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Over the course of millennia, people around the world have been preoccupied with food - the abundance or lack of it - but never more so than in the twenty-first century. Their everyday lives take shape around the possibilities that available foodstuffs have to offer and how to make best use of them. The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World transports you on an extraordinary culinary journey, exploring the origins and cultural history of seven familiar ingredients.
But which seven, and why?
The seven ingredients are all ones that are taken for granted, consumed every day without a second thought, but each has its own fascinating history and purpose. Rice is a staple. Salt is essential to our bodies. Honey satisfies our craving for sweetness. Pork, the most widely eaten meat worldwide, yet taboo in some cultures, is a major source of protein. The tomato, used in cuisine's around the world, is extremely versatile. Chile offers a unique kick, so essential to dishes such as curries and piquant salsas. And cacao is used to make chocolate. The 'magnificent seven' have rich and diverse cultural stories to tell, from the magical, aphrodisiac powers
associated with cacao in the Mesoamerican culture, to the introduction of tomatoes to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century, and the earliest
cultivation of rice in the Pearl Valley in China.
The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World equips you with everything you need to know about these wonderful foodstuffs and provides a number of traditional and innovative recipes - with one of the ingredients in the starring role, of course - for you to enjoy.
Jenny Linford has written for the Financial Times, Time Out London Eating and Drinking Guide, Square Meal, and the British Library's Food Stories website. Among her published books are The Tomato Basket Cookbook, Food Lovers' London, and The Chef's Library. She lives in London.