Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History
This book is a crash course in world history, told through the development of cuisine in various cultures. It is actually a fascinating study and a novel theme. More than a history of food movements, it details the evolution of eating and cooking throughout the ages and throughout the world.
Most of the world’s cuisines are based on grains, but different ones depending on the geography. Within each area, cuisines of high and low developed; high for the wealthy and powerful, low for the peasant and commoner. Eventually, some areas developed a ‘middling’ cuisine, one that had more variety and stability, and nutrition, than the low, but nowhere near the expense of the high. As empires rose and fell, cooking techniques and styles, as well as actual food plants and animals, were transported around and across the globe. For various reasons, some techniques and foods were favored and others eschewed, while some cuisines adapted to be more inclusive of new food ways.
Exhaustively detailed and thoroughly researched, the text is dense and the book is long, but still surprisingly readable and entertaining. There is a lot of information here, but it is well and engagingly covered. It is a good look at the history of the world from this unique angle.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||488 pages|
|Publisher||University of Californina Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|