Feast: Why Humans Share Food

Feast: Why Humans Share Food

by Martin Jones
     
 

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Is sharing food such an everyday, unremarkable occurrence? In fact, the human tendency to sit together peacefully over food is actually rather an extraordinary phenomenon, and one which many species find impossible. It is also a pheonomenon with far-reaching consequences for the global environment and human social evolution. So how did this strange and

Overview

Is sharing food such an everyday, unremarkable occurrence? In fact, the human tendency to sit together peacefully over food is actually rather an extraordinary phenomenon, and one which many species find impossible. It is also a pheonomenon with far-reaching consequences for the global environment and human social evolution. So how did this strange and powerful behaviour come about? In Feast, Martin Jones uses the latest archaeological methods to illuminate how humans came to share food in the first place and how the human meal has developed since then. From the earliest evidence of human consumption around half a million years ago to the era of the TV dinner and the drive-through diner, this fascinating account unfolds the history of the human meal and its huge impact both on human society and the ecology of the planet.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Why is it that humans make meals into ritual events while other animals just satisfy their hunger? To explore this question, Jones (archaeological science, Cambridge Univ.; The Molecule Hunt) offers a smooth chronological narrative from the earliest evidence of hominid eating habits right up to a 20th-century TV dinner. Each chapter begins with a short vignette suggested by archaeological remains, offering interpretations of the evidence that are precise but jargon-free. In presenting his thoughtful argument for the development of social and ritual meals, Martin skillfully lays a middle path between those who would explain everything by natural selection and those interested in the grammar of meaning systems. The book's greatest weakness is that he has skipped Asia entirely, missing out on developments from the domestication of rice to the elaborate culinary traditions and taboos of China, India, and Persia. Nonetheless, this highly readable book will be enjoyed by the general public as well as scholars. Recommended for large public libraries and all academic libraries.
—Lisa Klopfer

From the Publisher
"The conclusions are perceptive, discerning, and intricate, delving deeply into the understanding of human behavior and nature. Jones imparts his deductions with skill and intelligence, producing an important contribution to the studies of human societal behavior, coupled with significant implications for the future study of social interaction. Essential."—S. Kowtko, CHOICE

"In presenting his thoughtful argument for the development of social and ritual meals, Martin skillfully lays a middle path between those who would explain everything by natural selection and those interested in the grammar of meaning systems."—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191623004
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
04/10/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
20 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

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Meet the Author

Martin Jones is George Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge, and specializes in the study of the fragmentary archaeological remains of early food. In the 1990s he was Chairman of the Ancient Biomolecule Initiative that pioneered some of the most important new methods of archaeological science used in such research. His previous books include The Molecule Hunt: archaeology and the search for ancient DNA, published by Penguin.

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