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American food writer Betty Fussell joins Linda Pelaccio this week on "A Taste of the Past" for a conversation on culinary history, cultural identity and food literature. Betty is an award-winning writer and is the author of eleven books, ranging from biography to cookbooks, food history and memoir. Learn how she discovered food through travel and writing and became an "accidental" food historian. Listen as Betty describes the American cuisine she discovered throughout her life and elaborates on everything from corn fields to Mexican markets. Find out why Betty fell in love with New York City as she reads one of her literary passages live on-air! This program was sponsored by S. Wallace Edwards & Sons.

"The food of my family was absolutely terrible - the land of the bland! It was Midwestern bible belt food in California. The discovery of the drama of what food could be was enormous!" [07:08]

"Corn created settlements, it's the basis of our agriculture in the Western world. It's totally different from the plow culture of Europe." [12:15]

"I have two romances - one is the California landscape I grew up in, two is New York City. The wonder of New York City has never left me, it's the last of the great cities of the last two centuries." [21:20]

--Betty Fussell on A Taste of the Past


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What differentiates an herb from a weed? And what historical significance do herbs hold? Today's episode of A Taste of the Past is a culinary history of herbs. Linda Pelaccio is joined by Gary Allen, herbalist and author of the recent book, Herbs: A Global History. Tune in to hear the difference between herbs and spices. Learn about extinct herbal plants and their ancient uses. Hear about the exchange of regional herbs, and how it has changed the culinary landscape and the food we eat today. Culturally, herbs are symbols for for memory, love, and fidelity. How did these associations come to be? Find out this, and so much more on this week's A Taste of the Past. This episode has been sponsored by Whole Foods.

"Technically herbal teas are not teas- they are infusions. True tea is only the tea plant: camellia sinensis."

"All foods are fusion foods, because every time anyone runs into anyone from anywhere they adapt their dishes to new ingredients and new circumstances."

"Rosemary is often associated with memory because its scent lingers for so long."

-- Gary Allen on A Taste of the Past


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