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The Pinon Pine -- A Natural and Cultural History, with a section on pine-nut cookery by Harriette Lanner

University of Nevada Press, 1981 (reprinted 2001)

Man, impressed by power, judges trees by their size. We name our giant Sequoias after generals and praise our redwoods, firs, and tall pines as stately or majestic.
Trees that live more modestly and that do not attain great heights are thought poor and humble, objects of pity. The pinon pine, "a broad tree with a round head, similar in size and form, but not in ramification, to the cultivated Apple-tree", is regarded as lowly, a pygmy, a dwarf, a scrub conifer.
But a tree is what you make of it, and once, much was made of the pinon. This little tree produced the fuel, building materials, food, and medicines that enabled pre-historic Indians to establish their cultures on the Colorado Plateau -- and to survive into the present as Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, and Navajo. It was the pinon that made the Great Basin the coarse-grained Eden of the pine-nut eaters who picked their winter sustenance from the treetops: the Washo, the Shoshones, the Paiutes.
Pinon country, where these trees grow, is sprawling country. It stretches from trans-Pecos Texas to the Santa Ynez Mountains of southern California, and from the south of Idaho deep into Mexico. It lies between the deserts and the high places.
Our story traces a wavy line through time: geological, prehistoric, historic, and current. It documents a changing relationship between man and woodland, from one in which man's fate was determined by the bounty of the ecosystem to one in which man modifies, even destroys, that ecosystem for immediate profit.
(from the Preface)


Woodlands of Pinon Country

Through Time and Space:How Pinons Came to Pinon Country

Origin of a Species: How the Singleleaf Pinon was Born

Closing the Circle: How Hybrid Trees are Formed

Rats, Pines, and Prehistory: How Pack Rats Help Man Read the Past

A Place to Live, Something to Eat: A Tree is What You Make It

Feathered Cultivators: Birds That Plant Trees in the Desert

Man Meets Tree, Tree Meets Man: Beginning a Lasting Relationship

Food That Grows on Trees: Prospering in the Great Nut Grove

Reading Nature's Message

The Pinon in Indian Myth

Better Than Those of Castile: Men on Horseback Come to Pinon Country

Pine Nuts as a Foodstuff

Science Finds the Pinon

Fuel For a Silver Empire

Turning Woodlands into Pastures: The Hard Way

Tomorrow's Woodland

Pine-Nut Cookery, by Harriette Lanner




This book is 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 inches, and has xiii+208 pages. There are numerous black/white illustrations, a detailed 12-page index, and an exhaustive 10-page bibliography. The section on pine-nut cookery contains 32 recipes, from salads to desserts, and instructions on picking, cooking, and storing pine nuts.

The Pinon Pine is available in paperback from bookstores nationwide, and from the publisher at $16.95.