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 1,000), 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 filé gumbo. Organized by “food nations” named for the ecological and cultural keystone foods of each region — Salmon Nation, Bison Nation, and Chile Pepper Nation, among others — this book offers an altogether fresh perspective on the culinary traditions of North America.
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