Food Culture in the Mediterranean

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Overview

Food that originated from the Mediterranean area is incredibly popular. Pasta, pizza, gyros, kebab, and falafel can be found just about everywhere. Many people throughout the world have a good idea of what Mediterranean cuisine and diet are all about, but they know less about the entire food culture of the region. This one-stop source provides the broadest possible understanding of food culture throughout the region, giving a variety of examples and evidence from the southern Mediterranean or North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt), the Western Mediterranean or European side of the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Italy, and the French and Italian islands), to the eastern Mediterranean or Levant (Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel).

The Mediterranean region region is home to three of the world's major religions, and for centuries, the Mediterranean Sea has been an invitation to trade, travel, conquest, and immigration. Where different cultures, beliefs, and traditions mix there is always volatility and tension, but there is also great energy. Understanding the food culture in the Mediterranean is one way readers can see how people of different regions come together, share ideas and information to create new dishes, meals, traditions, and forms of sociability. This volume answers questions such as Do people in the Mediterranean still eat the Mediterranean Diet or do they eat American style? Why is it that the same ingredients can be prepared in so many different ways, even in the same country? Why would cooks take the time to make foods like zucchini, lentils, or figs into dozens of different dishes? How and why do religious rituals differ regarding food preparation? What do Jews, Muslims, and Christians eat on religious holidays? Do people eat out or eat at home? Why is hospitality so important to Mediterranean people and what do they do to demonstrate hospitality and good will through the preparation and serving of meals?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This volume is useful for student assignments and others in the enhancement of cultural knowledge."

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ARBAonline

"Considering the territory from Portugal and Morocco east to Iraq and Turkey as a wildly diverse but single region, Helstory (history, U. of Denver) explores such matters as whether people eat out or at home, how religious rituals differ regarding food preparation, what people of the three desert religions eat on religious holidays, why the same few ingredients

are prepared in so many different ways even in the same country, why demonstrating hospitality and good will with food is so important, and whether people still eat locally produced food or American fast-food and prepared food."

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Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313346262
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2009
  • Series: Food Culture around the World Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 189
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

CAROL HELSTOSKY is Associate Professor of History at the University of Denver. She is the author of Pizza (2008) and Garlic and Oil: Politics and Food in Italy (2004).

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword by Ken Albala

Preface

i

Timeline

1. Historical Overview

2. Ingredients

3. Cooking

4. Typical Meals

5. Eating Out

6. Special Occasions

7. Diet and Health

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