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Iowa City-based chef and local/sustainable food advocate Friese, Nicaragua-based agroecologist and writer Kraft, and Arizona-based natural history writer and ethnobotanist Nabhan offer an account of their recent journey across eight pepper-growing states in the southwestern and southern US and in Mexico to explore one symbolic food--the chile pepper in its various forms--and the impact of climate change on the destinies of the both pepper and the people who habitually harvest or cook with chiles. Both entertaining and informative, the text will appeal to chile pepper aficionados and foodies, as well as general readers concerned with the effects of global warming. Mouth-watering recipes are distributed throughout the text. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
"Amazing and eloquent....Nabhan makes us understand how finding and eating local foods connects us deeply and sensually."--Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Issuing a "profound and engaging...passionate call to us to re-think our food industry" (Jim Harrison, author of The Raw and the Cooked), Gary Paul Nabhan reminds us that eating close to home is not just a matter of convenience--it is an act of deep cultural and environmental significance. Embodying "a perspective...at once ecological, economic, humanistic, and spiritual" (Los Angeles Times), Nabhan has dedicated his life to raising awareness about food--as an avid gardener, as an ethnobotanist preserving seed diversity, and as an activist devoted to recovering native food traditions in the Southwest. This "inspired and eloquently detailed account" (Rick Bayless, Chefs Collaborative) tells of his year-long mission to eat only foods grown, fished, or gathered within two hundred miles of his home. "A good book for gardeners to read this winter" (The New York Times), Nabhan's work "weav[es] together the traditions of Thoreau and M. F. K. Fisher [in] a soul food treatise for our time" (Peter Hoffman, Chefs Collaborative).
Gary Paul Nabhan takes the reader on a vivid and far-ranging journey across time and space in this fascinating look at the relationship between the spice trade and culinary imperialism. Drawing on his own family's history as spice traders, as well as travel narratives, historical accounts, and an ethnobotanical exploration of spices and their uses, Nabhan describes the critically important roles that Semitic peoples and desert floras had in setting the stages for globalized spice trade. Traveling along four prominent trade routes--the Silk Road, the Frankincense Trail, the Spice Route, and the Camino Real for chiles and chocolate--Nabhan follows the caravans of itinerant spice merchants from the frankincense-gathering grounds and ancient harbors of the Arabian Peninsula, to the port of Zayton on the China Sea, to Santa Fe in the desert Southwest. His stories, recipes, and linguistic analyses of cultural diffusion routes reveal the extent to which aromatics like cumin, cinnamon, saffron, and peppers became adopted worldwide as signature ingredients of diverse cuisines. Cumin, Camels, and Caravans demonstrates that two particular desert cultures often depicted in constant conflict--Arabs and Jews--have spent more of their history collaborating in the spice trade and suggests how a more virtuous multicultural but globalized society may be achieved in the future.
Why does food taste better when you know where it comes from? Because history-ecological, cultural, even personal-flavors every bite we eat. Whether it's the volatile chemical compounds that a plant absorbs from the soil or the stories and memories of places that are evoked by taste, layers of flavor await those willing to delve into the roots of real food. In this landmark book, Gary Paul Nabhan takes us on a personal trip into the southwestern borderlands to discover the terroir-the "taste of the place"-that makes this desert so delicious. To savor the terroir of the borderlands, Nabhan presents a cornucopia of local foods-Mexican oregano, mesquite-flour tortillas, grass-fed beef, the popular Mexican dessert capirotada, and corvina (croaker or drum fish) among them-as well as food experiences that range from the foraging of Cabeza de Vaca and his shipwrecked companions to a modern-day camping expedition on the Rio Grande. Nabhan explores everything from the biochemical agents that create taste in these foods to their history and dispersion around the world. Through his field adventures and humorous stories, we learn why Mexican oregano is most potent when gathered at the most arid margins of its range-and why foods found in the remote regions of the borderlands have surprising connections to foods found by his ancestors in the deserts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. By the end of his movable feast, Nabhan convinces us that the roots of this fascinating terroir must be anchored in our imaginations as well as in our shifting soils.
Ecological Restoration of Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests brings together practitioners and thinkers from a variety of fields--including forestry, biology, philosophy, ecology, political science, archaeology, botany, and geography--to synthesize what is known about ecological restoration in ponderosa pine forests and to consider the factors involved in developing and implementing a successful restoration effort. The book examines:* the overall context for restoration--ecological, social, economic, political, and philosophical* how ecosystem processes such as fire, hydrology, and nutrient cycling are affected by restoration activities* treatment effects on specific ecosystem components such as trees, understory plants, animals, and rare or invasive species* the details of implementing restoration projects, including smoke management, the protection of cultural resources, and monitoringEach section is introduced with a case study that demonstrates some of the promise and pitfalls of restoration projects.Ecological Restoration of Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests is the second book in the series The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration from the Society for Ecological Restoration International and Island Press.
Vegan, low fat, low carb, slow carb: Every diet seems to promise a one-size-fits-all solution to health. But they ignore the diversity of human genes and how they interact with what we eat. In Food, Genes, and Culture, renowned ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan shows why the perfect diet for one person could be disastrous for another. If your ancestors were herders in Northern Europe, milk might well provide you with important nutrients, whereas if you're Native American, you have a higher likelihood of lactose intolerance. If your roots lie in the Greek islands, the acclaimed Mediterranean diet might save your heart; if not, all that olive oil could just give you stomach cramps. Nabhan traces food traditions around the world, from Bali to Mexico, uncovering the links between ancestry and individual responses to food. The implications go well beyond personal taste. Today's widespread mismatch between diet and genes is leading to serious health conditions, including a dramatic growth over the last 50 years in auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. Readers will not only learn why diabetes is running rampant among indigenous peoples and heart disease has risen among those of northern European descent, but may find the path to their own perfect diet.
Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly eighty percent of the human diet would not exist.In The Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Buchmann, one of the world's leading authorities on bees and pollination, and Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning writer and renowned crop ecologist, explore the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction -- bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and countless other animals, some widely recognized and other almost unknown.Scenes from around the globe -- examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia -- bring to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals, and demonstrate the ways in which human society affects and is affected by those relationships. Buchmann and Nabhan combine vignettes from the field with expository discussions of ecology, botany, and crop science to present a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.More than any other natural process, plant-pollinator relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. The authors explain how human-induced changes in pollinator populations -- caused by overuse of chemical pesticides, unbridled development, and conversion of natural areas into monocultural cropland-can have a ripple effect on disparate species, ultimately leading to a "cascade of linked extinctions."
How to harvest water and nutrients, select drought-tolerant plants, and create natural diversity Because climatic uncertainty has now become "the new normal," many farmers, gardeners and orchard-keepers in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt their food production to become more resilient in the face of such "global weirding. " This book draws upon the wisdom and technical knowledge from desert farming traditions all around the world to offer time-tried strategies for: Building greater moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils Protecting fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods Harvesting water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops Delecting fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials that are best suited to warmer, drier climates Gary Paul Nabhan is one of the world's experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands. For this book he has visited indigenous and traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America, to learn firsthand their techniques and designs aimed at reducing heat and drought stress on orchards, fields, and dooryard gardens. This practical book also includes colorful "parables from the field" that exemplify how desert farmers think about increasing the carrying capacity and resilience of the lands and waters they steward. It is replete with detailed descriptions and diagrams of how to implement these desert-adapted practices in your own backyard, orchard, or farm. This unique book is useful not only for farmers and permaculturists in the arid reaches of the Southwest or other desert regions. Its techniques and prophetic vision for achieving food security in the face of climate change may well need to be implemented across most of North America over the next half-century, and are already applicable in most of the semiarid West, Great Plains, and the U. S. Southwest and adjacent regions of Mexico.
How much of science is culturally constructed? How much depends on language and metaphor? How do our ideas about nature connect with reality? Can nature be "reinvented" through theme parks and malls, or through restoration?Reinventing Nature? is an interdisciplinary investigation of how perceptions and conceptions of nature affect both the individual experience and society's management of nature. Leading thinkers from a variety of fields -- philosophy, psychology, sociology, public policy, forestry, and others -- address the conflict between perception and reality of nature, each from a different perspective. The editors of the volume provide an insightful introductory chapter that places the book in the context of contemporary debates and a concluding chapter that brings together themes and draws conclusions from the dialogue.In addition to the editors, contributors include Albert Borgmann, David Graber, N. Katherine Hayles, Stephen R. Kellert, Gary P. Nabhan, Paul Shepard, and Donald Worster.
"Renewing America's Food Traditions" is a beautifully illustrated dramatic call to recognize, celebrate, and conserve the great diversity of foods that gives North America its distinctive culinary identity that reflects our multicultural heritage. It offers us rich natural and cultural histories as well as recipes and folk traditions associated with the rarest food plants and animals in North America. In doing so, it reminds us that what we choose to eat can either conserve or deplete the cornucopia of our continent. While offering a eulogy to a once-common game food that has gone extinct--the passenger pigeon--the book doesn't dwell on tragic losses. Instead, it highlights the success stories of food recovery, habitat restoration, and market revitalization that chefs, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and foresters have recently achieved. Through such "food parables," editor Gary Paul Nabhan and his colleagues build a persuasive argument for eater-based conservation. In addition, this book offers the first-ever list of foods at risk in America (more than a thousand), shows how all of us can personally support and participate in such recoveries, and lists food festivals held across the continent to honor and enjoy some of the country's most iconic foods, from crab cakes to maple syrup and fileacute; gumbo. Organized by "food nations" named for the ecological and cultural keystone foods of each region--Salmon Nation, Bison Nation, Chile Pepper Nation, among others--this book offers an altogether fresh perspective on the culinary traditions of North America.
The Comcaac Indians of NW Mexico (better known as the Seri) are a small indigenous group with a precise folk classifications, rich folklore, and interesting traditional uses for snakes lizards, and turtles in their area, including the rare leatherback turtle. This book attempts to preserve natural knowledge by preserving cultural knowledge.
The future of our food depends on tiny seeds in orchards and fields the world over. In 1943, one of the first to recognize this fact, the great botanist Nikolay Vavilov, lay dying of starvation in a Soviet prison. But in the years before Stalin jailed him as a scapegoat for the country's famines, Vavilov had traveled over five continents, collecting hundreds of thousands of seeds in an effort to outline the ancient centers of agricultural diversity and guard against widespread hunger. Now, another remarkable scientist--and vivid storyteller--has retraced his footsteps. In Where Our Food Comes From, Gary Paul Nabhan weaves together Vavilov's extraordinary story with his own expeditions to Earth's richest agricultural landscapes and the cultures that tend them. Retracing Vavilov's path from Mexico and the Colombian Amazon to the glaciers of the Pamirs in Tajikistan, he draws a vibrant portrait of changes that have occurred since Vavilov's time and why they matter. In his travels, Nabhan shows how climate change, free trade policies, genetic engineering, and loss of traditional knowledge are threatening our food supply. Through discussions with local farmers, visits to local outdoor markets, and comparison of his own observations in eleven countries to those recorded in Vavilov's journals and photos, Nabhan reveals just how much diversity has already been lost. But he also shows what resilient farmers and scientists in many regions are doing to save the remaining living riches of our world. It is a cruel irony that Vavilov, a man who spent his life working to foster nutrition, ultimately died from lack of it. In telling his story, Where Our Food Comes From brings to life the intricate relationships among culture, politics, the land, and the future of the world's food.
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