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Garlic, an Edible Biography: How the World's Most Pungent Food Changed the Course of History, Medicine, and Cuisine

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30 review for Garlic, an Edible Biography: How the World's Most Pungent Food Changed the Course of History, Medicine, and Cuisine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    My garlic-loving self found it fascinating, but a little unfocused at times. I think the book would have benefitted from better defined subsections, as well as some visual aids. Some fun facts (quoted directly from the book): - Garlic is one of the few products used in the three major ancient healing systems: Indian Ayuverda, traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional European medicine - The first known mention of garlic's medical properties is in the world's oldest known medical text, a papyrus My garlic-loving self found it fascinating, but a little unfocused at times. I think the book would have benefitted from better defined subsections, as well as some visual aids. Some fun facts (quoted directly from the book): - Garlic is one of the few products used in the three major ancient healing systems: Indian Ayuverda, traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional European medicine - The first known mention of garlic's medical properties is in the world's oldest known medical text, a papyrus from ancient Egypt known as the Ebers Papyrus - The [Roman] soldiers also planted garlic in the fields of the countries they conquered in the belief that garlic-inspired courage could be transmitted up through the battlefield. Thanks to this practice, the Roman legions deserve credit for introducing garlic to the countries of Northern Europe - The Chinese character for garlic is one symbol, which indicates that it's one of the language's first written words - Although India is the world's second-largest producer of garlic [China is the first], it's so essential to the native cuisine that additional garlic has to be imported to satisfy demand. - Although the twentieth century was generally viewed as catastrophic for crop diversity, garlic was one of the century's big diversity winners.. There were three garlic varieties available in 1993; in 2004, there were a staggering 274

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevintipple

    If you ever wanted to know more about garlic the book Garlic, An Edible Biography might be the book for you. As the subtitle makes clear the book is about The History, Politics, and Mythology behind the World’s Most Pungent Food with over 100 Recipes. Written by Robin Cherry, travel writer and historian, the book is split into two sections regarding history and recipes. After an introduction from author Robin Cherry on how important and meaningful garlic has been to her, it is on to “Part One: T If you ever wanted to know more about garlic the book Garlic, An Edible Biography might be the book for you. As the subtitle makes clear the book is about The History, Politics, and Mythology behind the World’s Most Pungent Food with over 100 Recipes. Written by Robin Cherry, travel writer and historian, the book is split into two sections regarding history and recipes. After an introduction from author Robin Cherry on how important and meaningful garlic has been to her, it is on to “Part One: The Story Of Garlic.” The four chapters in this section of over 100 pages explain the history of garlic in food, health, and literature, modern uses, and how to grow your own. Also included in this section are short bios of all the various garlic types which number far more than what you will ever find in your local store or produce market. “Part Two: Recipes” begins on page 117 with a 4 page recipe list of all the recipes and their corresponding page numbers. That is followed by three pages on how to properly handle garlic before one moves on to “Dips, Sauces and Condiments” on page 125-130. All of that prepares you for “Bread, Pizza, and Pasta” (pages 141-146), “Beef” (pages 197-202), “Side Dishes” (pages 227-232) and more. Each recipe has an intro that often features a cooking tip or other advice that might include another history lesson, a list of ingredients needed, and instructions that include information on number of servings. An acknowledgement page, a two page bibliography, an 11 page index, and a one page short author bio bring this 265 page book to a close. While Garlic, An Edible Biography is interesting it suffers from two significant drawbacks. Surprising it does not contain any pictures of the various garlic types the book covers nor does it contain any pictures of the finished dishes. In addition to the lack of pictures that would have helped break up the bland and very dry text, there is zero nutritional information regarding fat/salt content or other possible dietary restrictions or needs. Garlic, An Edible Biography is quite the garlic resource. With the noted forgoing limitations, if you want to know quite a lot more about garlic and how to use it, this is a book worthy of your consideration. Garlic, An Edible Biography: The History, Politics, and Mythology behind the World’s Most Pungent Food with over 100 Recipes Robin Cherry Roost Books (Imprint of Shambhala publications, Inc.) http://www.roostbooks.com 2014 ISBN #978-1-61180-160-6 Paperback (also available in e-book form) $16.95 Material was picked up to read and review via the good folks of the Haggard Branch of the Plano Public Library System. Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

  3. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Lake

    I recieved a copy of this book through GoodReads Giveaways. Long Story Short: Good begining, reads like a textbook, wish it had more picturse. I really liked the first part of the book. You can really get a sense of the authors passion for garlic. However the longer you read, the more dry and factual the pages become. Several times during the "benefits of garlic" section I found myself rolling my eyes because it sounded like a commercial you see at 3Am for a miracle pill. We get it, Garlic does I recieved a copy of this book through GoodReads Giveaways. Long Story Short: Good begining, reads like a textbook, wish it had more picturse. I really liked the first part of the book. You can really get a sense of the authors passion for garlic. However the longer you read, the more dry and factual the pages become. Several times during the "benefits of garlic" section I found myself rolling my eyes because it sounded like a commercial you see at 3Am for a miracle pill. We get it, Garlic does great things for you, lets not talk about the thing the ancient egyptians thought it did like its proven scientific fact. When I was in High School, we had to write a very long and involved book report using note cards that we wrote "facts" from our "research" down on. And thats how this felt. She found a whole bunch of facts on garlic, wrote them on note cards, laid them out on the table and then typed them up. They were interesting facts, but I didn't feel any connection to the words. The recipes looked good though, I will certainly be trying a few of them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Are you a garlic lover? Can’t get enough? If so, this book is for you. Robin Cherry pulls together all sorts of historical tidbits and anecdotes of garlic. The first half of the book takes the reader through the medicinal uses of garlic, the use of garlic in food and cooking, and garlic in lore and the supernatural. There is a section on growing your own garlic which is extremely informative. Types of garlic are described both in origin, aesthetic/color, and flavor; the climates in which the typ Are you a garlic lover? Can’t get enough? If so, this book is for you. Robin Cherry pulls together all sorts of historical tidbits and anecdotes of garlic. The first half of the book takes the reader through the medicinal uses of garlic, the use of garlic in food and cooking, and garlic in lore and the supernatural. There is a section on growing your own garlic which is extremely informative. Types of garlic are described both in origin, aesthetic/color, and flavor; the climates in which the type of garlic grows best is also discussed. The second half of the book is full of recipes. Some of the contemporary recipes that caught my eye were Garlic Cheddar Ale Soup, Green Garlic Risotto, Garlic Brittle and Chocolate Chip Cookies. There were also quite a few historic recipes shared such as Goat Stew with Fat, Garlic, Onions, Sour Milk and Blood (I think I will be passing on this one!). I received this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I feel like some topics were repeated in the book and there are some typos throughout so you have to guess which word it really should have been. The recipe section: I made the Garlic, Cheddar and Ale soup only to find out that the paprika calls for a tbsp and not a tspn. I had to toss the whole mess. I should have known better to put a whole tablespoon of paprika in ANYTHING. I just lowered my rating to 2 from 3 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grant Scalf

    Garlic is better than ten mothers!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Shelton

    I will never look at a head of garlic the same way again! An incredibly thorough look into one of my most beloved gastronomic components. I grew up in a family where (aside from desserts I must admit) there was seldom a dish made that didn't start with garlic--usually in tandem with onions. I heard about this book through a favorite podcast (GASTROPOD--which I highly recommend) and those ladies did not leave me wanting with this selection. Being a city dweller, the section that got a bit slow fo I will never look at a head of garlic the same way again! An incredibly thorough look into one of my most beloved gastronomic components. I grew up in a family where (aside from desserts I must admit) there was seldom a dish made that didn't start with garlic--usually in tandem with onions. I heard about this book through a favorite podcast (GASTROPOD--which I highly recommend) and those ladies did not leave me wanting with this selection. Being a city dweller, the section that got a bit slow for me was the information on garlic cultivation itself. However, not only may my situation change, but there was a lot of information regarding garlic in relation to other plants, the myriad varieties, and the RECIPES! Treasures.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ned Frederick

    Sensational feast of garlic lore. I was unaware of the rich history of garlic, and especially appreciated the authors accounts of the relatively recent discoveries of an abundance of local varieties from around the world. I’ve had mixed success with a few recipes from the books extensive offerings, but I’ll keep trying ... so charmed was I by the author's devotion. I was even inspired, this November, to plant two varieties of garlic I learned about in the book. Sensational feast of garlic lore. I was unaware of the rich history of garlic, and especially appreciated the authors accounts of the relatively recent discoveries of an abundance of local varieties from around the world. I’ve had mixed success with a few recipes from the books extensive offerings, but I’ll keep trying ... so charmed was I by the author's devotion. I was even inspired, this November, to plant two varieties of garlic I learned about in the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Veronika

    some parts made me laugh, and all parts made me hungry! didn't know anything about garlic till I read this book!! listed several other texts as further reading resources, which I added to my to-read list right away. some parts made me laugh, and all parts made me hungry! didn't know anything about garlic till I read this book!! listed several other texts as further reading resources, which I added to my to-read list right away.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dray

    The history and stories of Garlic are the best part of this book. Indeed, the opening sentence made me laugh for a bit. The recipes are rightfully oriented toward an emphasis on garlic flavoring. If you enjoy garlic, this is a good resource.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    A world history of the importance of garlic in various cultures with great recipes too!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bonigo

    Really enjoyed. Learned a lot

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    When I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I needed a review copy. I’m a passionate home chef with a love of garlic and a never-ending interest on the history of food. This book’s title indicated it would hit all three of those interests, and its content did not let me down. The book is divided into two parts. Part One focuses on everything but the recipes. Part Two is the recipes. Part One’s chapters cover the history of using garlic for health and for food, garlic in legends and lore, and how to When I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I needed a review copy. I’m a passionate home chef with a love of garlic and a never-ending interest on the history of food. This book’s title indicated it would hit all three of those interests, and its content did not let me down. The book is divided into two parts. Part One focuses on everything but the recipes. Part Two is the recipes. Part One’s chapters cover the history of using garlic for health and for food, garlic in legends and lore, and how to grow your own. This is the section that most entertained my friends and fiancé, as they found themselves the recipients of random facts about garlic. One friend received an email of all of the types of garlic that originated in the country of Georgia; another a tip that growing some near her fruit tree might be beneficial for the tree. Part One ends with tips on how to cultivate garlic and a selection of the various types of garlic, including notes on where they grow best, how they look, and how they taste. Garlic may be broadly divided into hardnecks and softnecks, but there are subvarieties within these two main ones. (Softnecks are the ones that you can braid). My one criticism of Part One is that I wish it had gone more in-depth into the history of garlic all over the world. It left me wanting more. Perhaps there isn’t more, but I certainly wish there was. I would additionally note that, although I personally enjoyed reading about the many varieties of garlic and took copious notes, some readers might find the listing of the types a bit tedious to read and may not be expecting it in a book of this nature. Part Two is the recipes. It starts with notes on how to handle and prepare garlic. The recipes are then divided into: dips, sauces, and condiments; bread, pizza, and pasta; soups; salads and salad dressings; appetizers; poultry; lamb; beef; seafood; vegetarian; side dishes; dessert; and historical recipes. I marked off a total of 19 recipes that I definitely want to try, which is quite a lot for me. Often I’ll read a cookbook and only be interested in one or two of the recipes. The recipes cover a nice variety of cuisines, and the historic recipes are fascinating, although most readers will probably not try them as they require things such as fresh blood. Besides the historic recipes, the dessert ones are probably the most surprising. I actually did mark one off as one I’d like to try–Roasted Garlic Creme Brulee. I have managed to make one of the recipes so far: Garlic Scape Pesto (loc 1649). For those who don’t know, garlic scapes are the green stalks that grow out of the bulbs. They must be trimmed (on most varieties). They taste a bit like a cross between garlic and leeks. Our local produce box happened to give us a bunch of them right around when I read the book, and I’m a big pesto fan, so I decided to try the recipe. The recipe is supposed to make 2 cups. I halved it, and somehow still wound up with 2 cups of pesto. The recipe suggests storing the leftovers under a layer of olive oil. I found that unnecessary. My extra kept in the fridge in a tupperware container for a week without adding a layer of protective oil. The pesto was truly delicious though. I partially chose it since I have made garlic scape pesto before, and I must say I found this one much more delicious than the other recipe that I tried. I am looking forward to trying the others I am interested in, although I will probably continue to halve the recipes, as I am only cooking for two. Overall, foodies with a love of garlic will find this book both fascinating and a source of new recipes to try. Some readers may wish for more information, while others may find themselves a bit more informed on the varieties of garlic than they were really looking for. All will find themselves chock full of new information and eager to try new ways to use garlic…and perhaps even to start growing some heirloom varieties for themselves. Check out my full review, featuring quotes and a picture of my pesto! (Link will be live August 27, 2015). Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rk Stark

    This book is worth reading, but I didn't find myself really devoted to it. I could definitely put it down and walk away from it. I love micro histories, and while this book is not boring, it's also not a very engaging read. I think it could have gone deeper into some of the history and the social aspects of this amazing food, and I also didn't like that the citations weren't provided in the body of the book. It's great if you're going to provide a bibliography, but it's much more useful if you i This book is worth reading, but I didn't find myself really devoted to it. I could definitely put it down and walk away from it. I love micro histories, and while this book is not boring, it's also not a very engaging read. I think it could have gone deeper into some of the history and the social aspects of this amazing food, and I also didn't like that the citations weren't provided in the body of the book. It's great if you're going to provide a bibliography, but it's much more useful if you indicate where you are getting your information as you state it in the body of the book. Also, about 1/3 of this book is recipes. Which is not bad, but I would have much more preferred more history. I did learn a lot and I think one of the most useful aspects of this books is how to properly plant garlic and the descriptions of all of the different kinds of garlic.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    Received a completed copy thru the Goodreads First Reader Giveaways and the kindness of Roost Books. I love, love, LOVE garlic...and will put it in almost anything...so this book was quite a treat. Being a fan of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I celebrate garlic and its many forms and uses annually (at least!) Although as others have noted, the first section on the history of and various uses of garlic can be a bit dry and pedantic, I also DID learn some facts I didn't know... and yes, the 'recipe' Received a completed copy thru the Goodreads First Reader Giveaways and the kindness of Roost Books. I love, love, LOVE garlic...and will put it in almost anything...so this book was quite a treat. Being a fan of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I celebrate garlic and its many forms and uses annually (at least!) Although as others have noted, the first section on the history of and various uses of garlic can be a bit dry and pedantic, I also DID learn some facts I didn't know... and yes, the 'recipe' section could benefit from some photos.... but the recipe section DID highlight some unusual foreign cuisines I was unfamiliar with, and I WILL be investigating several of them in future... Well done!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chava

    This book was very good for a number of reasons. The author explored many aspects of garlic - history, recipes, mythology, agriculture, and culture. This comprehensive view was presented with a keen sense of humor. While vampires were definitely included, the more interesting parts of the book to me were how many different varieties of garlic there are, where they grow, and how they vary in taste. The recipes were representative of all the cultures that use it in cooking - Italian, Chinese, India This book was very good for a number of reasons. The author explored many aspects of garlic - history, recipes, mythology, agriculture, and culture. This comprehensive view was presented with a keen sense of humor. While vampires were definitely included, the more interesting parts of the book to me were how many different varieties of garlic there are, where they grow, and how they vary in taste. The recipes were representative of all the cultures that use it in cooking - Italian, Chinese, Indian, former Soviet Republics, etc. The medicinal uses were interesting, and I ended up doing more research to find Talmudic references and legends of vampires.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    The first half of this book gives a history of garlic which is interesting if, like me, you are a slightly obsessed garlic lover. The second half of the book is filled with garlicky recipes. I'm glad I read it, if only for the recipes. Unfortunately I found the book a bit dry for pleasure reading. The first half of this book gives a history of garlic which is interesting if, like me, you are a slightly obsessed garlic lover. The second half of the book is filled with garlicky recipes. I'm glad I read it, if only for the recipes. Unfortunately I found the book a bit dry for pleasure reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    While fun and nicely written, the "biography" of garlic only takes up 80 pages and there are no illustrations. Some of the recipes look very tasty. While fun and nicely written, the "biography" of garlic only takes up 80 pages and there are no illustrations. Some of the recipes look very tasty.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    Very interesting bits on the folklore of garlic, vampires of course. Detailed instructions on the growing of garlic and its many varieties. Best part is an extensive recipe section.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    skimmed over the history part (though some of the anecdotes were amusing), then I skimmed over the recipes part. I guess I am not as interested in garlic as I thought I was.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura Chase

    Fascinating look at a wonderful spice.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shuchita

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Hagy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Maclin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hazel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janice Craig

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charles de Lezardiere

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