From the dust jacket:
Everyone eats foods that come from plants. Most of us have also wondered about food plants and their origins. Where did wheat for our bread and rolls come from? Who first learned to eat potatoes? Did cabbage and carrots ever grow wild? How much have farmers changed them since they were first cultivated?
Here is a book that answers these questions. In doing so it tells the story of grains and vegetables from artichokes to zucchini. It is a story of 9,000 years or more, since the earliest known farmers began to grow crops in southwestern Asia and in Mexico. As centuries passed, other farmers improved their food plants by sowing seeds from the best ones and getting rid of those that were poor. This process is still going on. So is improvement by cross-breeding, which combines the good qualities of two or more old plants in a better new one.
Two parts of the world have provided most of our food plants. One of these is southwestern Asia, including lands around the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The other region extends from northeastern Mexico into southern South America. Discovered less than 500 years ago, this part of the world has provided potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and many other foods. Yet the United States and Canada did not get most of these American plants until they were taken to Europe and then brought back across the Atlantic.
A virtual revolution has occurred in our knowledge of the history of plants since the original publication of Plants That Feed Us (1956). The present book under its new title, includes considerable material from that earlier work, but it covers this revolution and is distinguished by extensive improvements:
One-third larger-128 pages compared with 96 in the original
44 new pages of text
19 other pages revised
65 new drawings (in addition to most of the 160 in the original)
Bibliography and index
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