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"'A lively, informative, panic-free guide to the end of our "food empire" and where we go from here." (London Review of Books)
"This isn't just first class scholarship, it's energetic writing. Fraser and Rimas have a knack for the little detail that unveils the big thought. Empires of Food is a must-read for anyone who wants to know why every night a billion people go to bed obese and another billion go to bed hungry." (George Alagiah)
"It is an absorbing, fascinating and timely book. The analysis of our social and historical relationship with food by Andrew Rimas and Evan Fraser is compelling, and their warning is stark. Best of all, it's a rattling good read." (Matthew Fort)
"Food is powerful stuff not to be trifled with. A grand read" (Fergus Henderson, St John Restaurant)
"This is a book with a big thesis and panorama ... Fraser and Rimas propose that seemingly impregnable societies can falter and fail if they ignore the sustainability of their food supplies. Breathlessly dancing across time and physical zones, they argue that Empires of Food depend upon workable links between the social, environmental, biological and political strands of existence." (Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London)
For thousands of years we have grown, cooked and traded food, and over that time much has changed. Where once we subsisted on gritty, bland grains, we now enjoy culinary creations and epicurean delights made with vegetables from the New World, fish trawled from the deep sea, and flavoured with spices from the Orient.
But how did we make that change from eating for survival to the innovations of modern cuisine? How has food helped to shape our culture? And what will happen when global warming and peak oil have their inevitable effect on agriculture?
Empires of Food is an authoritative exploration of the innumerable ways that food has changed the course of history. The earliest cities, after all, were founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses, and since then trade routes of ever greater sophistication have developed. We've built complex societies by shunting corn and wheat and rice along rivers, up deforested hillsides, and into the stockpots of history.
But we cannot go on forever. As Evan D. G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas compellingly show, the abundance that we all enjoy comes at a price, and unless we think of a more sustainable way to grow, eat and enjoy food, we may find that our civilization reaches its best before date.
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