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Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food

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Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Near a Thousand Tables, Oxford historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto tells the fascinating story of food as cultural as well as culinary history — ecology as well as gastronomy.

At the heart of this engrossing book are what Fernandez-Armesto calls the eight great revolutions in the world history of food: the origins of cooking, which set humankind on a course apart from other species; the ritualization of eating, which brought magic and meaning into people's relationship with what they ate; the inception of herding and the invention of agriculture, perhaps the two greatest revolutions of all; the rise of inequality, which made food an indicator of rank and led to the development of haute cuisine; the long-range trade in food, which, practically alone, broke down cultural barriers; the ecological exchanges, which revolutionized the global distribution of plants and livestock; and, finally, the industrialization and globalization of food.

Near a Thousand Tables reveals what microwave families and tube-fed astronauts have in common with pre-social hominids; why India is the source of street food in Cairo and court food in Isfahan; why the name "avocado" is derived from an Aztec anatomical term.

Review:

"A bare-bones sketch of his narrative doesn't begin to convey the originality of Fernández-Armesto's examples or the subversive power of his ideas....Happily for his readers, Fernández-Armesto's dire pronouncements are offered with grace and wit....Fernández-Armesto brings a humanity, civility and excitement to serious food writing that may not have been seen since Brillat-Savarin." Betty Fussell, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"For sheer volume of fascinating facts, this survey of gastronomic lore can't be beat....Fernandez-Armesto writes lucidly and conveys his enormous enthusiasm for his subject....[H]is erudite analysis is always engaging and accessible." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Fernandez-Armesto brings storytelling flair and encyclopedic learning to the task and turns in a highly readable if fact-dense survey....All in all, a pleasure for foodies, and a satisfying read for students of world history as well." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[S]ometimes engrossing and often maddening....Near a Thousand Tables succeeds in being compact, but it drags — not because of too many details...but because it lacks a cogent viewpoint. Near a Thousand Tables is little more than notes hastily conscripted from Fernandez-Armesto's reading, accompanied by underdeveloped ideas about the origins of cooking, hunting and farming." Lorraine Adams, Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Throughout the book, Fernandez-Armesto makes no secret of his opinions and presents several surprising but well-supported arguments....His well-written, thought-provoking overview of food history is recommended for academic or special libraries where there is interest in food history." Library Journal

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Invention of Cooking: The First Revolution 1
2 The Meaning of Eating: Food as Rite and Magic 21
3 Breeding to Eat: The Herding Revolution: From "Collecting" Food to "Producing" It 55
4 The Edible Earth: Managing Plant Life for Food 76
5 Food and Rank: Inequality and the Rise of Haute Cuisine 101
6 The Edible Horizon: Food and the Long-Range Exchange of Culture 131
7 Challenging Evolution: Food and Ecological Exchange 163
8 Feeding the Giants: Food and Industrialization in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries 187
Notes 225
Index 247

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743226448
Subtitle:
A History of Food
Author:
Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Food
Subject:
History
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
June 2002
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.46x6.40x1.01 in. 1.14 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking

Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Free Press - English 9780743226448 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A bare-bones sketch of his narrative doesn't begin to convey the originality of Fernández-Armesto's examples or the subversive power of his ideas....Happily for his readers, Fernández-Armesto's dire pronouncements are offered with grace and wit....Fernández-Armesto brings a humanity, civility and excitement to serious food writing that may not have been seen since Brillat-Savarin."
"Review" by , "For sheer volume of fascinating facts, this survey of gastronomic lore can't be beat....Fernandez-Armesto writes lucidly and conveys his enormous enthusiasm for his subject....[H]is erudite analysis is always engaging and accessible."
"Review" by , "Fernandez-Armesto brings storytelling flair and encyclopedic learning to the task and turns in a highly readable if fact-dense survey....All in all, a pleasure for foodies, and a satisfying read for students of world history as well."
"Review" by , "[S]ometimes engrossing and often maddening....Near a Thousand Tables succeeds in being compact, but it drags — not because of too many details...but because it lacks a cogent viewpoint. Near a Thousand Tables is little more than notes hastily conscripted from Fernandez-Armesto's reading, accompanied by underdeveloped ideas about the origins of cooking, hunting and farming."
"Review" by , "Throughout the book, Fernandez-Armesto makes no secret of his opinions and presents several surprising but well-supported arguments....His well-written, thought-provoking overview of food history is recommended for academic or special libraries where there is interest in food history."
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