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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Food may be mankind's most popular subject, but its history is actually underreported. In this brilliant, scholarly work, Oxford professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto steps in to right the balance and offers a look at food through the lens of history.
Fernández-Armesto views the history of food as a series of revolutions, from the invention of cooking to the development of eating as ritual to food as a means of social differentiation. In most cultures, for example, the origin of cooking is traced to a divine gift, Promethean fire, or the luck of a culture hero. The very discovery of fire (and fire-based cooking) led people to abandon their solitary gnawing of bones and take up eating in groups around the hearth.
Similar connections abound throughout this history. From the raw to the cooked, from the chocolate riots of the 1600s to the ancient delicacy of snails, from the transition of foraging to farming to the culinary impact of imperialism, Near a Thousand Tables leaves no placemat unturned. Bon appétit! (Ginger Curwen)