The Devil's Picnic: Around the World in Pursuit of Forbidden Fruit

by taras grescoe | Cooking, Food & Wine |
ISBN: 1582344299 Global Overview for this book
Registered by winginnaewing of Aurora, Colorado USA on 7/27/2008
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winginnaewing from Aurora, Colorado USA on Sunday, July 27, 2008
My husband and I visited relatives on the East Coast, and we got to go to the Book Barn I could have spent MUCH more time there, but I was feeling a little pressure to join the group, and I admit I wasn't in the best search through books mood (and how would I have gotten more of them home in any case??)

Anyway, this was one of the books purchased for my birthday by my husband. :-)

Journal Entry 2 by winginnaewing at Aurora, Colorado USA on Sunday, January 22, 2012
An intriguing look at Prohibition, in all its many forms, in all the many places it has been enacted. Talk of the WAR ON DRUGS is big in this book, and I think Mr. Grescoe has some very valid points. It was interesting to read of the different ways countries have prohibited substances, and the controversies over the issues. Grescoe is a good writer, and the tales were entertaining. It did make me think I might like to try some of the substances he tried (absinthe being one I have thought about a long while).

01/19 page 282 "Multinational companies are even more immoral than drug dealers."
01/19 page 275 "You don't get rid of an addiction by trying to eradicate the addictive substance from the world. You do it by offering assistance to the addicts."
01/16 page 229 "However harmless a thing is, if the law forbids it, most people will think it wrong. --W. Somerset Maugham"
01/14 page 138 "There us no overestimating human shortsightedness: we will scramble the last dodo egg for breakfast"
01/14 page 115 "And frankly, if you're willing to buy your dairy products from the back of a pickup truck in a parking lot in San Diego or El Paso, you should be ready for the occasional stomachache."
01/14 page 96 26.0% "Thanks to pasteurization, and other forms of sterilization of our foods, we're losing our ability to cope with naturally occurring microbes; the capacity of our immune system has been reduced."
01/13 page 81 "The nail that sticks out is the one that gets hammered down."
01/13 page 57 "The following are banned in Singapore: firecrackers (might start fires); gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins (could be mistaken for the real thing); walking around one's apartment naked (an outrage against public decency)."
01/13 page 0 "Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy. --Voltaire"

saving to place in a bookbox

Released 8 yrs ago (3/2/2012 UTC) at MaryZee's books about things bookbox 2012, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

going to put this one in MaryZee's books about things bookbox -

Journal Entry 4 by wingk00kaburrawing at San Jose, California USA on Monday, April 02, 2012
I've got a copy of this book in Mt. TBR that I've been looking forward to reading. :)

This book enjoyed a brief visit in San Jose, California before continuing its travels with the Biographies of Things bookbox!

Journal Entry 5 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Taken from MaryZee's Biographies of Things box with thanks!

(Apparently I didn't realize this had snuck back into the latest incarnation of the box! It must have been with stack of "potentially going in the box" and got mixed up with the "came with the box" pile.)

Journal Entry 6 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, February 24, 2016
This one looks tempting, with its menu of prohibited delicacies... Nabbing this one from the bookbox!

Journal Entry 7 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, March 04, 2016
A very enjoyable and thought-provoking read - with quite a variety of reasons for the different prohibitions. (You'd think that by now public health-and-safety officials would know the perils of making something tempting by forbidding it, but while some prohibitions have eased up, there are plenty still in force.)

Some of the items here have clearly been instrumental in a lot more pain and suffering than others; alcohol, while wonderful in its more sublime forms and in moderation, can be catastrophic, but poppy-seed crackers (banned for slippery-slope reasons more than anything else) seemed out of place in a Devil's Picnic! [I do remember being very much amused to learn that, while seed companies in the US can and do sell poppy seeds for the growing of poppy flowers, it is apparently illegal to grow them. I suspect this is meant for large-scale cultivation with opium-production in mind, but technically I could get arrested for having some pretty poppies blowing in the breeze in my yard.]

The travel aspects of the book were fun too, though some of them made me want to avoid those areas rather than visit them - I have no yen to go to Singapore at all.

The unpasteurized-cheese issue is closer to my heart (or should that be "my palate"?); while I'm fond of many types of cheese, I do find it sad that informed consumers should be prevented from access to specific varieties. (That chapter did make me want to go to France again, though it doesn't take much to make France sound appealing! Quebec is closer; maybe I'll try that...)

The chapter on criadillas amused me very much, with its concept of bull testicles as a hard-to-find dish. In the US, while "Rocky Mountain oysters" aren't exactly common menu items in most of the country, they're certainly not banned - it's more that Americans aren't as keen on organ meats than they should be. (This chapter included the author's sampling of a dish of elvers - the teensy baby eels that are scooped up and flash-fried; I saw Gordon Ramsey prepare these once, after fishing for them in the waters near his home, so in his case it was very much local food, but while I was curious about the flavor I felt bad for the poor baby eels {wry grin}.)

The cigar chapter didn't interest me as much as the food-based ones, though I did learn some things about cigar production.

Absinthe... ah, yes! Many years ago I grew some wormwood in my yard, curious to know what it was like. (There are ornamental varieties, usually with "artemisia" in the name, but I found the original type, which grew into a tall, lanky shrub with wildly bitter aromatic leaves.) I found a recipe for a home-grown absinthe-like infusion of vodka and wormwood, along with other flavorings, and while it's not the historic absinthe it turned out close enough to be interesting - and I found that it aged very well, mellowing into a completely different flavor palette. I didn't love it enough to keep on making it, but it was an interesting experiment. (And no, I didn't see visions!)

The coca-leaves chapter was very interesting, and rather sad - though whether dropping the prohibitions on cocaine at this point would be helpful or harmful I really don't know. I am sure the whole drug-war could be managed better than it is.

And then there's that final-exit chapter, quite a surprise after the (mostly) tasty treats. True, it often does seem that it's the prohibition against assisted suicide that makes some people more desperate to get it, and the examples of people who, knowing they have the option, no longer feel pressed to exercise it should make more localities willing to legalize it. But there's a lot of work to be done in that area...

Overall, a very interesting book indeed!

Journal Entry 8 by wingGoryDetailswing at Greek Corner Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Saturday, March 05, 2016

Released 4 yrs ago (3/5/2016 UTC) at Greek Corner Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I plan to leave this book in or near the Greek Corner restaurant at around 5:30 or so, while stopping by for dinner. Hope the finder enjoys the book!

*** Released as part of the 2016 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

*** Released as part of the 2016 Oh, the Places We Can Go release challenge. ***

*** Released as part of the 2016 Wine+Food release challenge. ***

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