Gravenstein. Coe’s Golden Drop. Mendocino Cox. The names sound like something from the imagination of Tolkien or perhaps the ingredients in a dubious magical potion rather than what they are—varieties of apples. But as befits their enchanting names, apples have transfixed and beguiled humans for thousands of years.
Apple: A Global History explores the cultural and culinary importance of a fruit born in the mountains of Kazakhstan that has since traversed the globe to become a favorite almost everywhere. From the Garden of Eden and Homer’s Odyssey to Johnny Appleseed, William Tell, and even Apple Computer, Erika Janik shows how apples have become a universal source of sustenance, health, and symbolism from ancient times to the present day.
Featuring many mouthwatering illustrations, this exploration of the planet’s most popular fruit includes a guide to selecting the best apples, in addition to apple recipes from around the world, including what is believed to be the first recorded apple recipe from Roman gourmand Marcus Apicius. And Janik doesn’t let us forget that apples are not just good eating; their juice also makes for good drinking—as the history of cider in North America and Europe attests.
Janik grew up surrounded by apple iconography in Washington, the “apple state,” so there is no better author to tell this fascinating story. Readers will eat up this surprising and entertaining tale of a fruit intricately linked to human history.
The avocado is arguably the most iconic food of the twenty-first century. In less than one-hundred years, it has gone from a little-known regional delicacy to global embrace and social media fame. This may seem like an astounding trajectory for a fruit that isn’t sweet, that gets bitter when it is cooked, and has perhaps the oddest texture of any fruit or vegetable. But it is precisely the avocado’s contradictions that have contributed to its ascent: the idea that this rich and delicious fruit is also healthy despite being fatty and energy-dense grants it unicorn status with modern eaters, especially millennials.
Through lively anecdotes, colorful pictures, and delicious recipes, Jeff Miller explores the meteoric rise of the avocado, from its coevolution with the megaherbivores of the Pleistocene to its acceptance by the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico, to its current dominance of food consumers’ imaginations.