he is not teaching or writing, Rick is cooking, eating, fishing, turning wooden bowls and platters, or traveling somewhere to give a lecture or visit a student. He is extremely proud of the wonderful graduate students he has had an opportunity to work with at Indiana, many of whom have gone on to brilliant careers. The chance to work with creative, intelligent and committed students keeps him young, mentally alive, and always developing new interests and ideas.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By I. Darren on September 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
Many people will recognise rice and beans as a dish that features in their favourite ethnic cuisine, possibly with a slightly different name but nonetheless the dish being principally rice and beans. Many will swear that this dish originated from their country and that everyone else adapted it along the way. What is the truth? Does it matter?

This is an academically-focussed collection of essays looking at various aspects of rice and beans, a meal that is very popular in a broad area encompassing Western Africa, the Caribbean and North, South and Central America. Various theories are espoused as to how two simple staple items could be unique in their own right yet combined into a "different" dish shared by many countries, such as a common history, links to slavery and other trades. Even historical events, such as a fleeing Portuguese prince seeking refuge in Brazil who needed to find how to quickly and affordably feed an army, are shown as a key introducer to the dish for a whole new country.

Clearly this book is not going to be for everyone, yet it need not be solely confined to those who study matters such as food science, anthropology or history. The essays are capable of being enjoyed by a "generalist" as well as each essay is totally independent to each other, linked only by a common theme. For those who require the detail there is, as one would expect, a mass of bibliographic references for further research.

One cannot give a universal recommendation to this book through no fault of its own. You won't get a lot of recipes or be a better cook, but you will be more informed and knowledgeable after reading it. If it matches you interests or needs then it will deliver!
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