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A Cornucopia of Fruit & Vegetables

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Plump apricots, juicy mangoes, crisp lettuce. We're used to seeing close-up photographs of beautiful fruits and vegetables in cookbooks and garden guides. But these detailed illustrations of fruit and vegetables, as viewed through eighteenth-century eyes, are something very different—and more interesting.  Thanks to intrepid explorers and plant-hunters, Britain and the rest of Europe have long enjoyed a wide and wonderful array of fruit and vegetables. Wealthy eighteenth-century households even created orangeries and glasshouses for tender exotic plants and special pits in which to raise pineapples. Tomatoes, sweetcorn, and runner beans from the New World expanded the culinary repertoire. In the 1730s, a prosperous Bavarian apothecary, Johann Wilhelm Weinmann, produced the first volume of a comprehensive index of all available plants, meticulously documented and lavishly illustrated by botanical artists. A Cornucopia of Fruit & Vegetables is a glimpse into Weinmann's world. It features exquisite illustrations of the edible plants in his historic treasury, allowing us to enjoy the sight of swan-necked gourds and horned lemons, smile at silkworms hovering over mulberries, and delight at the quirkiness of plants like "strawberry spinach." This volume is a delicious medley of garden produce and exotics that will capture the imagination of gardeners and art-lovers alike.

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