Monday, January 24, 2011

1400 kinds of plant smoke

Uses and abuses of plant-derived smoke
Marcello Pennacchio, Lara Jefferson and Kayri Haven
Oxford University Press 2010

This is a compendium listing 1400 plant species, so it could very well be boring. However, it is dedicated to plants that have been burned to produce smoke for various purposes, and it’s the rich variety of these purposes that makes this book interesting. Obviously, burning plants to do something with the smoke is an ancient and practically universal behaviour, which in our time has been funnelled into the global habit of smoking mass-produced cigarettes, and thus disconnected from its diverse cultural roots.

Read my review in the current issue of Chemistry & Industry, issue 2, 24.1.2011, page 27

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