Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I’m Reading Wednesday: North American Cornucopia: Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants by Ernest Small


North American Cornucopia: Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants by Ernest Small has arrived in the Ort Library.  This gorgeously vibrant item is filled with loads of photographs and information to inspire gardeners and plant aficionados everywhere.  The book is filled with fascinating information on native plants – what they look like, uses for, with extensive bibliographies located at the end of each plant entry.  If you are dying to learn more about a certain type of native plant listed in the book, the author has kindly made it easy for you.  

Be sure and check out the “Curiosities of Science and Technology” sections also located within each plant entry.  These sections highlight the unique facts about native plants.  For instance, Cranberry is the state fruit of Wisconsin and Massachusetts.  Dwarf Glasswort thrives in soil water that has 3 times the saltiness of the oceans.  Native peoples used Golden Chia in their eyes as medicine to remove foreign particles such as sand or dirt.  Vole and field mice would collect the Hog peanut and store them in their nests for over winter.  Native peoples, such as the Delaware tribe, would then raid the nests as an easy way to collect the plant.

This fascinating and well researched book also contains sections dedicated to how to prepare the plant as food – “Culinary Portraits”.  With sections called “Specialty Cookbooks” detailing where to get useful recipes.  Sections titled “Prospects” tell how these native plants can potentially be adapted to fit new uses for our times.  Besides gardeners and plant lovers, North American Cornucopia: Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants is a recommend read for people interested in history, sustainability, trivia buffs, and chefs looking for the next “new “ thing!  

If you are interested in checking out this great book for yourself, you can request this volume from the Ort Library catalog here: . Click on "Availability", then click on the yellow "Request" button, and log in using your last name and 14-digit Library barcode number on your ID. 

If you need assistance, please contact the Circulation Desk at 301-687-4395.  We hope to see you soon!

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