The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats, by Daniel Stone
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, and 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.
“Mr. Stone is an amiable narrator who balances botany, culinary history, and travelogue with fast-paced adventure writing and a well-drawn cast of characters.” - The Wall Street Journal
“Foodies and scientists alike will appreciate Stone’s informative and entertaining book.” - Publishers Weekly