Synopses & Reviews
and#147;A triumph, pointing the way to a wholly new kind of historiography that can hold its own with more familiar work on political, economic, social, and intellectual history.and#147; and#151;G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books
and#147;Magnificent. . . . Some of Laudanand#8217;s and#145;diffusion mapsand#8217; of particular styles of cuisine are miniature masterpieces of cultural history.and#147; and#151;Peter Thonemann, Times Literary Supplement
"Rachel Laudan combines an impressive grasp of global history with a deep appreciation of the world's cuisines in all their glorious diversity. Readers who love food will find Cuisine and Empire both informative and entertaining." and#151;Daniel Headrick, author of Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present
"Few writers could tackle the sweeping subject matter of Cuisine and Empire with such grace and authority as Rachel Laudan. She rises to this challenge with fresh insights and a global perspective on our attitudes to food. This book is not to be missed by food historians and lovers of good eating." and#151;Anne Willan, author of The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook
and#147;Rachel Laudan offers a remarkable and always fascinating account of the rise and fall of cuisines, giving equal time to every part of the globe and situating the modern period within the much longer history of how people have gone about preparing food. The focus on cooking and cuisine demonstrates the durability of tastes, but also how such tastes are spread and influenced by political and cultural expansion. Cuisine and Empire is a riveting and unique combination of culinary ideas and exposition on the materiality of eating.and#8221; and#151;Paul Freedman, editor of Food: The History of Taste
and#147;In this groundbreaking book, Rachel Laudan takes a distinctive approach to the development and expression of food cultures throughout human history. She describes successive models of foodways that illuminate different periods and places, underpinned by persuasive historical analysis. Both general readers and professional historians will feel challenged by her arguments to integrate food and its culture into their thinking about human history, not just as an afterthought but as an essential tool of understanding and explanation.and#8221; and#151;Naomi Duguid, author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor
"During my forty year culinary career, there have been a select number of books that became touchstones, volumes that seemed to arrive just when inspiration was needed or direction was appropriate, books that somehow enhanced my sense of having found my calling. The newest addition to the list is a work of culinary history by Rachel Laudan."
"It seems like every time you hear someone mention processed food, it's accompanied with the words 'bad' or 'unhealthy,' plus a shaking finger. Unless you're author Rachel Laudan."
"Magnificent . . . Some of Laudan's 'diffusion maps' of particular styles of cuisine are miniature masterpieces of cultural history."
"Epic in range. . . . Its solidity and substance make a change from the day-to-day scatter of information delivered and consumed in tweets and sound bites."
"A fascinating account of the rise and fall of cuisines. . . . Touching on all parts of the globe, Rachel explores human development through the vastly understated tool of food."
"A new standard for global culinary history."
"To her impressively thorough research Laudan brings a lifetime that has included practical experience on the farm, in the kitchen, and in the classroom. This means that her exposition is as lucid as it is authoritative. Her bibliography and notes bear witness to her deep learning, and her book, in its scope and originality, gives deserved prominence to a long-neglected theme in world history. It is a triumph, pointing the way to a wholly new kind of historiography that can hold its own with more familiar work on political, economic, social, and intellectual history."
A century and a half ago, when the food industry was first taking root, few consumers trusted packaged foods. Americans had just begun to shift away from eating foods that they grew themselves or purchased from neighbors. With the advent of canning, consumers had to adapt to buying not only meats, grains, and vegetables produced by unknown hands but also foods packed in corrodible metal that seemed to defy the laws of nature by resisting decay.
Since that unpromising beginning, the American food supply has undergone a revolution, from local farm-grown goods to a system dominated by packaged foods. How did this come to be? How did we learn to trust that food preserved within an opaque can was safe and desirable to eat? Anna Zeide reveals the answers through the story of the canning industry, taking us on a journey to understand how food-industry leaders leveraged the power of science, marketing, and politics to win over a reluctant public, even as consumers resisted at every turn.
2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award winner: Reference, History, and Scholarship
A century and a half ago, when the food industry was first taking root, few consumers trusted packaged foods. Americans had just begun to shift away from eating foods that they grew themselves or purchased from neighbors. With the advent of canning, consumers were introduced to foods produced by unknown hands and packed in corrodible metal that seemed to defy the laws of nature by resisting decay.
Since that unpromising beginning, the American food supply has undergone a revolution, moving away from a system based on fresh, locally grown goods to one dominated by packaged foods. How did this come to be? How did we learn to trust that food preserved within an opaque can was safe and desirable to eat? Anna Zeide reveals the answers through the story of the canning industry, taking us on a journey to understand how food industry leaders leveraged the powers of science, marketing, and politics to win over a reluctant public, even as consumers resisted at every turn.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, working-class Americans had eating habits that were distinctly shaped by jobs, families, neighborhoods, and the tools, utilities, and size of their kitchensalong with their cultural heritage. How the Other Half Ate is a deep exploration by historian and lecturer Katherine Turner that delivers an unprecedented and thoroughly researched study of the changing food landscape in American working-class families from industrialization through the 1950s.
Relevant to readers across a range of disciplineshistory, economics, sociology, urban studies, womens studies, and food studiesthis work fills an important gap in historical literature by illustrating how families experienced food and cooking during the so-called age of abundance. Turner delivers an engaging portrait that shows how Americas working class, in a multitude of ways, has shaped the foods we eat today.
"A scrupulously researched and masterfully written history of urban working class American foodways. Turner boldly challenges conventional nostalgia for the 'good old days' of home cooking." Warren Belasco, author of Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food
"Every page of this book is enlightening. Katherine Leonard Turner has tackled one of the most elusive topics in culinary historythe ordinary food of ordinary peopleand placed it in the rich context of their daily lives. Her thoughtful, detailed investigation is certain to become indispensable in the study of turn-of-the-century America." Laura Shapiro, author of Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
In this sweeping history of food and eating in modern America, Harvey Levenstein explores the social, economic, and political factors that have shaped the American diet since 1930.
In this wide-ranging and entertaining study Harvey Levenstein tells of the remarkable transformation in how Americans ate that took place from 1880 to 1930.
Toasted marshmallows stuffed with raisins? Green-and-white luncheons? Chemistry in the kitchen? This entertaining and erudite social history, now in its fourth paperback edition, tells the remarkable story of America's transformation from a nation of honest appetites into an obedient market for instant mashed potatoes. In Perfection Salad, Laura Shapiro investigates a band of passionate but ladylike reformers at the turn of the twentieth centuryand#151;including Fannie Farmer of the Boston Cooking Schooland#151;who were determined to modernize the American diet through a "scientific" approach to cooking. Shapiro's fascinating tale shows why we think the way we do about food today.
Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the worldand#8217;s great cuisinesand#151;from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the presentand#151;in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in and#147;culinary philosophyand#8221;and#151;beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society and the godsand#151;prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.
Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. Laudanand#8217;s innovative narrative treats cuisine, like language, clothing, or architecture, as something constructed by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns farm products into food and by taking the globe rather than the nation as the stage, she challenges the agrarian, romantic, and nationalistic myths that underlie the contemporary food movement.
In this provocative and lively addition to his acclaimed writings on food, Warren Belasco takes a sweeping look at a little-explored yet timely topic: humanity's deep-rooted anxiety about the future of food. People have expressed their worries about the future of the food supply in myriad ways, and here Belasco explores a fascinating array of material ranging over two hundred yearsand#151;from futuristic novels and films to world's fairs, Disney amusement parks, supermarket and restaurant architecture, organic farmers' markets, debates over genetic engineering, and more. Placing food issues in this deep historical context, he provides an innovative framework for understanding the future of food todayand#151;when new prophets warn us against complacency at the same time that new technologies offer promising solutions. But will our grandchildren's grandchildren enjoy the cornucopian bounty most of us take for granted? This first history of the future to put food at the center of the story provides an intriguing perspective on this question for anyoneand#151;from general readers to policy analysts, historians, and students of the futureand#151;who has wondered about the future of life's most basic requirement.
"Warren Belasco is a witty, wonderfully observant guide to the hopes and fears that every era projects onto its culinary future. This enlightening study reads like time-travel for foodies."and#151;Laura Shapiro, author of Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America
"In his insightful look at human imaginings about their food and its future sufficiency, Warren Belasco makes use of everything from academic papers, films, and fiction to journalism, advertising and worldand#8217;s fairs to trace a pattern of public concern over two centuries. His wide-ranging scholarship humbles all would-be futurists by reminding us that ours is not the first generation, nor is it likely to be the last, to argue inconclusively about whether we can best feed the world with more spoons, better manners or a larger pie. Truly painless education; a wonderful read!"and#151;Joan Dye Gussow, author This Organic Life
"Warren Belasco serves up an intellectual feast, brilliantly dissecting two centuries of expectations regarding the future of food and hunger. Meals to Come provides an essential guide to thinking clearly about the worrisome question as to whether the world can ever be adequately and equitably fed."and#151;Joseph J. Corn, co-author of Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future
"This astute, sly, warmly human critique of the basic belly issues that have absorbed and defined Americans politically, socially, and economically for the past 200 years is a knockout. Warren Belascoand#8217;s important book, crammed with knowledge, is absolutely necessary for an understanding of where we are now."and#151;Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars
About the Author
Harvey Levenstein is Professor Emeritus of History at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Among his books are Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America, Revised Edition (California, 2003), Seductive Journey: American Tourists in France from the Jefferson to the Jazz Age (1998), and Communism, Anticommunism and the CIO (1981).
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. Mastering Grain Cookery, 20,000and#150;300 B.C.E.
2. The Barley-Wheat Cuisines of the Ancient Empires, 500 B.C.E.and#150;400 C.E.
3. Buddhist Cuisines, 260 B.C.E.and#150;4800 C.E.
4. Islam Transforms the Cuisines of Central and West Asia, 800and#150;1650 C.E.
5. Christianity Transforms the Cuisines of Europe and the Americas, 100and#150;1650 C.E.
6. Prelude to Modern Cuisines: Northern Europe, 1650and#150;1840
7. Modern Cuisines: The Expansion of Middling Cuisines, 1810and#150;1920
8. Modern Cuisines: The Globalization of Middling Cuisines, 1920and#150;2000