Reviews

The Secret History of Food

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We EatThe Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat by Matt Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Written in a lush conversational style, this is not a concise reference guide, and that’s just fine with me. I like the “I’m telling you secrets” tone of the book. It feels like I’m relaxing with a brandy after dinner and listening to that one distant cousin, you know, the odd one, tell shocking stories just out of earshot of the more genteel relatives.

And I have to confess, the ‘short’ list of aphrodisiacs had me laughing until I cried. I found the chapter on corn to be astounding in its scope and detail. I learned shocking things about honey. And much, much more. I’ll need to re-read this book a few more times, there’s just so much to be learned.

If you are squeamish when it comes to candid talk about human body functions and secretions, notably those of the sexual variety, consider yourself warned. There’s also creepy stories. But, history is often gross and creepy, and that’s no fault of the author. I enjoy learning about attitudes, superstitions, medical practices and more from humanity’s past.

File “The Secret History of Food” next to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” on your reference shelf. Your cookbooks might be intimidated by it.

My thanks to author Matt Siegel, NetGalley, and Ecco publishing for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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