Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2/20/18 - National Geographic writer, Daniel Stone, shares the true adventures of David Fairchild in his new book, The Food Explorer - The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist who Transformed What America Eats

Listen to today's featured guest, Daniel Stone! 

National Geographic writer shares the true adventures of David Fairchild, a late-nineteenth-century food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced diverse crops like avocados, mangoes, seedless grapes--and thousands more--to the American plate

In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater. Daniel Stone, a staff writer for National Geographic, shares this little known story in his new book, The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of a Globetrotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats. Stone takes readers on David Fairchild’s exciting culinary journey, from Java to Baghdad, Corsica and Bavaria, and many stops in between. Along the way, Fairchild was arrested, caught diseases, and bargained with island tribes. He also found love marrying Marian Bell, the daughter of Alexander Graham Bell. But his culinary ambition came during a formative era, and through him, America transformed into the most diverse food system ever created.

Daniel Stone shares some of the things that Fairchild introduced to America, including:

· Avocados, which he brought from Chile

· Kale, the superfood of our time, which began as low-class food in Croatia

· The Meyer lemon and Florida’s famous oranges, which originated in China.

· Egyptian cotton, a botanical creation in Egypt as a result of America’s Civil War.

· The cherry blossom tree from Japan, which has forever brightened America’s capital.

· Mangoes, of which Fairchild collected more than 30 varieties, some still growing today.

With stories taken directly from Fairchild’s unpublished journals and letters, as well as never-before-seen photographs from remote parts of the world, THE FOOD EXPLORER is as rich and satisfying as a ripe Georgia peach (which, by the way, came from China).


Daniel Stone is a staff writer for National Geographic and a former White House correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from UC Davis and John Hopkins University.

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