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The History of Taste

Paul Freedman (Editor)

Available in US, Canada, Philippines

Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN: 9780520254763
November 2007
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.
“A richly illustrated historical journey examining why we’ve eaten what we’ve eaten from prehistoric times to today.”—Chow
“A lavishly illustrated hybrid reader and coffee-table book that provides a consumption-oriented food history.”—Choice
"Collects essays from British, French, Belgian, German and American academics to create a fairly comprehensive look at the global evolution of human palates.”—
“Color plates and captions delight and illustrate the informed and absorbing essays in Food: The History of Taste, making this an excellent book for the reference shelf, for the cook, for the gift-giver.”—Foreword
“Fascinating survey of dietary habits stretching from prehistoric barbecues right up to the “molecular” menu at El Bulli. . . . But its real virtue lies in the big picture. Contributor after contributor links diet to class, colonialism, politics, religion.”—New York Times Book Review
“Delicious from text to visuals.”—San Diego Union-Tribune
For history buffs, this is a "don't miss." Edited by Yale professor Paul Freedman, this impressive collection of essays by historians around the world gives a detailed look at why our food culture evolved in the way it did and how we came to eat the foods we do today.. . . Beautifully illustrated, it's the perfect coffee table book to absorb in bits and pieces.—San Francisco Chronicle
Ever wonder when restaurants began, why the Europeans rejected spicy food after the Renaissance or how food is related to class and culture? This abundantly illustrated book features essays by French, German, Belgian, American and British historians to explain it all. It's an academic but fascinating feast of facts.—San Francisco Chronicle
“For students of fine dining who have long progressed past the point of being told the difference between panko and regular bread crumbs, this can be some fascinating stuff.”—The Wine News
"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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