Rosa Abreu-RunkelNov 15, 2021
A Global History
Reaktion Books 2020
Today I talked to Rosa Abreu-Runkel about her new book Vanilla: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2020). Intoxicating and evocative, vanilla is so much more than a spice rack staple. It is a flavor that has defined the entire world—and its roots reach deep into the past. With its earliest origins dating back seventy million years, the history of vanilla begins in ancient Mesoamerica and continues to define and enhance today’s traditions and customs. It has been used by nearly every culture as a spice, a perfume, and even a potent aphrodisiac, while renowned figures from Louis XIV to Casanova and Thomas Jefferson have been captivated by its aroma and taste. Featuring recipes, facts, and fables, Vanilla unravels the delightfully rich history, mystery, and essence of a flavor that reconnects us to our own heritage
Rosa Abreu-Runkel is assistant professor at New York City College of Technology, Hospitality Department.
Amir Sayadabdi is a lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.