Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Mea

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
2
Free sample

A staple of the food-writing genre that prefigured the current locavore and foodist movements by almost two decades, Margaret Visser’s Much Depends on Dinner is a delightful and intelligent history of the food we eat, and a cornucopia of incredible details about the ways we do it.
Presented as a meal, each chapter of Much Depends on Dinner represents a different course or garnish, which Margaret Visser handpicks from the most ordinary American dinner: corn on the cob with butter and salt, roast chicken with rice, salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, and ice cream. Visser tells the story behind each of these foods and in the course of her inquiries reveals some unexpected treats: the history of Corn Flakes; the secret behind the more dissatisfactory California olives (they’re picked green, chemically blackened, and sterilized); and the fact that, in Africa, citrus fruits are eaten whole, rind and all.
For food lovers of all kinds, this intelligent and unexpectedly funny book is a treasure of information that sheds light on one of our favorite pastimes: eating.
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About the author

Margaret Visser writes on the history, anthropology, and mythology of everyday life. Her most recent book is The Gift of Thanks, published by HarperCollins. Her previous books, Much Depends on Dinner, The Rituals of Dinner, The Way We Are, and The Geometry of Love, have all been best sellers and have won major international awards, including the Glenfiddich Award for Foodbook of the Year in Britain in 1989, the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Literary Food Writing Award, and the Jane Grigson Award. In 2002 she gave the Massey Lectures on CBC radio, subsequently published as the best-selling book, Beyond Fate. Her books have been translated into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. She appears frequently on radio and television, and has lectured extensively in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. She divides her time between Toronto, Paris, and South West France.
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Reviews

4.5
2 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Jun 29, 2010
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780802196460
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Language
English
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Genres
Cooking / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Margaret Visser
“A scholarly, many-angled examination of what gratitude is and how it functions in our lives” from the bestselling author of The Rituals of Dinner (TheNew York Times).

Known as an “anthropologist of everyday life,” Margaret Visser has won numerous awards for illuminating the unexpected meanings of everyday objects and rituals. Now she turns her keen eye to another custom so ubiquitous that it often escapes notice: saying “Thank you.” What do we really mean by these two simple words?
 
This fascinating inquiry into all aspects of gratitude explores such topics as the unyielding determination of parents to teach their children to thank; the difference between speaking the words and feeling them; and the ways different cultures handle the complex matters of giving, receiving, and returning favors and presents. Visser elucidates the fundamental opposition in our own culture between gift-giving and commodity exchange, as well as the similarities between gratitude and its opposite, vengefulness.
 
The Gift of Thanks considers cultural history, including the modern battle of social scientists to pin down the notion of thankfulness and account for it, and the newly awakened scientific interest in the biological and evolutionary roots of emotions. With characteristic wit and erudition, Visser once again reveals the extraordinary in the everyday.
 
“An anthropological and philosophical account of how and why we give thanks. . . . All delivered in elegant, clear prose. A book to be thankful for—sympathetic to human foible, deeply learned and a pleasure to read.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A delightful and graceful gift of a book, for which any fortunate recipient will be thankful.” —Publishers Weekly
Margaret Visser
“A scholarly, many-angled examination of what gratitude is and how it functions in our lives” from the bestselling author of The Rituals of Dinner (TheNew York Times).

Known as an “anthropologist of everyday life,” Margaret Visser has won numerous awards for illuminating the unexpected meanings of everyday objects and rituals. Now she turns her keen eye to another custom so ubiquitous that it often escapes notice: saying “Thank you.” What do we really mean by these two simple words?
 
This fascinating inquiry into all aspects of gratitude explores such topics as the unyielding determination of parents to teach their children to thank; the difference between speaking the words and feeling them; and the ways different cultures handle the complex matters of giving, receiving, and returning favors and presents. Visser elucidates the fundamental opposition in our own culture between gift-giving and commodity exchange, as well as the similarities between gratitude and its opposite, vengefulness.
 
The Gift of Thanks considers cultural history, including the modern battle of social scientists to pin down the notion of thankfulness and account for it, and the newly awakened scientific interest in the biological and evolutionary roots of emotions. With characteristic wit and erudition, Visser once again reveals the extraordinary in the everyday.
 
“An anthropological and philosophical account of how and why we give thanks. . . . All delivered in elegant, clear prose. A book to be thankful for—sympathetic to human foible, deeply learned and a pleasure to read.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“A delightful and graceful gift of a book, for which any fortunate recipient will be thankful.” —Publishers Weekly
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