How Carrots Won the Trojan War

Those of you who have been following my writings know that I love hearing about the curious history of herbs – and any other plants, for that matter. Knowing why lavender is used as a symbol of suspicion or that winter savory was once used to suppress the libido makes studying herbs that much more fun.

 I recently received a book that further fueled my delight in oddball horticultural facts. Story Publishing has just issued How Carrots Won the Trojan War, a book I have thoroughly enjoyed . It contains curious facts such as:

  • The cultivated turnip variety that produces rape seed is where we get canola oil.
  • Celery seed used as a seasoning doesn’t come from celery – it is harvested from smallage, a close relative.
  • The saying “cool as a cucumber” comes from the myth that sleeping on a bed of cucumbers will relieve a fever.
  • Children can relate to the Norse myth that says peas were sent to earth by Thor as a punishment for bad behavior.

Now who can resist reading a book with tidbits like this? The author Rebecca Rupp has cleverly woven humor, lore, and horticultural history to make a very readable book. You can get a copy in paperback or ebook now through If you do, I guarantee you’ll never look at vegetables the same way again.

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