This richly illustrated book is the first to apply the discoveries of the new generation of food historians to the pleasures of dining and the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present. Editor Paul Freedman has gathered essays by French, German, Belgian, American, and British historians to present a comprehensive, chronological history of taste from prehistory to the present day. The authors explore the early repertoire of sweet tastes; the distinctive contributions made by classical antiquity and China; the subtle, sophisticated, and varied group of food customs created by the Islamic civilizations of Iberia, the Arabian desert, Persia, and Byzantium; the magnificent cuisine of the Middle Ages, influenced by Rome and adapted from Islamic Spain, Africa, and the Middle East; the decisive break with highly spiced food traditions after the Renaissance and the new focus on primary ingredients and products from the New World; French cuisine's rise to dominance in Europe and America; the evolution of modern restaurant dining, modern agriculture, and technological developments; and today's tastes, which employ few rules and exhibit a glorious eclecticism. The result is the enthralling story not only of what sustains us but also of what makes us feel alive.
Copub: Thames & Hudson
Paul Freedman is Professor of History at Yale University and author of Spices in the Middle Ages among many other books.
"While it may be true that chacun à son gout, Food: The History of Taste shows us that, since Homer, the foods we eat have reflected our culture’s most closely held values and understanding of our place in the world. This book reminds us that taste is an essential part of civilization, and that it is something worth protecting from the homogenizing force of the modern, global food supply."—Alice Waters
"A fascinating and ambitious look at why we eat what we eat. Roaming through time and space, it is different than anything else I’ve read on the subject; I couldn’t put it down."—Ruth Reichl
Best Book in the Food Reference/Technical category, International Association of Culinary Professionals
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