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Beans: A History


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Table of Contents

Preface, Acknowledgements and Note on Recipes 1. Introduction 2. Lentils - Fertile Crescent 3. Lupines - Europe and Andes 4. Favas - Europe 5. Peas, Chickpeas and other Peas, Cajanus (congo pea) 6. Oddballs 7. Mung and the Vignas - India 8. Black-eyed Peas - Africa, Soul Food 9. Phaseolus vulgaris - Mexico and the World 10. Limas and the lesser Phaseoli - Andes 11. Tepary beans - Native Americans 12. Soy - China, Japan and the World Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Also available in paperback, 9780713632200 GBP5.99 (June, 1990)

About the Author

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He is the author of many books on food including Eating Right in the Renaissance and The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe. He also edits a food series for Greenwood Press, is Book Review Editor for the journal Food, Culture and Society and is unaccountably addicted to lupines.


"Extraordinarily detailed and amusing. ... It is a totally endearing mixture of expertise and whimsy and should, by rights, be a bestseller." Times "Charming." New York Times "The oddest yet most compelling of books. ... As pretty to look at as it is alluring to read." Guardian "I would strongly urge a reading of Beans by Ken Albala which entertainingly unravels that most complicated of legumes through space and time." Guardian "A great read, full of exotic and intriguing information and thoroughly recommended." Times Higher Education Supplement "Fresh and engaging from the start ... A must have for any serious foodie." Telegraph "In this delightful, informative bean biography, the author unravels the history, science and culture of beans across the world." Sainsbury's Magazine "A vividly entertaining history of the humble bean takes the reader on a curious, surprising and exciting journey across epochs, continents and cultures." Raymond Blanc "Who ever knew that beans were so complicated and interesting. Told in fascinating detail by Ken Albala, Beans: A History is an instructional book that reads like a novel." Charlie Palmer "Here is the first biography of beans, presented by Ken Albala in vivid prose. Gut-buster or aphrodisiac, lowly legume or savior of civilization, the bean is more significant than we ever realized." Darra Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of Gastronomica "Lucky Beans, who have at last found their Homer. Who knew that the history of the Western world and parts of Asia, could be illumined through the evolution of the lowly bean in its multiple forms from fava to soy? No one is better equipped than this skilled historian to wrap history, science, legend, folklore and fakelore in an entertaining narrative that delights while it informs. This is the most digestible bean dish I've ever encountered and all I want is more." Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn and I Hear America Cooking: The Cooks and Recipes of American Regional Cuisine "Beans is a lyrical book. It is a tale well told, filled with unusual twists and turns, with surprises popping up in almost every paragraph." Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America "Albala traces the histories of a wide range of beans and the result is an enthusiastic book which deploys commendable scholarship with the lightest of touches." History Today "Surprisingly readable and full of fascinating detail. ... Beans: A History would make a valuable addition to the bookshelf of anyone hungry to know the cultural and gastronomic history of the food on their plate." Paul Appleby, Oxford Vegetarians "There appears to be very little Ken Albala doesn't know about the humble bean. ... an authentic and inclusive history." Australian Gormet Pages Newsletter "A light-hearted and entertaining narrative." Artisan 'With not a pod left unshelled, Beans is just plain fun to read, thanks to author Ken Albala's sense of humour, devotion to scholarly detail and breezy writing style.' The Roanoke Times (December 2007)

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