Exploring the Unique Flavors and Sundry Places of the Borderlands
Ellen and Edward Randall Series
Published by: University of Texas Press
144 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 20.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780292725898
- Published: March 2012
Why does food taste better when you know where it comes from? Because history—ecological, cultural, even personal—flavors every bite we eat. Whether it’s the volatile chemical compounds that a plant absorbs from the soil or the stories and memories of places that are evoked by taste, layers of flavor await those willing to delve into the roots of real food. In this landmark book, Gary Paul Nabhan takes us on a personal trip into the southwestern borderlands to discover the terroir—the “taste of the place”—that makes this desert so delicious. To savor the terroir of the borderlands, Nabhan presents a cornucopia of local foods—Mexican oregano, mesquite-flour tortillas, grass-fed beef, the popular Mexican dessert capirotada, and corvina (croaker or drum fish) among them—as well as food experiences that range from the foraging of Cabeza de Vaca and his shipwrecked companions to a modern-day camping expedition on the Rio Grande. Nabhan explores everything from the biochemical agents that create taste in these foods to their history and dispersion around the world. Through his field adventures and humorous stories, we learn why Mexican oregano is most potent when gathered at the most arid margins of its range—and why foods found in the remote regions of the borderlands have surprising connections to foods found by his ancestors in the deserts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. By the end of his movable feast, Nabhan convinces us that the roots of this fascinating terroir must be anchored in our imaginations as well as in our shifting soils.
Acknowledgments Prologue Chapter One. The Verve in the Herb: A Culinary Natural History Chapter Two. Hungry for Home: Mostafa al-Azemmouri Discovers a New World of Desert Foods Chapter Three. Seek-No-Further: Foraging and Fishing through the Big Bend Chapter Four. A Flour Blooms: Esperanza and the Magical Mesquite Tortillas Chapter Five. From the Beeves' Lips to Paul's Fears: Grass-Fed Flavor Chapter Six. Pan on a Mission: Capirotada Comes to Baja California Chapter Seven. Camel Chorizo: A Missing Link Chapter Eight. My First (and Last) Rodeo: Catching Corvina in the Sea of Cortés Chapter Nine. A Desert Communion Epilogue Literature Cited