Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Moslems, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, bestselling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world's major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world's gastronomic customs, demonstrating that what appear at first glance to be irrational food tastes turn out really to have been shaped by practical, or economic, or political necessity. In addition, his smart and spirited treatment sheds wisdom on such topics as why there has been an explosion in fast food, why history indicates that it's "bad" to eat people but "good" to kill them, and why children universally reject spinach. Good to Eat is more than an intellectual adventure in food for thought. It is a highly readable, scientifically accurate, and fascinating work that demystifies the causes of myriad human cultural differences.
Title of related interest also available from Waveland Press: Kahn, Always Hungry, Never Greedy: Food and the Expression of Gender in a Melanesian Society (ISBN 9780881337761).
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"This book offers a lively anthropological engagement of dietary habits and food cultures. Broad in scope and sensitive in its analytic insight, Harris' work is an accessible piece of work for anyone curious to learn more about why people choose to eat differently and how food has cultural connections on a myriad of levels." -- Eve Bratman, American UniversityFrom Publishers Weekly:
Author of Cannibals and Kings and other notable studies, anthropologist Harris here presents his findings on the "puzzling eating habits" of humans. Drawing from his research on a wide range of ancient and modern societies, he offers his theories of the effects that religious laws and customs have had on cultural attitudes toward foods. There are chapters on the approved and the forbidden: beef, horsemeat and the flesh of other animals, including humans, fish, insects. Harris documents his provocative views on regulations governing comestibles in various cultures. For instance, he concludes that swineherding was impractical for nomadic desert dwellers, hence pork became taboo not because pigs were unclean but because they needed too much care. As for taste preferences, Harris notes that "good to eat" translates as "good to sell" in profit-conscious countries like the U.S. Macmillan Book Club selection; Library of Science and Natural Science alternate; foreign rights: Marcella Berger, S & S. January 8
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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