Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat

December 10, 2020
Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat

"A comprehensive and entertaining historical andbotanical review, providing an enjoyable and cognitiveread."—NatureThe foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. Fromalmonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consumetoday have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric CentralAsia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe,America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods,ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routesextends back five thousand years, and organized trade along theSilk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second centuryBC. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, andhistorical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents thefascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture acrossInner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preservedremains of plants found in archaeological sites, Robert N. SpenglerIII identifies the regions where our most familiar crops weredomesticated and follows their routes as people carried them aroundthe world. With vivid examples, Fruit from the Sandsexplores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of humanhistory and transformed cuisines all over the globe.