The Spread of Indigenous American Foods to Europe: Background information when reading On Savage Shores

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On Savage Shores

How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

by Caroline Dodds Pennock

On Savage Shores by Caroline Dodds  Pennock X
On Savage Shores by Caroline Dodds  Pennock
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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About this Book

The Spread of Indigenous American Foods to Europe

This article relates to On Savage Shores

Photograph of a variety of potatoes in a market in Peru, displayed with colorful price signs One of the more flavorful influences of the New World on the Old in the age of Christopher Columbus was the impact Indigenous Americans had on the food of Europe. This occurred as part of what is popularly known as the "Columbian Exchange," or the general mixing of goods and culture (as well as disease) between Indigenous peoples in the Americas and Europeans, and it changed the world forever.

Caroline Dodds Pennock notes in her book On Savage Shores that "before contact with the Americas, Europe (and indeed the rest of the world) had no potatoes, squash, maize, or beans." The flow of crops and cuisine from the west (the Americas) to the east (Europe and beyond) occurred rapidly. Maize (corn) and potatoes in particular took root (no pun intended) in a massively successful fashion across many areas of the globe, enriching diets and staving off hunger for millions of human beings.

Within 20 years of Columbus's last voyage, maize was an established crop in northern Africa that...

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