Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: How Carrots Won the Trojan War

When looking for a Christmas present for me, my sister went to the local bookstore, plopped herself down in the 'gardening' section and didn't leave until she found a bajillionty books for me.  One of those books was "How Carrots Won the Trojan War" by Rebecca Rupp.

I started reading the book right after Christmas and finished it last weekend, so it did go pretty quickly.  The chapters are separated by fruit or vegetable (so chapter 1:  Asparagus, chapter 6:  Celery, etc.) and each is chock full of history, science, trivia and stories of the specified food item.  The only complaint I had was that each chapter is so full of information that it is best read in small snippets instead of just sitting down and reading chapter after chapter.  I feel the same way about Cooking for Geeks if anyone has read that book.

Each chapter starts with a quote about the food item ("A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing." -Samuel Johnson) and usually gives a few stories of the food item (the Greeks ate carrots while in the Trojan Horse so they wouldn't have to go #2 while waiting) before going into the nutritional make-up.  There, of course, are always bits and snippets of information included in each chapter as well (Moslem legend states that as Satan departed the Garden of Eden, onions sprang from his right footprints and garlic from his left); and of course there are some snippets that are more useful to our everyday gardening such as "melons and cucumbers...both belong to the genus Cucumis, but are separate species...and so do not interbreed.  An exception is the sinuous Armenian cucumber (C. melo var. flexuosus)...which will cross with the melon because, despite its cucumberish name and appearance, it actually is a melon."


Ally said...

Clearly Mr. Samuel Johnson didn't know that cucumbers are good for dark circles and eye bags. I guess he wasn't the beauty conscious sort.

Claude said...

sounds like one of those books that's just chock full of useless information and news I'll never use. Right up my alley... have to get a copy asap...

Linda/patchwork said...

I don't think I've ever thought of carrots in that way...haha
Sounds like an interesting book.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.
Have a good weekend.

Dani said...

I'm putting this on my to-read list!!!