The Cambridge World History of Food (Part 1)

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9780521402149: The Cambridge World History of Food (Part 1)

An undertaking without parallel or precedent, this monumental volume encapsulates much of what is known of the history of food and nutrition. It constitutes a vast and essential chapter in the history of human health and culture. Ranging from the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors to food-related policy issues we face today, this work covers the full spectrum of foods that have been hunted, gathered, cultivated, and domesticated; their nutritional make-up and uses; and their impact on cultures and demography. It offers a geographical perspective on the history and culture of food and drink and takes up subjects from food fads, prejudices, and taboos to questions of food toxins, additives, labelling, and entitlements. It culminates in a dictionary that identifies and sketches out brief histories of plant foods mentioned in the text - over 1,000 in all - and additionally supplies thousands of common names and synonyms for those foods.

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Review:

Have the French always enjoyed their renowned cuisine? When did Russians begin to eat pirogi? What was the first Indonesian spice to be cultivated elsewhere in the world? Questions such as these make for good Jeopardy material, but they're far from trivial--just ask anyone with a passion for good food and a curiosity for where that food originated. That person will know instinctively that the best way to approach a culture--and, indeed, the human animal--is through the stomach. For this individual, The Cambridge World History of Food will be something of a bible, and the best of gifts.

A massive scholarly tome in two volumes and more than 2,000 pages, the CWHF encompasses a wealth of learning that touches on nearly every aspect of human life. (It also reveals the answers to the three earlier questions: No, French cuisine as we know it is a 19th-century development; in the 16th century, following the conquest of the Volga Tatar; ginger, in colonial Mexico.) Thoroughly researched and highly accessible despite its formidable layout, the set addresses a groaning board of topics past and present, from the diet of prehistoric humans to the role of iron in combating disease; from the domestication of animals to the spread of once-isolated ethnic cuisines in a fast-globalizing world. Of greatest interest to general readers is its concluding section--a dictionary of the world's food plants, which gives brief accounts of items both common and exotic, from abalong to Zuttano avocado.

The product of seven years of research, writing, and editing on the part of more than 200 authors, The Cambridge World History of Food promises to become a standard reference for social scientists, economists, nutritionists, and other scholars--and for cooks and diners seeking to deepen their knowledge of the materials they use and consume. --Gregory McNamee

Book Description:

From the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors to food-related policy issues of today, this monumental two-volume work covers the full spectrum of foods that have been hunted, gathered, cultivated, and domesticated; their nutritional make-up and uses; and their impact on cultures and demography.

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Editorial: Cambridge University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 052140214X ISBN 13: 9780521402149
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Editorial: Cambridge University Press (2000)
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