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197 × 120 × 18 mm
168 pages
67 illustrations, 37 in colour
01 Apr 2012

Herbs A Global History Gary Allen

You can’t make pesto alla Genovese without basil or a Mojito without mint. You can use peppermint to settle an upset stomach, ease arthritis pain with stinging nettles, and heal burns and wounds with aloe vera. And then there is cannabis, perhaps the most notorious herb of all. Despite the fact that herbs are often little more than weeds, cultures around the globe have found hundreds of uses for them, employing them in everything from ancient medicines to savoury dishes. While much has been written on cooking and healing with herbs, little has been told about the history of the plants themselves and the incredible journeys they have made.

These often overlooked plants have become a staple in our lives. Unlike spices that quickly traversed the globe through trade, herbs were often hoarded by their cultivators and were central to distinctive regional dishes. This book examines herbs in new ways, making it essential reading for any serious foodie. Filled with beautiful illustrations and delicious recipes, this book will complete the kitchen library.

‘Allens tone is breezily informative . . . the book lives up to its subtitle by reaching beyond the usual suspects of European herbs, endlessly regurgitated in herbal literature from Theophrastus onwards, to embrace herbs from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, and cultural differences in the way herbs are used.’ — TLS

‘A lavishly illustrated hardback, scarcely bigger than a bar of chocolate which at under a tenner has to be an ideal gift. Allens information-packed little book will send the recipient either scurrying to the kitchen to try his unfamiliar recipes or into the garden to plant up some of the exotica he describes . . . definitely a book I am glad to have on my shelves.’ — Herbs magazine

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Gary Allen is an Adjunct Professor at Empire State College (part of the State University of New York). His books include The Herbalist in the Kitchen (2007), Herbs: A Global History (2012) and Sausage: A Global History (2015), both from Reaktion.


1. What, Exactly, Are Herbs?
2. The Usual Suspects
3. A Less Eurocentric Herbarium
4. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Plants
5. The Herbal Melting Pot

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