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Beans A History,9781350022270

Beans A History

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 3/9/2017
Publisher(s): Bloomsbury Academic
Availability: This title is currently not available.


This is the story of the bean, the staple food cultivated by humans for over 10,000 years.

From the lentil to the soybean, every civilization on the planet has cultivated its own species of bean. The humble bean has always attracted attention - from Pythagoras' notion that the bean hosted a human soul to St. Jerome's indictment against bean-eating in convents (because they "tickle the genitals"), to current research into the deadly toxins contained in the most commonly eaten beans.

Over time, the bean has been both scorned as "poor man's meat" and praised as health-giving, even patriotic. Attitudes to this most basic of foodstuffs have always revealed a great deal about a society. Featuring a new preface from author Ken Albala, Beans: A History takes the reader on a fascinating journey across cuisines and cultures.

Author Biography

Ken Albala is Professor of History and Director of Food Studies at the University of the Pacific, USA. He is the author of The Food History Reader and A Cultural History of Food in the Renaissance, both published by Bloomsbury.

Table of Contents

List of Recipes
Preface, Acknowledgements and a Note on Recipes
1. Introduction
2. Lentils: Fertile Crescent
3. Lupines: Europe and Andes
4. Fava Beans: Europe
5. Peas, Chickpeas and Pigeon Peas
6. Oddballs and Villains
7. Mung and the Vignas: India
8. Black-eyed Peas: Africa, Soul Food
9. Phaseolus vulgaris: Mexico and the World
10. Limas and the Lesser Phaseoli: Andes
11. Tepary beans: Native Americans
12. Soy: China, Japan and the World

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