Art and Architecture, Biology, History, Reviews

Citrus is a serious matter

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In a review appearing in last Sunday’s edition of the Toronto Star Christine Sisimondo begins:

In academia, generally, food writing is relegated to… ‘the kind of thing you might find in a newspaper’—not in the hallowed halls of higher ed.… But of late, “that’s been changing. Anthropology and environmental science departments are beginning to redefine the study of food, as not just about nutrition and shortages through the ages but as a serious cultural indicator.

Sisimondo uses Pierre Laszlo’s new book Citrus: A History to demonstrate her point:

Laszlo is a chemistry professor who is probably best known for his previous book, Salt: Grain of Life, and has now moved on to one of the next great essential staples, citrus.
Laszlo has a truly charming way of telling the story, weaving his personal biography into the tale of the migration of various fruits around the world.
He is careful, though (and tells us he is worried about overstepping his bounds), to never let the personal overshadow the story of lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges and, of course, such exotics as ugli fruit, kumquats and yuzu.…
[And] while there’s … plenty of great history in Laszlo’s account, it’s [also] interdisciplinary, adding to his personal tale and all that lore discussions on chemistry and three great chapters on the symbolic meanings of citrus and the image of these fruits in poetry and art.
Laszlo proves that citrus is a serious matter, worthy of real academic study.

Read the rest of the article on the Toronto Star website. Also read six citrus recipies from the book.