Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: How Carrots Won the Trojan War by Rebecca Rupp

Title: How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables
Author: Rebecca Rupp
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Genre: Foodie, Non-fiction, History
384 pages
Get a copy: ;

SUMMARY: George Washington’s greatest enemy may have been a bowl of peas. That’s just one of the interesting highlights found in How Carrots Won the Trojan War, a rollicking, addictive discussion of the history, lore, cultural associations, and traditions associated with 23 popular vegetables. History buffs and vegetable lovers will find common ground while learning how beans beat back the Dark Ages and peppers won the Nobel Prize.
Author Rebecca Rupp brings her witty, well-crafted storytelling to the world of vegetables, offering a new perspective on their place in human history. Readers will discover why Roman gladiators were massaged with onion juice before battle, that cucumbers may be afraid of thunderstorms, and why soe 17th century turnips were considered degenerate.
Written for gardeners, foodies, and anyone curious about the history of their favorite veggies, How Carrots Won the Trojan War satisfies on every level. As recent selection of the History and Military Book Clubs, it clearly has appeal across a variety of genres. With generous portions of humor and intriguing little-known facts, readers are sure to love and endlessly retell these unique and flavorful stories.

REVIEW: So you think you don’t want to read a biography of vegetables? Think again! Rebecca Rupp’s book How Carrots Won the Trojan War is a totally fascinating read. Each of the 23 chapters is devoted to the place in history of one common vegetable, beginning with the sexy asparagus and ending with the turnip, a vegetable featured in many fairytales.
Dr. Rupp has done a tremendous amount of research into the history and agribusiness of these vegetables. Throughout history vegetables have been praised for their curative powers and the same vegetables cursed for their ability to cause death and disease. Some of these vegetables changed history and won wars.
Are you a trivia nut? Then this is a must-have for your library. For example, in ancient Pompeii, why were onions kept in brothels? Was Popeye wise to depend on spinach for his spur-of-the-moment strength? While the book is written on an adult level, with a good amount of chemical information about vegetables, the stories in the book can be shared with children who will love hearing that the cabbage on their plate at dinner was so loved by Abraham Lincoln that he requested it for his inauguration dinner. Or, that Jack of jack-o-lantern fame was banned from both heaven and hell and condemned to wander the earth forever with his lantern, originally made from a turnip, not a pumpkin.
If you want a book that is fun to read, easy to pick up and read a chapter, then put down until you have time to read again, I recommend How Carrots Won the Trojan War to you.
RATING: 4 healthy broccoli stalks!

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