By Susanne Freidberg

That rosy tomato perched in your plate in December is on the finish of a very good journey—not simply over land and sea, yet throughout an unlimited and sundry cultural background. this is often the territory charted in clean. commencing the door of a standard fridge, it tells the curious tale of the standard kept within: freshness. we'd like clean meals to maintain us fit, and to attach us to nature and group. We additionally wish them handy, lovely, and inexpensive. clean strains our paradoxical starvation to its roots within the upward thrust of mass intake, while freshness appeared either facts of and an antidote to growth. Susanne Freidberg starts with refrigeration, a pattern as debatable on the flip of the 20 th century as genetically converted plants are at the present time. shoppers blamed chilly garage for prime costs and rotten eggs yet, eventually, competitive advertising, advances in expertise, and new rules approximately future health and hygiene overcame this mistrust. Freidberg then takes six universal meals from the fridge to find what each one has to assert approximately our notions of freshness. Fruit, for example, indicates why attractiveness trumped style at a shockingly early date. with regards to fish, we see how the worth of a residing, quivering seize has paradoxically hastened the loss of life of species. And of all grocery store staples, why has milk remained the main stubbornly neighborhood? neighborhood livelihoods; international exchange; the politics of flavor, group, and environmental switch: all input into this vigorous, fantastic, but sobering story in regards to the nature and price of our starvation for freshness. (20090502)

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Extra info for Fresh: A Perishable History (Belknap Press)

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15 The winter that produced this all-Â�American commodity was not, of course, so widespread. Most years, northern freezes provided ample supplies of ice for cities in the South. ” This was one reason the Florida physician John Gorrie invented a machine that could make ice regardless of the weather. His primary goal was to chill cities, not food. Like many mid-Â� nineteenth–century medical experts, Gorrie thought that too much tropical heat led to mental and physical degeneration, as well as to the spread of diseases such as malaria.

32 But the few farmers and merchants who did use cold storage must have ended up with some pretty frightful food. 33 These days the consensus is that most fish Â�doesn’t last more than a few days at above-Â�freezing temperatures. Many delicate and warm-Â�climate fruits, by contrast, can’t stand extended cold. They may look good on the outside, but their insides turn to mush. 34 French refrigeration experts had little patience for those who Refrigeration: Cold Revolution / 31 questioned the technology’s beneÂ�fits.

But in Europe itself, American ice Â�didn’t find much of a market. This was partly due to competition from Norway, which supplied breweries and other commercial ice users from the mid-Â�nineteenth century onward. More fundamentally, most Europeans saw little need for ice at home. They liked gelato and crème glacé, but not iced drinks. Even the British drank their beer warm. The Scandinavians were accustomed to preserving food with ice, but they certainly Â�didn’t need to buy it from North America.

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