Fifty Foods That Changed the Course of History

Fifty Foods That Changed the Course of History

by Bill Price
     
 

A beautifully presented guide to the foods that have had the greatest impact on human civilization.

Though many of the foods in this book are taken for granted and one (the mammoth) is no longer consumed, these foods have kept humans alive for millennia and theirs is a fascinating story.

Like the other titles in this highly-regarded series, this book

Overview

A beautifully presented guide to the foods that have had the greatest impact on human civilization.

Though many of the foods in this book are taken for granted and one (the mammoth) is no longer consumed, these foods have kept humans alive for millennia and theirs is a fascinating story.

Like the other titles in this highly-regarded series, this book organizes the fifty foods into short illustrated chapters of fascinating narratives: the "who, where, when, why and how" of each food's introduction and its impact on civilization in one or more cultural, social, commercial, political or military spheres.

These stories span human history, from our hunter-gatherer ancestors to the transatlantic slave trade, from the introduction of frozen foods, prohibition and the rise of the Mafia, to the powdered milk scandal in China. Another example is golden rice, the first genetically modified food developed for the good of humanity rather than solely for profit.

Most of the foods are familiar and their importance obvious, such as bread, sugar, wine, potato, beef and rice. Others are far less obvious. The fifty foods include:

  • Mammoth - the prehistoric giant hunted to extinction
  • Spartan black broth - the stew that sustained an army
  • Paella - the Moorish origin of jambalaya
  • Hardtack - kept Crusaders and conquerors alive
  • Cassoulet - a French town under siege "makes do" and creates a controversial masterpiece
  • Sugar - European taste for sugar and the transatlantic slave trade that ensued
  • Hamburger - the democratization of the world
  • Bananas - a murky US-EU trade war.

Fifty Foods That Changed the Course of
History
is an informative and entertaining look at how what we eat has made us who we are.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/06/2014
From the obvious selections such as bread to obscure and no longer eaten items such as Spartan Black Broth, Price (Charles Darwin: Origins and Arguments) takes the reader on a trip through history and around the world as he explores the foods that shaped the world around us. The book begins at the very beginning with speculation that human ancestors may have pit roasted woolly mammoth and works its way forward to the foods that are shaping our society today, such as the genetically modified golden rice developed to address vitamin A deficiency in millions of people in Southeast Asia and Africa. For every food item that is listed, a brief history is provided, explaining how that item came to become such an integral part of cuisine, why it developed, how it evolved, and how it influenced and effected the course of our history. Food plays such a large role in our lives, but seldom do we think about where it came from. In this book, Price illuminates ways that food choices all over the world have actually shaped human history. Readers are bound to look at food with a new appreciation. (Aug.)
Palm Beach Daily News - Roberta Sabban
Fifty Foods that Changed the Course of History takes us on a gastronomic odyssey that spans several thousand years.
Booklist - Becca Smith
In this most recent title in the Fifty Things series from Firefly, Price keenly describes 50 of the most influential foods (including some beverages) throughout history based on five categories: cultural, social, commercial, political, and military. Chronologically arranged essays range from two to eight pages and are bolstered by appetizing images, sidebars, and quotations. Beyond the more common expected foods (e.g., corn, potatoes), Price also expands the menu to include significant items from across the globe, such as kimchi, rendang, and biltong, and also those that impacted culture, such as Swanson TV dinners and Campbell's soup. Topics are well researched, crafting a unique historical narrative of the impact of each ingredient. A bibliography of further reading and an index is included. Recommended for public and school libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770854277
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
711,395
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Bill Price is a regular contributor to many international publications and popular reference books. His published works include Tutankhamun: Egypt's Most Famous Pharaoh and History's Greatest Decisions.

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