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- DescriptionWhat would Thanksgiving be without pecan pie? New Orleans without pecan pralines? Southern cooks would have to hang up their aprons without America's native nut, whose popularity has spread far beyond the tree's natural home. But as familiar as the pecan is, most people don't kw the fascinating story of how native pecan trees fed Americans for thousands of years until the nut was improved a little more than a century ago-and why that rapid domestication actually threatens the pecan's long-term future. In The Pecan, acclaimed writer and historian James McWilliams explores the history of America's most important commercial nut. He describes how essential the pecan was for Native Americans-by some calculations, an average pecan harvest had the food value of nearly 150,000 bison. McWilliams explains that, because of its natural edibility, abundance, and ease of harvesting, the pecan was left in its natural state longer than any other commercial fruit or nut crop in America. Yet once the process of improvement began, it took less than a century for the pecan to be almost totally domesticated. Today, more than 300 million pounds of pecans are produced every year in the United States-and as much as half of that total might be exported to China, which has fallen in love with America's native nut. McWilliams also warns that, as ubiquitous as the pecan has become, it is vulnerable to a perfect storm of ecomic threats and ecological disasters that could wipe it out within a generation. This lively history suggests why the pecan deserves to be recognized as a true American heirloom.
- Author BiographyJames McWilliams is a historian and writer whose books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. His writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harpers, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Texas Observer, where he has been a contributing writer since 2002. McWilliams is also a contributor to Freakonomics.com and a winner of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities.
- Author(s)James McWilliams
- PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
- Date of Publication01/10/2013
- SubjectNatural History: Plants
- Place of PublicationAustin, TX
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Texas Press
- Content Note3 b&w photos
- Weight426 g
- Width3564 mm
- Height5499 mm
- Spine509 mm
- Format DetailsWith dust jacket
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