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Why We Eat What We Eat: How Columbus Changed the Way the World Eats Paperback – April 5, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Raymond SokoloV was a food columnist for Natural History magazine for twenty years and is the author of several cookbooks, a much-praised novel, Native Intelligence, and a biography of New Yorker critic A. J. Liebling.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (April 5, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671797913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671797911
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 5, 2003
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Sokolov does a splenid job of tracking down the world cuisines and how they came to be what they are today.
The event that backed most of today's eating habits was the world exploration and development by the Portuguese and Spaniards. From Mexico to the Americas, from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean, they served as the carriers of exotic foodstuffs to the far corners of the earth and then back again.
Potato to tomato, chocolate to manioc, the gourmet ingredients are traced out from their roots to adaptation.
Nouvelle cuisine and american regional cooking are essayed as to their development.
Great reading to shed light on how Chinese had originally no hot spices to why Italians had no pasta.
Enlightening and entertaining for the interested reader.
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There is nothing about cuisine in this book that has not already been written about before in other publications. The author re-hashes New World foods, which already are widely known. For over 500 years it was common knowledge that maize, manioc, tomatoes, potatoes and corn were "Discoverd" by Columbus. The author of this book acts as though he is the first person to ever realize this. Everything in the book is old news - and I don't think it is worth the price of the book - even used, to purchase information that is already widely disseminated for the last 500 years.

I am uncomfortable with the authors preface introduction to this book which blithely glides over the genocide, horrific oppression of indigenious peoples - the author rationalizes it and justifies it because "Columbus is responsible for discovering all these wonderful New World foods". The author posits that the genocide against indigenous people of the Americas was justified, because the diet of Western culture was improved. I don't care for the authors smug and self congratulatory tone which rationalizes and justifies genocide against indigenous people all so he can enjoy a wider selection of foods and cuisine.

In the preface introduction, the author makes racist statetments about Muslims in Spain - alleging they are "notorious Anti-Semites." It is a historical fact that in medieval Muslim Spain, the Moors made a point of practicing religious tolerance and Christans AND Jews were given freedom of religion during the Moors rule of Spain. The author is clearly racist agains Muslims and historically innacurate - you can confirm my statement that Muslims in Moorish Spain practiced considerable religious tolerance both towards Christains and Muslims for the several hundred years the Muslims ruled Spain.
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