Precious Cargo – How Foods From the Americas Changed the World

Precious Cargo
399 Pages
ISBN 978-1-61902-309-3

What would Italian cuisine be like without tomatoes? Cooking in Northern Europe without any potatoes? Imagine Indian food without chile peppers. And the entire Old World with no chocolate. That was the way it was…until the Europeans arrived in the Americas. Their “discovery” and exploration of this rich, new land was a watershed event for food that forever changed history and triggered unforeseen advances in science, agriculture, enterprise, and commerce that allowed the development of the modern world. Precious Cargo: How Foods From the Americas Changed the World tells the many stories of how and why western hemisphere foods and crops conquered the rest of the world and saved it from not only culinary boredom, but mass starvation as well. The food stars of this book are humble provisions of the people: corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chile peppers, pineapples, chocolate, peanuts, and the turkey. Away from their native lands, they were transplanted into parallel environments where they thrived and became the foods of sustenance, trade, discovery, and warfare. The human stars of this book include Captain Theophilus Conneau, the slave-trading food historian; Lord Harris, governor of Trinidad, who carried seeds of the world's hottest peppers to India;Maria Theresa, the Spanish princess who brought chocolate to the court of Louis XIV of France; Mungo Park, the Scottish surgeon and African explorer whose life was saved by American corn grown in what is now Senegal; Chinese governor Chin, who urged the locals to grow a crop that would feed them when their grain crops failed: American sweet potatoes;John Murray, the Fourth Earl of Dunmore, the most notable pineapple connoisseur in the British empire and the most hated man in Virginia; Benjamin Franklin, publicist for American corn and turkeys in Europe;and Antoine Augustine Parmentier, the foremost potato promoter who ever lived. From noted food historian and chile pepper expert Dave DeWitt, here is the fascinating story of how foods from the Americas spread around the world and ultimately changed it forever.

Dave DeWitt

About Dave DeWitt (Albuquerque, New Mexico Author)

Dave DeWitt

Dave DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods. He has more than 50 published books to his credit. Dave is also the producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, the trade/consumer show for the multi-billion dollar Fiery Foods and Barbecue industries, now in its 30th year.

Professional Affiliations:

--President and CEO, Sunbelt Shows, Inc. --Founding Board Member, The Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University --Member, Governing Board of Regents, New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces --Associate Professor, Adjunct Faculty, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University

Dave has appeared on a number of national TV shows, including “American Journal,” CNN, “The Today Show,” “Home with Gary Collins,” “Scientific American Frontiers,” “Smart Solutions,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Mythbusters,” “Extreme Conventions” (Travel Channel), the Martha Stewart Show and many appearances on The Food Network. He has also been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, American Way, Smithsonian, and in more than two hundred newspapers across the country.