A social history of corn discusses the people who, for seven centuries, have planted, eaten, worshipped, processed, and profited from corn, also describing its reaches into commerce, religion, poetry, and alcohol.
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Fussell ( Food in Good Season ) documents the history of corn on many levels in this well-researched book. As food, fertility symbol, genetic marvel, and subject of ancient myths, corn is one of the oldest food staples and a truly American food source. And because the author covers so much material, it's best to approach The Story of Corn bit by bit to avoid being overwhelmed. While it's fun to read about the history of popcorn (popcorn poppers dating back to A.D. 100 have been found in Peru), it's downright fascinating to read about what corn meant to native North and South Americans. Apparently corn was used in everything from funerals to birth rituals; corn images are embedded in the Hopi language. Fussell even tracked down a retired moonshiner to find out how corn was used to make corn whiskey and its more socially acceptable cousins, bourbon and Peruvian chicha . The author, descended from Nebraska farmers for whom corn was a mainstay, weaves her family's history into the larger saga. And along the way, she unfortunately consorts with some rather highfalutinok language ("The migration of my ancestors was across continents, up and away from the earth navel of fallen man. My own journey had been down . . . into the darkness of seeds and roots to find my dead mother and her mothers . . . in the womb not of Eden but of Mother Earth"). But the volume is otherwise so absorbing and well written that she's easily forgiven. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fussell (Food in Good Season, 1988, etc.) has steeped herself in corn lore and emerged with this encyclopedic entry on that sustaining American grain in myth, ritual, history, science and technology, breeding and cultivation, industry, processing, and cookery (not recipes, just a survey)--with a chapter on corn whiskey thrown in and an interweaving of personal root-claiming by way of a Nebraska grandfather. Fussell has clearly done a good deal of research and a lot of traveling--peering over a precipice at Machu Picchu, descending into a restored ceremonial kiva of the Anasazi people in New Mexico, visiting the sole surviving corn palace from the Midwest boosters' glory days of a century ago--but her prose fails to vivify the scenes she's visited, and, without any argument or added insights, her research reports have a secondhand, summarizing quality. Still, the labor and immersion are evident, and libraries should find uses for Fussell's odd compilation. (Photographs- -150--and line drawings--100--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0394578058
Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110394578058
Book Description Knopf, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0394578058
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0394578058 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0137006