The Food Explor­er: The True-Adven­tures of the Globe-Trot­ting Botanist Who Trans­formed What Amer­i­ca Eats

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

The true adven­tures of David Fairchild, a late-nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry food explor­er who trav­eled the globe and intro­duced diverse crops like avo­ca­dos, man­goes, seed­less grapes – and thou­sands more — to the Amer­i­can plate.

In the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry, Amer­i­can meals were about sub­sis­tence, not enjoy­ment. But as a new cen­tu­ry approached, appetites broad­ened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insa­tiable lust to explore and expe­ri­ence the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the Amer­i­can farmer and enchant the Amer­i­can eater.

Kale from Croa­t­ia, man­goes from India, hops from Bavaria. peach­es from Chi­na, avo­ca­dos from Chile, and pome­gran­ates from Mal­ta. Fairchild’s finds weren’t just lim­it­ed to food: From Egypt, he sent back a vari­ety of cot­ton that rev­o­lu­tion­ized an indus­try, and via Japan he intro­duced the cher­ry blos­som tree, for­ev­er bright­en­ing America’s cap­i­tal. Along the way, he was arrest­ed, caught dis­eases, and bar­gained with island tribes. But his culi­nary ambi­tion came dur­ing a for­ma­tive era, and through him, Amer­i­ca trans­formed into the most diverse food sys­tem ever created.

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