Title: Food Plants of the World
Subtitle: Identification, culinary uses and nutritional value
Author: Ben-Erik van Wyk
Publisher: Briza Publications
Pretoria, South Africa 2005
ISBN 9781875093564 / ISBN 978-1-875093-56-4
Hardcover, 17 x 24 cm, 480 pages, 1000 colour photographs
This book is a photographic guide to the best-known and most commonly used food plants of the world. It includes more than 350 different plants that are sources of cereals, nuts, fruits, vegetables, beverages, sugars and starches, cooking herbs, spices and flavours. Food Plants of the World is intended to provide quick answers to a wide range of questions about food plants, how to identify them, how to use them in cooking and their nutritional value. For each plant, a short, scientifically accurate summary is given of the characteristics of the plant, its origin and history, the parts that are used, brief notes on cultivation and harvesting and especially the culinary uses and nutritional value. The most commonly used vernacular names are given in various languages, including Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese and Spanish.
For the botanically minded reader, the correct scientific name, main synonyms, author citation and family name are provided. Where possible, the main culinary uses are mentioned, including famous recipes and famous dishes or drinks that have become widely known. The first part of the book gives a brief historical overview of the geographical origin of various food crops. The main agricultural regions and the famous food plants associated with each of them are highlighted. This is followed by short chapters on the food value and characteristics of each of the main categories of food plants. As a quick and easy reference source, the main plants of each category are listed alphabetically by their common names and the botanical names are also given.
Most of the book comprises short treatments of 354 food plants and their close relatives, including photographs of the plants and the parts that are used. This is followed by a section on the basic principles of diet and health, focusing on the importance of various nutrients, vitamins, minerals and other dietary ingredients. A quick guide and checklist is provided of more than 800 food plants. It gives their scientific names, common names, geographical origin and main nutritional value. A glossary of terms and a list of important references for further reading are also supplied. The comprehensive index allows the reader to quickly find the required information about a particular food plant and its characteristics and uses.