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Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery

by Andrew F Smith University of Illinois Press
Pub Date:
10/2001
ISBN:
9780252070099
Format:
Pbk 240 pages
Price:
AU$59.99 NZ$63.47
Product Status: Title is Print on Demand - May take 4 weeks
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From the Americas to Australasia, from northern Europe to southern Africa, the tomato tickles the world's taste buds. Americans along devour more than twelve million tons annually of this peculiar fruit, variously considered poisonous, curative, and aphrodisiacal.
In this first concerted study of the tomato in America, Andrew F. Smith separates myth from historical fact, beginning with the Salem, New Jersey, man who, in 1820, allegedly attracted spectators from hundreds of miles to watch him eat a tomato on the courthouse steps (the legend says they expected to see him die a painful death). Later, hucksters such as Dr. John Cook Bennett and the Amazing Archibald Miles peddled the tomato's purported medicinal benefits. The competition was so fierce that the Tomato Pill War broke out in 1838.
The Tomato in America traces the early cultivation of the tomato, its infiltration of American cooking practices, the early manufacture of preserved tomatoes and ketchup (soon hailed as ''the national condiment of the United States''), and the ''great tomato mania'' of the 1820s and 1830s. The book also includes tomato recipes from the pre-Civil War period, covering everything from sauces, soups, and main dishes to desserts and sweets.
Now available for the first time in paperback, The Tomato in America provides a piquant and entertaining look at a versatile and storied figure in culinary history.
''Finally, a reliable work on the history of the tomato in America! The author, a thorough researcher and delightful writer, presents facts with authority and myths with exposure... The definitive study on the subject.'' -- John F. Swenson, Chicago Botanic Garden ''Andrew F. Smith easily qualifies as the major-domo of tomato history.'' -- Chicago Tribune ''At last, at long last, the true history of the tomato in the United States is being told.'' -- Karen Hess, Food Heritage Press ''Smith's work is fascinating reading... This volume immerses us in tomato lore and whets our appetite for a juicy bite of that scarlet fruit.'' -- Wilson Library Bulletin ''A thorough and useful reference, making available masses of material not otherwise available.'' -- Library Journal
Andrew F. Smith is a freelance writer who teaches culinary history and professional food writing at the New School in Manhattan. He is the author of many books, including Pure Ketchup, Popped Culture, and The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett.