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The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food

by

The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this gustatory tour of human history, John S. Allen demonstrates that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into human beings' biological and cultural heritage.

We humans eat a wide array of plants and animals, but unlike other omnivores we eat with our minds as much as our stomachs. This thoughtful relationship with food is part of what makes us a unique species, and makes culinary cultures diverse. Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way Homo sapiens does. We are superomnivores whose palates reflect the natural history of our species.

Drawing on the work of food historians and chefs, anthropologists and neuroscientists, Allen starts out with the diets of our earliest ancestors, explores cooking's role in our evolving brain, and moves on to the preoccupations of contemporary foodies. The Omnivorous Mind delivers insights into food aversions and cravings, our compulsive need to label foods as good or bad, dietary deviation from "healthy" food pyramids, and cross-cultural attitudes toward eating (with the French, bien sûr, exemplifying the pursuit of gastronomic pleasure).

To explain, for example, the worldwide popularity of crispy foods, Allen considers first the food habits of our insect-eating relatives. He also suggests that the sound of crunch may stave off dietary boredom by adding variety to sensory experience. Or perhaps fried foods, which we think of as bad for us, interject a frisson of illicit pleasure. When it comes to eating, Allen shows, there's no one way to account for taste.

Synopsis:

In this gustatory tour of human history, Allen suggests that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into our cultural and biological heritage. Beginning with the diets of our earliest ancestors, he explores eating's role in our evolving brain before considering our contemporary dinner plates and the preoccupations of foodies.

About the Author

John S. Allen is Research Scientist at Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center and the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California.

Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center and the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674055728
Author:
Allen, John S
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
Allen, John S.
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology/General
Subject:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences/Evolution
Subject:
Science : Life Sciences - Developmental Biology
Subject:
Science-Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series Volume:
Our Evolving Relatio
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 halftones
Pages:
328
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Agriculture and Food
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution

The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food Sale Hardcover
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Product details 328 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674055728 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this gustatory tour of human history, Allen suggests that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into our cultural and biological heritage. Beginning with the diets of our earliest ancestors, he explores eating's role in our evolving brain before considering our contemporary dinner plates and the preoccupations of foodies.
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