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What would be your topic - a la Kurlansky's Salt, Oyster, Cod?

If you were to write a book, "History of ........"

What would be a good, interesting topic?

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  1. Prohibition and the Moonshiners. (Which developed into a cottage industry called NASCAR.)

        1. re: ElsieDee

          Betty Fussel wrote The Story of Corn.

        2. Pepper. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pe... Though I might have picked the tomato had I thought of it first. It always fascinated me that it was not until the late 18th or early 19th century that Italians started to make red sauce from tomatoes. Tomatoes reached Italy from Mexico during the early 17th century but it took 200 years before they were used for sauce... in part because the first tomatoes were green and relatively flavorless. (Fried green tomatoes, that quintessential Southern US dish, was invented in Italy around 1700.) The book "Indian Givers" by Jack Weatherford, which I haven't read, has a lot on crops like tomato, I believe.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            same goes for coffee, tea, chocolate, pumpkins, turkey, most beans, peppers, potatoes, and there's more. The Italians and the Chinese are credited with alot that is of American origin. Check out MK's new one, "small bites".

            1. re: howund09

              Tea? Assuming you're talking about the actual plant and not simply steeping any kind of leaf to make a beverage, everything I've ever read affirms that tea did originate in what is now southern China and northeastern India, places where the plant still grows wild today.

            2. re: Brian S

              "Tomatoes reached Italy from Mexico during the early 17th century but it took 200 years before they were used for sauce... in part because the first tomatoes were green and relatively flavorless. (Fried green tomatoes, that quintessential Southern US dish, was invented in Italy around 1700.)"

              In many parts of Italy people use red ripe tomatoes ONLY for cooking - for eating in salads, they prefer them with a good bit of green, finding the ripe ones bland and insipid. When we were served green tomatoes in our salads down the coast from Genoa, it wasn't because they were trying to foist inferior fruit on us as Ma-in-law assumed, but because that's how they like them.

                  1. re: luniz

                    That'd be a great topic, but the book would have to focus on the eymological evolution of the word as well, which means you might have to include more than just what you count as real barbecue.

                    1. Regional Cuisines Pre Chile Peppers. What was eaten in Thailand, Korea, Sichuan, Southern India, etc. before the New World brought chiles?

                            1. re: Karl S

                              Like Quine...rice. And maybe...beef. Pork might also be good...so many diverse opinions...