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Download Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Margaret Visser
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (263 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Margaret Visser Narrator: Suzanne Toren Publisher: Recorded Books Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN:
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Winning unanimous praise on its publication and now available in paperback from Grove Press, Much Depends on Dinner is a delightful and intelligent history of the food we eat. Presented as a meal, each chapter represents a different course or garnish. Borrowing from Byron's classic poem Don Juan for her title (Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner), writer Margaret Visser looks to the most ordinary American dinner for her subject - corn on the cob with butter and salt, roast chicken with rice, salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, and ice cream - submerging herself in the story behind each food.

In this indulgent and perceptive guide we hear the history of Corn Flakes, why canned California olives are so unsatisfactory (they're picked green, chemically blackened, then sterilized), and the fact that in Africa, citrus fruit is eaten rind and all. For food lovers of all kinds, this unexpectedly funny and serious book is a treasure of information, shedding light on one of our most favorite pastimes. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hilary | 2/20/2014

    " Really interesting. I ate this book up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/11/2014

    " Pretty amazing that Visser conceived of and wrote this YEARS before countless others began waxing poetic on the ethics of food... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaethe | 1/31/2014

    " I don't cook, but I enjoy eating on a regular basis. Also, I enjoy reading about the sociology of dining rituals. cool stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Celia Montgomery | 1/23/2014

    " The history of what we ate! This is a fascinating, carefully structured history of food. Visser brilliantly divides her chapters into the elements of a meal. We learn about how people discovered, cultivated, enjoyed and abused corn, chicken, salt, and other seemingly ordinary edibles. This is an important book. I wonder how much it influenced the organic food movement? This is the sort of thing I imagine Jane Brody reading when she runs out of ideas. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Guy | 1/12/2014

    " Simply brilliant! It will change forever how you view the food you eat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/4/2014

    " recommended to me long ago by Jane "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan | 12/24/2013

    " Slightly out of date but fascinating all the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisagray | 12/17/2013

    " Loved this book and the fascinating details and history of our food. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brent | 11/29/2013

    " Ordinary meal, it's ingredients and cooking methods dissected and described in incredible detail, almost too much detail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pancha | 11/20/2013

    " I was already familiar with a lot of the information, especially in the corn, salt, and chicken chapters. But the author included many interesting anecdotes and word origins, so I didn't mind. The butter chapter was my favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allisonv | 11/17/2013

    " A teeny bit outdated, but a good place to start if you are interested in American food and culture. Very readable/non-academic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sskous | 11/17/2013

    " Insightful, funny, and most of all a romp through a dinner that explains so much about who we are through what we eat. I love Visser's way of thinking, seeing and explaining. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kim | 10/20/2013

    " Dull and pedantic. And the ending is really abrupt. It took me well over a year to finish this book in fits and starts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 3/23/2013

    " Unusual approach to food. Writer takes the ingredients in an ordinary dinner (chicken, corn, ice cream, etc.) and informs you of the history and evolution of the food. Very nicely written "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 2/29/2012

    " Bit if a hodge-podge of facts, not very well arranged, but some interesting snippets here and there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Regina | 2/25/2012

    " A wonderful, fascinating book. Everybody eats. I wonder how the 'bag from McDonalds' will fit into a future cullinary history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhea Tregebov | 2/7/2012

    " Beautifully written book I've been meaning to read since it came out decades ago. While I'm sure some of the information is now dated, reading it at this stage makes me realize how incredibly influential Visser's ideas and insights have been and continue to be. Still a wonderful read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trina | 10/30/2011

    " Full of crazy facts about some of the basic foods we eat every day. For example, chickens were first domesticated for cock fighting- not for eating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jada Roche | 8/29/2011

    " Dated, but fun. The ending was abrupt and didn't do anything to tie the book together. Interesting to read something that illustrates the coming mistrust (or rather, increasing mistrust) of the food industry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 5/29/2011

    " This is one of those books that's maybe not written as well as it could be (okay, it's duller than dirt in many parts), but the subject matter is so darn interesting and well-researched that all is forgiven. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 grundoon | 2/3/2011

    " Generally enjoyable read, often meandering, with an information density that rivals most college-level textbooks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stefanieq Banner | 1/8/2011

    " Informative and interesting, but a bit dry and long-winded in writing style "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Guy | 9/26/2010

    " Simply brilliant! It will change forever how you view the food you eat. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trina | 10/22/2009

    " Full of crazy facts about some of the basic foods we eat every day. For example, chickens were first domesticated for cock fighting- not for eating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaethe | 9/16/2009

    " I don't cook, but I enjoy eating on a regular basis. Also, I enjoy reading about the sociology of dining rituals. cool stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Regina | 5/16/2009

    " A wonderful, fascinating book. Everybody eats. I wonder how the 'bag from McDonalds' will fit into a future cullinary history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hilary | 4/19/2009

    " Really interesting. I ate this book up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sskous | 8/23/2008

    " Insightful, funny, and most of all a romp through a dinner that explains so much about who we are through what we eat. I love Visser's way of thinking, seeing and explaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pancha | 8/3/2008

    " I was already familiar with a lot of the information, especially in the corn, salt, and chicken chapters. But the author included many interesting anecdotes and word origins, so I didn't mind. The butter chapter was my favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/29/2008

    " Pretty amazing that Visser conceived of and wrote this YEARS before countless others began waxing poetic on the ethics of food... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joel | 2/28/2008

    " Unusual approach to food. Writer takes the ingredients in an ordinary dinner (chicken, corn, ice cream, etc.) and informs you of the history and evolution of the food. Very nicely written "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allisonv | 1/15/2008

    " A teeny bit outdated, but a good place to start if you are interested in American food and culture. Very readable/non-academic. "

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About the Author

Margaret Visser is an award-winning author and essayist. Her previous five books, all bestsellers, have met with international acclaim. Much Depends on Dinner won the Glenfiddich Prize for Food Book of the Year and was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly and The New York Times. The Rituals of Dinner won the IACP Literary Food Writing Award and the Jane Grigson Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent book, The Geometry of Love, also the subject of a prize-winning documentary film, was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize. A professor of classics at York University for 18 years, she now devotes her time to research and writing. Visser lives in Toronto, Paris, and the south of France.

About the Narrator

Suzanne Toren has recorded hundreds of audiobooks and has earned twenty-nine Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has received the Narrator of the Year Award for her audiobook recordings for the Library of Congress. She has performed on Broadway and in regional theaters in works penned by Shakespeare, Molière, and Arthur Miller. She has also appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas.