I Hope You're Hungry!

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I Hope You're Hungry!

My husband says that Pennsylvania's state motto should be "I hope you're hungry," since everywhere you go there, someone is usually trying to feed you. I should know - many of those folks are my relatives. In addition to food books, I have also included books on beverages. After all, you might get a bit thirsty while "eating" these suggested titles!

Chocolate Wars: the 150-year rivalry between the world's greatest chocolate makers by Deborah Cadbury.
As you might guess from the author's last name, she is a descendant of the famous chocolatiers. Her description of the origins of chocolate is followed by her family's development of a gritty, oily-like substance into the confection we know today. There was also fierce competition from other companies, such as Nestle, Hershey and Mars. Her early Quaker family was equally concerned about their business ethics, halting slave labor practices in the countries growing their cocoa beans. 

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the world of Chinese food by Jennifer 8 Lee.
Ever wonder who General Tso was, and why a chicken dish is named for him? And why do most Chinese restaurants, from Maine to California, have pretty much the same menu items? Lee answers these questions, and many others, in her book about Chinese "American" food, which is different than Chinese food - think chop suey. The item that started all her research, however, was the fortune cookie: where did it come from? Her extensive search, and travel, to find the answer to this mystery threads throughout this engrossing book.

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
This title is not really about a food per se, but something that our food can't live without. Salt is a trip through the uses of salt from early in our history. Not only was it invaluable for preserving our food before refrigeration, but it was such a valuable commodity it was like money, hence the expression "worth his weight in salt." The only rock we eat, Salt will really make you think about those small white ubiquitous crystals.  

For All the Tea in China: How England stole the world's favorite drink and changed history by Sarah Rose.
The British East India Company was in economic decline by the mid-1800's. Since China had a monopoly on tea, the East India Company figured, if they could get tea plants to their plantations in India, they could grow their own tea and boost their revenue. To accomplish this, they sent a Scottish botanist, Robert Fortune, to China to smuggle tea plants out of China and take them to India. The cloak-and-dagger operation even had Fortune passing himself off as a Chinese merchant.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.
Standage, in this fascinating history, explores not just the origins of six beverages (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola), but how each made its impact on the civilizations that created, drank, and sometimes clashed over them. Some anthropologists think that beer might have played a part in the adaptation of agriculture. Our ancient ancestors not only began to cultivate barley and wheat, but had to stay put long enough for fermentation to take place. And what would the Age of Reason have been without the coffeehouse? An appendix suggests ways to try some of the original "ancient" drinks; although we still have all of these beverages today, they don't necessarily taste the way they did then.