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Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People
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Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
An illuminating account of how history shapes our diets--now in a new revised and updated Third Edition

Why did the ancient Romans believe cinnamon grew in swamps guarded by giant killer bats? How did African cultures imported by slavery influence cooking in the American South? What does the 700-seat McDonald's in Beijing serve in the age of globalization? With the answers
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Wiley (first published 2003)
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Dec 11, 2010 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to like this book. Surely such a fascinating topic would be handled gently and with care, right?


The first 100 pages paint the past tastes in broad generalizations and hazy historical conclusions. While I hesitate to describe any book as "juvenile" this one gave me the feeling that I was being talked down to.

I think this book would probably work well as a great introduction, but needs some support by other books (such as Tannahill's Food in History.
I was assigned this book for a class on Food, Wine, & Culture but had I discovered it on my own I would have read it anyway. The book traces the roles and types of food through history, from hunter-gatherer days to the present. It talks of how cultures, religions, medical "experts" of the time, and especially travel have influenced what people around the globe eat. I found this to be as a much a history lesson as it was a lesson on cuisine.

However, the book has issues, and for that I knocked
Apr 29, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great history lesson all directed around food and culture. I got this book for cooking school, and we only had to read a handful of passages from it. BY the end of the class I knew I wanted to read the whole thing cover to cover.

The most fascinating part of the book for me was how much war affected the world's cuisine. It's impossible to say that any style of cuisine is genuinely unique to a particular culture, since so many ideas and foods have been spread around over the centuries.
Cocina y Cultura. De los placeres del hombre, que matan o engordan, la comida tiene la maldita característica que puede hacer las dos cosas, primero te engorda y luego te mata. Pero no hay que ser tan negativo. No se puede negar, amamos los alimentos. También amamos las situaciones en que ingerimos alimentos. Ya sea en un pic-nic en el parque o la cena de una boda, o la celebración de alguna fiesta del pueblo. Tenemos alimentos para todas las ocasiones, fiestas y festejos. Festejamos a los vivos ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Thaths rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journey through human history and the evolution of cuisine. Not very deep in its coverage of history or cuisine. I found at least two glaring inaccuracies (Indian indentured workers, including Gandhi, being imported to South Africa to build railroad, Gandhi being a Hindu religious leader - both incorrect. Gandhi went to SA to practice as a lawyer. He was a politician. Not a religious leader.) about Indian history and food. I suspect there are inaccuracies about other regions of the world I am ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Rishi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
was not able to put this down. so much food history in chronological order from the beginning of civilization. it covers cultural blending via war and exploration. i firmly believe that food make a people not the borders drawn on a globe by the grand mcnally company. patriotism is dead. but being proud of the ingredients available in your geo-location and what your culture has done with those ingredients is much the right way to go.

it reads like an encyclopedia but it is the story of us, and all
Barbara Froman
Nov 26, 2012 Barbara Froman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
over all enjoyable, but there are several factual errors. For example, the author states that the Nanaimo bar was invented in 1983, for a recipe contest. In reality, the contest was for the best nanaimo bar. They have been around a very long time...better fact checking for edition four, this is one expensive ebook, and to have errors is mildly annoying.
Mar 06, 2009 Fern rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really gripping stuff about food through the ages and trivia addicts will find loads to entertain them here. most of it is very western oriented which is to be expected but at least she gets the few eastern bits right
I recommend this for any foodie or historian. Great cultural information with recipes included from the past. Interesting read so far.
Sep 21, 2013 Doug rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Very simplistic food writing. Tries to cover so many topics that it reads like a high school history book (ie: makes sweeping cultural and historical generalities).
This was a fascinating subject about which to read. I adored the inclusion of the recipes and the comparisons and contrasts to traditional versus modern cuisine.
Raymond Djaya
Jan 24, 2013 Raymond Djaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cuisine and Culture: A HIstory of Food & People by Linda Civitello
Extremely knowledgeable book.. love it
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