Spade, Skirret and Parsnip: The Curious History of Vegetables
- Publish Date: 2004-08-25
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Bill Laws
There are garlic inscriptions on Egyptian pyramids; peas, leeks, lettuces and beans are among the oldest vegetables in the world; while maize, cultivated in Mexico 2,500 years ago, is a relative newcomer. Potatoes were venerated by the ancient Peruvians yet caused division between Catholics and Protestants in the mid-1700s. Suspicious of this 'devil vegetable', which had to be buried like a corpse before it would grow, the Protestants even brought the fight to politics - in 1765 their slogan was 'No potatoes. No Popery.' Victorian critic John Ruskin believed growing vegetables would better your position in society and improve your table manners. President Woodrow Wilson saw it as a cure for the 'extravagant and wasteful' ways of his people.
From guinea gardens to genetic modification, from aphrodisiacs to allotments, from poets to pop stars, and from tales of the market trade to the wicked secrets of the vegetable show, Bill Laws here unearths the curious, intriguing and entertaining story of the vegetable. It will appeal to everyone with a taste for gardening or food history.