Book Review: American Terroir by Rowan Jacobsen

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

love food. I am a foodie and I will try anything that you put in front of me (except octopus). I also love to cook and absolutely love to bake. During these summer months, I love to use what I can find at the local farmer’s market. It’s nice to know where your food comes from. But do you REALLY know where your food comes from?

American Terroir Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields, was a book I borrowed from a colleague, who could not stop talking about it. From the back cover:

The first guide to the “flavor landscapes” of North America, American Terroir explains how local conditions such as soil and climate affect the flavor of iconic American foods. Complete with recipes and a resource section for finding the best place-specific foods, it’s the perfect companion for any self respecting locavore.

I got more out of this book than I thought I would. I love dark roast coffee, but now I won’t drink it. Did you know that dark roasting ruins the coffee bean? We can blame this on Starbucks. I’m terrified of bees, but now I laugh when I see them. Once you’ve read a bee referred to as a “flying penis” you can’t help but laugh at them as they fly by.

Speaking of bees, that little honey bee that’s in your refrigerator, do you know what kind of honey it is? Did you know honey never spoils?

I learned so much about salmon and honey and coffee and avocados and mussels. Literary fans, did you know there was a Green Gables mussel?

My favorite chapters encompassed the foods I love to consume most: wine, chocolate and avocados. But the most intriguing chapter of this book to me was the chapter on forest gastronomy. Why yes, I think I would love to go through the forest and pick lily petals for salads. If I’m ever in Quebec, I want to eat at the restaurant this chapter is centered around.

If you love food, this book is a great read for you. It will make you want to travel to see these processes and land in person. I want to go to Michoacan to see the avocado trees and eat the ham that is supposed to be better than prosciutto. I want to go to Prince Edward Island and eat a Green Gables Mussel, to Alaska for the fresh king salmon and to Chiapas for chocolate.

Have you read any good food-related books? Share them in the comments!

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