There’s one individual we can all thank for those vegetables plucked from the freezer to prepare our supper. That person is Clarence Birdseye who fundamentally changed how we shop for and serve up our meals. And who would have thought that an entertaining tale of adventure, ingenuity and innovation could emerge from a package of frozen food? Leave it to New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky to employ his extraordinary skill as a writer by delivering a fascinating biography of Birdseye that is peppered with entertaining mini stories.
An inquisitive man with many interests, Birdseye dropped out of college to work as a naturalist in the southwest for the U.S. Biological Survey and later signed on to assist in researching Rocky Mountain spotted fever by collecting ticks. Next, he headed to the frigid wilderness of Labrador to start a fox farm where soon an obsession for preserving food took hold after witnessing the Inuit flash freeze fish. To develop and perfect his technique for quick freezing, Birdseye moved his family to Massachusetts where he established a “frosted food” company that he later sold, making him a very wealthy man.
Birdseye’s curiosity and inventiveness, however, was not limited to frozen food. To learn more about this prolific man, look for a copy of Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man on the VBPL catalog. If you enjoy this story, then I also recommend two other food-related books by Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of a Fish that Changed the World and Salt: A World History.