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Review: Birdseye

November 1, 2016


When most people think of Clarence Birdseye, they think of the frozen food company named for him but he was so much more than that.  He was a man of ideas who held almost 300 patents.  Birdseye was from a family of eight children.  He attended Amherst College but had to drop out when he ran out of money.  He got into the fur trapping business and noticed that native people froze food in the winter.  He became very curious about the idea of freezing and wondered if there was a way to freeze vegetables as well as meat.  His work led to our modern convenience of frozen foods.

I wanted to love BIRDSEYE: THE ADVENTURES OF A CURIOUS MAN by Mark Kurlansky but in the end I only liked it.  Clarence Birdseye was a fascinating man who never gave up on an idea and Kurlansky provides a lot of background on the man and the time period.  His focus, of course, is on Birdseye’s pursuit of a technique to freeze food and the subsequent marketing of the results.  I found all of that interesting but wanted more about Birdseye himself and less of the technical details.  Kurlansky really did his homework and the book is rich in historical background and scientific details but, because of that, it did drag in parts for me.  I’d still recommend BIRDSEYE to readers who love history and invention.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2016 6:22 am

    Great review – I’d want to read the book if it had more about Clarence, but like you, I think I’d find it a little frustrating, however well-written and interesting it is!

  2. bookingmama permalink
    November 1, 2016 6:48 am

    I totally understand. I think some of his ideas would be interesting, but I probably wouldn’t care much about the details.

  3. Diane permalink
    November 1, 2016 7:11 am

    I never heard of this book Kathy but, I’ve been in the mood for more NF so will add this to my list of future reads. Thx for sharing

  4. November 1, 2016 7:19 am

    Jim felt the same way about his book on salt.

  5. Jeane permalink
    November 1, 2016 7:34 am

    It sounds kind of interesting- but not quite enough to put on my TBR (which is toppling over). If I come across it by chance I might pick it up, though.

  6. November 1, 2016 7:39 am

    Someone just donated this book to our shop. I think my father-in-law would love this one.

  7. November 1, 2016 9:27 am

    I will probably pass, but it is definitely an interesting subject matter.

  8. November 1, 2016 1:18 pm

    Sounds too detailed for my tastes, but he does sound like an interesting person.

  9. November 1, 2016 2:03 pm

    I’ll probably pass… not especially interested in the technical details.

  10. November 1, 2016 3:26 pm

    Thank you for your honest and concise review, Kathy! The book sounds kind of interesting. We used to have a lot of Birdseye frozen vegetables in my family when I was growing up.

  11. November 1, 2016 3:49 pm

    I’m not sure this one is for me.

  12. Patty permalink
    November 1, 2016 6:36 pm

    I am impressed that you even tackled a book like this!

  13. November 1, 2016 7:02 pm

    I wouldn’t read this one but I know of 2 (non bloggers) I would recommend to.

  14. November 1, 2016 7:04 pm

    Sounds interesting but I’d want more about the man too.

  15. November 1, 2016 9:51 pm

    I haven’t seen this book before, not sure it’s for me.

  16. Beth F permalink
    November 2, 2016 9:15 am

    I liked this much more than you did. But agree that it won’t appeal to everyone.

  17. November 2, 2016 2:17 pm

    I haven’t come across this one before. Sounds fascinating but maybe too much detail to hold my interest.

  18. November 2, 2016 4:16 pm

    When I read the title, I was thinking of the frozen food company. I didn’t realize that it was possibly named after the person responsible for the company. I did wonder about it in the past.

  19. November 2, 2016 4:48 pm

    Interesting story

  20. November 18, 2016 9:52 pm

    I had no idea about Birdseye the man. Thanks for sharing.

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