Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture / Edition 1

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Author of Cannibals and Kings and other notable studies, anthropologist Harris here presents his findings on the ``puzzling eating habits'' of humans. Drawing from his research on a wide range of ancient and modern societies, he offers his theories of the effects that religious laws and customs have had on cultural attitudes toward foods. There are chapters on the approved and the forbidden: beef, horsemeat and the flesh of other animals, including humans, fish, insects. Harris documents his provocative views on regulations governing comestibles in various cultures. For instance, he concludes that swineherding was impractical for nomadic desert dwellers, hence pork became taboo not because pigs were unclean but because they needed too much care. As for taste preferences, Harris notes that ``good to eat'' translates as ``good to sell'' in profit-conscious countries like the U.S. Macmillan Book Club selection; Library of Science and Natural Science alternate; foreign rights: Marcella Berger, S & S. January 8
Library Journal
Why are the world's food habits or ``foodways,'' as Harris refers to them, so diverse? In this scholarly yet fast-paced and very readable work, anthropologist Harris argues that ``major differences in world cuisines can be traced to ecological restraints and opportunities which differ from one region to another.'' He explores varied cultural phenomena including preoccupation with meat-eating; avoidance of killing cows among Hindus; Jews' and Moslems' abomination of pork; American's aversion to horsemeat; Southeast Asians' loathing of milk; avoidance of eating insects and pets; and cannibalismall having, in Harris's interpretation, a rational basis in circumstances, costs, and benefits, rather than stemming from arbitrary symbolism. This well-documented book is entertaining as well as informative, and both laypersons and scholars will find it of interest. Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781577660156
  • Publisher: Waveland Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/2/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,233,290
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.61 (d)

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