A New Book Explores the Globalization of Many Common Foods


‘Fruit from the Sands’ is a new book by Robert N. Spengler III that goes into the global journeys of many common foods such as tea and apples. The book traces the Silk Road origins of these foods in an interesting way.

The Silk Road

Every food has its origins. Today, foods that were initially indigenous in certain parts of the world are grown and sold all over. It took many years for this level of globalization, and the early forms of trade between different places are behind most of this dispersion. Back in the day, tradesmen in Central Asia traveled by caravan while herding their flock. This was the famous Silk Road thousands of years ago.

The author of ‘Fruit from the Sands’ is an archaeobotanist. That means he studies plants from the past, how these were used by the people of that day, and more. Spengler is particularly interested in the ancient Silk Road. He has been looking at evidence about its importance in moving all kinds of foods to new areas around the world. Some examples of the food that has followed such a journey, thanks to the Silk Road, include apples, grapes, rice, almonds, wheat, and peaches.

Spengler attempts to dismantle common misconceptions about the Silk Road, which was started roughly 5,000 years ago. This extensive trade network that linked Central Asia with China, as well as the Mediterranean, involved much more than silk trading. It wasn’t one road but a wide trade network for the exchange of goods as well as cultural practices including various forms of crafts.

Spengler has studied this region extensively. He has led excavation teams to the region to uncover new evidence of what transpired along the Silk Road. His new book is an interesting journey into ancient trade, culture, and the value of good food and nutrition.

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