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Montanari is professor of medieval history and the history of food at the University of Bologna, Italy, and a well-respected scholar, having studied food for nearly 30 years. Best known in the United States for his award-winning Food: A Culinary History, Montanari here has provided students of anthropology with a wonderful text to approach the study of food and its transformative power over people and culture. He strives to be as inclusive as possible, and though there is a slight bias toward European history, he touches on important events in many cultures, including the way each region had its key cultivar: wheat in western Europe, rice in Asia, corn in the Americas, and sorghum in Africa. From the way cookbooks reflect the oral cooking traditions of the past to the way the mind influences taste, each short chapter analyzes a different facet of how food and culture evolved together. In the end, the author proffers a metaphor: food is a root, from which the history and spread of culture is visible as a flourishing plant. Recommended for larger academic libraries.
—Rosemarie Lewis Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information