Herbs: A Global History

by Gary Allen

From the publisher: You can’t make pesto alla Genovese without basil or a Mojito without mint. You can use peppermint to settle an upset stomach, ease arthritis pain with stinging nettles, and heal burns and wounds with aloe vera. And then there is cannabis, perhaps the most notorious herb of all. Despite the fact that herbs are often little more than weeds, cultures around the globe have found hundreds of uses for them, employing them in everything from ancient medicines to savoury dishes. While much has been written on cooking and healing with herbs, little has been told about the history of the plants themselves and the incredible journeys they have made.

These often overlooked plants have become a staple in our lives. Unlike spices that quickly traversed the globe through trade, herbs were often hoarded by their cultivators and were central to distinctive regional dishes. This book examines herbs in new ways, making it essential reading for any serious foodie. Filled with beautiful illustrations and delicious recipes, this book will complete the kitchen library.

Gary Allen is an Adjunct Professor at Empire State College (part of the State University of New York). His books include The Herbalist in the Kitchen (2007), Herbs: A Global History (2012) and Sausage: A Global History (2015).

Reaktion Books, 2012