[A] fascinating debut ... Siegel’s book is as entertaining as it is informative, sprinkled with humorous anecdotes and connections to popular culture. He takes intel gathered from nutritionists, psychologists, food historians and paleoanthropologists and weaves together a tale that moves seamlessly from one topic to the next. Written in a style that is accessible yet scholarly, The Secret History of Food will delight and enlighten anyone looking to find out more about food’s rich backstory.
Gathering together scientific, cultural, aesthetic, and gastronomic data, Siegel puckishly plumbs the backstories of some of the most significant foods in the American diet ... He makes a compelling case for the centrality of pie. Noting its British origins, he explains with winning insight how American colonists made it distinctively different by replacing the thick, hard, tough, and just-for-encasing British pastry with something much more delicate and tempting.
Food writer Siegel debuts with a delightful and unusual look at the evolution of food ... he food-related trivia surprises throughout, such as the tumultuous history of the tomato, including a fruit-versus-vegetable debate that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court and its long suspected poisonous attributes thanks to its connection to its cousin, the lethal nightshade. An invigorating culinary romp through time, this is a cheeky treat for history buffs and foodies alike.