The Food History Reader: Primary Sources

Author(s): Ken Albala

Social Sciences

With the proliferation of food history courses and avid interest among scholars and the general public, the need for a solid comprehensive collection of key primary texts about food of the past is urgent. This collection spans the globe from classical antiquity to the present, offering substantive selections from cookbooks, fiction, gastronomic and dietary treatises and a wide range of food writing. Meant to offer a solid introduction to each period with extensive commentary and suggestions for interpretive strategies, this reader provides extracts undigested, for the student who needs immediate and direct contact with the ideas of the past. Readings illustrate the various ways religion, politics, social structure, health and agricultural policy shaped what people ate in the past and offer instructive ways to think about our own food systems and how they have been shaped by historical forces.


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The definitive reader for all students of food history, comprised of primary source extracts spanning the globe from classical antiquity to the present.

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, USA. He is editor of the Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (2011), co-editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society and has authored or edited a further 16 books on food.

General Introduction Themes of the Reader Learning Objectives How to read these texts Part One: Sumer and Egypt Part Two: Greece Part Three: Rome Part Four: China Part Five: Ancient India Part Six: Hebrews Part Seven: Early Christians and Early Middle Ages Part Eight: Islam Part Nine: Middle Ages and Renaissance Part Ten: America Part Eleven: Nation States 1500-1650 Part Twelve: Mercantile Era 1650-1800 Part Thirteen: Industrial Era 1800-1900 Part Fourteen: The Twentieth Century 1900-2000 Glossary Web Resources Bibliography Surveys of Food History Encyclopedias and Reference Works Culinary Bibliographies Food Anthologies Primary Sources Secondary Sources

General Fields

  • : 9780857854131
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Berg Publishers
  • : December 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 352
  • : Ken Albala