Synopses & Reviews
In Near a Thousand Tables,
acclaimed food historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto tells the fascinating story of food as cultural as well as culinary history -- a window on the history of mankind.
In this "appetizingly provocative" (Los Angeles Times) book, he guides readers through 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 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 mass-produced food.
From prehistoric snail "herding" to Roman banquets to Big Macs to genetically modified tomatoes, Near a Thousand Tables is a full-course meal of extraordinary narrative, brilliant insight, and fascinating explorations that will satisfy the hungriest of readers.
Rob Morse San Francisco Chronicle Fernández-Armesto picks apart the myths of food history with the delectation of a connoisseur picking apart a lobster.
Betty Fussell The New York Times Book Review Fernández-Armesto brings a humanity, civility, and excitement to serious food writing that may not have been seen since Brillat-Savarin.
The New York Times Highly provocative and entertaining...an erudite and surprising book with many eye-opening pleasures.
Critically acclaimed as a landmark in culinary writing, this savory and engrossing account by a "New York Times" Notable author leaves no placemat unturned as it chronicles the fascinating story of food across the centuries.
About the Author
Felipe Fernández-Armesto is a Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London, and a member of the Modern History Faculty at Oxford University. He is the author of thirteen books, including Millenium: A History of the Last Thousand Years and Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature.
Table of Contents
The Invention of Cooking
The First Revolutionÿ
The Meaning of Eating
Food as Rite and Magicÿ
Breeding to Eat
The Herding Revolution: From "Collecting" Food to "Producing" Itÿ
The Edible Earth
Managing Plant Life for Foodÿ
Food and Rank
Inequality and the Rise of Haute Cuisineÿ
The Edible Horizon
Food and the Long-Range Exchange of Cultureÿ
Food and Ecological Exchangeÿ
Feeding the Giants
Food and Industrialization in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuriesÿÿ