Clarence Birdseye, written about in three previous works for adults by Kurlansky—Cod (1997), Salt (2002) and The Last Fish Tale (2009)—takes center stage as the creator of a new food industry in this young-readers’ adaptation of Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man (2012).
Clarence Birdseye, like many inventors, was ahead of his time. When he created a new freezing process for food in 1927, there were no trucks or trains capable of transporting frozen food and no warehouses or stores able to store it. There was not even a market for frozen food; Birdseye had to create a market and an infrastructure to support it. Now, frozen foods are a given, and few people know that a real person is behind that package of Birdseye peas. This edition retains the essentials of Birdseye’s fascinating story from the original, though a useful preface was dropped and a prologue added that condescends to young readers with its discussion of “the nerds of the Industrial Revolution” who made fortunes without even finishing college. Another distressing byproduct of this adaptation is that several sections are not as clearly written as in the original. Overall, though, it’s a fascinating story of curiosity, imagination and invention.
More and more young people are interested in where their food comes from, and this volume offers one fascinating part of the story. (bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-14)