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Dimensions:
234 × 156 × 35 mm
304 pages
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781780238531
Illustrations:
110 illustrations, 80 in colour
Published:
13 Nov 2017
Series:
Foods and Nations

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.

‘The author of a definitive book on the hot dog is now covering a much bigger topic. Bruce Kraig, a professor emeritus of history at Roosevelt University in Chicago, surveys the food of America from prehistory to the present in A Rich and Fertile Land. Geology, geography, meteorology, agriculture, industrialization, politics, technology and taste are all included, and Mexico and Canada are mentioned when relevant. What could have been a dry treatise is enlivened by individual stories drawn from diaries and other first-person accounts, and by occasional illustrations.’ — New York Times

‘A readable, succinct, and deeply knowledgeable introduction to the history of American food.’ — Rachel Laudan, author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

‘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.’ — Andrew F. Smith, editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

‘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 in History and Humanities at Roosevelt University, Chicago, and the founding President of the Culinary Historians of Chicago. An inter­nationally recognized food historian, he has been host and writer for a series of award-winning food documentaries for PBS, and has also appeared on ABC National News, Good Morning America and BBC News. He has written several cookery books and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

. He is the author or editor of numerous books on food history, including Hot Dog: A Global History (Reaktion, 2009).