Synopses & Reviews
This book, based largely on the Cambridge World History of Food, provides a look at the globalization of food from the days of the hunter-gatherers to present-day genetically modified plants and animals. The establishment of agriculture and the domestication of animals in Eurasia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas are all treated in some detail along with the subsequent diffusion of farming cultures through the activities of monks, missionaries, migrants, imperialists, explorers, traders, and raiders. Much attention is given to the ‘Columbian Exchange’ of plants and animals that brought revolutionary demographic change to every corner of the planet and led ultimately to the European occupation of Australia and New Zealand as well as the rest of Oceania. Final chapters deal with the impact of industrialization on food production, processing, and distribution, and modern-day food-related problems ranging from famine to obesity to genetically modified food to fast food.
"'Recycling much historical material from the magisterial Cambridge World History of Food (which the author co-edited), this slender volume distills 10,000 years of food history into just 300 pages. While the first work was notable for its rich multiplicity of voices and deeply informed scholarship, this one is a bit of a hash, owing to its author's insistence on squeezing a far-ranging narrative into the narrow framework of globalism. Far from being a new economic concept, the globalization of food, asserts Kiple, is as old as agriculture itself (globalization being murkily defined as 'a process of homogenization whereby the cuisines of the world have been increasingly untied from regional food production, and one that promises to make the foods of the world available to everyone in the world'). The strongest material examines the spread of agriculture and its ramifications: it's a paradox of civilization that increased food production encourages population growth, which invariably creates food shortages and disease. That said, gastronomes will find scraps to nibble on here and there who knew, for example, that the Egyptians trained their monkeys to harvest grapes? (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An engaging look at the past, present, and future of how and what we eat, "A Movable Feast" explores the globalization of food from the days of the hunter-gatherers to present-day genetically modified plants and animals.
In the last twenty-five years alone, the range of fruits and vegetables, even grains, that is available at most local markets has changed dramatically. Over the last 10,000 years, that change is almost unimaginable. This groundbreaking new work, from the editor of the highly regarded Cambridge World History of Food, examines the exploding global palate. It begins with the transition from foraging to farming that got underway some 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, then examines subsequent transitions in Egypt, Africa south of the Sahara, China, southeast Asia, the Indus Valley Oceanic, Europe, and the Americas. It ends with chapters on genetically modified foods, the fast food industry, the nutritional ailments people have suffered from, famine, the obesity epidemic, and a look at the future on the food front. Food, at its most basic, fuels the human body. At its most refined, food has been elevated to a position of fine art. The path food has taken through history is a fairly straightforward one; the space which it occupies today could not be more fraught. This sweeping narrative covers both ends of the spectrum, reminding us to be grateful for and delighted in a grain of wheat, as well as making us aware of the many questions that remain unanswered about what lies ahead. Did you know. . .
- That beans were likely an agricultural mistake?
- That cheese making was originated in Iran over 6000 years ago?
- That pepper was once worth its weight in gold?
- That sugar is the world's best-selling food, surpassing even wheat?
- That Winston Churchill asserted, in 1942, that tea was more important to his troops than ammunition?
- That chili con carne is one of the earliest examples of food globalization?
- That, by 1880, virtually every major city in America had a Chinese restaurant?
- That white bread was once considered too nutritious?
Kenneth Kiple reveals these facts and more within A Movable Feast.
This book provides a look at the globalization of food from the days of the hunter-gatherers to present-day genetically modified plants and animals.
About the Author
Kiple was born on January 29, 1939. His father was in the Royal Air Force which meant much moving during and after the war. He did his undergraduate work at the University of South Florida, and earned a PhD in Latin American History and a PhD certificate in Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. He has taught at Bowling Green since 1970 and became a Distinguished University Professor in 1994. His research interests have included biological history applied to slave trade and slavery, the history of disease, and more recently, food and nutrition. He is the author of approximately 50 articles and chapters, three monographs, and the editor of five edited volumes including the Cambridge World History of Disease, and (with K.C. Ornelas) The Cambridge World History of Food, in two volumes. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and received other grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Library of Medicine, the National Endowments for the Humanities, Tools Division, and two HEH Fellowships, the Earhart Foundation. the Milbank Memorial Fund, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Archives, the American Philosophical Society, The Social Sciences Research Council and Fulbright-Hays.
Table of Contents
Preface: A movable feast: ten millennia of food globalization; Introduction: from foraging to farming; 1. Last hunters, first farmers; 2. Building the barnyard; 3. Promiscuous plants of the northern fertile crescent; 4. Peripatetic plants of Eastern Asia; 5. Fecund fringes of the Northern Fertile Crescent; 6. Consequences of the Neolithic; 7. Enterprise and empires; 8. Faith and foodstuffs; 9. Empires in the rubble of Rome; 10. Medieval progress and poverty; 11. Spain's New World, the Northern Hemisphere; 12. New world, new foods; 13. New foods in the Southern New World; 14. The Columbian exchange and the Old Worlds; 15. The Columbian Exchange and the New Worlds; 16. Sugar and new beverages; 17. Kitchen Hispanization; 18. Producing plenty in paradise; 19. The frontiers of foreign foods; 20. Capitalism, colonialism, and cuisine; 21. Homemade food homogeneity; 22. Notions of nutrients and nutriments; 23. The perils of plenty; 24. The globalization of plenty; 25. Fast food, a hymn to cellulite; 26. Parlous plenty into the twenty-first century; 27. People and plenty in the twenty-first century.