Books by Joel Denker

Joel has written three books about food, one about labor education, and one about an experimental high school he helped to create.

cover of Carrot PurpleThe Carrot Purple

Did you know that the familiar orange carrot was once a novelty? This is just one of the hidden tales recounted in this book.

Joel Denker’s breadth of knowledge is dazzling.

— Claudia Roden

… a fascinating collection of short essays on the history of many common fruits, vegetables, and spices….

— Publishers Weekly

More information and reviews.

The World on a Plate World on a Plate

The saga of America’s polyglot cuisine and of the ethnic pioneers who created it.

As academics, we have much to learn from the limpid prose, sometimes the sheer poetry and the narrative power of popular folklorists such as Joel Denker.

— Krishnendu Ray

This book is the real story of why we eat what we eat.

— Jane and Michael Stern, food writers

New Orleans Stands out in U.S. Food History: New Orleans native and Treme contributor Lolis Eric Elie writes about what hear learned about his native city from The World on a Plate.

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Capital Flavors: Washington’s Ethnic Restaurants

Portraits of Washington’s hidden ethnic eateries and the colorful stories of their founders.

Here’s a sampling of immigrant America that pleasures the heart as well as the palate.

— Betty Fussell, author of I Hear America Cooking

For ethnic food lovers, Capital Flavors is a double treat—a personal introduction to neighborhood ethnic eateries and the chefs who whirl their whisks.

— Joan Nathan, author of An American Folklife Cookbook

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Unions and Universities: The Rise of the New Labor Leader

A history of workers education in America and the role of unions and universities in developing the modern labor leader.

Provides priceless perspective for every reader concerned with intelligent resolution of the problems that still obstruct a fruitful union of labor education and higher education.

— A.H. Raskin, New York Times

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No Particular Place to Go: The Making of a Free High School

A personal memoir of the launching of an “alternative” high school in Washington, DC during the heydays of the 1960s (with Steve Bhaerman).

What comes through with clarity … is the inescapable daily grind, grime, and anxiety, and the intense sense of being involved with something that matters….

— Late sociologist E.Z. Friedenberg, in the New York Review

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