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A Potted History of Vegetables: A Kitchen Cornucopia    by Lorraine Harrison Amazon.com order for
Potted History of Vegetables
by Lorraine Harrison
Order:  USA  Can
Lyons Press, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

In the foreword of this little book Lorraine Harrison writes, 'In some respects this book is a fan's newsletter; a place for teasing out delightful snippets of arcane information that will, I promise, enhance your eating experiences and - more beneficially, perhaps lead to a discovery of lost heirloom varieties where tastes and textures belong to a superior, though not inaccessible, gastronomic world.'

Combining botanical illustrations with interesting tidbits about the plants and tips on growing and preparing produce, this volume is filled with interesting and often esoteric information about all sorts of vegetables.

You'll learn that wild asparagus hails from the fertile areas around the Nile and the Indus Rivers. Then Romans introduced it into Europe and it was cultivated during the Middle Ages in monastic gardens for both its medicinal and culinary uses.

Trivia fans will delight in knowing that the lowly radish was once thought to be an antidote to poison, useful for removing freckles, and a restorative for hair loss. And, in Elizabethan England it was believed that thunder increased the curved surface of cucumbers growing in the fields.

If you suffer from lachanophobia (fear of veggies) probably this is not a book you'll want to cuddle up with for an evening's entertainment. On the other hand, those who can't get enough tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb and rutabagas will find this unusual book is a delicious diversion!

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