On Reading and a Book about Preserving
How to Read. (via Third Level Digression) Nick Hornby argues that you should read what you want and not what you think you should read. Are you slogging through a “turgid political biography” when you want to read The Da Vinci Code? Then toss the biography and read the thriller. I think that for every book I’ve finished, there are probably about five or six other books that I’ve put down after reading a sentence or a paragraph or one chapter. I’ve learned to stop reading most books that just don’t appeal to me.
Pickled, Potted, and Canned by Sue Shephard. Which is subtitled, “How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World.” (This, of course, brings up the observation of the many books that are subtitled “How X Changed the World.” We get it already. That’s why the book exists in the first place.) The original reason people preserved food was to save food for scarce times. Later on, technology to preserve food was mainly advanced for those on long sea voyages or on the move–like an army. There’s a bit of everything in Pickled, Potted, and Canned–from drying and salting to concentrating and fermenting. I found it amusing to note that artificial freezing was at first regarded as “ungodly” because people deemed it unnatural to make ice during the summer. Ah, isn’t this always true for all new technology? This book has a lot of neat little facts–which probably means it’s better kept as a reference. I’m never going to remember all of what I’ve read in a month.