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Dimensions:
234 × 156 mm
374 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781780238531
Illustrations:
115 illustrations, 58 in colour
Published:
13 Nov 2017
Series:
Food and Nations
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A Rich and Fertile Land A History of Food in America Bruce Kraig

The small ears of corn grown on the land by Native Americans have become row upon row of cornflakes on supermarket shelves. The immense seas of grass and the animals that they supported are now big farms with regular rows of soybeans, corn and wheat that feed the world. But how did this happen and why? A Rich and Fertile Land investigates the history of food in America, where it comes from and how it has changed over time.

From the first Native Americans to modern industrial farmers, people have shaped the North American continent and its climate based on the foods they wanted and the crops and animals they raised. Bruce Kraig looks at the food people have served up from their kitchens or eaten in public dining places throughout American history, as well as considering the impact of technical innovation and industrialization on the creation of modern American food systems.

Drawing upon the latest evidence from the fields of science, archaeology and technology, this is a unique and valuable history of the diverse and plentiful food of the United States.

‘Bruce Kraig’s A Rich and Fertile Land is a delightfully informative and readable history of American food from prehistoric times to the present. Fluid and engaging, it is an ambitious work written with an historian’s skill and a food-lover’s heart.  Every page is stuffed with insights and surprising connections to American culture. It’s a must read for anyone interested in food or history!’ — Andrew F. Smith, editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink

‘A readable, succinct, and deeply knowledgeable introduction to the history of American food from the multifarious natural resources of the land to the political and religious beliefs that have shaped and re-shaped eating habits from the arrival of the first native American settlers to the present complex multi-cultural society. By effortlessly weaving in quotations from American literature, summaries of controversial issues such as slavery and the industrialization of agriculture, and references to contemporary debates about the food system, the author makes it clear that food has always been at the center of American culture, history and politics.’ — Rachel Laudan, author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

‘The land is the protagonist in this fascinating account of America's food habits and production. The use, misuse and transformation of the landscape are creatively and compellingly related to the everyday business of eating.’ — Paul Freedman, Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, Yale University

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Bruce Kraig is Professor Emeritus of History at Roosevelt University, Chicago. He is the author or editor of numerous books on food history, including Hot Dog: A Global History (Reaktion, 2009).