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Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World [Paperback]

Sue Shephard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Jun 2006
From primitive drying and salting techniques to advancements in food preservation that have allowed us to send humans into space, Pickled, Potted, and Canned offers insight into the history, culture, and ingenuity of people struggling to feed themselves and cheat the seasons. 35 illustrations.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (27 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255530
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 922,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Publisher's Weekly Shephard's straightforward tone and accessible scholarship make for a thorough and intriguing history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
LONG BEFORE THE IMMIGRANT SETTLERS and gold hunters had started to fill the American West in the mid-nineteenth century, mountain men-backwoodsmen, trappers, hunters, explorers, and adventurers-were living their own very singular lives in the old Northwest. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an interesting read 21 May 2012
an interesting read, it does lack footnotes as another reviewer mentioned, but I think this is aimed more at the casual reader than a serious food historian, its general and all encompassing nature making it thus. I did find the chapter on canning rather dull and over long. In comparison to the other chapters this one goes into detail regarding patents and other intricacies which while certainly pertinent to the history of food preservation does not really fit with the tone of the book which is full of entertaining and interesting anecdotes regarding different cultural practices and moves along at a lively pace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 25 July 2010
I love cookery books, I love reading about food, not so keen on actually doing the cooking!

This book is the most interesting food book I have read. I felt like I was reading a History text from my A level years but I enjoyed it as much as I would normally enjoy a novel.

A very strange reaction.

It doesn't have recipes but it does help those of us who have had a poor food technology education to understand some of the principles of home food preservation.

If you are interested in history or food, it might be the one for you.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life inside a jar. 7 Feb 2002
By wordtron - Published on Amazon.com
A refreshing (if such a word can be used for a book about food preservation) and fascinating look at history -- all history -- as seen from inside a jar. In this lively melange of history and food writing, Shephard argues that the ability to preserve food liberated humans from the anxieties of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. According to Shephard, the development of portable, preserved food enabled the great explorers to travel into the unknown and gradually map the planet, thereby facilitating the conquest of new territories and the creation of routes for the expansion of trade and the exchange of knowledge and culture that opened up our world. It also allowed us to expand our daily menu from the limited and repetitious range of our ancestors to the multicultural, international choices we enjoy today. Weaving together the stories of the inventors and key developments of food preservation in a richly detailed narrative that spans centuries and continents, this is a juicy blend of social history, popular science, and testament to man's ongoing curiosity and inventiveness.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much information, but no attribution 15 Oct 2004
By Jeremy Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Decent information on the different methods of preserving foods throughout history. The main problem I have, however, is the lack of footnotes -- Shephard cites many interesting anecdotes. Unfortunately, many of these cry out "urban myth" to me. An example:

"Louis XIII of France loved [dried mushrooms'] woodland scent so much that he lay on his deathbed in 1643 threading mushrooms onto strings for drying."

A good story, yes. Actual historical fact? It seems unlikely, and without documentation I can't judge the source material.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent illuminating history of food preservation. 10 May 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
In this concise yet detailed history of man's attempts to provide food for times of need, Ms.Shephard describes all the usual, and some very unusual methods of preserving food.
In chapters devoted to each particular method, she details how, by trial and error and by observation, people have discovered ways of extending the life of foodstuffs well past the natural sell-by date.
This leads to the means by which explorers could subsist independently of the land or sea they were travelling in, thus expanding the boundaries of trade and colonisation.
However, some of the preserving methods brought their attendant disadvantages, such as vitamin deficiencies, like scurvy or pellagra - the ways of combating these are also dealt with in the book.
Ms.Shephard writes in a comfortable, informative style that is neither dumbing-down, nor patronising, but with clear, logical progression within the particular subject - with the occasional illuminating aside to spice things up.
Drawing heavily on historical accounts, she has meticulously researched the subject and presented us with a fine addition to any amateur historian's library.
A very worthwhile read *****
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor writing - boring read 25 Oct 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Pickled, Potted and Canned" is just not very interesting. It's basically just a compendium of ways that food is preserved, written in a fairly uninteresting way. It seems to just go on and on without any story or purpose. Let me make a comparison to "Cod" by Kurlansky. "Cod" tells the story of the New England fishing fleet and how preserved cod affected trade and the growth of US maritime strength. "Cod" has a unifying theme which holds the reader's interest.
There's no story, theme, or technical depth to "Pickled, Potted and Canned". Within each section, it just repeats over and over the fact that certain foods were preserved with the subject of the section (drying, salt, sugar, etc.). It doesn't discuss how the preserving material works to preserve the food, or how preserving fits into the flow of world history. If you're interested in how preserving works, get "On Food and Cooking" by McGee. It's not focused on preserving but you'll get more than in "Pickled, Potted and Canned". If you're interested in how the development of food preservation affected world history, I don't know what to recommend to you. Maybe another reviewer can make a suggestion.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food preserving changed the course of civilization 25 Mar 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Food preserving changed the course of civilization by making it possible to travel, explore, and survive. Pickled, Potted and Canned reveals the history of food preserving techniques, exploring how early preservation techniques changed history, cultures, and modern ideas of food and eating. From milk products to sugar and pickling, this examines how preservation techniques were fostered.
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